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Interesting materials making up a decent guitar - Reviews Martin & Co DX1AE

Where to begin. The DX1AE is a relatively low cost dreadnought design from Martin that sports some interesting ideas. The guitar's top is plain ol' solid sitka spruce and this is about where the plain-ness ends. The DX1AE uses high pressure laminate back and sides that are patterned after mahogany, and the neck is a material that Martin calls "Stratabond". This material is created from several layers of wood pressed together and finally carved to size in a traditional manner. A mortise and tennon neck joint offers unparalleled resonance from a guitar in this price point (new, even). The onboard electronics are made up of the Fishman Sonicore pickup and Sonitone bridge. The aesthetics, as mentioned earlier, are a tad on the plain side, but who can complain with all the other goodies offered?


The guitar is a pretty simple dreadnought shape and it projects accordingly. The neck is sensationally quick to get around. The combination of the low-oval neck profile and the richlite composite fingerboard makes for a comfortable playing experience. The tuning stability was so-so, during the testing of this guitar I had to re-tune the guitar a handful of times while staying in standard tuning.


I played the Matin DX1AE through both unplugged as well as amplified through a small Roland amp. I alternated between playing with a plectrum and playing primarily finger style.

The guitar sounds very rich and warm. The large body gives you all the low end you'd expect and with a subtle sweetness in the midrange that excites the ear. Played with a pick, you can get very loud, boomy, chordal passages out, while with finger style you can easily carry on with articulate arpeggiations. I feel that the guitar excels at being played with a plectrum, but a seasoned finger style artist will not feel anywhere disadvantaged.
Amplified, the Dx sounds gorgeous. I ran the amplifier with a very flat EQ and used the volume alone. Very impressive sound.


The Martin Dx1AE is an excellent low price electric acoustic that easily rivals the sound quality of higher end guitars such as the Taylor 114ce. The aesthetics are on the plain side with Martin even sparing proper fretmarkers. However, the sound quality alone easily justifies the $550 asking price.