I have this beautiful 1999 Martin SPD-16R for sale. I really like it but the likelihood of me playing on anything that isn’t a Swedish Levin is so slim that it’s not worth keeping such a great guitar. I haven’t opened the case to my beloved Sigma DR-41 for ages either, it’s so hard to put the Levin guitars down. These late 1990’s Martin SPD-16R has quite a following and is getting harder to find so if you are interested send me an email. Update: This guitar is sold now
Last weekend I adjusted Sr. Chinarro’s 2004 Martin SWDGT. It’s a really nice guitar and it reminds me a lot of the Martin SPD-16R I got for Christmas. These Martin SWDGT or Sustainable Wood Series are constructed in an ecologically responsible way with alternative woods. It has a really nice coloured sitka spruce top with non-scalloped X-bracing, back, sides and neck are cherry wood and the fretboard is made from katalox. It’s constructed with a simple dovetail neck joint, gold machine heads and a faux tortoise binding all around, just like the Martin SPD-16R, the only difference is that the SWDGT has faux tortoise headplate as well. The Martin SPD-16R has rosewood back and sides and it feels like the cherry wood in the SWDGT is adding more bass, depth and warmth, I really like the sound of it. I’ve always been a big fan of fancy exotic woods, especially Brazilian rosewood, but if you can build guitars this good from woods you can find in your backyard, then perhaps that’s the sustainable way for the future. I have to add that I hate the future and prefer to live in the past with my fancy old exotic woods but we can’t all do that, that wouldn’t be very sustainable.
I love the colour of the top, so much nicer than the new made Martin D-18 and D-28.
Before Christmas I got myself my first Martin. Like most acoustic guitar players I’ve always dreamt of getting a really old Martin D-28 but since they are so ridiculously expensive I settled for a more modest Martin, a 1999 Martin SPD-16R. I have to say that it’s an amazing guitar for the price, I think these cost between $1500-2000 when they were new in the late 1990’s. One of the problems I have with modern Martin guitars is the Richlite and other weird wood substitutes they use on the Martin 16-series nowadays. I also think that most new Martins look pretty bland and boring, hence why I liked the SPD-16R so much with it’s fancy snowflake inlays and abalone rosette, it even has gold hardware. Unfortunately for me, I’ve realised that I’m not a Martin guy, I feel like I’m cheating on my Levin guitars every time I pick another guitar up so I’ve decided to put this Martin SPD-16R up for sale.
14 fret Dreadnought with spruce top and Indian Rosewood back and sides. Forward shifted scalloped X bracing. Performance taper, low oval mahogany neck with rosewood fretboard and bridge. Snowflake inlays, abalone rosette and a D-45 style back strip with gold Martin stamped machine heads. Produced in USA between 1996-2001. SPD-16R stands for Special edition, Dreadnought, 16-series in Rosewood.
“The SPD-16 series offers a lot of guitar for the money. Solid woods, abalone markers and rosette and gold hardward were all standard. Great tone is standard also. This is a true Martin guitar with the punch and wonderful midrange Martin fans will enjoy.” – Paul Heumiller
“This is a great dreadnought for the money. This Special Edition Martin has that vintage look and appears to be a cross between a D-18 and D-28. Pretty darn nice.” – Al Petteway
Since it’s my 35th birthday today I’m going to post this guitar even though it’s not 100% ready yet, it was my birthday present to myself. As I mentioned earlier I recently became the proud owner of a 1973 K. Yairi YW-1000. It’s something I’ve dreamed of for many years and after a bit of hassle it finally arrived. The previous owner didn’t really give much of a description so I wasn’t really sure what to expect. Luckily it sounds at least as good as I had hoped for, if not better and it’s structurally fine. Having said that, there were a couple of things that I wasn’t overly excited about, like the bridge and the scratches on the top. I don’t mind worn guitar but there is one big scratch that is still a real eyesore for me, I’m sure I will get used to it and not even see it in a few weeks. The bridge is a chapter for itself, I really don’t know what has been going on there. It has been removed at some point and re-glued, it also has two screws that I doubt were supposed to be there and on top of that someone has added a bit of rosewood to make it higher and topped it of with a fret as the saddle instead of a normal slot and bone saddle. As soon as the wood shops open again here in Barcelona, a lot of shops are closed in August, I will get a piece of ebony and create a new bridge from scratch. Since I couldn’t wait a whole month to play the guitar I lowered the bridge and cut a saddle slot and installed a bone saddle for now, which has worked fine. It’s a beautiful guitar, it’s smells wonder full and sounds even better. This is my third K. Yairi and I have to say that it’s without any doubt the best Japanese acoustics I’ve played so far. I really love my K. Yairi YW-130 and K. Yairi TG-40 but nothing sounds as good as this K. Yairi YW-1000.
It’s worn and has few scratches but nothing too serious, except for the bridge as mentioned before. I changed the machine heads to Wilkinson WJ28NGD open gear in gold, the original ones were in gold too but most of it had worn off and on top of that they were really heavy. I love all the abalone binding and the hexagon inlays in the ebony fretboard. I’m so gay for bling on guitars, the more the better, perhaps I’m the Liberace of guitars.
As soon as I got the guitar I removed the fret, lowered the bridge by sanding it down and then I cut a proper saddle slot. Apparently the top of the bridge is rosewood on an ebony base so I had to paint the top black to match the rest. The bridge works fine but I’m not happy with how it looks so I will try my best to carve a new one in ebony and replace it.
The fist video is with the old makeshift rosewood bridge that the guitar came with, the second video is with the new ebony bridge that I carved myself from scratch, you can read about it here.
K. Yairi YW-1000 Made in Japan 1973, Taken from my Instagram
I did it, finally I found myself a K. Yairi YW-1000. This has been a goal of mine for years, or at least since October 2013. You never see them for sale in Europe and to buy one from the US or Japan would set you back at least $1500-2000 plus import taxes and the risk that it gets confiscated in customs, some countries are really picky about Brazilian rosewood crossing their boarders. This K. Yairi YW-1000 was made in the 48th year of Emperor Shōwa, meaning 1973, I love the Emperor based serial numbers. I will write a lot more about this guitar when I got it all set up, I need to re-glue the bridge first.
I recently had my friend Rafa’s little Martin 000-15M over for a set up. I didn’t have to do that much to it, just adjust the trussrod and file down the saddle a bit to get the action down. I realised that I have completely mixed up the Martin sizes, I always thought that the 000 was smaller than the 00, apparently it’s the opposite. That means that my dad’s old Levin LT-16 is a copy of a Martin 000, at least size wise, and not a Martin 00. It could be good to know next time I’m looking for some old guitar and they refer to it as being 000 sized, smaller than that is probably not for me. I don’t like jumbo guitars, but I do like the bass response of a good dreadnought sized guitar, and I think that anything smaller than a 000 would most likely sound like a parlour guitar in my ears. These Martins 000-15M have a pretty descent bass response for their size, I guess because of the shape and the all solid Mahogany construction. It’s a beautiful looking guitar, very light and easy to play and with a warm nice sound that I can highly recommend to anyone looking for a new guitar.
Even though I love the Louvin Brothers I have to say that this must be the ugliest guitar I’ve ever seen. Satan is Real is a great album but the cover is just not good enough to put on a Martin, just look at the devil. I could have bought it for the kitsch value and because I like Ira and Charlie, but not for $4,666.00. I found it in the Martin Guitar Anthology eBook that I posted earlier. You can read more about the guitar here Martin D-28 Louvin Brothers.
The Fretboard Journal’s Martin Guitar Anthology eBook After nearly ten years of publishing, the FJ has amassed quite an array of stories featuring iconic Martin guitars and Martin artists. We decided to partner with Martin to share some of these great stories once again (a few have been out-of-print for years now). Included are the full-length (and, in some cases, out-of-print) features on Tony Rice, David Crosby, Loudon Wainwright III and many others. We’ve also included the latest edition of Martin: The Journal of Acoustic Guitars, their in-house magazine filled with more Martin tales. We hope you like this eBook anthology and stay tuned for future editions featuring your favorite brands and artists.