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I have been playing the guitar for nearly four years now and have wanted to upgrade to something truly special, something which would enhance my playing and something which I could use when possibly recording.
I was initially very interested in all things Gibson. The J200 is the king of all flat tops and comes highly recommended. However, at nearly £3k, is way outside my price bracket. The Gibson Hummingbird, albeit a beautifully constructed guitar was also considered but just didn't do it for me.
Another brand of guitars which I have always been interested in are Martin. I have always been under the impression they make the best acoustics but I was too focused on aesthetics and you are looking at paying over £4k for a Martin with great detail. However, I went to a local store and the bloke in the shop handed me a Martin D15. Well, it completely and utterly blew me away.
I was awestruck by the awesome tone I was getting from this guitar. I had never played a mahogany guitar before and the deep bassy sound which was resonating was stunning. I was instantly hooked. I was sure this guitar would be around £2k due it to being a Martin. Nope, I was shocked to see it was around £1k. Amazing value.
Before I purchased this guitar I wanted to make sure this was the best I could get. I also tried some Taylor guitars which are beautiful but too rich sounding for my liking. I tried the smaller bodied Martin 000-15M which was incredible but I had my eyes on a dreadnaught. With this in mind I purchased the Martin D15M.
With the guitar comes a beautiful Martin case which will protect your instrument. You also get provided with plenty of useful instructions on how to care and maintain your guitar. I must say Martin have fantastic customer support. I can not recommend highly enough.
The guitar itself is just beautiful. The understated appearance of dark mahogany is wonderful. The playability is exceptional with no fret buzz and my guitar has never gone out of tune. The bass is boomy and never tinny. You can play this guitar with delicate fingerpicking or you can simply smash the strings to pieces and this guitar just sounds brilliant.
If I were to buy another guitar I would always look at a Martin first as their craftsmanship and desire to make the instrument as playable as possible is second to none.
I would recommend you buy this guitar if you're looking for a guitar which looks and plays much more than it is worth.
I bought a Martin D-15 from GAK (Guitars and Keyboards) in Brighton a couple of years ago. I was looking for a new guitar and, for once, had a decent amount of money to spend. I spent a good couple of hours in the shop playing scores of guitars, from Martins to Taylors, and this was the one that really caught both my eye and my ear. I really like the dark mahogany finish and it's very similar to John Frusciante's Martin, which is the same model, just not a dreadnought.
I literally adore this guitar, it's my prize possession and probably my favourite thing i've ever bought. The Martin D-15 truly is an amazing guitar, it's beautifully crafted and the sound that comes from it is wonderful.
I'll break down why i love this guitar so much into sections to give you a better idea; it's an acoustic too so there's no pickup, EQ, etc. to review.
MATERIAL AND BODY:
The D-15 is made of Mahogany with a solid top. The choice of wood gives the guitar not only a beautiful finish (that stands out from most guitars, which are made of a lighter wood) but a resonance and tone that is just impossible for cheaper guitars to match. The tuning pegs are all individually stamped with the Martin logo and are extremely resilient; i haven't had to change or repair them once since i bought it.
TONE AND SUSTAIN:
It's extremely difficult to explain the beauty and clarity of the tone of this guitar, you really need to hear it to grasp just how amazing it sounds. When strummed over the sound hole the guitar is very loud and you can clearly hear each individual string, creating a rich and full harmony.
The sustain is amazing, i've just strummed a C chord and put the guitar down and i can still hear the guitar a good 20 seconds later. You'll struggle to find a guitar that can match the D-15's tone without breaking the £1,000 mark.
The intonation on the D-15 it literally perfect. There's very little more i can say about it to be honest - the difference in intonation when playing an open A chord and an A barre chord is zero. When playing with a capo the guitar's intonation is still perfect, and, at least on my guitar, that has been consistent over the last couple of years.
WEIGHT AND BALANCE:
The Martin D-15 is EXTREMELY light, it still surprises me now just how light the guitar is when you pick it up. Everytime someone comes round to the house and plays this guitar they comment on how light it is. It's so light that it feels fragile, however i can tell you first hand that it is actually extremely robust.
The balance of the guitar is very impressive, you can stand it straight up in the middle of the room completely unsupported and it will just stay there. I sometimes leave it stood up for hours and it never moves. It's incredible.
The guitar comes with a Martin hardcase, which is really tough and will protect your guitar from pretty much anything. The case is lined with beautiful green felt and has a small compartment for strings, your capo, picks, etc. The only downside to the case is that it's extremely heavy and can only be carried with one hand, down by your side. It does the job it's meant to do though and i guess that's all you can ask, especially when the guitar itself is so light!
Overall, I would (and have) recommend this guitar to anyone who was looking to buy a nice guitar. It's a gorgeous piece of craftmanship and in my opinion is the best guitar you can buy under £1,000.