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bought a martin OMCPA4 a couple of weeks ago....

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  • bought a martin OMCPA4 a couple of weeks ago....

    The verdict is.....good low end martin. The positives are it is very projective, has the 000 body size, very warm balanced tone and string separation, great sustain, a very good built in tuner, strap buttons, pickup, and a wide, very fast and easy to play neck. The body and back are all mahogany (solid); the neck is mahogany with a 'richlite' finger board. Richlite is some kind of ceramic or composite synthetic material. I call it 'poor man's ebony' because it feels and sounds like ebony, and has that really crystal clear high end of ebony. the binding is black boltron, but the neck is not bound. The top is sitka spruce. Pins and nut are white corian, the bridge is richlite, and the saddle is graph tech white tusq, which i LOVE. I have it for saddles on my basses and electrics. The body is very light, due to the mahogany (sapele) so it will be good for gigging, and not so expensive that I would not take it on an airplane. The body is a cutaway for easy access up high.

    The Cons: The body is sapele, but i don't know what the difference is tone-wise from mahogany, but it is not as 'tight looking' as mahogany. the neck is richlite, not rosewood or ebony. the pickup system is so-so. i prefer playing it through a shure beta 87A active vocal mic, it really sounds good though that mic (so does my D-41). The spruce used for the top is not as high grade as on the higher end martins; mine has a couple of distortions in the grain, but it still sounds very resonant and 'sprucy.' The 'ring' is not as prominent as I like.

    Other: I think the GPCA4, the next larger size before D, has more bass, but I wanted the punch of the smaller body. The bass is not as strong as the D size, or the rosewood bodied guitars. The guitar has opened up somewhat after 2 weeks of play, but that is easy in new mexico where there is 10% humidity. Just leave the case open for a couple of weeks, it sucks out the excess water from the wood and stabilizes the glue joints. This is very good sounding guitar, maybe better for fingerpickers. It will be great for gigs.
    If the neighbors complain because the music is too loud, turn it up so you can't hear them bitch..... 89 YJM Strat Modified, Martin D-41, 87 Fender P-bass, 97 Ash Strat, 2007 57 Reissue strat, Warmoth fretless P-Bass, and all kinds of cool gimmicks to make it sound like I know how to play.

  • #2
    Congrats on your new Martin. Very nice review as well.

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    • #3
      Congrats!
      By the way, there is no "Mahogany Tree" as Hog is a "trade name" for a variety of brown'ish hardwood from a number of trees which are not even genetically related. Think of it as spruce. Spruce can be from a number of trees, Adi, Red, European, which in this case are related, but still ... Sapele is like Nato a tree from Africa, that falls into the same "Hog" category, but due to it's less pleasing optical properties (grain, color...) many builders do not call it Hog so that those buying top-notch Hog instruments are not saying:"If this is, what XYZ calls hog, I don't want it!". Or, some of them are actualle honest and call the Hog variation for every part. Or they say:"Do I know which kind of Hog I will have next year? Nato? Sapele? Let's just call it Hog!"
      Regardles, you have a fine guitar and there is no need to bother if it's Sapele or Hog. It's what you call it....
      .

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      • #4
        Swietenia mahagoni was the scientific name of the "mahogany" tree. Yes, it exists, but it is in a narrow area of distribution in the Southeast United States and Honduras, Cuba, and a few other islands. The name has since been applied to timber of similar coloration and properties. Sapele and Nato are both used in ukuleles (the latter more than the former because it is cheaper). Both sound similar to mahogany, but I believe that genuine mahogany ages better. By the way, genuine hog is grown in Mexico in reforested land and that is what Martin uses on its ukuleles made in Mexico.
        The secret of man's creative power is imagination.

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        • #5
          Thanks all for the feedback. Now I'll eat some crow and say, this thing is opening up really fast, or i got used to it, because it has an incredible amount of ring and a very prominent mid-high range resonance. But I also got the pickup set up correctly, and im very happy with the possibilities. I used the Variax acoustic setting on my Line-6 Pod to preamp/amp emulate the tone, and then fed it to my board. the results are excellent, and I have the added tonality of using mics mixed with the emulated signal, so i have a lot of control Very pleased with it.

          I think the sapele is not quite as distinct and clear sound as Honnduran mahogany, but then again every piece of wood is different. I can easily tell sapele from genuine mahogany, the sapele has a finer grain to it, and the color is usually less uniform, and more streaked than genuine mahogany. I've been thinking, genuine Honduran mahogany is relatively inexpensive, but martin uses it for all the high end guitars i've seen from them, which leads me to believe they don't just use it because it is 'more expensive' but because it is a very consistent tone-wood that has a distinct sound; that is, the yields from Honduran mahogany can generally be counted on to produce the tone martin wants. Whatever the case, sapele is quite nice also, though i don't think it looks as good as 'Real' mahogany.

          With that said, for a guitar in the medium price range, i.e. $1000~1500 US dollars, this particular line--GCPA4, OMCPA4, and DCPA4, demands serious attention as a road guitar for a performing musician.
          If the neighbors complain because the music is too loud, turn it up so you can't hear them bitch..... 89 YJM Strat Modified, Martin D-41, 87 Fender P-bass, 97 Ash Strat, 2007 57 Reissue strat, Warmoth fretless P-Bass, and all kinds of cool gimmicks to make it sound like I know how to play.

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