Martin MMV Acoustic Guitar – Jim Fusco’s Guitar Collection

By Jim Fusco:

Welcome to my new series: “Jim Fusco’s Guitar Collection”! ¬†I was going to go with a more search-engine friendly name like “Singer-Songwriter-Musician Jim Fusco’s Acoustic and Electric Guitar Collection”, but figured I’d go for simplicity on this one. ūüôā

The first entry in my guitar collection series is my acoustic guitar. ¬†That actually kind of sounds odd to me- my singular acoustic guitar. ¬†Yes, I also have an acoustic-electric guitar from Seagull, but the Martin MMV is my one and only true acoustic guitar. ¬†It doesn’t have any electronics in it, and that’s 100% fine by me. ¬†I actually didn’t want an acoustic guitar with electronics in it because I wanted an old-fashioned heirloom type instrument that I could play for the rest of my life and pass-down to my family for generations. ¬†I think I found the perfect guitar for that purpose!Martin MMV Acoustic Guitar

The Martin MMV acoustic guitar was originally made in 2005, though I bought mine in 2009 (and it was made in 2008, I believe). The guitar features all-wood construction with a solid Sitka Spruce top, East Indian Rosewood back and sides (that smells wonderful, by the way), a mahogany neck, and an ebony fretboard. ¬†It has a mortise and tenon neck joint, which I know some people frown upon, but honestly, I think anyone would be hard-pressed to hear any differences between that and a set-in neck. ¬†Plus, I think this method actually makes the guitar stronger so it’ll last in its current condition that much longer.

The guitar features a light gloss finish. ¬†It has some very simple inlays around the sound hole and fake pearl inlays in the fretboard. ¬†The Martin logo at the top is a stick-on gold nameplate, as opposed to the inlayed “C. F. Martin” that’s featured on the much more expensive models.

The tone of this guitar is, in my opinion, truly amazing. ¬†It’s loud, punchy, and projects the bass very well. ¬†The sound is very “tight”, as well. ¬†I thought my Seagull acoustic electric sounded fantastic when I first got it. ¬†But then I played it next to my Martin and it was no contest. ¬†The Martin just sounds great from the start. ¬†It almost sounds like it’s already been recorded, if that makes any sense. ¬†The guitar’s sound is just perfectly in tune and sparkles, especially on a standard “D” chord where it’s mostly higher-pitch notes.Head of Martin MMV Acoustic Guitar

I truly believe the Martin MMV acoustic guitar to be the best overall value in higher-end acoustic guitars. ¬†It has the high-end sound without a high-end price. ¬†The only sacrifice is that it doesn’t look very flashy. ¬†But, I didn’t buy it to look great. ¬†I bought it to sound professional on all of my future recordings. ¬†I’d be happy to field any questions on the sound, the materials, or anything else regarding the Martin MMV acoustic guitar!

Finish-up Those Christmas Lists: A Musician’s Guitar Collection, Wish List, and Recommendations

By Jim Fusco:

Christmas is almost here and that means your list is probably complete and you’re just waiting for the big day- and hoping that you’ll get that special guitar you’ve always wanted!¬† Well, if you haven’t made your Christmas list yet, or if you’re looking for an idea for the guitar player in your life, then look no further.¬† I am here to take you on a journey through my guitar collection and my wish-list, which will hopefully give you some ideas.¬† Below each guitar will be a description and reasons why I have it and what makes it different from the others.¬† I’ll even give you tips on what to buy for each type of guitar player!¬† So, let’s get started…

My Guitar Collection:

Ibanez Artcore AM73T Semi-Hollow Body Electric Guitar


Without a doubt, this will always be my favorite piece of hardware.¬† It’s just perfect- the styling is classic, there’s great symmetry, and it has that wonderful Bigsby tremolo.¬† If you’re a classic rock’n’roll fan, this is definitely the guitar for you.¬† I channel Chuck Berry when playing this axe and the semi-hollow body style is perfect for a much fuller sound than you’d get from a solid-body.¬† So, I purchased this guitar for three reasons: a) it was literally a tenth of the price of a Gibson that looked exactly the same, b) it’s simply beautiful, and c) it has that great old-fashioned guitar sound.

I will note that I ended up changing the pickups on this to make it a “hotter” (louder) sound.¬† I put in some serious Gibson pickups and now this thing really rocks!

Ibanez ARX320 Solid-Body Electric Guitar


The Ibanez above may be my overall favorite guitar, but this one is my favorite electric to play.¬† It’s much lighter than the Artcore guitar above (which induces a large amount of back pain) and is beautiful, as well.¬† The guitar doesn’t have a ton of features- no whammy bar, no tremolo or anything like that.¬† But, when I need to rock and it needs to be loud and “cutting”, I pick this guitar up.¬† It’s a really good multi-purpose guitar.

The guitar is even prettier in person than in the photo- trust me on this one.¬† There’s good sound and this guitar is a good one for any type of rock music, as it can play both clean and with a lot of distortion.¬† I asked for this guitar because it looked great, was very inexpensive at the time (it has since gone up for some reason over $100 to $449!), and gives that straight-ahead electric guitar sound without sounding as retro as my Artcore.

Dean Boca 12-String Electric Guitar


Ah, the newest weapon in my arsenal- this guitar is a great value.¬† Try looking for a 12-string electric guitar online for less than $1,000.¬† It’s just about impossible, other than the Dean Boca.¬† I really wanted a new guitar (I had three in mind) because Musician’s Friend had a 20% off sale going.¬† So, I chose this guitar over the other two because I would get a different sound.¬† That 12-string sound, used on songs by the Byrds, the Beatles, and many, many others, is so distinctive.¬† I know I’ll be using this in almost every song I record in the future.¬† I hope to make it a signature sound of mine, especially because 12-string electrics really aren’t used much in today’s popular “rock” music anymore.

This guitar is definitely for the throwback musician or a guitarist that has tried everything and needs a new sound.¬† And I would highly recommend this one in particular, as it plays great, sounds great, and looks fantastic.¬† At around $300, you can’t go wrong, and it’s a guitar I’ll have for life.

Fender Jazz Bass Special Edition


How I got this one?¬† Well, let’s just say I got it from a desperate person that just wanted to get rid of it.¬† And, boy am I glad he did!¬† Let me begin by saying that I had an electric bass already (a really good one, too), but when someone offers you a new Fender Jazz Bass Special Edition for $125, you DON’T say no.¬† You hand over the money and grab that guitar as quickly as possible.

And that’s what I did!¬† This thing weighs a ton, but the sound is great- it even smells great due to the quality woods they used.¬† They style, which is just a natural wood finish, is really beautiful.¬† Unless I break down and buy either a Hofner bass or a Rickenbacker bass in the future, I really don’t see myself needing anything more than this Fender Jazz Bass.¬† This one’s good for all types of musicians from rock to blues to whatever!

Rouge Lap Steel Guitar


This one’s just for fun- my parents are always looking for new instruments for me to try and they thought this would be a good idea.¬† And I love it!¬† I’ve always loved that lap steel/pedal steel sound.¬† There have been some great solos done in rock music on these lap steel guitars.¬† And I’ve already come up with a couple of solos for some new songs I’ve been working on.¬† This particular one is a quality instrument, as well.

This is a great guitar for “classic rock” (70’s) fans and country-rock players.¬† But, I’m going to attempt to use it in some creative ways in my music, so I hope you’ll stay-tuned!

Ibanez AEG10 Acoustic-Electric Guitar


I asked for this acoustic-electric because we were playing more live shows and I needed something that was easier than using a microphone or an acoustic pickup.¬† This isn’t the greatest guitar in the world, but it does have a nice Fishman pickup‚Ķthat blew out on me and I had to have repaired.¬† Alone, I wouldn’t play this as a normal acoustic, but when plugged-in, it definitely gets the job done, especially for the price.

Ibanez AW100 Acoustic Guitar


This is my first real guitar.¬† I wanted an acoustic that was around $300 and I asked the guy at Guitar Center which one to get.¬† And then my love for Ibanez began.¬† This guitar is great- I will admit that the frets are now worn-down, but other than that, it’s a great solid-top acoustic that sounds bright and stays in tune well.

Laurel Mandolin

I was given this guitar as another “see if he likes it” gift- and this one was a real home-run!¬† I love playing the mandolin and this is a quality instrument, as well.¬† If you know someone that plays in an acoustic band, really recommend one of these- it adds a great folky dimension to the sound and can be great for soloing, too.

Arrow ST-369 Classical Acoustic Guitar


If you’ve ever seen my acoustic cover song music videos on the Laptop Sessions music blog or on YouTube, then you’ve seen this guitar.¬† Coming in at about 45 Euro and making the trip across the Atlantic home with me is this nylon string acoustic guitar.¬† It’s small, so it’s very portable.¬† It’s not very loud, but in a nice room, the tone is really great.¬† It’s SO easy to play- I honestly play this guitar more than any others because I can just sit down and feel like I’m a pro.¬† It’s fun to solo on this, as well- I really think everyone should have a guitar like this!

Wish-List of Guitars (Relatives, please take note!)

PRS Soapbar Semi-Hollow Electric Guitar


I’ve always loved the look and quality of PRS guitars, but most are very, very expensive.¬† This one combines good looks with a kind of Rickenbacker styling, plus it’s semi-hollow, which gives that great warm sound I like.¬† Problem is that it’s not going to be much of a different sound.¬† I’m just hoping it plays really nicely‚Ķ

Gretsch Double-Jet Solid-Body Electric Guitar with Tremolo


Okay, so I really want a Gretsch.¬† I really would like a Duo Jet (which George Harrison is holding on the cover of “Cloud Nine”), but this guitar is so classic-looking‚Ķand costs about $2,000 less‚Ķ¬† Has the Bigsby tremolo, but this one is solid-body, which should provide a different sound.

Cordoba CK-25 Ukulele


While in Hawaii for our honeymoon, I really wanted a real Koa wood ukulele that was made in Hawaii. ¬†Starting at $700, I figured it was out of my price range for an instrument I’d use so rarely. ¬†And even though I had the opportunity to purchase this Cordoba all Koa wood uke for only $170, I passed on it because of how little I’d use it and the fact that it wasn’t made in Hawaii. ¬†Maybe when we go back for our 25th or something… ūüôā

Fender Player’s Deluxe Stratocaster Solid-Body Electric Guitar


My brother Mike has this guitar and I LOVE it.¬† It plays so well- I need to have it.¬† He has the natural blonde maple fretboard that’s so much easier to play than rosewood, so it’s great for soloing.¬† Plus, I can’t believe I don’t have a Fender electric.¬† I want the blue model with the blonde maple fretboard, but I’d change-out that ugly-looking pickguard.¬† This is a must-have for me someday.

Finally, I’ll say that I would love to get a Martin like my Laptop Sessions partner (and fellow Traveling Acai Berry) Steve.¬† His guitar is BEAUTIFUL and plays like a dream.¬† I understand now why Martin guitars are so expensive.¬† Also, if you’ve seen some of my recent acoustic cover song music videos, you’ve seen my colleague Noreen’s amazing Gibson 12-string acoustic guitar from 1967.¬† Just put that on my “yeah right- not in your lifetime” wishlist!

I hope you’ve enjoyed this trip through my guitar inventory and my wish-list.¬† I hope this gives you some great Christmas, birthday, or any other holiday ideas!¬† And, of course, I would love to hear about your guitars and why you got them- hey, maybe one of your guitars will make it to my wish-list, too!