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Martin Shenandoah

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  • Martin Shenandoah

    What's the deal with some of the asking prices on the bay for the Martin Shenandoah? Some of the prices are $800 and up. I remember a lefty a few months back going for about $1200. An all-solid Larrivee (which I later bought) couldn't get a bid at $1200. My understanding was that these were simply low-cost Martins largely built in Japan using laminates and solid tops. I'm sure they're fine as an inexpensive instrument, but a far cry from Martin's standard series and up. Are they collectible? Or are they being hyped so that people think they're really getting a Martin D-18 or D-28 special edition?

  • #2
    I believe the people that are buying these think that they are getting an actual purebred Martin at a decent price. Too young to know better and too lazy to do any research. As P.T Barnum said, "There's a sucker...".
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    • #3
      I had a Shenandoah once for a short while. I believe it was an HD2832? It sucked! Hence the "short while"
      R.I.P. TAH & Dak

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      • #4
        I have a D28 and a good friend has a D2832 (Shenandoah). His guitar is a great guitar. It is in every aspect a D28. Sound, quality - everything. I wouldn't hesitate to own one.

        IIRC, Marting put together "kits" of the same wood used in their regular production, shipped then to Japan where the guitar was partially assembled (Body glued together and neck mostly complete. The items were then sent back to Martin for final assembly and finishing. I remember when I bought my D28, I had a choice between the Shenandoah and the regular D28. I couldnt really tell any difference in tone. The sales guy advised me that the D28 would hold its value better, so that is the one I got.
        Eor sez: You're only going around once, man. Soon enough, your guitar will be placed in a case, too. put some dings on it first.

        -STFU, unpucker your tight ass, and relax

        -Tartan Who?

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        • #5
          A buddy of mine has a 0002832 and it's a great little guitar that sounds very nice, both unplugged and through an amp, with a very comfortable neck.
          God(s) bless the rest of the world(s), too

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          • #6
            I'm not questioning that it's a decent guitar. I would assume it's the equivalent of Yamaha's or Takamines at similar price points or Martin wouldn't have used its name. What I question is the prices being asked for decent, entry-level guitrs with lam b&s because people are confusing them with real Martin D-18s and D-28s. It's like Zager or Estaban; I had an Estaban years ago. I bought it just to restring so I could see if I preferred playing lefty. I paid $12 for it; if I paid $200 or more, I wouldn't have been as satisfied.

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            • #7
              I disagree. It is a D28. It isnt a downgraded guitar, it isn't lesser in any way that I can tell. It is the same wood (from Martin), partially assembled overseas, and then finished in the Martin Factory. No design difference, no different grade woods, no substitutions, no laminates, no difference.

              Asian hands did a portion of the assembly is the only difference. Saying "real" Martins is infuriating. I played my friends shenandoah just 2 days ago, and we have played together regularly for years.

              This is a guy I have mentioned before. He had a low end Taylor and wanted a bigger sound so he bought a high end Taylor (Dont recall model but he paid over $3,000 for it). Didn't like it so he took a bath on the guitar and got a Gibson Songwriter. He didn't like that either so he stashed it (its for sale BTW) and got a slope shoulder Gibson. He likes that one, and still has it, but it wasn't quite the sound he wanted.

              He picked up the Shenandoah about year (two maybe?) ago, and hasn't played anything else since. He set aside two Taylors and 2 Gibsons for it. We have A-b'd the sounds many times. It is a great guitar.

              This is the headstock syndrome, as we are discussing in another thread.

              If I was looking for a guitar (I have both a D28 and a D35), I wouldn't hesitate to look at Shenandoahs.

              At the time they were made (Early 80s) Martin was trying to make a D28 at a lower price point. They were not trying making a new model or an entry level instrument. The guitar was marketed as D-28. I paid $1100 for my D28, and if I correctly recall, I could have gotten the Shenandoah for about $800.

              I think it is people in the know that are smart enough to recognize that Shenandoahs are available at a very attractive price point due to confusion over exactly what a Shenandoah is. Corksniffers turn their noses up at them, because they aren't collectible. Thank god there is at least a few high quality guitars that are still available at good prices!

              Martin did, in fact, have a beginner line. They were imports and labeled Sigma (crappy, IMHO).

              Laughs - I didnt realize I was going to rant when I replied. /rant off
              Eor sez: You're only going around once, man. Soon enough, your guitar will be placed in a case, too. put some dings on it first.

              -STFU, unpucker your tight ass, and relax

              -Tartan Who?

              Comment


              • #8
                This thread has made me curious about these gits. These links might prove interesting, although I make no claims as to their accuracy.

                Fretnot guitar repair

                Acoustic Guitar Forums

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                • #9
                  I have seen conflicting reports as well. My memory isnt perfect, and I am trying to recall from 1984, when I was buying. So I wouldn't guarantee my recollection on the price point.

                  I am quite positive though that the ones I have played have been very good instruments.
                  Eor sez: You're only going around once, man. Soon enough, your guitar will be placed in a case, too. put some dings on it first.

                  -STFU, unpucker your tight ass, and relax

                  -Tartan Who?

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    A friend bought one new in 1983 or '84. Still has it. A fine instrument (almost as good as my Guild

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                    • #11
                      I disagree. It is a D28. It isnt a downgraded guitar, it isn't lesser in any way that I can tell. It is the same wood (from Martin), partially assembled overseas, and then finished in the Martin Factory. No design difference, no different grade woods, no substitutions, no laminates, no difference.

                      Asian hands did a portion of the assembly is the only difference. Saying "real" Martins is infuriating. I played my friends shenandoah just 2 days ago, and we have played together regularly for years.

                      This is a guy I have mentioned before. He had a low end Taylor and wanted a bigger sound so he bought a high end Taylor (Dont recall model but he paid over $3,000 for it). Didn't like it so he took a bath on the guitar and got a Gibson Songwriter. He didn't like that either so he stashed it (its for sale BTW) and got a slope shoulder Gibson. He likes that one, and still has it, but it wasn't quite the sound he wanted.

                      He picked up the Shenandoah about year (two maybe?) ago, and hasn't played anything else since. He set aside two Taylors and 2 Gibsons for it. We have A-b'd the sounds many times. It is a great guitar.

                      This is the headstock syndrome, as we are discussing in another thread.

                      If I was looking for a guitar (I have both a D28 and a D35), I wouldn't hesitate to look at Shenandoahs.

                      At the time they were made (Early 80s) Martin was trying to make a D28 at a lower price point. They were not trying making a new model or an entry level instrument. The guitar was marketed as D-28. I paid $1100 for my D28, and if I correctly recall, I could have gotten the Shenandoah for about $800.

                      I think it is people in the know that are smart enough to recognize that Shenandoahs are available at a very attractive price point due to confusion over exactly what a Shenandoah is. Corksniffers turn their noses up at them, because they aren't collectible. Thank god there is at least a few high quality guitars that are still available at good prices!

                      Martin did, in fact, have a beginner line. They were imports and labeled Sigma (crappy, IMHO).

                      Laughs - I didnt realize I was going to rant when I replied. /rant off


                      Kenny's 0002832 is also a solid-wood Martin, as you describe (I'm not aware that any Shenadoah had lam. b/s, but perhaps some were) and it's as nice a guitar as any 00028 I've ever heard/played...and he bought it used for (I think) $350 w/hsc from a guy who thought it was a cheap Martin knock-off.

                      Kenny knew better, but chose to keep his mouth shut, so as a snag it for about 1/4 of what it would've cost w/o the "32" in the name.

                      Looks just like this one:

                      God(s) bless the rest of the world(s), too

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        totamus pretty much nailed it about the Shenandoahs. They were all solid woods!
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                        • #13
                          It was my understanding that they were lam b&s. It that's not the case, I can see where they'd command a higher price than lower-end Yamahas, etc., although $1200 seems excessive when you can buy a new Larrivee or Martin 15 or 16 for that. Are they that much better guitars than the Blueridges and Epiphone Masterbilts and I see for so much less?
                          I can see the appeal of a quality guitar commissioned and partly built by Martin from Martin materials, and if that's the case, I might have bought one myself to save money. I still would hesitate to call it a real Martin, but of course it doesn't have to be a real Martin to be a good or great guitar.
                          Totamus, my original point was the flip-side of the corksniffer you mention: I've found Shenandoah prices inflated because of the Martin connection. I like Martin guitars, some quite a lot, but all three of the all-solid guitars I've owned were Larrivees. I could argue that they rival any company's product in quality, but I'd hardly argue that even JCL's compelling story can match Martin's history.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Anytime something is no longer made and the passage of time has moved a product into the "unobtanium" category they can become more valuable to some. I remember the Shenandoah models as decent enough guitars- don't recall B & S specs.
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                            • #15
                              There was another thread on this a while back. You might be able to pull it out of the archives.
                              My info is that they were solid woods (which would place them in a higher bracket than 'low end Yamahas' at least in materials), shipped basically as kits and assembled in the Martin facilities. Now, there's some confusion as to how complete these "Kits" were when shipped. If the body was not assembled, there would be an opportunity to tune and shape braces, and otherwise apply the advantages of Martin craftsmanship. Any comparison to an Esteban, which is a cheap guitar made even more cheaply, and a Zagar, which is basically a Sigma with a low set up, is off target. I can only think that this explains and justifies the distinction between a "Martin Shenandoah" and a "Sigma, by Martin".
                              Why people seem to be paying a premium for these guitars? Well, if it's worth it to them that's what it's worth. Me, I'm still trying to figure out why people play golf, collect Hummell figurines, or own Yorkshire Terriers. I suppose I have to accept the unknowable.

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