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My review of the Martin J-40!
Martin are just about the oldest of the well known, larger guitar makers in the world (since the 1830's!!) and arguably the best in the world. The J-40 is one of their better known models. Far too expensive for a beginners model, the J-40 is aimed squarely at the pro musician or seasoned guitar enthusiast... But does it really justify the price tag and live up to my expectations?
My Opinion/ Features
In terms of build quality there's no doubting the J-40's pedigree, I think the build quality is first class. There are beautiful inlays on the fretboard that act as the fret position markers; the fretboard itself is ebony (as opposed to the usual rosewood that is used on most guitars). I loved the feel of ebony and to my ears it added a certain bite to the tone which I loved.
The machine heads were gold plated and the gearing worked like a dream for tuning the strings; though I'm a little doubtful as to how long before the gold tarnished (I've had acoustics with gold hardware before -and I learned that if you don't wipe the gold down regularly it quickly becomes discoloured).
The scale length was 25.4 inches, which gave the J-40 sound a real tight punch because of all the string tension, a sound made even better by the solid sitka spruce top (the top part of the guitar most responsible for a guitar's tone and volume).
The bridge looked well made and well able to deal with the high string tension. The strings are fitted via pull out bridge pins which worked great but I found a little fiddly when changing strings in a hurry.
The radius of the fingerboard is nice too -not too curved so as to cause a high action height of the strings above the frets) but still curved enough to make playing chords feel comfortable.
I couldn't fault the natural finish, it was beautiful and the binding on the sides of the body and fretboard really give the J-40 a classy look.
There's no doubt that the Martin J-40 is built to last, and built to be used day in day out, year in year out. I can't fault the sound it's wonderful -and though I appreciate that many s of craftsmanship went into making the guitar, I'm still not sure that the price tag isn't a little high (well over 2 grand at the time of writing this)... but it is one of the best guitars you can buy so I suppose it depends on how serious you are about acoustic guitars. Me personally - I love it!
Hope you found my review helpful and interesting, and good luck with your bargain hunting!!