Martin SWDGT Smartwood Dreadnought Acoustic Guitar
What Is A "Smartwood" Guitar?
A "conscious" guitar, made in keeping with ecological responsibility, the Martin SWDGT features a solid Sitka spruce top, certified solid cherry wood back and sides, mahogany neck, and a certified katalox bridge and fingerboard. The neck has a low profile shape and an adjustable truss rod. Appointments include pearl dot inlays and a natural satin finish for enhanced tone. Made with specifically ecologically sustainable woods.
Basically, this guitar is the most ecologically friendly instrument on the planet. It's the guitar that every conservationist and tree hugging type the world over can buy, play, love, tell their friends about - without a bit of guilt. Yes, this is a REAL Martin guitar - it's all solid wood in construction - no laminates at all, but even though it's a guitar with a solid Sitka Spruce sound board top - the wood is classified by Martin as RESCUED.
The back and sides of this instrument are solid cherry, and Martin classifies this wood as Sustainable Solid Cherry. I don't typically like to write articles about guitars that I've not handled and picked out a tune or a dozen on. I think that I have played this guitar in a guitar center, but I'm not certain. I tend to pick up and pluck something out of every guitar that I see. The simple facts of the matter here are I just trust C.F. Martin & Co. with everything that they do or say. They are, after all, the world's premier acoustic guitar manufacturer, and so far as I know, the oldest company in the United States of America. Nobody has as much potential interest in the world of acoustic guitar manufacture as does C.F. Martin & Co. When it comes to sustaining, and making sustainable, steady supplies of tone woods for guitars - these trees are acoustic guitar manufacturer's very life's blood, and the C.F.Martin & Company only make the world's most highly reputable guitars.
The only thing about these guitars that make me wonder is the fingerboard material, which is Solid Sustainable Katalox. I've just never heard of this Kataloxstuff, but if Martin is using it, I'm certain that it is good wood. Typically either ebony or rosewoods are used for fingerboards. I've got a guitar with each - and I'm certain that ebony is the better material for fingerboards - but like I said, if Martin is using katalox for these guitars, I trust them that katalox is an outstanding material for the purpose. The Martin people, if not the best in the entire world, are the definite equals to any others.
The Martin Smartwood Dreadnought Acoustic Guitar.
First of all (and speaking from a steel string guitar perspective), let's discard the notion that some species of wood make good instruments and that others don't. The concept of tonewood is a hoax. Of the few things that we can do to a guitar and still call it a guitar, changing the wood it is made of will have the least impact upon the quality of the sound that it produces. The tonal difference between a mahogany guitar and a rosewood guitar is exactly the same as the difference between two mahogany guitars or two rosewood guitars. Can you tell what a guitar is made of while listening to an unfamiliar recording? No one I know claims they can. No one at the blind listening sessions I've attended could reliably distinguish between mahogany and rosewood guitars, or maple and koa guitars for that matter. - John Calkin.
So far as the paragraph above is concerned. I totally disagree with every word of it. I CAN hear the difference between a Rosewood guitar and a Mahogany guitar. Besides that - nine times out of ten I can hear the difference between Brazilian Rosewood and East Indian Rosewood guitars. I just can. I can hear the difference between a Fender Stratocaster, Telecaster, and I can always hear a Gibson Les Paul; So Mr. Calkin might know what he's talking about when it comes to building guitars - but I think his hearing has been damaged a bit at this point.
The American Wild Cherry as a tonewood is said to produce a tone sonic-ally somewhere between that of a maple and that of a mahogany bodied guitar. That being the case, my personal recommendation to someone shopping for a guitar like this would be to pick up a Martin D 18 and play it for a minute, then pick up the Smartwood Martin and play it for a minute - they are going to sound similar, and in a base level D 18, the price will be within a few hundred bucks or so of being the same as the Smartwood. Choose the one that you want, and remember that guitars such as any solid wood guitar made by C.F. Martin and Company - always sound better with years of playing behind them.
These guitars retail at $1,400.00 dollars, and as do all Martin guitars, they come with a lifetime warranty to the original owner, and a hard shell case - that's probably environmentally friendly too.