This guitar is outstanding - so well balanced, and so sweet toned. And fine to look at, too. I believe they are now selling this only as a custom and calling it a 0000 size. If you can find one, try it out - you won't put it down!
Model Year: 1997
Where Obtained: Used
1997 Martin M-38 with Pure Abalone Heart Rosette, Gold-Plated Tuners, Bound Fingerboard and Peghead, Ebony Fretboard and Bridge, Fancy 45-Style Backstrip.
This guitars top has the most perfectly silked, quartersawn top of any guitar I have ever examined. As a result, its response to even the lightest touch is immediate, strong and luscious. If you want that classic Martin tone all the way from the low E string to the 20th fret on the high E, this is very likely your dream instrument. It is also perfect for open tunings.
I have the M-38 set up with crisp, low action 7/64 at the low E 12th fret to 5/64 on the high E. It is effortless to fret at any position on any string.
This guitar is pretty to look at, but that isnt why I bought it the only reason I buy a guitar is for its sound. The tone of this M-38 is in the top 1% of Martin guitars, both new and vintage. It satisfies remarkably well for both delicate fingerpicking and heavier rhythm and flatpick leads.
For both recording and live performance, the M series Martins are far more versatile than the bigger dreadnoughts and jumbos. Theres plenty of body to the low notes, but no oversized air space to boom out feedback or create muddiness in chords.
I have recently installed a Seymour Duncan Mag Mike pickup (soundhole) and play it through a Fender Acoustisonic SFX - the sound will blow you away... Fantastic!
Never needed a truss rod adjustment since I've had it, but I believe the previous owner had it set up professionally. Holds tune FOREVER. Set it once and it is rock steady.