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000 vs OM: Why Choose one Over the Other?
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Adaboy

Total Topics: 64
Total Posts: 514
I've been looking at kits and wondering which size I would like to build for my daughters. I'm not familiar with an OM sized guitar but after looking it appears close in size to the 000. Is the OM designed for steel strings? Does an OM kit have a different bracing pattern than a 000 kit would (X bracing)?

Why would you choose one model over the other? I would guess the OM has a smaller upper bout. The lower bout looks similar sized. Not sure if the thickness is similar. Do they sound similar?

Oct 27, 08 | 6:46 pm
livermo1

Total Topics: 20
Total Posts: 65
Adaboy,
Depending on where you look and who you ask, at times the two are one in the same. The biggest notable difference is that is the OM is traditionally a longer scale length than the OOO. Scalloped bracing is another difference you might find between the two as well as nut width.

There are others who may give a better description, but those are the differences in my mind.

If memory serves correct, the OM was developed at about the same time as the Dreadnaught. You might find that the original 000 instruments were 12 fret instruments while the OM was 14 fretter. The longer scale, scalloped bracing and nut width made it attractive to people looking to compete with those darn banjos.

When I'm suiting up a kid with a guitar, I think about how big they are going to be when they are adults and find a body size that they will be able to comfortably hold.

Then I build the loudest thing I can within the size limitations. Its always a hit.

Good luck,

Dave

Oct 27, 08 | 7:08 pm
Dennis Weatherly

Total Topics: 73
Total Posts: 651
A quick look at Martin's web site shows that they offer the OM in 14-fret long scale (25.4"). There are a lot of OM models and I didn't check all of them, but I did look at more than half and they were all long scale. Martin offers the 000 in 14-fret in both long and short (24.9") scale, although the short scale seems to be the "normal" version. I also noticed that both OM and 000 can be had with a wide or narrow neck, although most of the OM's seem to be standard with the wide neck.

Oct 27, 08 | 9:23 pm
Bill Cory

Total Topics: 158
Total Posts: 3584
Adaboy -- I would suggest this. There is a book, probably at your library or a bookstore, named "Acoustic Guitar," published by Hal Leonard Co., and written by Teja Gerken, Michael Simmons, Frank Ford and Richard Johnston (two of whom are big names in the acoustic guitar world - Gerken is Sr. Editor at Acoustic Guitar magazine, and Ford is owner and world-class acoustic repair guy at Gryphon Music in California, and creator of http://www.frets.com [go see it]).

Anyhoo, the book, Acoustic Guitar, has a lot of information about everything to do with Acoustic guitars, including a lot about the 000 12-fret (12 frets clear of the body), the 000-14 fret, and the OM, or "Orchestra Model," which normally has 14 frets.

Like Dave Livermore said above, the nomenclature is mixed up depending on whose guitars you are talking about. Basically, though, the "000" in its traditional form is best illustrated by the Stewmac 000 kit, while the OM's best example is the Martin OM/000 kits. (Why did I include both OM/000, because that's how Martin talks about them: They are one of the culprits of the confusion.)

PICTURES: Here's a screen shot of Martin's listing of their OM-28. Note the Body Style is listed as "000"


HEre's the front of Stewmac's Kit manual for their 000 kit.


A good source of comparison of body sizes from Martin is available here (some are availble in kits):
http://www.martinguitar.com/guitars/features/shapes.html

And here's a page that shows body outlines; these jive with Martin's specs above, but the "000" body style, originally invented by Martin, is shown here as being the same as the OM style. It's only that way in Martin's mind. (See the Stewmac kit above, which is the actual original 000 shape created by -- you guessed it -- Martin.)


Lotsa info if you look for it.

Oct 28, 08 | 5:06 am
Adaboy

Total Topics: 64
Total Posts: 509
Thanks for the responses Dave, Dennis, and Bill......very helpful. Great links too!

The plot does thicken somewhat. <smile> I must say that the Concert 0 body style is interesting.....anyone ever built one of these?

I've not decided what I want to build for sure but was thinking of something along the lines of the 000 28 Norman Blake. It appears to have the shorter, 24.9" scale length and with the 12th fret at the body the neck doesn't stick out quite so far which might be better for the girls. On another post I read where the bridge is a little closer to teh center of the lower bout whcih may help the sound and IIRC, the X bracing is shifted forward which may also help the bass on the smaller guitar. Could you build this guitar using the StewMac 000 kit? Will StewMac let you customize the kit at all? I wouldn't mind getting wood with some decent figure.....like bear claw on the top or wood with nice contrast on the back and sides......even if it meant switching the back and sides to another wood like sapelle etc.


Oct 28, 08 | 9:13 am
Herman

Total Topics: 38
Total Posts: 480
Just you first question:
My view is very simple. Are you a strummer, take a Dreadnought. If you are a picker take the OOO. The first has volume, bass and mass. The second has more balance and delicacy.

Oct 28, 08 | 9:30 am
Dennis Weatherly

Total Topics: 73
Total Posts: 651
The Norman Blake model is built using the OM/000 body, which is different than the StewMac 000 kit. Essentially, the Norman Blake is an OM/000 with a short scale, 12 fret neck and the bridge shifted as needed. The StewMac is a 12 fret instrument, the same as the Martin Grand Concert Standard body shape.

I've also been intrigued by the Norman Blake model. I have yet to hear or play one, though. I am curious how the 12-fret neck and short scale will sound and play on the OM/000 body. Personally, I just don't care for the Grand Concert Standard body shape so the Stewac 000 was never really on my wish list.

Oct 28, 08 | 11:59 am
Adaboy

Total Topics: 64
Total Posts: 509
Herman,

I wanted to build a little smaller guitar than a Dreadnaught for my daughters to learn on. That's why I'm considering a 000 or similar. With that said, I love the sound of the Martin Dreadnaughts!

Oct 28, 08 | 2:30 pm
Adaboy

Total Topics: 64
Total Posts: 509
Dennis,

Boy this is confusing! <smile> I thought I understood that mostly teh difference between the OM and the 000 was the neck length......though the neck length could be the same. Bill says the StewMc 000 kit is most similar to an original 000.......but you are saying the StewMc 000 kit is different than the Norman Blake 000 model. See how easily I'm confused! <smile>

What are the differences between the StewMc 000 kit and the Norman Blake 000 sold by Martin? Since you said the NB model 000 is based off the OM/000 body.......I guess I'm asking the same question I asked in the first paragraph. <smile> If you guys have already answered this.....I missed it, sorry. Could the StewMc 000 kit be modifyed without too much trouble to build an NB 000?

Sure appreciate everyone's responses!!! And I apologize if I'm just dense and not picking up on the obvious.

Oct 28, 08 | 2:40 pm
Dennis Weatherly

Total Topics: 73
Total Posts: 651
As far as I know, the StewMac 000 body is what Martin would call a 12-fret Grand Concert shape. The upper bout is elongated a bit and fairly narrow, with the neck end of the body rounded smoothly. This extra body length affects the tone a bit. It also allows the neck to join the body at the 12th fret while positioning the bridge at a good location in the lower bout. I've not played one of these, so I cannot comment on how the tone is different.

The Norman Blake model uses the standard Martin OM/000 body shape, which is shorter than the standard Martin Grand Concert shape. The neck end of the body is more flattened. This body shape is intended to allow a little more room to access the upper frets. The neck would usually join the body at the 14th fret, but on the Norman Blake model Martin is using a "12-fret" neck. Since the neck is two frets "shorter" and the body is also shorter than the Grand Concert, the bridge has to be shifted further away from the sound hole. This moves the bridge down into the wider area of the lower bout, which I have heard can lead to more bass response. Again, I have not played a Norman Blake model so I don't know for sure how it sounds. But the theory looks interesting.

It also allows me to consider a 12-fret guitar without having to live with the"normal" 12-fret body shape :-)

Oct 28, 08 | 2:53 pm
Ken Hundley

Total Topics: 40
Total Posts: 2169
Building for younger people always creates a difficulty, because you really can't design it for them NOW. You have to design it so they grow into it, but don't grow out of it, a daunting task to begin with. My feeling is, that acoording tot he chart that Bill posted, the concert o or grand concert 0 are going to be the best compromise between size, ease of play, and balanced sound. I just personally have never played a 3/4 sized guitar that impressed me. Even if one did, I think it would be something that got played and then traded up, and you don't want to build a stepping stone.

Oct 28, 08 | 3:59 pm
Adaboy

Total Topics: 64
Total Posts: 509
Dennis,

When you say the 000 body is the Grand Concert shape, would that be the shape on Bill's chart above described as the Grand Concert Standard or the shape described as the Grand Concert 00?

Another question, when you say the extra body length of the 000 affects the tone a bit, does it give more bass or more treble or what?

I apologize for so many questions......and I appreciate your patience. Thanks for taking the time to answer!

Oct 28, 08 | 5:20 pm
Adaboy

Total Topics: 64
Total Posts: 509
Ken,

Good advise and I'm now focusing more on the 000 or OM body than the size 5 as I originally thought. That Concert 0 size does look interesting doesn't it! I wonder if you could get a little more bass out of the large lower bout on the Concert 0 body? Would be interesting to know. I've personally never seen a guitar with this body shape. If it gave good bass and still was easy for a teenage girl to play the body size would be a nice tradeoff.

Oct 28, 08 | 5:30 pm
Ken Hundley

Total Topics: 40
Total Posts: 2169
I just got my Acoustic Guitar Magazine, and saw the same chart that Bill posted above in it...the only thing missing from it is the footprint of the parlor guitar, which may be the most appropriate for your daughters, but here is a link to the online version of the article....it is about basic guitar construction with very basic information about terms, sometimes about reasons for choosing one design over another, one material over the other, I thought a very good article for all of us. You may have to sign up for all access, but try it out.

http://www.acousticguitar.com/article/default.aspx?articleid=22872

Oct 28, 08 | 5:36 pm
Adaboy

Total Topics: 64
Total Posts: 509
Here is what one web site had to say about teh difference between the 000 and the OM:

000-size guitars measure about 15 inches at the lower bout. This size has become the blueprint for many "small-bodied" guitars and produces a great balance between volume, tonal balance, and playing comfort. The OM designation used by Martin describes a guitar identical in body size to a 000, but with a slightly longer neck and wider nut (typically 1 3/4 inches instead of the 1 11/16 inches of the 000).

Oct 28, 08 | 6:13 pm
Adaboy

Total Topics: 64
Total Posts: 509
And some more info from Wikipedia:

The Great Depression had a drastic effect on sales, and Martin came up with two further innovations in an attempt to regain business.

One of these was the 14-fret neck, which allowed a greater range of notes, and which was meant to appeal to plectrum banjo players interested in switching to guitar for the increased opportunities for work. Martin alters the shape of its 0-size guitar body to allow a 14 frets clear tenor neck. This follows specific requests from tenor players, primarily Al Esposito, the manager of the Carl Fischer store in New York City. These "Carl Fischer Model" tenors were soon renamed 0-18T. This was the first time Martin had altered one of their original body shapes to accommodate a longer neck with more frets clear of the body.

In addition, a request came to Martin through its correspondence with Perry Bechtel, a well-known banjo player and guitar teacher from Cable Piano in Atlanta, who initially asked that Martin build a guitar with a 15-fret neck-to-body join. Most guitars of the day joined the body at the 12th fret, half the scale length of the string, with the exception of Gibson's L-5 archtop jazz guitars, which already used a design that joined the neck to the body at the 14th fret. In keeping with Bechtel's request, Martin modified the shape of their 12-fret 000-size instrument, lowering the waist and giving the upper bout more acute curves to cause the neck joint to fall at the 14th, rather than the 12th, fret. Since 14-fret guitars were envisioned for use as plectrum instruments, replacing banjos in jazz orchestras, the initial 14-fret 000-shape is known as the Orchestra Model, or OM, a term Martin applied to all 14-fret instruments in its catalogs by the mid- to late-1930s, whether 000/OM shape or not.


Oct 28, 08 | 6:30 pm
livermo1

Total Topics: 20
Total Posts: 65
Adaboy,

If you're not looking to build a stepping stone, then I'd fit the guitars to their mother. Really (and I'm not looking for retort on this. Genetics are pretty strong indicators.)
There's nothing wrong with tuning the instrument down and teaching them with a capo on the third or even fifth fret.

Then again, I'm looking forward to the day when my daughter grows out of her parlor and I can build her another instrument. (plus I love the parlor so much that it would make a great trade for a bigger model.)

Get the plans for a couple different size instruments. Look them over, size things up, then pull the trigger.

Good luck with the decision and most of the build.

Dave


Oct 28, 08 | 7:19 pm
Dennis Weatherly

Total Topics: 73
Total Posts: 651
Adaboy asked:
"When you say the 000 body is the Grand Concert shape, would that be the shape on Bill's chart above described as the Grand Concert Standard or the shape described as the Grand Concert 00?"

The Grand Concert Standard in the chart is most similar to the StewMac 000. You can really see the similarity in body shape from the waist up to the neck.

And also:
"Another question, when you say the extra body length of the 000 affects the tone a bit, does it give more bass or more treble or what?"

I don't know for sure. I do not remember the comments I read regarding regarding the tone, and I have not played one myself. Sorry I can't help you more on that one :-(

Oct 28, 08 | 8:03 pm
Adaboy

Total Topics: 64
Total Posts: 509
Some more info on the 000 Norman Blake model.......

In his years of exploring traditional music, Blake has played his share of Martin guitars, including an early 1930s D-28 and a 1928 00-45. So it came as a surprise when he proposed a truly unique, non-traditional design as his signature guitar. Highlighting a bevy of fresh ideas, the Martin 000-28 and 000-28B Norman Blake Signature Models move the concept of the flatpicking guitar into new territory, one distinguished by distinctive tone and uncommon playing comfort.

The Norman Blake Signature Models combine Martin? 14-fret 000 body style and 24.9?scale length with a 12-fret (to the body) neck. This unique combination allows the top braces to be shifted ?orward?to cross just below the soundhole and places the bridge lower on the top for greater soundboard vibration. A 00 size soundhole (1/8" smaller than 000) and 1/4" width scalloped braces enhance both bass response and dynamic range.

The 000-28 and 000-28B Norman Blake Signature Models are handcrafted from premium solid tonewoods. The top and top braces are fashioned from Adirondack red spruce, highly prized for brilliant timbre. The neck is carved from genuine mahogany. Where the 000-28 and 000-28B differ is in the wood utilized for the back, sides and headplate: standard East Indian rosewood for the 000-28, and rare C.I.T.E.S.-certified Brazilian rosewood for the 000-28B.

Both guitars feature traditional Martin Style 28 body appointments, including a Golden Era Style 28 rosette of black/white wood and ivoroid, fine-pattern herringbone around the top, black/white back purfling around the back, ivoroid top and back binding, a traditional zigzag back strip and an old-style tortoise colored 000 pickguard, elongated and slightly squared in the vintage style, per Norman? request.

:The satin finished neck is a substantial 1 13/16?width at the nut. Carved with a pointed heel but without the traditional diamond volute, it has a special ?orman Blake?modified-V contour for player comfort. The square, tapered headstock with square slots is equipped with Waverly-Sloane tuners featuring engraved bronze mounting plates and ivoroid buttons. The polished headplate displays the familiar old style ?. F. Martin & Co.?decal, while the back of the headstock bears the antique ?.F. Martin & Co.?pressure stamp.

Custom tall, wide frets on the black African ebony fingerboard provide a similar feel to the bar frets that Norman Blake prefers. The unusual modified snowflake abalone fingerboard inlay pattern comes from a unique 00-42 produced by Martin for the Wurlitzer Company in 1922: a Maltese cross at the 3rd fret, two diamonds at the 5th fret, a square at the 7th fret, two diamonds at the 9th fret, a square with cat? eyes at the 12th fret and a cat? eye at the 15th fret. In keeping with Norman Blake? request for design purity, no inlaid signature appears on the fingerboard.

The black African ebony bridge is equipped with fossilized ivory bridge pins with large pearl dots, elements matched by the end pin. Both the nut and long drop-in saddle are crafted from genuine bone. The guitar body receives a polished gloss f inish, with aging toner on the top to accentuate this signature model? vintage style. Left-hand instruments may be ordered without additional cost; factory-installed electronics are available on these models for an additional fee.

Presented in a Geib?style vintage case, each 000-28 and 000-28B Norman Blake Signature Model guitar will bear an internal label personally signed by Norman Blake and Martin Chairman and CEO C.F. Martin IV. In addition, the labels will be numbered in sequence for the specific model. The 000-28B Brazilian rosewood model will be limited to just 100 special instruments, while the the 000-28 Norman Blake Special Edition Signature Model will have an unspecified ordering period.


Oct 29, 08 | 5:47 am
Bill Cory

Total Topics: 158
Total Posts: 3584
Adaboy -- in my experience building two Stewmac 000's (whose body is longer than the dreadnought by a fraction of an inch, but not quite as deep), the bass response is increased with a richness that is not matched by the dreadnought. The dread has a loud, pronounced bass, but it is not as "lush, rich, resonant" (to use the standard words) as the 000. (Mine were rosewood/cedar, and rosewood/red spruce [aka adirondack]).

The only guitar I've found with the richness and resonance of the 000 bass has been my Goodall Rosewod Concert Jumbo/spruce top.

Oct 29, 08 | 6:32 am
Bill Cory

Total Topics: 158
Total Posts: 3584
Side note -- in the article Ken Hundley mentioned in the AG mag, notice how deep the slot is cut in that dreadnought top, to allow the truss rod enough clearance to mount the neck. It cuts completely through the flat "popsicle" brace, basically making that brace almost ineffectual.

Oct 29, 08 | 6:34 am
Adaboy

Total Topics: 64
Total Posts: 509
Bill, did your 000 have a western cedar top? If so, do you think it contributes a lot to the good bass on your 000?

Oct 29, 08 | 7:47 pm
Bill Cory

Total Topics: 158
Total Posts: 3584
Yes, the first 000 had a WR Cedar top; the second one had an Adirondack top. The bass with the Adi top was just as pronounced as the cedar, though. While the cedar had a warmer tone, the adi had more sustain and resonance in the mids and trebles.

I no longer have either of them. One was destroyed in a stupid fall, and the other was sold.

(oops,this also got sent direct via email)

Bill

Oct 30, 08 | 4:14 am
Adaboy

Total Topics: 64
Total Posts: 509
Wow, I'm sorry to hear one was destroyed.

Oct 30, 08 | 5:22 am
Hugh

Total Topics: 16
Total Posts: 309
I've only made two 000 12 frets, and two OMs, so this isn't good science, but the big 12 fret bodies sound better. They are also a little more awkward to play.

Oct 30, 08 | 6:35 am
Adaboy

Total Topics: 64
Total Posts: 509
Hugh, that is good feedback, thanks!

Oct 30, 08 | 9:29 am



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