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Illusions play before purchase

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I have got a bit of milestone birthday coming up and I thought I might celebrate or commiserate by purchasing a new guitar.

Have always had these visions that a Martin Eric Clapton 000 - 28 would be perfect for me, my dream guitar, keep it till I'm old and grey (well older and greyer),you know sitting on the porch sun going down small bodied guitar in hand, but I had not actually ever played said dream guitar.

Now I don't like guitar shops , I get the shivers walking in to one , and as for picking up a guitar and playing it that freaks me right out , I usually quickly walk up to up to counter mumble "can I have a pack of Elixers mate", pay and bolt for the door.

So I'm stuck in this dilemma ,do I purchase without playing , maybe getting a dud and worse still face Karcey's wrath on the forum for having done so, do I seek out a therapist and spend some time on the couch or do I just act like a man get into shop and play it .

Well I did the later, still considering the therapy though.

So off to the store with much trepidation I go. And there in all its polished rosewood glory hangs my dream guitar , ask for permission to get it down which is duly granted , try to remember how to play a G chord and give it a strum , the store cat bolts for the door this thing is so out tune, ask for a tuner get it tuned up and ... what a disappointment this is not my dream guitar I don't like the sound , I really don't like the neck , It must be me, I check my finger placement yep that's an a minor. The light goes on maybe this guitar is not for me, years of illusions shattered, I return it to the wall.

Hanging next to it is an OM Martin , I get it down, first I tune it , at first pick wow this is a different story , I love this guitar the sound , the neck , the action all perfect.

I leave the store confused, how can this be my dream guitar was not a Martin OM .

I get to thinking it has to be that this 000-28 is the problem so I look around for another to play somewhere, my confidence is sky high now. I live in a big city 4 or 5 Million people but do you think I could find another one, nope, see one on a shops website drive 40 minutes to give it a play walk into the shop look around no guitar ,ask the guy at the counter where it is ,”Mate we just put ‘em on the web site we don’t have ‘em gotta order it in if ya want it” so I say “ How do I get to play it before I buy it “ he says “ya don’t”

So in the car I get finally find the another Martin with the same neck as the EC , play that and yep this mod v neck is not for me . The next weekend I go back to the original shop ( I’m like a regular now one of the guys :winkthumb: ) and go off to a quite spot with the EC and the Om , and as a now frequent guitar tryer outer I brought my own tuner , had and extended time with both , and the Om is the clear favourite , fantastic .

So where are the pics you might ask, well I’m yet to purchase still trying to justify the price to myself , but I am pleased I didn’t make a buy before playing purchase and thought it worthwhile to tell my tale.

If I do end up with it you will be the first to know.



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That was a wonderful expression of words painting a picture of a moment in your life. I agree that walking into most guitar shops is a somewhat intimidating and painful experience in one's mind. Grossly lacks that intimate moment where you and the guitar are one. Unless of course your Kirk Lorange, then you become the room.

I had that experience in while in Nashville. I was bound and determined to find that special dream guitar. Surrounded by a few super players in my opinion while I am beating some fine instrument back into wood pulp from which it came. I tried a number of the pop guitars I thought I would have loved. Came home with the one that sounded and felt right for me.

Nothing beats trying before buying and enough time to yourself to secure your decision.

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Well done Matt - Karcey will be proud! Funny that you mention that Clapton 000 - 28. The last time I bought a guitar in a shop, the sales guy was friendly, not pushy, and the shop was empty. I made my choice, but it was the best of what he had - that's what happens if you play left handed - there were only 2 to choose from. One was not good, and cheap, so I was kind of stuck with the other one. I wasn't particularly inspired by my choice - it would do, probably.

Feeling brave, and out of interest, I asked him if I could try his most expensive acoustic guitar. Normally I would never dare to ask to play any of those high end guitars. He handed me the EC 000 - 38.

What? I couldn't believe it. It sounded awful to my ears, and was also not comfortable to play. After about 2 minutes I handed it back and it cured me forever of believing that 'famous' or expensive counts for anything.

I'm glad you found a guitar that you like - that's not so easy to do - and worth shelling out a few extra bucks if you can. Congrats

That's a good tip by the way: go back a couple of times to the same shop, pick out the same sales guy, and you are already ahead in feeling comfortable enough to stick around and persist until you get 'the one' that you want.

PS. your above story does not mean you don't need a therapist..... :)

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I found this at: http://www.acousticguitarforum.com/forums/archive/index.php/t-61970.html. There are other comments on that forum - mostly favouring the OM I think.

000 vs. OM - from 2005


Since this seems to be a recurring topic, here is a quick analysis of the differences between the Martin 000 and OM models under current production.

Nut Width (includes wider neck and bridge spacing):

OM. All OMs have a 1 3/4" nut width (except the new John Meyer OM, which is 1 11/16" and the Paul Simon models).

12-fret 000. All 12-fret 000s have a 1 3/4 nut width or greater (000-28VS).

14-fret 000.

a. All 000s in the Standard Series and below are 1 11/16" except for the 000-42, which has a 1 3/4" nut.

b. All 000s in the Vintage Series are 1 3/4" or greater.

c. 000s in the Limited and Special editions vary by model, but most are 1 3/4".

Scale Length:

OM. All OMs are long scale, 25.4" nut to saddle.

12-fret 000. All 12-fret 000s are long scale except for the Norman Blake models, which are short scale. These models are an exception to the rule, perhaps because they combine a 12-fret neck with a 14-fret 000 size body and are thus one-of-a-kind design models.

14-fret 000:

a. All 000s in the 16 Series and below are long scale.

b. All 000s in the Standard and Vintage Series are short scale, 24.9" nut to saddle.

c. 000s in the Limited and Special Editions vary by model. Most, but not all, are short scale.


16 Series and below: All 14-fret 16 Series and below OMs and 000s have identical bracing by comparable model, i.e., 000-15 vs OM-15. 12-fret 000s have their own bracing pattern.

OM. All OMs in the Standard Series and above are 1/4" scalloped, not forward shifted.

12-fret 000. All are scalloped, not forward shifted, bracing (not possible on that body size).

14-fret 000.

a. Standard Series are 5/16" non scalloped except for the 000-42, which is 5/16" scalloped. The 000-28H is no longer listed but was 5/16" scalloped.

b. Vintage Series: 5/16" scalloped. The 000-28EC is not forward shifted. I believe that the 000-18WG is forward shifted, but it is no longer listed.

c. Limited Editions: Varies by model.

d. Special Editions: Varies by model.


OM. All OMs have the small “teardrop” pickguard.

000. All currently produced 12 and 14-fret 000s that have a pickguard have the large size (except the new Martin Carthy 000-18, which has the teardrop).

Body Size (inches):

OM and 14-fret 000.

Body Length: 19 3/8

Upper Bout: 11 1/4

Lower Bout: 15

Upper Depth: 3 11/32

Lower Depth: 4 1/8

12-fret 000.

Body Length: 20 7/16

Upper Bout: 10 3/4

Lower Bout: 15

Upper Depth: 3 1/4

Lower Depth: 4 1/16


12-fret 000: Most are slotted headstock, but a few (Jimmy Buffett) are solid headstock

14-fret 000: All are solid headstock

OM: All are solid headstock

This is from the Martin forum

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congrats on the narrowing your guitar search down :yes: matt the only problem i've found with going back to the same shop and playing the same guitar is when the time comes to buy the guitar the sales man won't give you 1 cent of the price of the guitar because he knows your buying it anyway and you've just done his job for him.

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There is a lesson to be learned here and thanks for pointing it out. Glad to hear you found one you really like. I think you're going to have a great birthday this year.


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great story, Matt.

One of my pet peeves - untuned guitars in guitar shops.

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