Although I am still considering a Breedlove guitar,
which has left a positive impression on me, the
OM-42 had a few features going for it. 1) The
Rosewood and Adirondack top combination was
sonically convincing. 2) The appointments were just
about what I wanted. (I was ordering a Custom 42
from Martin at the time.) 3) The selections of
Breedlove guitars are limited and the number of
dealers supporting the line, scarce. I hope this will
improve in the future.
When the OM-42 arrived, I was a bit miffed to find the
case that the guitar was shipped in was Martin's
standard ABS molded case, instead of their premier
cases reserved for custom guitars and special
editions. The management at the store where I
purchased the instrument was also puzzled by this
and was quick to switch out the case with a Martin
One major criteria of this guitar is its size. It is well
suited to my playability and comfort. I can get my
right arm around the guitar without a struggle and it
cradles nicely. I have played D series Martins in the
past and have always felt them to be too big and
cumbersome. With the OM-42, I am able to
satisfy two things, my sonic requirement and
If this guitar were to be lost, stolen or destroyed, I'm
sure it will be difficult to replace, due to its limited
number. But, if given a choice, I would definitely
consider another. One cosmetic item I would
change, and that would be for an alternate torch inlay
with tortoiseshell head stock.
Model Year: 2000
Price: $0.00 (new)
Where Obtained: Mars Music
Manufactured in Nazareth, PA., the back and sides
are made from Indian Rosewood. The soundboard
is Adirondack Spruce and the freboard from ebony.
This six string acoustic is a 25.4" scale length and
joined at the 14th fret with a total of 20 frets.
The fretboard and bindings are bound with typical
Martin grained ivoroid bindings. Abalone inlays
adorn the rosette and top purfling. The tuners
are gold Waverly tuning gears with 'butterbean'
knobs. The ebony bridge also is appointed with
45-style snowflakes on each side.The guitar is
finished with aging toner to give a golden patina.
Although the guitar at first hand felt stiff and
unyielding, it gave way to an aggressive style of
playing that I am unaccustomed to. "Digging in" as it
were, to coax the guitar into driving the top so that the
true nature of its resonance can be heard was, in the
beginning, a difficult chore.
The factory action and setup was typical Martin
fashion. What felt like standard Martin M-1200
bronze strings, the action was set slightly high.
The 1 3/4" neck felt large by comparison to the low
profile 1 5/16" necks on modern Martins. After a two
hour play test, the neck became quite comfortable
and at times inviting. Finger-style guitarists will
welcome the added real estate. I am still tempted to
try this guitar configuration with a 1 7/8" neck,
although 1/8" does make a significant difference in
comfort and strength requirements. (Barring,
Prior to considering this guitar, I play tested a
number of comparable guitars, including Santa Cruz,
Taylor and Breedlove. The Breedlove guitars had an
immediacy and openness about them. The
Breedlove guitars also had a much looser feel to
them and a greater comfort level when playing them.
Their overall weight was also noticeably lighter. In
comparison, the Breedloves do not welcome the
same aggressive style of playing as the OM-42.
Breedlove guitar tops gave more but suffered in
volume, whereas the OM-42 would invite a higher
level of attack and produce corresponding volume.
After an initial period of playing the instrument, it
began to breathe. The more aggressive I played it,
the better it sang. This instrument is well balanced
and has a slight dominance in the upper mid
register. The bass response is well proportioned
and does not project a boominess found in
Dreadnoughts. The highs have a ring to them and
do not have a shrill or tinny sound. Intonation was
very good. The guitar held together throughout the
registers and did not favor a position. (First, fifth,
The overall tone was warm and full in the lower
registers and complimentary in the mid and high
registers. I was seeking a guitar that would
articulate finger-style and flat-picking styles with a
more robust sound compared to my maple back and
sides Martin MC-68. This fits this niche quite well.
I have yet to compare the OM-42 in the studio and
live with a D-45. An addendum will follow as soon as
a verdict is in.
Martins have a longstanding reputation for building
durable and quality instruments. This instrument is
no exception to those standards. I do not foresee
any problems in the near or distant future, provided
that I take the usual precautions and care that is