Readers Questions

One Man’s Guitar receives mail from around the world with readers questions on various guitars and seeking advice and opinions on guitar-related topics.

We are happy to present some of those we feel may be of interest to our general readership.

We shall post these in our Blog, but you will find links to each public Q&A below. If you would like to submit a query to our readers questions, please drop us a line at

Areas of Interest

General Guitar Questions

Why Do “Fingerstyle Guitars” have wider necks?

Scalloped Bracing vs. Straight Bracing Over Time?

Martin Guitar Questions

Martin Style 16 Guitars from the 1980s and early 1990s?

Why Does Martin Warranty Card Show a Different Model?

What’s the Scéal Iomlán on the Martin D-45 Celtic Knot?

Martin D-40FMG?

What exactly is Martin’s High Performance Neck?

Martin OMC-Aura Info?

D-41 or D-42 if priced the same?

What city has the best selection of OMs to sample?

Details about Martin wood grading, how many grades and how they decide?

Thinking of an HD-28E Retro or D-45E Retro, are you familiar with these models?

Difference between the 000 and OM, which have the same body size?

Differences between OM-28 and OM-21? (the new ones)

Differences between D-45 and HD-28 and can you hear it?

Differences between the Simple Dovetail and other neck joints?

Differences between the OM-28V and OM-28 Marquis?

Thinking of buying a D-45 Authentic, what are the differences between the 1942 and 1936 models?

Martin Guitar String Height, aka “factory action?”

Fingernail Care

What sort of thumb pick or nail extension does Spoon Phillips use when playing fingerstyle guitar?

 Other questions and answers will appear in the Comments section, below

Readers Questions at One Man's Guitar




12 thoughts on “Readers Questions

    1. Thank you James, for your query regarding your Martin J-1 guitar.

      The J-1 was introduced in 1997, four years after the D-1 appeared. These guitars represent Martin’s first attempt in modern times to offer a budget instrument with the C. F. Martin & Co. brand, rather than other brands like Sigma and Shenandoah. The 1 models were made in Nazareth, whereas Sigma was made in Asia, and Shenandoah guitars were assembled in Nazareth from parts created in Asia.

      Your J-1 has a solid spruce top and solid mahogany back, with laminated mahogany sides. The rosewood versions of 1 Series instruments had laminated backs. They offered very nice guitars for a price well below what we now call Standard Series Martins.

      The D-1 was the first regular use of the Mortise & Tenon neck joint matched with simplified “A-frame” bracing, which became known as Style 1 bracing, until the 1 Series was discontinued in 2007. After that time the called that bracing “A-frame X.” The 1 Series eventually included the 00, 000, OM, M, and J sizes, as well as a cutaway D and at least two acoustic electric bass models.

      Eventually the 1 Series was replaced by the many guitars in the X Series and Road Series.

      Play on!

      tsp, nyc

  1. I recently saw your video A/B-ing the CEO-7 vs the CEO-9. Can you remember the ’08 0018H (Geoff Muldaur) well enough to describe how the CEO-9 would compare to the 0018H? If you had both the 0018H and the CEO-9, which do you think would be better as a dedicated DADGAD player?

    1. Tone is a subjective entity. And personal taste will impact an answer even more so when asking about a specific tuning like DADGAD. I would need to consider physical practicalities first and foremost.

      Some of the DADGAD tunes I play require a cutaway, so the 12-fret Muldaur model is certainly disqualified. But it has a 1-13″16″ Low Profile neck, which many fingerstyle players like, if they do not like V necks. The CEO models mentioned both have the 1-3/4″ Modified V with the 1930s heel shape, making them a bit cheekier than the Modified V necks on Martins from the Vintage Series and the Clapton models.

      I do not remember the 00-18H GM so much for tone. I am more familiar with the 00-18 UMGF model that I had a hand in designing. It was the first 12-fret 00-18 made since the ’30s. Other than the 1-3/4″ Modified V (Vintage/Clapton version) and Sitka spruce for the top and braces rather than the Aidriondack used on the Muldaur model. In either case, I think the CEO models are more versatile because of the extra frets, which allow greater use of capos for one thing. And the CEO-7 is louder than a 12-fret 00. The CEO-9, having a hardwood mango top will take a while to break in and open up, so it is difficult say how much volume and projection that model may accomplish in time.

      I would say the 9 is for someone who wants an alternative tone, and likes the sound of koa or mahogany top guitars. The rounded bass and low mids of a 12-fret 00 and a CEO-7 are different, but both have more of that than a 14-fret 00 or 000. But I cannot say which is better or which you might find better.

      From memory, I would pick the CEO-7 for the dynamics and 14 frets.

      Good hunting!

    1. The looks. D4 gets straighter or more uniformed grain, greater color variation and evenness in color distribution, that sort of thing. D4 is reserved for Style 41 on upwards.

  2. I thoroughly enjoyed the review 0f the 000-30A. As usual, very nicely written and beautifully played. Thanks!

  3. I’m wondering if you’d had any experience with the Martin OO-42SC, and if you could compare it with the Martin CS-OOS-14?

    1. I have played the Stage Coach model, both a prototype and a one in a shop (Guitar Center on 14th St. in NYC.)

      The Stage Coach is a modern Martin, in terms of the solid build, weight of the wood, etc. Strong, solid notes, great balance, built to be able to really rip into it, even when dropped down to Open D, etc.

      The CS-00S-14 is lighter in weight, very vintage-like in that respect at least. Clarity and resonance, but likes a lighter hand, much like an old-timey Martin.

      It has been a while since I played either, so I am speaking from distant memory now.

      But I hope that helps.

    1. The GPC-42E NAMM Show Special from 2011 had a list price of $9,999. And it was steal at that price! Well at least with the typical dealer discounts. But even used, because of the small number, I would think this is a $6K guitar.

      They only made 25, if I recall, some of them were bought by overseas dealers, in Japan, etc. David Crosby owns one of them.

      Martin came out with a similar guitar in 2012, the GPCPA1 Madagascar Rosewood model. It had Madagascar instead of Amazon rosewood, but otherwise the bracing and quality of the woods, etc. were on par with the Show Special version. The trim was not as fancy and it had Style 41 pearl around the top rather than 42 (42 gets pearl around the fingerboard extension.)

      The list price on the Madagascar version was $6,499.00 and there are several still on the market, new with warranty for well under $5,000. If I wasn’t already sated with the guitars I need I would have bought one, and I may yet someday.

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