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Thread: do you own/have experience with a Martin Style 5 Terz?

  1. #1
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    Default do you own/have experience with a Martin Style 5 Terz?

    thank you to my mandolin peeps for any info on this uber cool instrument. to me the Terz is almost like an amalgamation of the mandolin, dulcimer and ukulele(some of my favorite instruments).


    for well over a year, maybe longer, i've had this spot in the left side of my brain, deep inside, that pulses and ignites the desire to acquire one of these Martins.

    anybody thats looked at one knows they are not cheap, they are a niche instrument, and there i stand and stare at this extra tiny rabbit hole(possibly gold lined hole-and not just because of the cost of these guitars).

    i enjoy a lot of small instruments, mandolin, lap dulcimer, Ukulele, and everything these days i tend to want small body and light weight(includes electrics). i think one of these belong.

    for years i've listened to a CD titles "autumn" by mark nelson(which i found out about here on the Cafe many years ago). its an instrumental album using dulcimer, small guitar, hummel, and midi-dulcimer. its an extremely peaceful/calming album and i've always enjoyed the tones that the album carries. i think the Terz would be at home on this album-and i wonder if Mark did not in fact use one as the "guitar".

    so, i have reached that place where i am intently looking at these tiny Martins. would enjoy hearing what anyone else has found out with ownership or play of one.

    i already own a Larrivee T-40, quite an amazing solid wood just under 23" scale spruce/mahogany powerhouse that is wonderful. but the Martin Terz takes "small" to another level, and from what i've heard, brings forth beautiful tone and rich sustain.

    if you don't mind, tell me the woods used in yours, and has the binding fell off yet-lol, but serious. and i'm allowed to make fun of this because i own an absolute monster reimagined 00-18(binding still intact). i definitely fall into the spruce/mahogany camp on these little guys.

    thanks
    d
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=57U94Ltcreo



    i think this next video is in standard tuning-sounds like it to me
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aShyzop8TFg

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    Default Re: do you own/have experience with a Martin Style 5 Terz?

    I haven't had a Martin 5, but I had a Washburn that was the same size. Tuned up a 3rd, it was great, and I used it for some performing. It miced really well, better that our regular guitars. If you are going to tune it to standard, you may have to fool with string gauges.
    THE WORLD IS A BETTER PLACE JUST FOR YOUR SMILE!

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    Default Re: do you own/have experience with a Martin Style 5 Terz?

    a 5-15 or 18 is a bucket list item for me

    Marty Robbins did it justice!


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    Default Re: do you own/have experience with a Martin Style 5 Terz?

    We have a 1971 Martin 5-35. Yes, I know. People don’t believe that there was ever a 5-35 produced by Martin. But they made at least one. We’ve even got the original factory hang tag; Martin listed the price at $300. EIR back and sides; three-piece back; Sitka top. My wife and I came across it a few years back and were struck with its voice. In my opinion, the 5-18 is much crisper sounding and therefore a much better selection for the majority of Size 5 playing. But if Travis-picked just right, this 5-35 has a beautiful voice. (Scroll down to see photos).

    I may be providing information that the OP and others already know, but for those who are not aware of the idiosyncrasies of a Size 5 guitar, the tuning and the strings are the key to encouraging these guitars to really stand out. Here is a letter from Dick Boak of C. F. Martin & Company that was sent to many who purchased one of the re-issues:

    Dear Martin Enthusiasts,

    The fact that you are reading this letter means you are probably one of a select group to have in your possession one of the Size 5 “Mini-Martin” guitars. These little instruments are very close to my heart and I am proud to have played a part in reviving them for this special Martin edition. As many of you know, Size 5 Martin models came to be known as “terz” guitars because the instrument was invariably tuned to a minor third (3 half notes) above standard guitar tuning or G, C, F, Bb, d, g.

    The Mini-Martin is equipped from the factory with Martin MSP-4050 Custom Light “SP” Phosphor Bronze strings. I recommend that you first tune your Mini-Martin to standard pitch (E, A, D, G, b, e). You’ll see that the strings are not stretched quite tight enough. Play the bass “G” note at the third fret, then tune the low “E” string up to that note. Accordingly, tune all of the remaining strings up three half steps to achieve the terz tuning: G, C, F, Bb, d, g. Now the strings will feel more correctly tensioned.

    I personally prefer to string my personal Size 5 instrument with a customized “high string” or “Nashville tuning” set. This is similar to using the high strings only from a 12-string set. The first four (bass) strings are thus an octave higher while the two treble strings remain unchanged. I first saw such as string set when I visited Paul Simon. I was so impressed, I came back and experimented with a variety of gauges. My clear preference is:

    Standard Pitch Gauge Terz Tuning Bb Tuning
    E .025” wound G (one octave higher) F
    A .017” plain C (one octave higher) Bb
    D .013” plain F (one octave higher) F
    G .008” plain Bb (one octave higher) Bb
    B .012” plain d d
    e .010” plain g f

    I have enclosed a customized set of these “high” strings. They have an extremely sweet, almost “piano-like” tone. I encourage you to experiment with both standard and alternate tunings using these strings. For example, tuning the two G strings down a full step to F and the C string down to a Bb, yields an open Bb tuning. These string sets are not yet available in stores, so if you fall in love with this tuning, you might want to pick up individual string gauges to make up your own sets. I hope you enjoy the Mini-Martin as much as I do!

    Sincerely,


    dick boak
    C. F. Martin & Co., Inc.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Click image for larger version. 

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    Last edited by NursingDaBlues; Jul-07-2021 at 8:04am.

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    Default Re: do you own/have experience with a Martin Style 5 Terz?

    I owned a terz style guitar that was made by a local luthier. It was a fabulous guitar and I loved it…when I played it. I would take it to jams and camps but most - including pros - just weren’t that into it. Since I don’t play much guitar I used a capo and would chord along, I think it really added something to the mix of instruments. Since I didn’t play it I sold it a few years ago…kinda wish I hadn’t now.
    Northfield F5M #268, AT02 #7

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    Default Re: do you own/have experience with a Martin Style 5 Terz?

    Quote Originally Posted by NursingDaBlues View Post
    We have a 1971 Martin 5-35. Yes, I know. People don’t believe that there was ever a 5-35 produced by Martin. But they made at least one. We’ve even got the original factory hang tag; Martin listed the price at $300. EIR back and sides; three-piece back; Sitka top. My wife and I came across it a few years back and were struck with its voice. In my opinion, the 5-18 is much crisper sounding and therefore a much better selection for the majority of Size 5 playing. But if Travis-picked just right, this 5-35 has a beautiful voice. (Scroll down to see photos).

    I may be providing information that the OP and others already know, but for those who are not aware of the idiosyncrasies of a Size 5 guitar, the tuning and the strings are the key to encouraging these guitars to really stand out. Here is a letter from Dick Boak of C. F. Martin & Company that was sent to many who purchased one of the re-issues:

    Dear Martin Enthusiasts,

    The fact that you are reading this letter means you are probably one of a select group to have in your possession one of the Size 5 “Mini-Martin” guitars. These little instruments are very close to my heart and I am proud to have played a part in reviving them for this special Martin edition. As many of you know, Size 5 Martin models came to be known as “terz” guitars because the instrument was invariably tuned to a minor third (3 half notes) above standard guitar tuning or G, C, F, Bb, d, g.

    The Mini-Martin is equipped from the factory with Martin MSP-4050 Custom Light “SP” Phosphor Bronze strings. I recommend that you first tune your Mini-Martin to standard pitch (E, A, D, G, b, e). You’ll see that the strings are not stretched quite tight enough. Play the bass “G” note at the third fret, then tune the low “E” string up to that note. Accordingly, tune all of the remaining strings up three half steps to achieve the terz tuning: G, C, F, Bb, d, g. Now the strings will feel more correctly tensioned.

    I personally prefer to string my personal Size 5 instrument with a customized “high string” or “Nashville tuning” set. This is similar to using the high strings only from a 12-string set. The first four (bass) strings are thus an octave higher while the two treble strings remain unchanged. I first saw such as string set when I visited Paul Simon. I was so impressed, I came back and experimented with a variety of gauges. My clear preference is:

    Standard Pitch Gauge Terz Tuning Bb Tuning
    E .025” wound G (one octave higher) F
    A .017” plain C (one octave higher) Bb
    D .013” plain F (one octave higher) F
    G .008” plain Bb (one octave higher) Bb
    B .012” plain d d
    e .010” plain g f

    I have enclosed a customized set of these “high” strings. They have an extremely sweet, almost “piano-like” tone. I encourage you to experiment with both standard and alternate tunings using these strings. For example, tuning the two G strings down a full step to F and the C string down to a Bb, yields an open Bb tuning. These string sets are not yet available in stores, so if you fall in love with this tuning, you might want to pick up individual string gauges to make up your own sets. I hope you enjoy the Mini-Martin as much as I do!

    Sincerely,


    dick boak
    C. F. Martin & Co., Inc.
    Thank you for all this info, so far I'm not finding a lot of info unless it's from someone who owns/plays one.
    Such a cool little instrument.
    d

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  12. #7
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    Default Re: do you own/have experience with a Martin Style 5 Terz?

    If you are reluctant to spend the $ on a Martin, Pono makes them.....

    https://reverb.com/item/8594375-pono...r-ebony-w-ohsc

    NFI
    Last edited by Charles E.; Jul-07-2021 at 10:37am.
    Charley

    A bunch of stuff with four strings

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    Default Re: do you own/have experience with a Martin Style 5 Terz?

    very cool 5-35!

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    Default Re: do you own/have experience with a Martin Style 5 Terz?

    Quote Originally Posted by Charles E. View Post
    If you are reluctant to spend the $ on a Martin, Pono makes them.....

    https://reverb.com/item/8594375-pono...r-ebony-w-ohsc

    NFI
    thanks for posting this, i didnt know they made these. i like the neck specs a lot of this Pono also-especially the 2 1/4" saddle string spacing(Martin has 2 1/8" and i was on the fence line about that a lot). i will check these out for sure.
    d

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    Default Re: do you own/have experience with a Martin Style 5 Terz?

    I hope I did lead you astray, I can't find a single Pono Terz guitar for sale and the Pono website does not appear to work.
    Charley

    A bunch of stuff with four strings

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  19. #11
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    Default Re: do you own/have experience with a Martin Style 5 Terz?

    If you are interested in the Pono, The Mandolin Store carries the Terz size octave mandolin. You might ask Dennis if the six string Terz is available.

    Good hunting!
    Charley

    A bunch of stuff with four strings

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  21. #12
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    Default Re: do you own/have experience with a Martin Style 5 Terz?

    Many folks here may not be old enough to remember her, but Bobbie Gentry also played a Martin 5-18. I can’t remember the source, but I read in an article that the original release of “Ode to Billy Joe” was produced from a demo tape she had submitted to the record company. Just her and the guitar. The strings were later added to the demo and then released as a record. Nonetheless, the recordings of her playing provide a very good representation of a mahogany Martin Terz sound.


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  23. #13
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    Default Re: do you own/have experience with a Martin Style 5 Terz?

    Quote Originally Posted by Charles E. View Post
    I hope I did lead you astray, I can't find a single Pono Terz guitar for sale and the Pono website does not appear to work.
    I meant to say "I hope I did Not lead you astray".
    Charley

    A bunch of stuff with four strings

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    Default Re: do you own/have experience with a Martin Style 5 Terz?

    Quote Originally Posted by Charles E. View Post
    I meant to say "I hope I did Not lead you astray".
    no prob, i appreciate the link and info. gives me more options to look around.

    d

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    Default Re: do you own/have experience with a Martin Style 5 Terz?

    Quote Originally Posted by NursingDaBlues View Post
    Many folks here may not be old enough to remember her, but Bobbie Gentry also played a Martin 5-18. I can’t remember the source, but I read in an article that the original release of “Ode to Billy Joe” was produced from a demo tape she had submitted to the record company. Just her and the guitar. The strings were later added to the demo and then released as a record. Nonetheless, the recordings of her playing provide a very good representation of a mahogany Martin Terz sound.

    wow, this was great to watch. i remember this when i was very very young, had forgotten about it for decades, the video was so neat.
    thanks for posting
    d

  27. #16
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    Default Re: do you own/have experience with a Martin Style 5 Terz?

    I have two Martin 5-21Ts. They are Brazilian rosewood and spruce, louder than their size might dictate, and can sing oh so sweet single lines or chord it like an. octave mandolin.
    I keep one tuned GDAE as an octave mandolin, the other in various banjo tunings DGBD, CGCD etc.
    Let me know if you have questions
    Be yourself, everyone else is taken.
    Favorite Mandolin of the week: 2013 Collings MF Gloss top.

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  29. #17
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    Default Re: do you own/have experience with a Martin Style 5 Terz?

    Quote Originally Posted by JGWoods View Post
    I have two Martin 5-21Ts. They are Brazilian rosewood and spruce, louder than their size might dictate, and can sing oh so sweet single lines or chord it like an. octave mandolin.
    I keep one tuned GDAE as an octave mandolin, the other in various banjo tunings DGBD, CGCD etc.
    Let me know if you have questions
    thanks for posting, this is very interesting about tuning like an octave mandolin so the fingering positions would be immediately familiar. i do have some questions. on those tunings, the only Terz i've seen are six strings, so are yours only 4 string? or are you tuning some strings in a duplicate? help me with this first because i don't understand. any chance you could post some soundclips in octave mando tuning?

    thank you, i am totally naive with the whole Terz scene so i'm at step 1-lol

    d

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