Considering the benefits, beauty, and versatility of wood alternatives for acoustic guitars.

There is a limited supply of tonewoods in the world and a large appetite for acoustic guitars. At Martin Guitar, we take environmental stewardship very seriously, and I challenge our team to develop new models using alternative wood materials. This month, I'd like to explore some ideas about wood alternatives, so I've turned to Skip Beltz, the Director of Product Management at Martin Guitar who has almost 30 years of experience in making guitars.

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A 14-fret Martin 000-15M and its 12-fret counterpart, the 000-15.

The 14-fret acoustic guitar may be more popular, but 12-fret acoustics have their own unique tonal characteristics that many guitarists love.

One of the more frequent questions we get at Martin is about the difference between 12-fret and 14-fret acoustic guitars. Besides upper register access, what are the benefits and potential limitations? How does it impact design and tone? How should someone decide which option is right for them? To help answer these questions, I turned to Fred Greene, our vice president of product management at C. F. Martin & Co. Fred oversees the design and development of new products at Martin and has years of knowledge and experience in this area.

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