#1
I was looking for an acoustic electric guitar around the $500-$800 range and went to try out about 20 of them at the Guitar Center today. I went with a few musician friends and after trying several brands, we all agreed that we liked the sound of the Martin 000CX1E custom made X series the most. So I decided to buy it for $699 and thought I was happy with the purchase decision.

However, after coming home, I found out that the model I bought was not solid wood but instead HPL. That shouldn't bother me much, I thought. Having tried more than 20 of them already, I liked the sound of this one the most despite it not being real wood. Maybe real wood isn't for everyone.

The other thing I found out that does bother me, however, is that Martin has discontinued this model. Does anyone know why it discontinued this one and not the similar one in black (000CXAE) nor the 000CX1? I'm afraid I may have bought a lemon or there is something wrong with this model that I'm not aware of. I'm still in the 30 day refund period so if Martin discontinued this for a valid reason I am probably going to return it.

If anyone owns the 000CX1E and can give personal opinions I'll really appreciate it. Many thanks!
#3
I said many variations as the Fisherman Pre-Amp looks different for the exact same model in different stores. And some seems to be made in USA while mine is made in Mexico?
#4
if you like it, and you're not planning to do any 'ear training' in the near future, there ya go. the martin x series has more bass than a lot of its competitors, which is a good thing for my preferences, and yours, judging by the fact that you bought it.

martin discontinues models periodically. it doesn't mean anything.

one thing - you might want to keep your hpl guitar at appropriate humidity and not whack it on anything as hpl is very difficult to repair and from what i've been told is more humidity sensitive than regular laminate guitars.

every martin except the x series is made in the u.s. while there are some other guitars that are all solid or have electronics in your price range, and a few like some masterbilts are both, you won't find a new u.s. acoustic electric in that price range.

i'm curious why you're concerned about the guitar being not all solid and not being made in the u.s.
Quote by Skeet UK
I just looked in my Oxford English Dictionary and under "Acoustic Guitar", there was your Avatar and an email address!
Last edited by patticake at Nov 20, 2011,
#5
Thanks so much for your reply Do you happen to own the same model and if so, how is yours holding up in terms of sound and quality?

I wasn't that concerned about it being made in Mexico when I saw it at the store, because after looking at the quality compared to the $1100+ Martin (Made in US) ones, I really couldn't notice the craftsmanship difference that much. At least not the difference of $400-500. But after doing more research, it seems like so many people prefer US models and I also wonder why?

You can also say the same thing about the majority of the people preferring solid wood versus HPL if they can get a solid at this price range. Is it because they think solid wood really sounds better or is it just the "perceived" quality of solid compared to HPL?

I've just been happy until I did more research and felt peer pressured!

Quote by patticake
if you like it, and you're not planning to do any 'ear training' in the near future, there ya go. the martin x series has more bass than a lot of its competitors, which is a good thing for my preferences, and yours, judging by the fact that you bought it.

martin discontinues models periodically. it doesn't mean anything.

one thing - you might want to keep your hpl guitar at appropriate humidity and not whack it on anything as hpl is very difficult to repair and from what i've been told is more humidity sensitive than regular laminate guitars.

every martin except the x series is made in the u.s. while there are some other guitars that are all solid or have electronics in your price range, and a few like some masterbilts are both, you won't find a new u.s. acoustic electric in that price range.

i'm curious why you're concerned about the guitar being not all solid and not being made in the u.s.
#6
Another question patticake - why is this one not good for ear training in the future?
#7
it's not that - you train your ears by playing and comparing lots of guitars, particularly expensive ones. you start to really notice the difference by a/b-ing higher end models to each other, and higher end models to lower end models, and really listening, you'll start to notice that the x series guitars have less complexity of tone, no overtones - to me, they don't really sing. that's probably partly the stratabond neck and partly the hpl - they don't have the natural vibration of all solid wood or even of a regular 2 piece laminate in many cases. but to me, they still sound better than ibanez, epiphone (except the masterbilt line) or dean, and better than a lot of fenders and solid top taks.

on the other hand, i wouldn't turn down an x series martin as a stand guitar or beater if it fit my needs, because i love bass in my guitars, and they're not badly made. but i can hear the difference easily between many all solid guitars and the x series. i've had a sales guy test me - i wasn't looking and could recognize the hpl sound. there are other brands that make laminate back and side guitars that i do prefer, but i think the martins are not bad for the price. i actually compared a martin x series 000 last week to a 1 series 000, and i preferred the x series due to more bottom end.

keep in mind that while i really like other all solid budget guitars, when you throw in electronics and a cutaway, you don't have a lot of options at $649 except to go used. even in the masterbilt line or all solid blueridge, an all solid wood 000 acoustic electric costs more.

http://www.musiciansfriend.com/guitars/epiphone-masterbilt-ef-500rcce-fingerstyle-acoustic-electric-guitar

http://www.maurysmusic.com/inc/sdetail/blueridge_br_163ce/52957/89524

to me, the bottom line - if you have a guitar that sounds and feels good, the important thing? stop worrying and play!
Quote by Skeet UK
I just looked in my Oxford English Dictionary and under "Acoustic Guitar", there was your Avatar and an email address!
Last edited by patticake at Nov 20, 2011,
#8
Wow, thanks for such an insightful reply Patticake. I think what I'll do is go to the guitar store again and try out the solid wood ones in that price range. Then I'll see whether it's worth the exchange. Buying the 000CX1E was such an impulse decision and I admittedly could have done more research beforehand to find out about the pros and cons of HPL.

If I'm willing to sacrifice the cutaway and the name Martin on the headstock, what are the solid wood/laminate models you would recommend? Below are apparently some popular ones that I have been l reading about. What are your thoughts on these? My main criteria are: thin body, tonal quality, low action, and small neck (female with small fingers). Again, thanks so much for the really valuable comments. I'm learning a lot from you

Epiphone Masterbilt: http://www.musiciansfriend.com/guitars/epiphone-masterbilt-dr-500me-acoustic-electric-guitar/518106000091631

Seagull S6 Original Acoustic/Electric: http://www.musiciansfriend.com/guitars/seagull-s6-original-q1-acoustic-electric-guitar

Takamine G series: http://www.musiciansfriend.com/guitars/takamine-g-series-eg363sc-acoustic-electric-guitar


Quote by patticake
it's not that - you train your ears by playing and comparing lots of guitars, particularly expensive ones. you start to really notice the difference by a/b-ing higher end models to each other, and higher end models to lower end models, and really listening, you'll start to notice that the x series guitars have less complexity of tone, no overtones - to me, they don't really sing. that's probably partly the stratabond neck and partly the hpl - they don't have the natural vibration of all solid wood or even of a regular 2 piece laminate in many cases. but to me, they still sound better than ibanez, epiphone (except the masterbilt line) or dean, and better than a lot of fenders and solid top taks.

on the other hand, i wouldn't turn down an x series martin as a stand guitar or beater if it fit my needs, because i love bass in my guitars, and they're not badly made. but i can hear the difference easily between many all solid guitars and the x series. i've had a sales guy test me - i wasn't looking and could recognize the hpl sound. there are other brands that make laminate back and side guitars that i do prefer, but i think the martins are not bad for the price. i actually compared a martin x series 000 last week to a 1 series 000, and i preferred the x series due to more bottom end.

keep in mind that while i really like other all solid budget guitars, when you throw in electronics and a cutaway, you don't have a lot of options at $649 except to go used. even in the masterbilt line or all solid blueridge, an all solid wood 000 acoustic electric costs more.

http://www.musiciansfriend.com/guitars/epiphone-masterbilt-ef-500rcce-fingerstyle-acoustic-electric-guitar

http://www.maurysmusic.com/inc/sdetail/blueridge_br_163ce/52957/89524

to me, the bottom line - if you have a guitar that sounds and feels good, the important thing? stop worrying and play!
#9
thank you - that's very kind

i'm a 5' 3" female with small fingers, but i prefer a nice wide neck. i realize that's not for everyone, though. the original s6 was my choice at one point, but it's a dread, not a shallow guitar - the body is a full 4.9" deep. according to elderly, the guitar you bought has a depth of 4 1/8" at the deepest. of the 3 you listed, to my ear the s6 delivers the best tone, but many like the masterbilt, and you can hear that it's all solid. the tak doesn't sound as good to me as the s6 or the masterbilt, partly because it sounds a little muted and quiet when unplugged.

all the guitars you just listed are dreads, and they're going to be bigger and deeper. i would think you'd be looking for a 000 - they're a little smaller in the lower bout and shallower, as well.

i like recording king, not sure if you can find them in stores where you live. i'm lucky enough that there are 2 sellers who have 'em here, but some guitar centers are getting them new from recording king and marking them as used. my husband got his for much less than they sell for from one of our local gc's - no warranty, but he's happy.

if you can find blueridge in your area - they're not sold at gc, btw - the one i posted earlier is a nice guitar http://www.maurysmusic.com/inc/sdetail/blueridge_br_163ce/52957/89524

for less money, these are both good and all solid.
this one is all solid sitka/mahogany with a 1 11/16" nut
http://www.maurysmusic.com/inc/sdetail/blueridge_br_143/35915/35949

this one is adirondack/mahogany (i love adi) with a 1 3/4" nut, a little wider but not even close to classical or the wider parlor nuts i prefer
http://www.maurysmusic.com/inc/sdetail/blueridge_br_143a/35915/100177

here are all the seagull specs in case you find a size you like:
http://www.seagullguitars.com/specs.htm
i played a used all solid maritime folk yesterday that sounded much better than i expected, partly 'cause i don't care for the solid top folks that much.

and here's one worth a look that if you're lucky you can find at guitar centers.
http://www.musiciansfriend.com/guitars/epiphone-masterbilt-ef-500r-fingerstyle-acoustic-guitar

for what it's worth, i don't think you did badly with your martin. we all have to balance price, comfort and a tone we like. whether a person has $150 or $6000 for a guitar, seems like there's almost always a compromise somewhere. i'm very fortunate - we live within an hour of 6 guitar centers, 2 sam ash stores, boulevard music, grayson's tune town, true tone, carvin, westwood music and mccabe's (the store that taught me the most with its selection of high end guitars in brands i hadn't gotten to try).

you have a nice long exchange/return policy. why not spend time with your martin and see if you bond with it?
Quote by Skeet UK
I just looked in my Oxford English Dictionary and under "Acoustic Guitar", there was your Avatar and an email address!
#10
Patticake, thank you again for all your suggestions!

- You're right that I prefer the 000 body. I didn't realize that the S6 and Masterbilt I posted were that much bigger.

- After giving it a lot of thought, I'm pretty sure that I'll be returning my Martin 000CX1E soon. Not because of the HPL material or made in Mexico label, but mainly because I just realize that 99% of the time I will play it unplugged and will never get to use those deeper frets. So I'd rather get one that has no cutaway to take advantage of the full volume that comes out of it, even if I decide to stick with Martin.

- On that note, I came across the Martin 000X1AE which seems to have pretty much the same specs as the 000CX1E I bought, except it is $200 cheaper and has no cut away. http://www.musiciansfriend.com/guitars/martin-x-series-000x1ae-acoustic-electric-guitar/430665000010000 What do you think of this one? At the price of $499 at least it won't make me feel like I'm overpaying on something that isn't solid wood while still getting similar sound as the 000X1AE.

- The Blueridge models you posted also seem very nice considering their price, material (solid wood) and 000 size. I'd love to try them in person but unfortunately GC doesn't carry this brand, and GC is the only guitar store near where I live. Comments on Blueridge seem positive everywhere though. Would you recommend that I take the risk and just get the Blueridge online? How would you compare Blueridge with the Martin in the previous link?

- Based on the Seagull link you sent, it seems like the only model that is shallow enough to compare to the 000 body size is the Seagull Coastline Cedar Grand. Any thoughts on this one? http://www.seagullguitars.com/productcoastgrand.htm.

I feel like I'm finally getting closer and closer to the one that would suit me the most, thanks again Patticake for all your recommendations!
Last edited by at22 at Nov 21, 2011,
#11
Can you notice when the sound is different due to strings?


Friend of mine has a high end taylor, and my 300 bucks richwood sounded nicer with new strings slapped on it, then his with 1-2 month(s) old strings.

Off course after playing for an hour or so, I noticed the more subtle overtones and sound balance in his guitar, but string sound is so "present" that you don't immediately notice this if you are not listening for it.

Also was the gauge the same?

Higher gauge strings give fuller/richer sound then lighter gauge.

Especially on acoustics I noticed a huge difference in sound with just changing the gauge.

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Last edited by xxdarrenxx at Nov 21, 2011,
#12
xxdarrenxx - strings can make a large tonal difference, although obviously a guitar with dark tone won't sound as bright with new, bright strings as a bright guitar will.
Quote by Skeet UK
I just looked in my Oxford English Dictionary and under "Acoustic Guitar", there was your Avatar and an email address!
#13
i have a 000x1 modeal with no cutaway and no electronics. i bought it at guitar center back in 2007, and it was made in nazareth, pennsylvania at the time. my label in the soundhole clearly says so.

i tried a lot of guitars in the acoustic room just like u did, 20 or so different guitars. from $2000 gibsons and $1000 taylors, i ended up with the $500 martin. the sound some people describe as "deep" and "rich" were my "dull" and "cheap". right now i don't know if the strings on the higher end guitars were too old for comparison, but i preferred the $500 martin. i still like it a lot right now, i think it's a lot clearer sounding than many guitars. its not as "deep" as a guitar can be, but i like it for what i do. i put a fishman system on it so when i amplify it, i can add a bass boost if i think it's necessary. i don't think there's a big problem, besides that maybe u paid a bit more than u should have i guess?
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#14
If you like the sound of the guitar don't return it. everybody's different. i think martin's are too dull and old sounding so i went with a taylor that i love. others would think martin's or x brand is the way to go. in the end you picked it for its sound so stick with it!