DX1AE review by Martin

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  • Sound: 10
  • Overall Impression: 9
  • Reliability & Durability: 9
  • Action, Fit & Finish: 9
  • Features: 8
  • Reviewer's score: 9 Superb
  • Users' score: 8.5 (13 votes)
Martin: DX1AE

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.

1 comment sorted by best / new / date

    Martin DX1AE...But First: I never write reviews, This is my first and last one. I am 65 years old been playing over 50 years. In my lifetime the Martin Guitars were the measuring stick for all guitars and guitar makers in the past. Obviously there are other measuring sticks now as well. There are more guitars impersonating The Martin D28 more than any guitar the world. I owned a Martin 000X1 part of the X series guitars. I played it until the frets wore out. No matter how many times I banged that guitar on the side or back , It never had a scratch on it. I decided it was time to step up my game. Today I went out to look for a Martin 00028 to buy as a family heir loom to be handed down for generations in an effort to keep the music going. I did try the Martin 00028 and it was not to the caliber I expected. So I browsed around a bit hoping to find a jewel. What happened was very un expected. I picked up a Martin 000X1E, I think it was like my old Martin 0000X1 I had but new name now. It felt like home to me. It was just as nice as the last one I wore out. Then it happened, I picked up the next guitar and strumed it and went((( WOW ))). I took a look to see what it was. It was a Martin DX1AE. I tested it against all the guitars Martin makes while I was there. The only guitar that sounded better was The Martin D28 at a price that makes you want to drive an ice pick into your brain. Question I asked myself, Do the means justify the cost? So then I thought lets test it against everything in the store. I am not going to mention any names but I tried over 30 high priced guitars well over a $1,000 and most in the $2,500 to $3,500 range. I don't know about you but if I am going to spend thousands of dollars for a guitar and leave it as a family heir loom, I expect spectacular things to come out of it and I also expect it to play as smooth as a baby's bottom. There is a lot of gutars out there that look great but, But don't deliver the goods. Sound and play ability is the bottom line for me. Real Quick: Acoustic Guitars I have owned are as follows Marco polo 3/4 size starter first guitar 1963, 1967 Martin D18, 1968 Martin D28, Martin DX1, Gibson Hummingbird, Just to name a few. I can tell you straight up the Martins of today are nothing like what I owned. So, In my honest and humble opinion and after playing professionally over 50 years and also working as a guitar tech, This Martin DX1AE totally blew me away for the price. It doesn't look like much but the sound projecting from this ugly looking, plastic fiber piece of junk, with a bad photograph of something that looks like wood, "Is loud, With a big bottom end and mids that are very warm sounding to the ear. The highs are clear, articulate and they are not in your face." Very full sound and over all well rounded out for all generes of music. The neck was comfortable and frets were well polished. The action was a tad high for my likeing but that can be adjusted. The strings were easy to bend and when the action is set a little lower it will be fast like my little Martin 000X1 was. While I was at the store I had them break out a new one to compare it to the floor model for consistancey. Because I was thinking this could be a flook and maybe this is just a really good one. Wrong on that! I would say they were 99.99% identical to each other. I think the difference was the guitar that just came out of the box,needed a little time for the wood to breath. In the last five years I have noticed that less expensive guitars are better in some cases and for well under a $1000 you can buy a great guitar without breaking the bank. The Martin DX1AE is one of the best in sound that I have heard and at a price tag that put's a smile on your face like you just found a secet treasure. At that cost, Think of it as a throwaway guitar every ten years. By then who knows what they will be making gutars out of. Hopefully something very cool sounding looking. I highly recommend taking a good look at the entire Martin X series guitar line up before you purchase anything at any price range. It is truely some of Martins best work these days. I don't care if it is made of a card board box. If it delivers the goods at a professional level of sound and it is easy to play then that is the guitar for me regardless what name is on it. The only real CON I see with buying this guitar is, "I am still faced with trying to find a family heir loom."