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Wednesday, November 24 2021
Martin 000-15M vs D-15M

Martin 000-15M vs. D-15M


Martins made with a mahogany back and sides are prized for the purity of their uncomplicated tone and their classic, understated good looks. But the mahogany mystique is most unique in the guitars from Martin’s 15 Series, as they are constructed with the addition of a mahogany top that produces a special kind of tone. The 15 voice sings a certain woody richness one can only get from a hardwood soundboard.

But that 15 Series sound differs from model to model, as the tone can be enhanced by the size of the guitar’s sound chamber, which is why we are about to compare two of the most popular models Martin makes today, the Auditorium size 000-15M and the larger Dreadnought size D-15M

Cut from the Same Logs
To begin, we will focus on what these two models have in common, and that includes the fact they are the least expensive Martins built by hand at the Martin factory in Nazareth, PA, entirely from solid tonewoods. The subtle, peppery grain of the solid mahogany back, sides, top, and neck are accompanied by a bridge and fingerboard showing off the complex grain patterns of solid East Indian rosewood. On the inside are solid Sitka spruce braces with the ideal combination of strength and flexibility to get the most resonating tone out of the light-weight mahogany body.

A thin satin finish with the luscious dark mahogany toner allows the gorgeous grain of the tonewood to show through, while also allowing that tonewood to breathe and vibrate as freely as possible for enhanced reverberation and sustain. Paired with Martin Retro strings, a new 15 Series Martin produces a mellow, lovely tone right out of the box it was shipped in.

Martin D-15M

The lack of plastic bindings or elaborate body inlays focus the aesthetics very much on the awesome tonewoods, while also reducing the sticker price. This is a tradition reaching back to the very first mahogany-topped 15s from before the Second World War, which the immortal Woody Guthrie called the People’s Martins, because of their low price tag.  

Each of these modern 15s has a sleek, fast neck that combines a Modified Low Oval profile with a 1-11/16” width at the solid bone nut, and a silky satin finish for maximized ease of playing. The fingerboards are adorned with pre-war Diamond and Square fret markers matched with vintage-style open back nickel tuning machines and classic script Martin logo on the head stock.

Martin 000-15M

But here is where we start to see the difference between the 000-15M and D-15M. Both models have the 25.4” long-scale neck. But one might say the D has a long-scale body, relatively speaking.

In fact, other than width of the fingerboard, and the shape and feel of the neck, everything about the D-15M experience is bigger than the 000. The body is longer and wider and deeper, creating a substantially larger sound chamber, resulting in a voice with greater volume accented by increased bass response for a fuller, rounder bottom end tone. The longer body makes the playing experience feel wider and more spread out. It is a good choice for players who often feel cramped when playing acoustic guitars.

On the other hand, the 000-15M is usually considered a more comfortable guitar to play, for all but the largest of people. The Auditorium size body is not really small, but it is smaller than the deeper, wider, longer Dreadnought. So the end of the neck is closer to the player’s body and that can make the fretting hand and the arm that supports if feel more relaxed, while making it easier to bring the fretting hand into a parallel position with the strings. This makes the 000 a very good choice for sidemen and lead guitarists.

Martin 000-15M

The Auditorium body size is offers a more comfortable playing experience, especially when sitting down. And the ratio of the shallower side depth to overall soundboard area is ideal when it comes to balanced tone, so that the bass, midrange, and treble basically have the same volume and projection. And that can be good for fingerstyle playing, and also for singers who perform without plugging in, as a full-size dreadnought can drown out all but the loudest singing voice.

Each model offers its own version of the special 15 Series sound, with a sweet and lovely musicality to the treble notes, clear focused trebles, and the unique warm glow from the bottom end only heard from a mahogany-topped guitar. The D with its mighty mahogany bass is mightily impressive. The 000 with its balanced voice and easy playing has its own woody mahogany charms that offer hours of effortless music making.

Martin D-15M

Woodn’t You Rather Play a Martin? We Wood.
While you can find guitars for a similar price that have fancier inlays or on-board electronics to gussy up their “layered” - aka plywood - back and sides, Martin puts the price on what really matters – the tone of all-solid tonewoods – when it comes to the 000-15M and D-15M. Unique in looks and in sound, the 15 Series offers the most affordable hand-made Martin guitars build in Nazareth, PA made entirely from world-class, all-solid tone woods, with a sweet tone all their own. Which 15 Series model would you love most?




Posted by: Maury- Maury's Music AT 07:35 am   |  Permalink   |  1 Comment  |  Email
Taylor does have a comparison..the ad22 and ad27 all solid wood guitars with a little more sparkle than the Martin
Posted by Steve on 10/25/2022 - 08:11 AM

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