Sound — 10
I play mostly classic rock and Indie folk. Think Beatles and Mumford & Sons. Works just fine in both instances. This guitar has a rich, loud sound. The spruce top seems to be thicker than on most other guitars, which attributes to the volume. I use Martin medium strings on it, and the tone is really dark and bassy, which I prefer. Sort of the anti-Taylor of guitars. Still, despite the massive bass sound I'm getting out of it, high notes still come out clean and full. Just a very rich, deeper sound with a lot of sustain.
Overall Impression — 9
This guitar sounds fantastic. Big rich sounds, plenty of sustain. Neck is easy to play chords on, and barring is a cinch. Just not the easiest neck for lead work. I've played plenty of much more expensive guitars, but I just keep coming back to this guy. Just can't beat the sound and feel. Before I purchased it, I played I compared it to a few other Martins, as well as a Taylor that cost about $300 more. This one beat them all out. LOVE this thing. Only thing I would consider changing is that bottom strap button.
Reliability & Durability — 9
I'm ashamed to say that I accidentally dropped my beautiful Martin a full three feet onto tile, headstock-first. Picked it up, and it was totally fine. Seems to be very reliably built. I've bumped it a few times on walls and mic stands and whatever, but no blemishes anywhere. Strap button on the base of the neck is great, but the one at the bottom of the guitar leaves much to be desired. It's much shallower and wider than the other one, so big thick leather straps with tiny holes won't work at all here. I've never had my strap slip, and I don't think it ever will, but it still makes me nervous. Finish is great, I really love the feel of the satin. I expect this guitar to last me many many years.
Action, Fit & Finish — 9
Action is pretty average. Not insanely low nor unreasonably high. Factory set-up is just fine, no complaints. The only flaw is that the wood is getting chipped away at the bottom of the sound hole thanks to my medium pick and frantic strumming, but that's aesthetic and not really very noticeable. Fretboard is a little narrower than on other guitars, which takes some getting used to after playing something like a Gibson or Seagull. Seems to be geared a little more towards smaller hands, but it's entirely manageable for us folks with big mitts. Just don't expect it to be easy to play lead on the lower frets. No fret buzz anywhere, ever. Never had a single problem with this thing.
Features — 8
Purchased this guitar brand new in 2010. It's my first guitar, but since I bought it I've played many fine Gibsons, Taylors, Guilds, Seagulls and what-have-you. 19 frets, gorgeous rosewood neck. Nice and slim, satin-finish neck. Very easy to play. Top is solid spruce, very thick top. The whole thing has a satin finish, which I actually really like the feel of. Dreadnought body with mahogany back and sides, though not solid wood. Simple, easy-to-use tone and volume controls located in the sound hole, which I particularly like. Can't stand it when the electronics are cut into the side of the guitar. Tuners are great, this thing stays in tune for way too long. I practically never have to tune it. Only cons as far as features go is that the battery is pretty much impossible to get to without removing the strings, and the bottom strap button is very shallow. Don't trust it... Over all a very simple, no-nonsense guitar.