In this video, I’ll show you the two mid-range acoustic guitars I use for country & bluegrass. These are the two guitars you see in most of the lesson videos. They’re not that expensive, but I think both of them have a nice natural wood tone that works well in country & bluegrass. The first one is a 1999 Martin D-15 (Martin has recently changed the name to D-15M) and the second is a 2009 Martin D-16GT. If you’re in the market for an acoustic guitar in this price range, I’d always recommend buying used because you can get much more guitar for your money.
Also in this video, I’ll show you my favorite guitar capo for country & bluegrass, my favorite guitar strings for country & bluegrass, some bone bridge pins that’ll give your guitar extra sustain, and a couple other random tips you might find useful.
Randy Schartiger’s YouTube Channel https://www.youtube.com/user/pretourious
Randy working on my D-15:
Video 1 – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TnPk2RXIPwY&t
Video 2 – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PW-n91o5QLE&t
Video 3 – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=paobWvuEfL0&t
Video 4 – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PaBYDgxcIx0&t
Video 5 – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6WswxDuzzpE
Video 6 – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nGufWgZ6quE&t
Bob Colosi Bone Bridge Pins http://www.guitarsaddles.com/products.asp
Thanks for the video! I am still learning a lot from your lessons, very helpful
Ah I did wonder if that was a Martin D-16gt in most of your videos. I bought one on reverb last week (2008 model). A little bit tatty with a few minor scratches on sides and small chips on top. Not too bad now I’ve set it up. My first Martin and was a bit of an impulse buy. Not overly certain that I like the sound as much as My faith Neptune which is less than half the price new. The Faith Neptune sounds much warmer and mellow. D-16 is brighter and twangy which probably makes it better sounding… Read more »
Cool, I’ll try to play a Faith Neptune next time I’m at the guitar shops…never heard of it before but it looks interesting. I bet the bone bridge pins will make the D-16 sound nice for you. I did some checking and I’m pretty certain the D-16 stock bridge pins from the factory are plastic. Did you change your screen name after this comment? I went and updated your name for this comment…I believe it only updates the screen name for comments after you save the new name. I’ll see if we can make it where it’ll go in and… Read more »
Thanks Devin. Yes, it’s been saying howdy Matt since I changed it the day I signed up. Yes, the faith range are realy good for the money solid wood builds rather than laminates. (At least the few ive looked at)Designed by Patrick Eggle, I think it’s his company. Mines the naked neptune with the built in electronics (not that I ever plug it in…) Got some bone pins on order and will try some different strings next time I change them. Don’t get me wrong I certainly don’t dislike my D-16, I’ve mostly been playing it since I got it,… Read more »
The Faiths are nice guitars, for sure. And very well priced for guitars that are both designed and made in the UK. My only quibble with them, personally, is that they look very folk as opposed to country or rock and I wonder are they aimed more at that market? Hardly matters, though – if they play well and sound good, that’s the main thing!
The Saturn is a more traditional country looking guitar, but I’ve never tried one. They do make some of the different shapes with optional 45mm nut which would be in keeping with folk style so you could be on to something there. I’m currently G.A.S for one of the venus models which is a more rock looking guitar I guess as its a cutaway auditorium shape. In all fairness I’ve only really started appreciating how much I like my faith neptune is now that I’ve compaired it to my Martin D16. In fact I’ve put my D16 up on gumtree.… Read more »
I played a mahogany Faith (can’t recall the model name) when I was shopping for my current guitar and it was a really nice sound. Very warm and full. I ended up buying a Fender Paramount as I preferred its look and it played just as well, I thought. The wider nut would appeal to me, for sure, as I’ve pretty long fingers and for hybrid picking in particular can get tripped up! In general the Faiths appeal to me cos of the all solid woods at an affordable price (similar to Fender’s Paramount series). I’m on the lookout for… Read more »
No sorry not tried the freshman or recording king or even seen them yet. The only parlor guitar Ive owned is a taylor gs mini spruce top. I’m pretty certain its lamiante back and sides though, although Martin and Taylor are both now doing a lot of that and in all fairness though it leaves a dirty taste in your mouth saying laminate back and sides I really don’t think they sound worse for it. From my own experience I think the GS mini is an incredible sounding little guitar. I went into a guitar store and played a GS… Read more »
Hahah! Man, tell me about it! I think you’re right about the woods, though, and how we can all get snobby about it – while there’s some great laminate guitars out there. I recently listened to a podcast interview with a luthier and he reckoned that choice of woods was a considerably smaller factor in a guitar’s sound quality to what people (like us) on the internet and guitar forums might believe. Definitely less important to the quality of the build, in his eyes. I’ve heard nothing but great things about the Taylor Mini. In fact, every time I go… Read more »
Hey Matt, just to let you know I recently picked up an Ibanez AC-2040 and I think it might be up your street. It’s an all solid mahogany Grand Concert guitar with a 45mm/ 1.75 inch nut. Really great guitar for both strumming/ picking and fingerstyle. I’m liking it a lot. And again, Ibanez isn’t a company you’d think of for acoustics but this one is working really well for me. Hard to come by now – I got mine 2nd hand on Reverb.com at a really good price. Not to be confused with the 240s which have a solid… Read more »
Hi Wayne, Sorry not been about for a while. Yes, Ibanez do make a suprisingly good acoustic guitar. I ended up selling both the D16 Gt and my GS mini.. Bought a Taylor 312ce which is a lovely built and playable guitar with a 44.5mm nut. Quite a bright not so warm sound though. But very nice just different. Still wasnt quite in love with it though. So went round a few guitar shops (having to overcome my phobia of playing in public…yikes) and ended up being total blown away by both a Faith Venus Bloodmoon and also the faith… Read more »
The first guitar I bought was a Recording King. The neck was too wide for me but the main problem was it was made poorly. The tuners had to be replaced and the bracing was cracked. It wasn’t very expensive but I wouldn’t recommend getting one.
Really cool. lesson and tips very cool.. I been taking care of my acoustics case humidfier, been busy practicing electrics lately but got to get on these lessons very soon.. Agree about Martin too,, you D15 sounds earthy wood tone for sure! Funny ,,I just got shipment 3 pack exact strings you suggested but it was from another “shutup and play guitar”where I read his gear profile and ordered them right away.. i will first have to wear out new strings I just put onbefore these came in.. but yup Elixir 13/53 lights bronze.. I ike the riff/lick you just… Read more »
Great video, Devin. It would be good to have some more review type vids like this. Reviews of guitars you think are best for country/ bluegrass – although, I don’t know how that would work: would companies send you guitars to review? Also, I appreciate how much time would be involved.
That would be a cool series of videos. I’ll have to do some thinking on that…probably right though..would have to work something out with a local shop here in Austin or maybe an online guitar store. I’ll keep you posted on it.
Ever played John Pearse strings? IMO they are far superior to Nanoweb (and all other widely available strings) strings at half the cost. And they’re also what Doc Watson used.
John Pearce are great strings. Have tried both these and the elixirs. Long life and great tone. John Pearce may be a slightly louder string imo
Just get into the lessons. Am new into country playing and I can say am at intermediate+ on guitar. Hence I would appreciate your guidance on how to use and go through the lessons in the best and appropriate order.
Hey Gilbert! If you want some structure, you can check out the guitar courses I have going. Find the courses at the top menu under Lessons > Guitar Courses. They’ll organize several of the lessons so you can work through them in order. I’ll be adding more lessons to these courses in the future weeks. Also, after you’ve watched a lesson, I’d suggest marking it complete by click the “Mark Complete” button below the videos. That’ll put a green check mark on the main lesson grid so you can tell what you’ve already watched. If you like a lesson and… Read more »
Devin- I am getting a lot out of your lessons. Musically, I started in a much different place, but found I love to sing country. My problem is I have small hands and an unusually short pinky. The most comfortable guitar for me is one with a 1 and 3/4 in neck and a flat back as opposed to that V or D shape on the neck of the Martin dreadnought. I have a Taylor 814c. I love it, but alas it will never boom on the bottom. Do you know of any dreadnoughts I should try given what I’ve… Read more »
I have watched your video on your guitars ,string, and capos, but i think you said something about a new guitar you just recently received and are you going to do some videos with it.
Devin is your D 15 Martin a newer guitar or an older model? I see one on Reverb for About 800.00.
It’s a 1999. I bought it brand new back in the day and I think the wood has opened up nicely over time. One thing to keep in mind if you’re looking for a Martin D-15…back in 1999 and for the older D-15s around that time, Martin used solid mahogany backs and sides. For the newer D-15s, Martin switched over to using Sapele wood. The newer Sapele wood versions aren’t quite as nice as the older mahogany D-15s and I think the tone is a bit better with mahogany. The woods look almost identical, but the Sapele almost has a… Read more »
Devin, i just watched your guitar repair videos on Randy’s YouTube channel how old is your D 15?
I bought the D 15 mohogany and does it ever sound good playing these licks it’s a 2000 model. Thanks again Devin for the videos.
Nice, congrats on the new guitar! I’ve been really happy with mine so far. I bet you’ll like it. I’ve been wanting to try John Pearse phosphor bronze medium strings on the D-15. When I made this video, I was all about the Elixers, but I bet the D-15 would sound pretty nice with some John Pearse strings too. Hope you like the guitar! Let me know how it’s going with it —
I have recently traded in my old Yamaha FG-304 for a 4 years old ex-demo Blueridge BR-180N which is marketed here in the UK as a ‘bluegrass dreadnaught’ in the style of the Martin D-45. Solid sitka spruce top and solid East Indian rosewood back and sides. It sounds great but sometimes bass notes can almost be too loud and sustained with 12-53 Martin strings. I wonder if a solid mahogany guitar would have been a better choice for flat and crosspicking?
So, the old D15 I found on ebay is incredible. I changed the old strings to John Pearce phosphor bronze lights (12-53) and now It sounds like a harpsichord rather than a guitar! The wood finish and fretboard are a bit tatty but what a sound. It’s actually easier to play than the Blueridge with the same strings on. Why would that be? The nut width is the same. Also is 20 years long enough for mahogany to open up, or would this guitar have sounded like this from new, in 1998?
Devin, did you play a little Church Street Blues at 3.45? Any chance you could make that a lesson? It sounded really pretty. Thanks!
Very helpful thanks Devin!
I completely agree with you there. I don’t like the sound from the bright strings. Too twangy. I’ve migrated away from the Elixirs too. I used to think the lighter strings would hurt less but of course that was wrong. I heard Randy say the same thing about putting the capo or the tuner on the headstock. Also, I’ve been replacing the plastic bridge pins with the beautiful Waverly’s (thank you). I had put a set on that Taylor Academy 12e I recently sold. The sale went through so fast I didn’t have time to put the plastic pins back… Read more »