I've played a lot of Martins, and the M-36 is quite possibly the best kept secret in their lineup. The body is a 0000 size so the sound has the depth I expect from a dreadnought yet maintains all of the focus of an OM body shape. No matter how hard I strum, this guitar holds up, but it's subtle enough for fingerpicking too. There really isn't a style I can't play on this guitar, and I can't imagine finding a better instrument for my taste.
My 1991 M36 Martin (Better with Time)
This guitar combines the best of all the Martins'; and all acoustic guitars rolled into one. After all, there are some really nice guitars out there; but when looking for the best and the #1 in tone and sound there is nothing that compares to a CF Martin Acoustic guitar made in America. In my opinion, the Martin M36 is one of the most balanced yet versatile recording and performing 6 string guitars' on the planet.
I just had to comment on this particular guitar because it was both a memorable and one of the wisest purchases I've ever made. I ordered my Martin M36 in 1991 and went to the Nazareth, PA factory. I was lucky enough to be given an exceptional tour for my birthday and met some of the wonderful men and women who would be making my guitar. The guitar has always sounded so beautiful with the perfect harmonic balance when performing or recording. The action and playability with the, "Rain Forest" ebony fret board that the 1991 M36 came with was exceptional that my friends purchased several small plots of land to be donated back to the Rain Forest in my name because I was so concerned about the cutting of trees to make that Fret Board at the time. Although, I prefer using higher gauge strings and have lived and traveled to different climates, Florida, Canada and Mexican Baja desert, this guitar has never needed an adjustment. I still have the original Fishman electronics as well. Now, here is the really good news...this guitar keeps sounding more beautiful after 5, 10, 15 years as it ages regardless of the climate you live in as long as you take care of it. Finally just when I thought it couldn't sound any better in November of 2016 my Martin M36 had reached it's 25th Birthday. After changing the strings and playing a few tunes the guitar sounded so heavenly that it actually sprouted wings. LOL OK ... I'm kidding; but take the plunge on this guitar. They are out of production and the older ones like my Martin M36 are truly more valuable and superb in sound.
I fell in love with this model about 10 years ago when I played it in Nashville and couldn't get it out of my system. I finally purchased one and have not been disappointed. I can't figure out why on earth this guitar isn't more popular. It has the comfort of the 000/0000 size but with a little more volume because of a little wider lower bout. It plays like butter and has the classic Martin tone as well as the quality craftsmanship you expect from Martin. I had a Matrix Infinity pickup installed and I love it. It has very crisp, clear sound without any quack and I think it is a very true representation of what the guitar sounds like unplugged. I play it straight without a preamp or any EQ adjustments whatsoever and it's beautiful. This is the guitar is amazing!
A d28 and d18 all in one
This is such a beautiful sounding guitar. Each note, each chord of the M-36 just resonates so clear and smooth. This guitar Is like having two guitars in one a D-28 and a 000-18. I read all the reviews and did my homework and it may take me awhile to pay it off with interest free financing but this guitar will be with me forever. This is a beautiful guitar, a sleeper that you don't hear about much by Martin or its retailers. All this coupled with excellent customer service by Sweetwater Sales Reps makes it a most gratifying investment. Thanks Delvin for highly recommending this guitar and to the Sweetwater Team.
I ordered this guitar a couple of months ago and what a fabulous guitar. Right out of the box it played like no other acoustic I've ever had. Ryan at Sweetwater did an excellent job of working with me and putting the transaction together. Thanks Ryan and all at Sweetwater Music.
Great balanced sound -- underrated gem
I was nervous about this guitar because it's not well-known in the Martin lineup. To me it's a great combination -- smaller-bodied with scalloped bracing, with the wonderful D-35 style back. I love it!!
Exceptional Guitar and Service!
This is my first Martin (my father has a D-35) and my first purchase from Sweetwater. Owned Taylor 314, 614ce and 816ce and loved all three very much, but I wanted to add "Martin" sound without buying a D-shape as I already had access to one if needed. I loved the Taylor neck profile and feel, but something was missing in tone (for me). Andy Plank recommended the M-36 as having a very balanced sound, yet still had far more volume and low end than my previous guitars. It's not a cannon like a D-28/35, but this has the absolute best balance and volume I've ever heard out of a guitar. These are hard to find, but I'm THRILLED I purchased mine. Also can't say enough about the Sweetwater experience, top-to-bottom. Was most impressed with the service AFTER the sale, which is rare these days. This M-36 has become my number 1 acoustic and Sweetwater has become my number 1 product/service provider. I'm extremely happy and surprised on both fronts. Again, for a full range tone with really exceptional balanced voicing, tone and volume, definitely give the M-36 strong consideration.
Hidden gem - Martin quality you've come to expect
This is not a well known model but believe me if everyone had the chance to try one out it would be one of Martins best sellers. The sound and tone are what you've come to expect from Martin and the look, especially with the 3 piece back.......we'll I was blown away. It's very comfortable to play as well. It's sounds terrific today and I can't wait to hear what it sounds like 5, 10 years from now because it will only get better. I also have an HD-28 and I would put the 36 on the same level. Truly a hidden gem in the Martin catalog.
If only one guitar.....
I love my M36. Its the perfect balance between a small and big bodied guitar. Its comfortable to play standing up and sitting down. The tone is very well balanced. The bass is not to boomy, and the mids are not to shrill. My perfect guitar, no, really....
I love acoustic guitars. I currently have a J-45, and a HD-28. Had I bought this guitar first, I don't think I would have the others. It's perfect for my playing style, finger picking, and strumming. Martin really gives this guitar a lot of bang for the buck; it's priced lower than the HD-28, but has a three-piece back, white binding up the fret board, beveled pick guard, and finally the aging toner on top.
The sound is perfect, not too much bass or highs, but a great mixture. These are really hard to find in music stores; I got mine right here at Sweetwater, and as always the purchase price was the best I could find.
Martin's best kept secret is the M series guitars!
You Will Love It!!!
While searching for a quality guitar with a balanced sound I discovered the Martin M-36. Has the feel and depth of a 000 size but is slightly larger with a bit more volume and bottom end. Great all around instrument. The beautiful vintage toned top is what attracted me, but the comfort and tone is why I bought it. I've never read a negative review on this guitar. Now I understand why!
For years I wanted a D-35 with the three piece back, but I already had a D-28 (purchased new in 1971) and didn't want another dread. I learned about the M-36 some years back and also learned they were out of production. Not sure when they started back up, but I saw and played one at another shop and was hooked. Bought mine at Sweetwater a couple months ago and never looked back. Tone, balance, volume.....this guitar has it all. In my almost 50 years of playing, this is my all time fave. And that includes two Taylors, a Gibson, a Guild etc. Being an acoustic junkie, I'm always looking. No more. This guitar really speaks to me. If I had one small knock it would be the rosewood bridge. Just from a cosmetic stand point. Otherwise, it's at a time in my life to start thinning out the herd, But this I will keep when all others are gone
I recently bought an M-36 because I couldn't find a D/HD-28 or 35 that spoke to me. The M-36 has a nice balanced tone, with more midrange than a dreadnought. The bass is not as big and boomy as a dread but it's still very nice. The high end is downright creamy. It's hard to explain but its as if the harsher frequencies were rolled of. The high b and e string aren't spanky sounding (like maybe a D18) - they're very warm and sophisticated. I love it. It's one of the the best treble tones I've heard.
The M-36 is basically a jumbo sized top -but with a narrower side (kinda like a 000). I guess it's technically a 0000 Grand Auditorium. It's comfortable for a singer-songwriter who stands while performing b/c it is a little narrower. It's preferable to a dread in that respect b/c it's easier to get your arm around.
Finger picking and flat-picking / cross-picking sound fantastic. Strumming is very, very good (although for the big heavy handed strumming I'd probably prefer a D/HD -28,35 etc.) But only in that aspect does the dreadnought surpass this shape. It is so much more articulate and it sounds so rich.
The only negative for me was the 1&11/16 width nut and smaller neck. I have larger hands so the 1&3/4 nut and perhaps a V style neck would make it a perfect 5 for me.