So an update; taking a long weekend this weekend to unwind a bit, so I went to a few stores to try guitars; my quick take:

Martin DSS-17:

This one was beautiful; perfectly balanced, kept coming back to it. Played a 00 which was also nice, but I really latched onto the DSS-17.

Martin DSS-15M:

Also really nice sounding guitar, but I slightly preferred the DSS-17 because the low-end was a bit more present there. Though this whiskey sunset finish is just beautiful. If I could have that on the DSS-17, I think I’ve found the one.

That being said, the Gibsons really blew me away:

Gibson J15:

Nice well-balanced sound, but a bit more on the low end, which I like

Gibson J45 studio:

More low end and a touch warmer than the J15. This is a frontrunner with the Martin DSS17.

Gibson J45 standard:

If money weren’t an option, I’d be all in on this. Really beautiful warm sound that I’m looking for. The guy the shop noted that he could get one in and cut the price down by a few hundred, so this is really tempting.

Taylor: I won’t even bother linking the ones I played, but aside from the really easy playability with the nice ebony fretboards, I was really irked by the tinny, flat sound these had. Quite a let down, since these are really beautiful in person. Even the Koa one I played just to see how it feels felt “meh” at best. But probably my favorite of the lot (played a 314, 324 as well). (In short, @highlife was right).

So I’m down to thinking about whether I want the Martin DSS-17 or the Gibson J45. If I get the Martin, I’d like to lower the action a touch since it was a bit high for my liking. I really can’t go wrong with either choice here, so this is going to be a lot of fun.

Thanks everyone for the input!


Two great guitars!

Either choice a good one.


Totally agree with the Taylor tinny sound. Really grating. That DSS15 finish is gorgeous.


Almost forgot; I teased myself by playing a Martin HD-28; quite the dream! If only I had the budget for that!


Sounds like fun! So many beauties. I think we’re going to this place this weekend to get a pick up put into my husband’s guitar. I can spend hours here.


That place looks awesome. I’ve heard of Dusty Strings hammered dulcimers before. I have a really nice hammered Dulcimer that was my mother-in-law’s. Wish I knew how to play it.

Here’s my favorite music store:

It is about an hour and a half from our house. They specialize in Martin guitars and they have a vault with some unbelievable stuff.


Wow! That place looks amazing! I go straight to vintage and see that '59 Les Paul. It would be really cool to plan a road trip to all the best music stores in the country.

Love dulcimers. I can’t play it either but love messing with those and harps.


Oddly enough, I just saw this used Heritage 575 from Dusty Strings featured on their Instagram page…

You guys should take this baby for a test drive when you are there.


Sweet mother. That thing is gorgeous!


I feel like Dusty Strings used to be on Univ. Ave about 47th? Or was that another store?


Possibly. I’ve only known it in Fremont.


I feel like it used to be a mostly acoustic music store, but I am likely confusing it with something else.


It’s definitely mostly acoustic. Maybe you’re thinking of the Trading Musician? That’s near the U.


Someone gave me a ukelele and I like the idea of learning it but I give up on shit easily.


That is the perfect instrument for people who give up on shit easily. Buy yourself a tuner. Look up the correct tuning. Have someone show you how to use it (I would help) and look up the simple chords. Find an easy song to learn and you’re golden. I know many people who play the uke who never played an instrument. Harmonica is another one.


Wow, love it! And I see they have my ultimate dream guitar:

Which is coincidentally in the price range I’m aiming for…


very nice! have fun!

Re: harmonicas: That’s what I love about them; I find it hard to sound bad using one. Of course there’s a right and wrong way, but with some effort, your ears will tell you which way to go. I’m always looking for ways to put harmonica on my recordings


That Gibson looks fantastic!

I have been a harmonica player for a long time.

There is a really thin line between good and annoying… I walk that line with regularity.

I use Hohner Special 20’s.


good point – I probably walk that line a whole lot too…

I also play Hohner Special 20s! They sound great.

Speaking of Hohner, yesterday I took some time to really clean up my HG200 and put fresh strings on it, and it sounds pretty amazing. Honestly, better than the Taylors from a few days ago…


I buy and sell quite a bit so I usually don’t post newer items. But I just had to post this because I am a Gibson SG guy. It’s a 2018 model and just a great playing sounding and fun guitar.