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And he told me... I didn't know nothing about how to play no guitar at all. He said "Hey, go home. Take my advice. You go home. You get that.. straight. You know what I'm talking about? Put that pick down. You think I'm scolding you? You a grown man, Hubert - listen to me!" I went home, man. I went to my basement. And I'm going to tell you something... I was thinking about what Wolf said. He said "Hey, put the pick down." I put the pick down, man. I put the pick down and started using... fingers, you know what I mean? - Hubert Sumlin, on how Howlin' Wolf introduced him to fingerpicking. From Moanin' At Midnight by James Segrest and Mark Hoffman

Author Topic: What's the general opinion on Larrivee 09 series guitars?  (Read 5114 times)

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Offline Mr.OMuck

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Re: What's the general opinion on Larrivee 09 series guitars?
« Reply #15 on: March 26, 2010, 09:54:56 AM »
I'm with you on dreadnaughts. Even though my main guitar is a D-18, I think they are not terribly appealing visually.  I'm a big fan of j-185-j-200 shapes..y'know sort of the Sophia Loren, Anita Egbert school.
My loathings are simple: stupidity, oppression, crime, cruelty, soft music.
Vladimir Nabokov (1899 - 1977)

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Offline slimchancer

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Re: What's the general opinion on Larrivee 09 series guitars?
« Reply #16 on: March 26, 2010, 12:12:15 PM »
second that Parlor Picker - No harm in a bit of rant MrOmuck!

Offline Stuart

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Re: What's the general opinion on Larrivee 09 series guitars?
« Reply #17 on: March 27, 2010, 10:36:04 AM »
Hi Slim:

The best thing is to agree to disagree. My disagreement is not about the Martin guitars you have played. After all, I haven't played them and you haven't played the ones that I've played, or do you have access to the information that I have. And I'm not a Martin devotee?the last time I bought a Martin guitar was in 1970. Even then, they were getting a bad rap and at that time they were only making 75 guitars a week, as I recall.

I think that when you say that, "what Martin are up to is a bit naughty - you simply can't trade on a name alone," you are saying something that is understandable, but not entirely accurate, as it sounds like you are questioning their intent. I agree 100% that any company or individual cannot and should not trade on a name alone, but again, that's not their intent, as I understand it. Martin has enjoyed a great reputation, but in many ways, that reputation is "based on a daydream," as a friend of mine who worked for Martin for a decade in various capacities put it. It has been a long, long time since Martin was a "guitar maker" as opposed to a "guitar factory," if you catch my drift. Chris Martin and those in management do their best to maintain a level of quality that goes with the reputation. But it's a task that is both difficult and complex. When I was there last (I was visiting friends in the area and took my daughter to the factory to see how Martin makes guitars?a reality check--I was not paying homage to a shrine), I asked why they made so many guitars. The person I talked to said it was simply to meet customer demand. I remember when dealers would complain that it took a year to get a guitar from Martin, but that that was improvement over the two+ years that it took before they moved from the old factory and expanded.

In any event, there are a zillion things that can be discussed here, but in the end every guitar is an individual instrument and for me it comes down to how it sounds and how it plays, no matter who made it and how much it costs. As for the topic heading, I've played Larrivees, and I liked what I played, but I can't recall anything about the 09 series specifically.

And to Mr. O's semi-rant: Ten plus years ago I was looking for a guitar and must have played almost everything in the Seattle area. The guitar that jumped out at me was one made by Ted Thompson (up in Vernon, B.C.), which I bought. He doesn't have a website, but a few places have pix. Curvy.

Now back to Slim: I'd second Parlor Picker's recommendation re: Alister Atkin and pay him a personal visit. I've never played one of his guitars, but word of mouth counts for a lot around here. It's very important that the same pair of hands be involved in building a guitar from start to finish--something that even some of the boutique guitar builders don't do. Plus there's that specific attention to detail that it often overlooked, but can end up making a big difference, such as selecting the very best bridge plate for the specific instrument and the correct tuners (weight, design and material really do matter).

My final thoughts on Martin are that it's not intent on the part of the ownership and management as much as it is that production has been scaled up to the point where things have drifted from where they ought to be. Write Chris Martin and tell him what you think. Quality should not take a back seat to quantity, even for one guitar. In guitar making, just like any other endeavor, people earn their living?and reputation--one customer and one sale or order at a time. It can take years--or even decades--to get someone to become a customer, but only seconds to lose that same customer. Point this out to him.

Offline slimchancer

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Re: What's the general opinion on Larrivee 09 series guitars?
« Reply #18 on: March 27, 2010, 02:52:45 PM »
Interesting stuff Stuart, and your reasoning is intelligent and considered. I did write a little note when I returned the guitar and made a request that the dealer pass this on to Martin. I honestly think you would agree with me though if you saw this thing ? seriously, go into a guitar shop and ask to try a standard Martin out and then get back to us! I think you?ll find they?re not the same as they were back I the early 1970?s.
I still want a 000-18, but looks like I may need to wait and source a good vintage example.

Offline Stuart

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Re: What's the general opinion on Larrivee 09 series guitars?
« Reply #19 on: March 27, 2010, 04:19:51 PM »
Hi Slim:

I don't doubt your word or your ability to judge an instrument. Last fall I stopped in at a few shops and played several guitars, including Martins. That day I was focused on the John Miller model at the Folkstore in Seattle, which I've posted about here in the past, but I played several other Martins at other shops as well. My impression was that not much has changed, but that was just my impression as a casual player that day--I wasn't really "drilling down," so to speak.

I'm old school, and I think that company and employee pride should be evident in a product, especially in a product that has a tradition such as Martin Guitar. You have to build quality in, because you cannot inspect it in, as W. Edwards Deming once said. Nevertheless, I'm also a realist, and given all of the individual steps, component parts and people that go into building 1,100 guitars a week, total quality control is not going to be easy. But quality control to the point where very few clunkers slip out the door is certainly attainable.

Best of luck with finding the right guitar for you. Alister Atkin sounds like a luthier worth working with. There are still people out there who build high quality--but very affordable--player's guitars for musicians and he sounds like one of them.


« Last Edit: March 27, 2010, 04:34:34 PM by Stuart »

Offline slimchancer

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Re: What's the general opinion on Larrivee 09 series guitars?
« Reply #20 on: March 29, 2010, 10:58:45 AM »
Hmmm, yeah sure, but I'm not talking just build quality here Stuart - the materials used for standard Martins are clearly not what they should be given the price. I just don't understand it - well I do actually; economics/survival - but at what cost!

I had the option of a brand new martin 000-18 replacement - but no thanks, I could get a Chinese import of better quality at half the price - but I wouldn't go there either.

I'm quite sure that I may well source a good old vintage model in the future. Actually I've recorded & played some great examples from the 1980's, so you don't need to go too far back.

Actually, it also occurs to me that I recorded an album a couple of years back and hired in a selection of flat-tops, and if memory serves me right, we had a new Martin Dred (can't remember model now - but would of been a higher-end creature) anyway, had some kind of problem with the neck as well and we sent it back.

Oh dear, sounds like I have it in for Martin - it's not personal ;D My home is not adorned with pictures and cuttings of Martins with black-cross's scrawled  across them... >:D

Offline Mr.OMuck

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Re: What's the general opinion on Larrivee 09 series guitars?
« Reply #21 on: March 29, 2010, 02:14:25 PM »
Well what with former martin employees manufacturing guitars in China which are unbeatable at the price I guess the game has changed dramatically for Martin. A solid rosewood and spruce guitar with fancy inlays for $650.?!@#@!? If I had any money at all I'd buy a couple of thousand of them, put them in storage or in an aging chamber, and leave them sit for twenty or thirty years. I don't like the necks of Blueridge guitars as much as Martins but otherwise....at those prices? Still not being a law of the jungle type of guy i would like to see Martin survive and thrive, while keeping its workforce here in the USA.
My loathings are simple: stupidity, oppression, crime, cruelty, soft music.
Vladimir Nabokov (1899 - 1977)

http://www.youtube.com/user/MuckOVision

Offline Stuart

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Re: What's the general opinion on Larrivee 09 series guitars?
« Reply #22 on: March 29, 2010, 02:44:28 PM »
Hi Slim:

The next time that I have some time to spend in the local guitar shops, I'll make it a point to give the resident Martins a thorough going over. I'll approach the critical evaluation process with an emphasis on "critical" and attempt to be much more thorough and rigorous. One thing that crossed my mind is that when I have been in the local shops (there are about a half dozen that I can think of off the top of my head that carry quality instruments within driving distance) and have had discussions with the owners, several have said that if they get an instrument in that they are uncomfortable with or consider substandard, they send it back. There is no reason to pay for inventory that won't sell or that they can't try to sell with a clean conscience, whether it be Martin, Taylor, Gibson or one of the boutique makers?labels makes no difference. So it just may be that the sample of guitars that I have played is not representative of everything that comes out of the factories or from the smaller makers, as the instruments in the local shops have already been filtered by the gatekeepers.

Like I said previously, I don't doubt your word or your ability to judge an instrument. For all I know, if I played the same guitars, I just might be a much tougher critic and my opinions much harsher.

Best of luck in your quest for the 000-18 that is right for you?vintage or otherwise. Be patient and play as many as you can before rendering the final verdict. My inclination, however, is for you to pay a visit to Alister Atkin and work with him so that he can build the right instrument for you. Even though it may take a little longer and perhaps cost a little more, you'll most probably get exactly what you want. Parlor Picker's word counts for a lot around here.

And don't worry about voicing your opinions here. We're not the Martin Guitar Forum.
« Last Edit: March 29, 2010, 02:50:18 PM by Stuart »

Offline slimchancer

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Re: What's the general opinion on Larrivee 09 series guitars?
« Reply #23 on: March 29, 2010, 04:21:34 PM »
That's a very good point regarding dealer maintaining good stock Stuart. Over here in the UK it's becoming increasingly hard to come by a good dealer who know what they're selling - too many mail order guys out pricing the serious high street dealers, a real shame!
Alister's instruments look very promising and I'm sure I'll pay him a visit next time I'm Canterbury bound.
In the meantime I just bought a KG14 from the US and await it's arrival. Not at all intended as a substitute for the 000-18 of course - a very different old lady all together - just been meaning to replace a KG11 that I bought about 20 years ago and like a fool let go in a moment of madness, so may have finally replaced it. May need to wait till I've earned the right to make my next purchase now.
I feel the same way about supporting US guitar makers MrOmuck, and I'm not even an American - but Martin are not making it easy for me to find sympathy, and perhaps that's a little sad. Anyhow - time to move on.

p.s. has anyone seen the new Nat Res Black Rust Duolian homage - looks pretty tasty!

Offline Johnm

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Re: What's the general opinion on Larrivee 09 series guitars?
« Reply #24 on: March 29, 2010, 04:49:48 PM »
Anyhow - time to move on.



I absolutely agree.  This particular horse has been whipped long past death, especially since it was a digression in the first place.  New guitar brand/gear = new thread.  Thanks.
All best,
Johnm
« Last Edit: March 29, 2010, 04:54:36 PM by Johnm »

Offline slimchancer

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Re: What's the general opinion on Larrivee 09 series guitars?
« Reply #25 on: March 29, 2010, 05:16:45 PM »
indeed!

Offline Big River

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Re: What's the general opinion on Larrivee 09 series guitars?
« Reply #26 on: April 08, 2010, 09:04:02 AM »
 Larrivee's are a great value where you can get an excellent guitar without breaking the bank. As far as the 09 series goes the question is what model as there are many to choose from. You have got the Parlor, OM, D and L. Most fingerpickers prefer smaller bodied guitars, so the Parlor or OM might be a good choice. If you can put up with a satin finish their 03 series offers the most bang for the buck. These are in the $1,000-$1,100 price range last time I looked and it would be hard to find a better guitar new at that price.
 I own a mahogany backed Larrivee OM-03 with a K&K Pure Western pickup installed that I really like. It has a nice full midrange and a crisp (but not overbearing) top end. Maybe it is their fan bracing, but Larrivee's have a different tone than most brands. I have been using my Larrivee OM for most of my gigs as my late '30's Gibson L-00 is taking a beating out there and needs a break now and then. The Gibson has a warmer, more complex midrange, but the Larrivee has a slightly brighter over all sound (longer scale), but not too shabby in the midrange (it can growl a bit when pushed). Their 000 12 fret guitars are worth checking out as well. The most important thing is to get a guitar that floats your boat and makes you want to not put it down. Don't buy one to please us on the Forum, but grab that one that says something to you. I know a lot of players who spend all their free time on the web researching gear and little time actually playing music, which is what it is all about. Good luck in your quest. James Clem

Offline Parlor Picker

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Re: What's the general opinion on Larrivee 09 series guitars?
« Reply #27 on: April 09, 2010, 01:27:08 AM »
A minor technical point, James: Larriv?es are not fan-braced, but feature Jean Larriv?e's trademark symmetrical X-bracing, as opposed to the more common "Martin-style" asymmetrical X-bracing.

You are quite right about Larriv?e guitars offering amazing value for money. A little time spent on the Larriv?e Guitar Forum also throws up evidence of people going to buy much more expensive brands, even so-called "boutique" guitars, but coming away with a Larri simply because they preferred it. A few people here on the Weenie play Larriv?e guitars, me included.
"I ain't good looking, teeth don't shine like pearls,
So glad good looks don't take you through this world."
Barbecue Bob

Offline slimchancer

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Re: What's the general opinion on Larrivee 09 series guitars?
« Reply #28 on: April 15, 2010, 04:26:41 PM »
All very useful feedback guys, many thanks!

I'm now leaning toward an Atkins, though till feeling that Larivee OM 09.

Currently waiting on a restored L-00, as the KG14 I was about to buy went a little pear shaped - I can say no more than that - but hey, I'm gettin what looks like a super playable L-00 instead!!!  :D Will report back soon with a show & tell!
Happy pickin!

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