Price paid: £ 1200
Sound — 10
This guitar really ticks all the boxes in the category of 'Stereotypical Mahogany guitar sound'. Simpler notes without all of the overtones you'd get with a Spruce top. There is also a really good diversity of sound (almost lute like if played near the bridge and if played near the 14 fret a really bassy fat sound) I am mainly a fingerpicker but I also strum chords. Really good note separation in chords and has a natural reverb to die for (which the price might just make you do) The Fishman pickup I had installed really captures the sound well when amplified through any amp (really 'interesting' sound with the gain turned up)
Overall Impression — 9
This guitar is perfect for what I play, really good sound. I've been playing for about four years now and own some nice electric guitar like a Gibson SG. When I took this thing to a open mic night I had many people tell me it was the nicest Martin they'd ever heard ( and I'm pretty sure they weren't being nice since one of them said I didn't deserve a guitar that good!) If this guitar where stolen there would be a huge flood and millions of people would drown because I'd never stop crying. So don't nick it! I love everything about this guitar, it's like my non sexual muse. I spent four months going round various guitar shops looking at loads of little guitars. This was the best by far. I wish it came with a free really, really, really expensive amp. But let's face it...it's not gonna happen. Oh and quick point. I read a couple of reviews of Martin Mahogany guitars with people complaining about the thinness of the wood. They are morons. Mahogany is denser than Spruce and so, to give a good sound it needs to be thin. If you want a thick soundboard either get a sapele one or staple some strings to a mahogany table (I can guarantee it'll sound like crap!)
Reliability & Durability — 9
Well, I've had this guitar for a couple of months now and I really do believe that it's got a good solid build (But still, don't Pete Townsend it. It's not a solid block of wood) I would gig without a backup but only because I'm into games like Russian Roulette. The finish feels like it'll last a long time and wear beautifully.
Action, Fit & Finish — 10
This is where Martin really shows their attention to quality. The finish was flawless (and I am a really harsh judge). All the bits inside where perfectly fitted and there was not a single blob of glue in sight. All in all, exactly what you would expect from a guitar of this price.
Features — 9
2010 limited edition westside custom shop model signed by Martin himself! (this of course greatly improves the sound of the guitar). Short Martin scale 14 frets to the neck and bang in tune all the way up. All solid mahogany (and yes, it's mahogany not sapele just in case your a one of those purists) Boasts a beautiful dark stain satin finish Got it installed with a passive pickup under the bridge. Martin Vintage style tuners with very accurate tuning Also came with a lovely Martin hardshell case.