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Martin OM 21 or 000-28?

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  • Martin OM 21 or 000-28?

    Hi there,

    Welp, my Quest for a 000-15 has left me a little disillusioned. The first guitar that came here from Thomann was seriously damaged, and the second one had a structural defect that I was unable to ignore. I was playing it this morning, and I kept looking at that tiny space between the neck and the body, hoping I'd been hallucinating. No such luck, apparently. I decided at that moment that the guitar had to go back. So, when this one does goes back (hopefully this week), I am going to go hold my nose and drop into the local shop that has been a pain in the butt to deal with. They do, however, have a OM-21 on sale, ditto a 000-28. Now, they are selling these guitars at about
    "The Philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways. The point, however, is to change it."

    Karl Marx

  • #2
    Glenn, both are wonderful guitars. The 28 is a little fancier and a little higher quality - I've always felt that the OM-21 was one of the best bang-for-the-buck (should I say Euro?) gits out there. Here is a comparison of OM and 000's in general

    http://p082.ezboard.com/ftheunofficialmartinguitarforumfrm19.showMessage?t opicID=19.topic

    and a couple of models

    http://p082.ezboard.com/ftheunofficialmartinguitarforumfrm19.showMessage?t opicID=26.topic

    My home made guitar is based on a 000-28VS and it is the perfect one my style of play - mostly blues and fingerstyle in the style of Ry Cooder, Leo Kottke, John Fahey, etc. There are good clips of both at Maurys music and the Podium (links to both on the Annex) but in the end you should go play both and decide for yourself. I think you would be happy with either

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    • #3
      I have a 2 year old OM-21 that I love. It has absolute gorgeous sound, and the notes seem to sustain forever. I imagine a 000-28 sounds every bit as good. I see the 21 as more of a fingerstyle guitar with the 1 3/4" nut and more importantly 2 1/4" saddle string spacing. The 28 is a short scale guitar, 1/2" difference, they both have the low profile neck which I happen to prefer. The 21 also lists for $400 less, and has been referred to as the best bang for the buck in the Martin line. Play em both if you can and take home the one you love. The differences are pretty subtle. That said, if I had the bucks, the OM-21 special is a beauty, but you pay a hefty price for the extra appointments and maybe a bit better wood for the top.

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      • #4









        Build one out of BRAZILIAN!
        "I don't want to be immortalized through my work. I want to be immortalized by not dying." Woody Allen

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        • #5
          I had an OM-21 which I liked very much-it seemed to be built a bit lighter than both an OM-42 and 28V which had also passed through my hands.
          My experience with a 000-28 was not a good one, however, the short scale of the EC I had (for a whole week!) just made the thing feel gutless and tone-dead. Maybe I got a bad one but I have always felt that the longer scale made for a punchier and more vibrant instrument.
          Go for the OM-21; really good value or, if you can try one, the 000-15S which is long scale. I have one and love the thing.

          _____________________


          Gibson SJ200
          Gibson Advanced Jumbo
          Martin 000-15S
          Capek F4 Mandolin
          Samick Uke.
          Fender US Standard Tele
          Fender Baja Tele
          Fender MIM Standard Tele

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          • #6
            Well,

            Thanks for your replies and tips. I just returned from the shop with the Martin firesale. Apparently, this shop and Martin are parting ways, which explains the reduction on their stock. They didn't have a lot of nice things to say about Martin.

            I tried the OM-1, OM-21, a 000-28, a couple of Martin dreads, as well as a couple of Lakewoods and a Albert and M
            "The Philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways. The point, however, is to change it."

            Karl Marx

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            • #7
              I agree with FK -- the OM-21 is hard to beat for a "bang for the buck Martin."

              Glenn, did the Martin that you played have a tall saddle, or was it almost flush with the rest of the bridge? If it's tall enough, there should be no problem bringing the action down. OTOH, if there isn't much saddle there and the actions still high...buyer beware.
              "The wisest man I ever knew taught me something I never forgot. And although I never forgot it, I never quite memorized it either. So what I'm left with is the memory of having learned something very wise that I can't quite remember." -- George Carlin

              --Member of The Reasonable Fellers Union, established 7/20/04--

              Be kind.

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              • #8
                Well,

                The OM-21 was ok, but the action was a bit high for my tastes and the tech said it was low as it would go: sanding the saddle would cause problems. He did alter the nut a bit, which helped, but I still found the touch stiff. The neck relief was fine. I asked to reserve it for a week, so's I can think about it. I dunno, though. I think that, for that price, I should want to marry it and bring it home with me. I don't really feel that.


                Cheers,

                Glenn


                For that kind of money it should be a lot better than OK. I will measure the components of the action tonight when I get home and let you know. I believe the Martin lifetime warranty does not apply in Europe, so that is not a plus. Is the OM-21 new? I will get you those measurements tomorrow, the action on mine is very good, and I like it low.

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                • #9
                  the tech said it was low as it would go: sanding the saddle would cause problems.


                  That tells me more about the tech than the guitar, unless he/she is saying it needs a reset (which is possible but pretty unlikely on a new git). I wouldn't trust him/her to touch any of my guitars.

                  My homemade 000 is long scale (because I tune down and I happen to like it that way), set up with about 8 thou of relief, 5/54 on the high E and 6/64 on the low. Good compromise that allows for easy fretting and clean slide. You can convert to metric, and it will be interesting to see what Dave's is. JT was another OM-21 owner, I'm pretty sure he sold his when he upgraded to a fancier model (OM-42 or something).

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                  • #10
                    Hi guys,

                    Thanks again for your replies. There was still a fair bit of saddle sticking up, but not as much as on the 000-15 I am returning. Say somewhere in the neighbourhood of 1/4 " at the ends of the saddle. The tech said something about the way that Martin makes guitars that doesn't lend itself to very low action. Maybe he didn't want to touch it until I committed to buying, maybe they're having a 'hate Martin' campaign, I dunno. He also said that because they were handmade, that there was a lot of intra-model variance in quality, action, etc.

                    BTW, I took down the serial #, sent it to Martin, and this guitar has been hanging on their walls since 2005.

                    Cheers,

                    Glenn
                    "The Philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways. The point, however, is to change it."

                    Karl Marx

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      The tech said something about the way that Martin makes guitars that doesn't lend itself to very low action. Maybe he didn't want to touch it until I committed to buying, maybe they're having a 'hate Martin' campaign, I dunno. He also said that because they were handmade, that there was a lot of intra-model variance in quality, action, etc.

                      BTW, I took down the serial #, sent it to Martin, and this guitar has been hanging on their walls since 2005.

                      Cheers,

                      Glenn
                      The tech is a moron. There are variences from one Martin to another, but for the most part any Martin can have ultra low action if desired. You just gotta find the right tech who'll do it. My OM-21 Special's action was comparable to an electric and had plenty of saddle showing. I know what it's like to want low action and have a tech tell me it's not possible, then, to find a tech who can do exactly what the other said was impossible...

                      Someone above mentioned "buyer beware" of short saddles, I'd strongly agree with that. The hight of the saddle determines the longevity of the guitar, and also effects the guitar's tone. A short saddle could mean needing a neck reset in less time than a tall saddle. A tall saddle generates more string energy into the top. The reason for the differences in saddle hight per-guitar is because the neck joints are never exactly the same. Nor can they be. They're made of wood.

                      My advice would be to play many Martin OMs untill one really speaks to you. (I've never liked that "speaks to you" phrase, but I guess it's fitting) One OM-21 will sound this way, another OM-21 will sound that way. I was on a quest for a Martin OM, never thought I'd get an OM-35, but I did. I'm rather fond of it. It's best to search for the one that has the sound, rather than the model number.
                      I.K.F.C.- O.T.A.- W.T.F.?.C.- E.S.C.
                      Member of the T. D. & H. faculty

                      CMWANLW

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                      • #12
                        Thanks!

                        My wife and I discussed this a bit tonight, and I think that, once the refund comes in from Thomann, I am going to make a daytrip up to Frankfurt. There's a shop there that has some Martins on sale, including the 15s, as well as a few insanely priced Larrivees. However, if the Larri D-03R seduces me, I may go for it.

                        Which should be an adventure, because my German isn't fluent by any means yet, and I'd be going by train and then public transit in Frankfurt.

                        "Honey? Hi it's me! Guess what? I'm in Rostock! Please come and get me!!!!!"

                        I wonder why a reasonably capable tech, as well as the salesman, would tell me that the saddle couldn't be sanded any further? You'd think they'd want to make me happy and get rid of me with one of their accursed Martins...

                        Hmmm.....

                        Cheers!

                        Glenn
                        "The Philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways. The point, however, is to change it."

                        Karl Marx

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                        • #13
                          Both great guitars...I'm partial to the 000-28 mostly because I like short-scale small-bodied guitars.
                          "Socialism is a philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance, and the gospel of envy; it's inherent virtue is the equal sharing of misery."

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