testing out alot of nylon guitars and my thoughts
Every time, I watch a video of Chris's and his guitars I am drawn to the Mahogany nylons.
I have worked my way thru a lot of nylons in my search
I have tried the following Martins a N10(post 70), 00-18C (post 70) C-TSH, 00-16C(68), 00-28C(68) x2, 00-28G(51) and a few non Martins. The first was a guild mark V, then a 1973 Model 10 Kohno, then a 1976 Model 30 Kohno. Followed by a Jose Aranda Flamenco Guitar. Then a Spanish Henry Hogenlocher #157.
To recap my thoughts on each
The first was a Guild Mark V, a nice guitar but did nothing for me.
The N10 (post 1970) had a wide neck and long scale, the top was thinner than other martins and had a wave in it from string tension. a great sounding guitar but the wave and the wide neck just scared me off. So I traded it away.
The 00-18C (post 1970) same wide neck, just could not get use to it. It is amazing the difference between 2 1/8 and 2 inches can be. It also went quickly but the sound was very comfortable to my ears.
The C-TSH is the first martin I played that could be considered a classical guitar. It sounds wonderful but had a raised fret board and different string angle and a 2 1/8" nut. Sounded very good but never felt comfortable.
Then came the first of two 1968 00-28C absolutely loved it and still have it, but I will sell it. The second Pete sold me another 1968 00-28C in mint condition, both sound like a martin rosewood Nylon, something I really like and the neck just feels good. I just don't need two.
Between the two, I picked up a 1951 00-28G, what a nice sounding old couch guitar. A guitar that has been well played and well kept. These guitars are as mellow as a scotch of the same age. I go back and forth between the C and the G and really cant decide which I like better.
Then I took a sharp right turn off the beaten path and ended up with a Kohno model 10, my first true classical guitar. outstanding in every way except the neck width, twice I hurt my had on it and it was time to go. If I was a real classical player this would be the keeper and I would learn the correct way to hold and fret it. But l learned steel string first.
Shortly after it went I came across a Kohno Model 30 with a shaved neck. I thought Wow! It had cracks and repairs done to it and a very attractive price to match, so I bought it on a whim. Played it for 1 week and new it was not for me. Sold it to a friends student for what I paid, they got their dream guitar and I know I was done with the Kohno's. They are as good as any classical guitar but I am not a classical guitar player.
Then I found a 68 00-16C, one I will regret selling for year to come. It was a perfect Mahogany nylon. I will find another one some day. I sold it because I just wasn't playing it and I wanted to trim down my nylons. A really bad reason to sell a very good guitar. One other note, I put Salvarez 540R HT strings on it and it was a perfect match.
I ran across the next guitar in New York. A Jose Aranda Flamenco guitar I new nothing about but loved the sound from the first strum. It is well worn and well cared for. Since acquiring it I have been taking flamenco guitar lessons, something every one should try. its a lively, fun and fast type of playing. I will never master it, but I am very glad I am making the attempt. The Flamenco guitars are loud and snappy. They are completely different from a Martin nylon folk guitar or a classical guitar. I think the festival in Seville could be a carrot to learn it. I went in the early 1990s and it should be on every ones bucket list.
Lastly I picked up a Henry Hockenocher, ( a what???) he is a German builder who went to Spain studied in Granada. It is similar to a flamenco guitar but smaller bodied and much thinner. It has a Lunar cut Alpine top with Spanish cedar back and sides(all nice Spanish guitars are hide glue). The neck is very comfortable and I can get my thumb over the top without any painful reaches. I can get solid harmonics on the 12th 7th 5th and 3rd frets. just a wonderful couch guitar. Closer to a Flamenco Blanco than a classical guitar.
In hind sight, the best bang for the buck are the pre 1970s 00-16C, 0018C or G. If I was new to Nylons, I would start out with one of these. They are reasonable priced and Chris's videos tell the rest.
my 2 cents.
John (J.H.) Orth
Life is good and sounds even better with a Martin...