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Thread: I'm buying a Martin LXM tres - now what??

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    Michael Greenberg lukmanohnz's Avatar
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    Default I'm buying a Martin LXM tres - now what??

    OK - I am in the process of selling an electric guitar that I never play any more, and applying the proceeds to the purchase of a Martin LXM Tres. I discovered this little gem months ago in the back corner of the local music shop collecting dust and missing two strings. I thought it was cool (in fact it is the only Martin 'formica' instrument that I've found interesting) but had no idea what it was. Last week I stopped by to pick up some sheet music and a guitar case, and noticed that the Martin tres had been restrung and tuned. If the pending sale of the guitar goes through, I hope to purchase the tres within the next week or so (the store graciously agreed to put it on hold for me without any down payment until next week). Does anyone out there play a tres? Can you point me to sheet music, instructional materials, etc.? All I've found so far in my initial searches are YouTube videos of people playing the tres. These are great to whet my whistle, but I would love to find some meatier self-teaching materials. Thanks for any help you can offer!

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    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: I'm buying a Martin LXM tres - now what??

    I don't know if you have seen this link. It is under the Cuatro Project web site. I don't know what the Martin folks had in mind but I suppose what you linked to is more the Cuban version.

    It looks like that Martin tres is a discontinued product.
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    Michael Greenberg lukmanohnz's Avatar
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    Default Re: I'm buying a Martin LXM tres - now what??

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Garber View Post
    I don't know if you have seen this link. It is under the Cuatro Project web site. I don't know what the Martin folks had in mind but I suppose what you linked to is more the Cuban version.

    It looks like that Martin tres is a discontinued product.
    I think you are correct - all indications are that this model has been discontinued. And thanks so much for the link! There is a wealth of information at this web site. Though I wish there was more tab and learning material.

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    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: I'm buying a Martin LXM tres - now what??

    I believe that treses are used more as a rhythm instrument so I would get some recordings of Cuban music and learn the rhythms that way.
    Jim

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    18 Wheels--8 Strings gregjones's Avatar
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    Default Re: I'm buying a Martin LXM tres - now what??

    I've had a 001X for several years now. I call it my formica blues box. It's great. I love having a super playing and good sounding instrument that I don't have to worry about humidity and other storage concerns of acoustic instruments. It's a nice travel guitar, if you don't need a real super-small traveler.
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    Michael Greenberg lukmanohnz's Avatar
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    Default Re: I'm buying a Martin LXM tres - now what??

    Quote Originally Posted by gregjones View Post
    I've had a 001X for several years now. I call it my formica blues box. It's great. I love having a super playing and good sounding instrument that I don't have to worry about humidity and other storage concerns of acoustic instruments. It's a nice travel guitar, if you don't need a real super-small traveler.
    I bought my daughter an LXM guitar several years ago because she wanted to learn guitar but has very small hands. We have brought it on a few camping trips and it's great as a pass-around at the camp fire. My own traveler/beach/campfire/loaner guitar is a Martin OOOM, which has plywood mahogany back and sides, a solid spruce top, and a great neck. More costly than the Martin formica boxes, but tonally superior. It's always on a stand in the living room, so that's the guitar that gets played the most in my house.

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    Registered User mikeyes's Avatar
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    Default Re: I'm buying a Martin LXM tres - now what??

    I have a tres LMX and it is a surprisingly good instrument. It is nothing like the Cuban or PR tres instruments which is both good and bad. Tres is a complex instrument in the hands of a master and the sound they get is due to the construction of their instruments. Cuban/Mexican/PR tres instruments are very different (and often cheaper) than the Martin. The Martin is just another iteration of the LMX body but it has its advantages too.

    I worked for a while on tres music (go to elderly and they have a whole series of books, etc.) but now I have it tuned as a DAD bouzouki and play Irish music on it. the long LMX scale allows for this. With a little surgery you could turn it into a tenor guitar if you wished.

    Martin discontinued this series - a little guitar and a tenor were the others - and I don't know what they were thinking when they put out the tres. You and I are the only people I know that have one and I hope you got a deal on it as they were not going to sell it to anyone else.

    That being said, it is still a fine instrument that sounds much better that I thought it would considering the price. And you can play it underwater as long as you keep the neck above the water (even if you don't it will probably survive as the neck is a laminate.)

    Mike Keyes
    Last edited by mikeyes; Apr-23-2012 at 2:51pm.
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    Michael Greenberg lukmanohnz's Avatar
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    Default Re: I'm buying a Martin LXM tres - now what??

    Quote Originally Posted by mikeyes View Post
    I have a tres LMX and it is a surprisingly good instrument. It is nothing like the Cuban or PR tres instruments which is both good and bad. Tres is a complex instrument in the hands of a master and the sound they get is due to the construction of their instruments. Cuban/Mexican/PR tres instruments are very different (and often cheaper) than the Martin. The Martin is just another iteration of the LMX body but it has its advantages too.

    I worked for a while on tres music (go to elderly and they have a whole series of books, etc.) but now I have it tuned as a DAD bouzouki and play Irish music on it. the long LMX scale allows for this. With a little surgery you could turn it into a tenor guitar if you wished.

    Martin discontinued this series - a little guitar and a tenor were the others - and I don't know what they were thinking when they put out the tres. You and I are the only people I know that have one and I hope you got a deal on it as they were not going to sell it to anyone else.

    That being said, it is still a fine instrument that sounds much better that I thought it would considering the price. And you can play it underwater as long as you keep the neck above the water (even if you don't it will probably survive as the neck is a laminate.)

    Mike Keyes
    Thanks for the Elderly and tuning suggestions, Mike! If you still are interested in tres music, you might want to check out this wonderful recording. It's mostly instrumental, and mostly just classical guitar and tres duets performed with gorgeous technique and great musicality - very inspiring!

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    Michael Greenberg lukmanohnz's Avatar
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    Default Re: I'm buying a Martin LXM tres - now what??

    I did a bit more research on the Martin LXM Tres by emailing C. F. Martin customer service directly, and received a reply within two days of my message. The Tres was profiled in Martin's The Sounding Board newsletter vol. 26 in January 2009. Here's the link to a .pdf of the full newsletter. The blurb is on page 22 and reads as follows:

    "Tres means ”three” in Spanish, and one of the most popular Latino instruments carries that name. The six strings are arranged in three pairs that are typically tuned to an open chord,making this unique Little Martin Tres both easy and fun to play. We first became familiar with the Tres instrument through Nelson Gonzalez, a triple Grammy-award winning Tres player who has recorded with the likes of Paul Simon and Gloria Estefan. After experimenting with various neck widths and bridge spacings, it seemed that a 4-string tenor guitar neck was ideal for the Tres. Martin introduced the LXM Tenor in January of 2008. We are now excited to introduce this unique LXM Tres guitar to the traditional Hispanic and Latino music community. The LXM Tres can also be strung in many different configurations, including mountain dulcimer tuning, making its musical potential quite limitless!"

    A total of 243 were built during the production run which ended in July of 2011. That's very similar to the total number of Lloyd Loar F-5s that were built. Maybe in 75 years my Martin Tres will be worth $250K!!

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    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: I'm buying a Martin LXM tres - now what??

    Quote Originally Posted by lukmanohnz View Post
    A total of 243 were built during the production run which ended in July of 2011. That's very similar to the total number of Lloyd Loar F-5s that were built. Maybe in 75 years my Martin Tres will be worth $250K!!
    I wonder how many Lloyd Loar signed F-5s were made of Formica?
    Jim

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    Michael Greenberg lukmanohnz's Avatar
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    Default Re: I'm buying a Martin LXM tres - now what??

    A couple more great tres resources: 1) this fantastic Nelson Gonzales recording; and B) this excellent beginner to intermediate method book that includes lots of historical information, a CD with recordings of all musical examples, and everything written in both standard notation and tab - and it is bilingual!!

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    coprolite mandroid's Avatar
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    Default Re: I'm buying a Martin LXM tres - now what??

    the Buena vista social club, film and recordings sessions that Ry Cooder produced
    had a Tres player in it ? or was that a more 'on the Island' Cuban instrument?


    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buena_Vista_Social_Club
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    Registered User the padma's Avatar
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    Default Re: I'm buying a Martin LXM tres - now what??

    Gotta be a gazillion ways to tune the sucker. Have fun.

    and here be pic of the trez me build. Ya the carved top "F" holes are in low relief.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Michael Greenberg lukmanohnz's Avatar
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    Default Re: I'm buying a Martin LXM tres - now what??

    Quote Originally Posted by mandroid View Post
    the Buena vista social club, film and recordings sessions that Ry Cooder produced
    had a Tres player in it ? or was that a more 'on the Island' Cuban instrument?


    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buena_Vista_Social_Club
    Thanks for the suggestion - I had wondered if this project included the tres. I will follow up and look for the recordings.

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    Michael Greenberg lukmanohnz's Avatar
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    Default Re: I'm buying a Martin LXM tres - now what??

    Quote Originally Posted by the padma View Post
    Gotta be a gazillion ways to tune the sucker. Have fun.

    and here be pic of the trez me build. Ya the carved top "F" holes are in low relief.

    Click image for larger version. 

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ID:	85899.........Click image for larger version. 

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ID:	85900


    blessings
    duh Padma
    That's a very cool looking tres! I would love to hear how it sounds. Have you posted any recordings?

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