Martin 000-16GT L Reviews 5

My first experience with guitar playing as a lefty began in the 70's by restringing a right-handed Epiphone acoustic, and later a Gibson Melody Maker. For any lefty who has travelled this road, you know it works, but just does not have the best intonation, tuning, and on... Anyway, now being a parent to a teen-ager interested in guitar playing, I thought it was time to treat myself and began looking for a left-handed acoustic made as a lefty for myself. My first left-handed acoustic was a Washburn Dreadnought. Quite good for the money and even better being made as a lefty for a lefty. Though I found myself wanting a smaller body, which led me to Martin. Initially, I considered the Martin Road Series for affordability with a solid wood top (laminate sides/back). As I looked around further, I eventually landed with the 000-16GT L. At the time, 2002, Music 123 was offering the guitar for $735 (list was $1279+/-). Since I like to do business locally whenever I can, Matanuska Music in Wasilla, Alaska agreed to match the price. The rest is now history.

For those unfamiliar with the 000-16GT specs, go to Martin's web site. Briefly, the 000-16GT is a solid all wood (no laminate) guitar with spruce top and mahogany sides and back. The 000-16GT is a smaller body guitar, compared to the standard dreadnought, and essentially the same size as Clapton played on Unplugged. The feel is very comfortable. The smell to this day still delights the olfactory senses. And the sound, from anywhere on the neck, the sound is continues to improve and amase me by the day...

Being a lefty, I ordered my guitar in February/early March 2002 and received it in June 2002. The wait felt like forever. The sound out of the box while good, was not great, and not even close to the sound that it now produces two years later. There's a seasoning to take place that only time and playing provides. This is more a commentary on my own challenges with delayed gratification than really anything having to do with the guitar. I will also add that I was initially less than thrilled with the Gloss Top and Satin sides/back finish. Again, two years later and the neck is as shinny as if it came from the factory as a gloss.

The construction and quality are superb. Again, see the Martin web site for specs. I hemed and hawed about missing out on the previous 16 Series when the fretboard was ebony, and as mentioned above took some time warming up to the Gloss Top/Satin Blend of finishes. And, I also obsessed over the lack of neck and other binding. In retrospect, don't let those features stop you from seriously considering the 16 Series. If an ebony fretboard and additional binding is really that important you, then bite the bullet and spend the extra money.

Martin does not charge extra for left-handed versions, a plus in my book. If you're lucky, you might be able to find a lefty in stock somewhere. Otherwise, just be prepared to have to wait. I dare say your wait will be rewarded. The 16 Series in my opinion is one heck of a value for an all solid wood guitar that is becoming better with age. Remember, you get what you pay fo. I still have my Washburn, though seldom play it. And I've since added a Gibson SG Faded Lefty for electric play. Bottomline, I spend most of my guitar playing time with my Martin 000-16GT L...

John B. rated this unit 5 on 2004-05-12.

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