T Spoon Phillips New Album

Lost and Haunted Ways, the new album by T Spoon Phillips

Here at last, the original solo acoustic guitar compositions

Have you ever wanted to hear the pieces Spoon uses for his One Man’s Guitar video reviews in their entirety? Well now you can! Along with many others…

T Spoon Phillips - Album Cover Lost and Haunted Ways

Official Release, Thursday, August 9.

*Early Bird Special for Martinfest attendees*

Visit tspguitar.com for details!

Martin 000-28 (2018) Review

Martin Guitar’s bright future and storied past merge in the 000-28 (2018)

Enduring through the decades, now refreshed with a long-awaited makeover

Select Specifications: Solid tonewoods throughout, including Indian rosewood back and sides, Sitka spruce top with scalloped 5/16″ Sitka spruce bracing; short-scale High Performance neck with Modified Low Oval profile, ebony fretboard with 1-3/4″ width at the bone nut, 2-1/8″ width at 12th fret; ebony bridge with compensated bone saddle, 2-5/32″ string spacing; Style 28 (2018) appointments including Aging top toner, herringbone purfling, Antique White binding, abalone Diamonds and Squares fret position markers, Style 28 back strip, chrome color open back Schaller GrandTune tuners.

“…this new short-scale 000 has a full-bodied voice that immediately says it is no “small guitar.” The bass has Grade A beef in its rosewood brisket, a satisfying heft in the midrange fundamentals under a firm flatpick, and trebles that sound precise and strong when picking out melody, or glint like whitecaps atop a flood of sweeping strums that swell and heave with the woody warmth from the Stika/rosewood undertone. And yet, when played with delicacy, notes from the unwound strings roll out from arpeggios as defined, delicate, and pure as sunlit dewdrops…”

Full Review With Video Here

Martin 000-28 (2018)

Updates to the Understanding Martin Model Designation article

After far too long, I have updated the popular article, Martin Model Designation.

Martin’s Standard Series (2018) specs now included

I very much appreciate all the mail I receive from this article alone and I regret that other technical difficulties have kept me from updating it for 2018.

Until now that is!

Read more here…

And as ever, if you come across any typos or errant text, please do drop me a line at oneman@onemanz.com, or via the contact form at the bottom of each post or page.

Summer NAMM 2018 Recap

Acoustic guitars of note among the booths and pavilions of Nashville NAMM

Something for every budget and taste

Summer NAMM banner

The summer installment of the biannual trade show of the National Association of Music Merchants took place on July 28-30, at the Music City Center in Nashville, Tennessee. While never having quite the impact and inventory of Winter NAMM, the 2018 summer show provided some interesting additions to this year’s lineup of new guitars. Most of those being electric guitars, the acoustics required some sleuthing to track down. But they still cover most price ranges and a great deal of the familiar brand names.

Here are some of the most interesting acoustic guitars seen at Summer NAMM


Alvarez Artist Series was attracting attention with the updated AGW77AR showing up on Twitter videos throughout the weekend.

This long-scale Grand Auditorium model has walnut top with forward-shifted scalloped bracing and walnut back and sides, and their new, sleeker body bevel. Priced to sell at $499.

See all the 2018 Alvarez guitars here.


Luthier Dana Bourgeois clearly enjoys his trips to NAMM, and always comes up with some some seriously amazing one-of-a-kind guitars, like this OMS wood deluxe,  with a redwood top and figured English walnut for the back and sides!

Bourgois OMS wood deluxe Summer NAMM 2018

Check out Bourgeois Guitars’ Facebook page for an eye-popping array of this NAMM’s belles of the ball.

Or go to their main website to what’s new and interesting, and which dealers landed these very special instruments.



“The AJ-220S has a unique bell-like shape, a larger lower bout, and a small round upperbout which gives this new addition to our Advanced Jumbo family of guitars a unique voice.” These guitars feature a glued-in dovetail neck joint, mahogany back and sides, and solid Sitka Spruce tops, or an optional solid mahogany top that has its own mahogany burst toner option.

Typical price $269. And there is also the cutaway acoustic-electric AJ-220SCE for $369.

Epiphone J-200CE Summer NAMM 2018


Offered in a variety of colored and burst finishes, these cutaway Super Jumbos feature the Shadow eSonic-II™ Stereo Pickup System and Grover machine heads, pricing starts at $459.

“The EJ-200SCE reimagines the historic ‘J-200 Jumbo’ acoustic guitar now featuring a Solid Spruce top, Grover Rotomatic™ machine heads, and the revolutionary new Shadow eSonic-II™ Stereo Pickup System that maintains your true acoustic tone when plugged in to an amp or PA system.”


Guild_jumbo_junior_mahogany_Summer NAMM 2018

The new Jumbo Junior is a smaller jumbo model made with a solid Sitka top and Guild’s arched back of either mahogany or maple. These should prove comfortable couch or travel guitars for a MSRP of $555


C. F. Martin & Co. had a smallish offering compared to the January show, but it is spread across board. These include, but are not limited to a new affordable Road Series model, the 000RSG, with solid Siris back and sides and a solid Sitka spruce top (MAP $1,499,) two limited edition models made from black walnut, GPCE Black Walnut Ambertone, and the DE Black Walnut Ambertone which come with Fishman electronics(MAP $2,649 each,) a black, slope shoulder Jimmy Buffet Custom edition to go along with the Broadway musical Margaritaville (MAP $5,999,) the had-to-happen D-16EPD with soundboard featuring the iconic poker playing dogs painting (MAP $2,799,) and the stunning OM Arts and Crafts 2018 featuring ornate pearl inlay evoking the aesthetic of the Arts and Crafts movement in design, as well as German white oak back and sides, a torrefied Adirondack spruce top, Guatemalan rosewood trim with a MAP of $13,999.00.

Martin Summer NAMM models

See all the new Martin models here.


After introducing their new “V Class” bracing at Winter NAMM, Taylor Guitars released a new Builder’s Series model at Summer NAMM, the maple Builder’s Edition 614ce, as well as new Grand Auditorium models in their affordable 300 Series, the 314ce (Saple/Sitka) and the 324ce (Tasmanian Blackwood/mahogany) and 400 Series, 414ce (Ovankok/Sitka) and the 414ce-R (Indian rosewood/Stika) that feature V Class bracing, and individual cosmetic appointments.

Taylor Summer NAMM 2018

This debut was accompanied by the announcement that Taylor expects to convert all their series to the new bracing. It is intended to deliver a “more dynamic voice.” And from my experience with their Winter NAMM offering it does do exactly that, at least when compared to similar Taylors made the previous year.

The Builder’s Edition 14ce has solid figured Big Leaf maple back and sides with a torrefied solid Sitka spruce top, beveled armrest, new Silent Satin finish with a Wild Honey burst on the back and sides (optional for the top,) and Scepter faceplate and fretboard inlays are among the impressive features.

The 300 and 400 Series instruments will begin shipping in July and include the 314, 314ce, 324, 324e, 324ce, 414e-R,414ce, 414ce-R

More at taylorguitars.com

About NAMM

NAMM, the National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM), established in 1901, is the not-for-profit association that strengthens the $17 billion global music, sound and event technology products industry. Our association and our trade shows serve as the crossroads for professionals wanting to seek out the newest innovations in music, recording technology, sound, stage and lighting products. Membership also includes access to the latest industry news and education, opportunities for music advocacy and cost-saving programs that will help your business thrive. All of these activities and programs are designed to promote music making for people of all ages and to help create a more musical world.

Martin D-40FMG: Reader Q&A

Reader asks about the rare D-40FMG

A Lost Martin Model

Although I’ve been happy my 1975 D-18 for a long time, the Martin I now want is a 1995 D-40 FMG. I’ve been trying to figure out what FMG stands for, since it’s not a standard designation, and all I can come up with is Figured Mahogany – the wood used for its back and sides. I’d never even heard of a style 40; do you have any clues about a D-40 FMG? I appreciate anything you can tell me. Thanks!

– Dave P.

Spoon Replies:

Ah the D-40FMG, I understand the allure. They have figured mahogany back and sides, with the cosmetics of a D-40, only with tortoise rather than white binding on the body, neck and headstock.

I would love to own one myself. Being a bit of a rare bird, I see modern pricing listed from just over $3K to just under $5K; the latter seems like wishful thinking to me for a mahogany/Sitka dreadnought from 1995.

Still, I think they look gorgeous with the tortoise binding on the neck, and it is unusual to get a mahogany Martin with so much abalone inlay.

The “FM” would have stood for Figured Mahogany, but the examples I have seen have figuring that could be called “quilted” or “ribboned” or even “waterfall.” It is a naturally occurring feature in quartersawn mahogany. But it is relatively rare compared to figuring seen in flatsawn wood.

I never could find out what the G stood for. So asked Michael Dickinson, wood buyer for Martin. He said that at the time MG stood for Mahogany, rather than just M, or FM which could be Figured Maple. I assume it might also be related to the fact M at that time had just started being used to refer to the M top size, as in the new J-40M that had recently come on the market.

This model was part of the Figured Wood Edition series, which included the D-40FMG, made in 1995 (two were made in 1996,) and a D-40FW (figured walnut, 148 made,) and the D-40QM (quilted maple, 164 made,) both were built in 1996.

In the 1980s they also had similar series of dreadnoughts made in Style 16 that had Mahogany, Ash, Walnut, and Koa for the back and sides.

Otherwise, The D-40FGM has the styling similar to the D-40, but came out two years before the Standard D-40 was released in 1997.

The D-40BLE appeared in 1990, as a Guitar of the Month (which did not come out anything like monthly.) It was designed by Mike Longworth, and was based on Style 40 from the 1930s, with snowflake fret markers and other features that make it unrelated to the Figured Wood Edition D-40 models.

Most interesting to me is the fact the D-40FMG seems to be a forgotten model. By this I mean, it was left out entirely from Martin Guitars: A Technical Reference, wherein Richard Johnston and Dick Boak edited and greatly expanded Longworth’s original history of Martin Guitars.

Modern Style 40 gets a meager one sentence, about the J-40, and while it mentions the D-40 in the notes beneath, none of these LE D-40 models are listed among the other Limited and Special Editions.

The production totals for all D-40 models do appear in the appendix, but they are buried in an obscure table, and not listed between the D-37 and D-41, as one might expect.

Here is a spec sheet for the D-40FMG

Style 40 has been around since the 1850s, when it was made in Size 2 for $40. It was $84 in the first printed price lists of the 1870s. It did not appear in sizes 0-000 until after 1900, and up until it was retired in 1941 it was basically Style 42 with slightly less pearl trim.

Modern Style 40 (with the small hexagon fret markers and black and white ply purfling) debuted on Martin’s J-40M (M stood for the M body silhouette, not for mahogany.) It was Martin’s first jumbo model and Chris Martin’s first major contribution to the Martin line.

The D-40 followed in 1997. In terms of construction and wood quality, it is an HD-28, but has the cosmetic features of a D-41 – except it has unique reversed black and white ply trim around the edge of the top rather than abalone shell.

The D-40 remained in the catalog until quite recently, but it was not nearly as common as the J-40, which was offered in the normal Style 40 and in an all-black version.

May 3 Guitar Recording Microphone Tests

Help Spoon Toward His Next Album – which microphone?

The previous test had some tech flaws. This one is better.

You can listen to the MP3 online.

But you must go to the link and download the actual wav file if you want to hear the hi res version. (click on the upper right where it says SOUNDCLOUD.)

Please let me know which of these 8 mic parings you like best, you can comment on as many as you wish.


Blind Test for Now. I will reveal the mics in a few days.

Same guitar, and the mics were set up in the same positions and same distance from the guitar (quick measuring tape confirmations.)

One of the six examples sounds much more like the actual guitar than the others. But for me that is not important, compared to what listeners hear and “that sounds good” or “pleasing” or “listenable without fatigue” etc., when it comes to someone listening to a 45 minute album of guitar music, etc.

There was no EQ or compression etc. I just played the same piece over and over six times, as fast as I could switch microphones and adjust levels.

I was surprised how different some of them sound in terms spacial effect in the virtual soundstage.

I am curious to know what YOU hear, think about the six mic pairings in this test. Which one(s) do you like?

Please use the comment form below, or contact me via oneman@onemanz.com

Martin OME Cherry Review – Happy Earth Day!

Earth Day 2018 review of the Martin OME Cherry

Forest Stewardship Council certified woods in harmony

Specs include: All-solid FSC tonewoods including cherry back and sides, Sikta spruce top with scalloped 1/4″ European spruce bracing; FSC certified select mahogany High Performance neck with Modified Low Oval profile; FSC certified ebony fretboard with 1-3/4″ width at nut, 2-1/18″ at 12th fret; FSC certified ebony bridge with 2-5/32″ string spacing; FSC certified African blackwood headstock face plate; Gold open gear tuners; Antique White on body and neck; bone nut and compensated Tusq saddle to go along with the Fishman Matrix VT Enhance NT1 electronics

“I found the overall voice delightful. Each two-string register is a thing unto its own… And when the six strings sing together, they form a choir of overtones, fundamentals and undertone that is a joy to behold and be heard.”

Full Review with Video Here


Martin D-45 John Mayer

A very special D-45 made for and with John Mayer

Seven Grammy Awards and now five Martin Artist Signature Editions

Specs include: 14-fret Dreadnought body size with all solid tonewoods throughout, Guatemalan rosewood back and sides; Engelmann spruce soundboard with Aging Toner; scalloped, forward-shifted 1/4″ Adirondack spruce braces with Golden Era shaping; one-piece mahogany neck with Full Thickness profile; ebony fretboard with 1-11/16” width at the bone nut; ebony bridge with 2-1/8” string spacing at the compensated bone saddle; high-color Style 45 abalone trim, back, sides, and top with full circumference soundhole rosette; large abalone hexagon position markers; grained ivoroid binding; gold open gear butterbean tuners; faux tortoise pickguard; numbered interior label signed by John Mayer

“…a clear and articulate top voice, with cavernous space behind it, good for reflecting reverberating sympathetics but also for allowing the main notes to stand up and out…But even brand new, the D-45 John Mayer already has considerable shimmer and glimmer to its it ring, and power in its bones.”

Read the Full Review Here

Read the Full Review Here