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Pretty good is hardly the most positive start to a review, but this is honestly a very decent guitar (and kit) for the money. For this kind of price, to get all the things you need to start playing is guitar is great. The guitar itself looks very nice (I went for the blue one) and it does produce a reasonable sound. If you're not a beginning to guitar though, I think it would be wise to look at investing in something more expensive as with acoustic guitars you do seem to get what you pay for in terms of sound quality.
One issue with this guitar was that within the first few days of using it the bottom string snapped. Luckily replacements stringers were included so this wasn't a huge issue, but it was disappointing that this happened so quickly.
Overall though, the guitar has been a pleasure to use.
I am a firm believer that if you want to learn an instrument then it pays in more ways than one to buy the best that you can afford even if it means saving up. There are plenty of rental schemes for instruments that are cheap and let you sample a variety of makes in the genre of your choice and this would make more sense to me than going out and buying something shoddy. The main reason for buying the best that you can afford would be this- if you buy a cheap and nasty, badly crafted instrument then you will likely get frustrated with the lack of decent tone and intonation, the build quality will annoy you with sharp fret wire poking you and hard action making chords difficult etc. Cheapie mass produced instruments are usually all guilty of this.
We all know the cliche of the school kid with a nasty orange violin... the ear bleeding noises produced by such a small shaped piece of wood are truly mind-blowing. The problem here is not so much the lack of skill from the child but the fact that the instrument is rubbish. Poorly set up, badly made and covered in thick varnish. Nobody could make that sound good....
And so it is with guitars, although guitars ARE more forgiving of course.
The Martin Smith w-100 initially looks attractive. It is an incredible price and comes with a strap and online guitar instruction, tuner and stand all for under £50 quid. For a beginner not sure if they will grasp the instrument easily then this could be seen as an attractive prospect. However the disappointment in the tone and manufacturing standards of the guitar could easily lead folk to give up prematurely.
I learned on a basic 6 string Yamaha and saved for 3 months before I could afford one. It was a lovely guitar to learn on but even 20 odd years ago ( yes I am old ) it cost more than this one does.
This guitar has little in the way of tone wood. The top is made from laminate and the rest of the back and ribs are some sort of composite " wood". Obviously any box shaped object can produce a sound but for a decent sound in an acoustic guitar you want some tone wood and a decent top plate. The neck is a rosewood colour and despite looking at it, I really cannot tell if it actually IS rosewood. Rosewood does vary in quality though and can be obtained cheaply. The fret wire as expected is badly finished and sharp on the edges. The ribs inside the guitar have traces of sploshed glue around them and up the sides.
One thing I do like about the guitar is the style. It is pleasing to the eye and has a retro feel. The shape and scratchplate remind me of the old school Woolworths Audition guitars which were rubbish but are now collectable. The machine heads/ tuners are also ok with a chrome finish. They hold the strings reasonably well with no play or need to force.
Well the intonation is shot. The further up the fretboard you go, the more out of tune the guitar gets. This is a fault and could only be solved by adjusting the nut position and depth and also by checking out the neck. The neck on the one I have here was slightly out and that was causing the intonation issue. I bought mine to strip and remodel anyway so taking the neck off was no big deal for me. To the average consumer who wants to learn guitar though this would be a big deal and very disappointing.
I do not consider this guitar to be very playable. If a guitar has such bad intonation and is constructed from the musical equivalent of chipboard then you will not get a decent learning experience. You could change the strings, stay down lower on the frets when playing chords etc but you would be limited by the poor workmanship.
Thinner neck width makes it user friendly for a beginner
You seemingly get a lot for your money ( but in reality don't at all )
Decent machine heads and looks
See whole review ;)
Eno Clip on chromatic tuner with a back-lit LCD screen.
Padded guitar bag to protect and transport your guitar.
Universal A-frame guitar stand and other essentials.
Online lessons included
Available in natural, sunburst, blue or red.
In conclusion I would advise anybody wanting to start out on the acoustic guitar to save up for a bit, try several out in music shops and possibly grab one on ebay second hand. Second hand Yamaha guitars can be won on Ebay for under £60 if you are lucky.
( In the end I stripped mine down, removed all of the nasty spray varnish. I re-set the neck to the proper angle and then sealed and spirit finished the body. It was restrung with a different bridge and nut and became a tenor guitar. It sounds lovely now! )
~A Little Introduction as to why I bought this Martin Smith W-100 Acoustic Guitar Kit~
Years ago, I got myself a guitar because I'd decided I wanted to learn how to play. My mum and my sister had been playing for years, they played guitar at the folk mass at church every Sunday. So after buying my own guitar I set about learning how to play. I'd bought myself a cheap basic guitar from Argos. That was around twenty years ago. I still have that same guitar but never learned to play any more than three basic chords.
Now, all these years later my son asked me if he could have a go on my ancient, battered looking, old guitar. I didn't have a problem with him wanting to have a go as long as he took care of it. The guitar was totally out of tune and I had no idea how to tune it correctly, but my son insisted he still wanted to have a go. This I thought was going to be a terrible experience for my ears, but I let him go ahead.
Over the next few weeks he messed about with my guitar. Then one day he ran to me excitedly claiming he had managed to tune the guitar and wasted no time strumming the guitar so I could hear for myself. He had indeed managed to tune it which really surprised me. Now to cut a long story short, I know I do go on. Over a short period of time he managed to teach himself several chords, the only help he had was the internet. I have to say he really surprised me with his determination to do this. It was not long after, that he asked if he could have his own guitar. Well after everything he'd learnt and the time and effort he'd put in with my old thing, how could I refuse.
~The Search Was On~
I searched Amazon and came across this Martin Smith Guitar; I instantly loved the beautiful blue colour and decided this was the one for my son. Along with the guitar there were lots of other things included. These consisted of a strap, a spare set of strings, plectrums, a DVD tutor and a year free online lessons. I got all this for £49.98 and free postage. This guitar package is now being sold for £44.98 which I think is an absolute steal.
~Martin Smith W-100 Acoustic Guitar~
The guitar is a full size acoustic guitar with all six strings being steel. Ideal for anyone aged 12 or over. I have to say it looks amazing, when I compare it alongside my old guitar, I almost feel sorry for my old one. The Martin Smith W-100 Acoustic Guitar has a beautiful slim neck, which along with the fret board is made from Maple wood, the slim neck makes it easier to reach the right strings for the right chords. The tuning pegs are silver and made from metal, much better quality than the plastic ones that can crack; these hold the strings neatly in place and really do look the part, with Martin Smith written in silver letters in a fancy way across the top of the head stock. At the other end of the guitar is the bridge which holds the other end of the strings in place, this looks really neat and compact. Spruce and Agathis are the woods used to make up the body of the guitar. The sound hole is surrounded by a sliver trim with a black plastic scratch board beneath it. Finishing it off is a two tone shiny blue gloss, making it a really lovely looking guitar.
The Martin Smith W-100 Acoustic Guitar has been made in such a way that is perfect for the beginner, the strings are easy to hold down and therefore not so much pressure on soft finger tips that are not used to it. Also as I have already mentioned the neck is slim, this is really important because little hands and fingers could struggle with a wide neck. The strings have to be held down quite hard and this guitar makes it easy to do this.
The sound quality is really good, to hear him play now, really is music to my ears. I can't fault the quality of the sound at all.
The strap is made from a black webbing material, which is strong enough to hold the guitar comfortably. It was very easy to fit onto the guitar and it can be adjusted to the length required.
The spare strings have already proved very useful, it's a pain but it is a fact, that strings will and do snap, but they are not expensive to replace, I found I can get them for around 85p each, so it's not really a big deal. My son can change the strings himself; this is useful because I wouldn't have a clue. We always make sure he has plenty of spares put away for emergencies.
The plectrums included are fine, nothing to really write home about though, they are white in colour, they do the job but I wouldn't say they were the best, my son finds them a little hard as he prefers a plectrum to be a little more flexible.
The DVD tutor is quite useful, this goes through all the basics in learning how to play, my son can go at his own pace with this and refer to it as and when he wants to. I think he's about half way into it, he really doesn't use it much; he prefers to get help and information off the internet.
The online lessons, he has had a look at these and finds them quite helpful, he has a year of lessons for free and can use them whenever he chooses.
~Looking for Faults~
I really cannot find any faults with this guitar and believe me, with the price being so reasonable I searched very hard to find faults, I was expecting at least something about the guitar to not be up to scratch, but being totally honest, and I have not found anything about this guitar to complain about. I am really impressed and wouldn't hesitate to buy another Martin Smith guitar. It really is great value for money.
In just short of two months, my son has gone from making the most terrible noise on my old guitar to playing "Wild Thing" by the Trogs on his very own Martin Smith W-100 Acoustic Guitar. Not one day has passed without him picking up his guitar and playing it, each day he improves more and more, I feel that this guitar has helped him progress so quickly, he says it's a joy to play. I'm beginning to think the guitar is a part of him, it's never too far away from him, it's just great for him and he loves it.
My son has taught himself how to play and although I may be biased it sounds fantastic when he plays. He has been attending guitar lessons at school over the past few weeks and is currently learning to play "The Importance of being idle" by Oasis, this is what he's working on at school. In his spare time he is now teaching himself how to play "Layla" by Eric Clapton, the acoustic version. Right now Eric Clapton is his idol and he strives to play like him. He is doing a fantastic job and his dedication is second to none. I already have his Christmas Present ready for him and I can't wait to hear him play it. I've got him an electric guitar, so he can play "Layla" as it's meant to be played. You will probably be seeing a review for that in the New Year.
I have no regrets whatsoever in buying this Martin Smith W-100 Acoustic Guitar Kit for my son, it has even inspired me to want to start learning to play again but above all it has proved to be a very reasonable amount of money, very well spent in my opinion.
If you are looking to learn how to play or for your child to learn then I can highly recommend this Martin Smith W-100 Acoustic Guitar, from both mine and my sons experience we'd both say it is the perfect guitar to use if you are a beginner and learning how to play for the first time.
~The main things you need to know~
The Product - Martin Smith W-100 Acoustic Guitar Kit.
The Price - £44.98 with free postage and packing.
The Place to buy - Amazon.
Thank you for reading my review which may also appear on other sites.