Now that I work in Lawrence Ks all the time and it's just uphill from Mass St. Music, I visit that renown store from time to time. The last visit I discovered a nice assortment of Eastman guitars that run from about $800 to $1200. These are killer guitars that are well made and have tone that comes as close to a good (yes GOOD) Martin as you can find for that price point.
Had these been around a few years ago I would have bought one of them and not the ones I have now. For the money these are hard to beat. Some of these have Adirondack tops with scalloped bracing and are just beautiful. The sound is very good. Very impressive. They have the wide nut I like too. (1 3/4") The parlor guitars are slightly wider. Ah! Those parlors! Nice sweet little guitars that just called out my name but my check book said NO WAY...yet.
If your looking for a nice sounding excellent built and beautiful guitar, check them out. Yes they are made in China. Much much better than Recording King. I know. I have one of them.
Personally, these kind of guitars from China could kill Martin in the long run and that MUST not happen. As we all get much poorer from the irresponsible actions of the fools and liars in Washington, we will be FORCED to buy cheaper than American made instruments. Most of us anyway.
It's just another example of the downward spiral in our society. Martin can't begin to compete against such things. Martin will either seriously downsize and abandon the lower and middle scale of instruments or I think it will eventually die.
Their prices are far too high for most people now. It will only get worse. I don't know about you but this stinks.
As for us players, we have to play the hand that's dealt us and if your budget is like mine and you want a good sounding well built guitar or mandolin to pick on then Eastman is where you should look first IMO.
I bet you can find better prices online too. Mass St is kind of high IMO.