Upon unpacking the Martin DX1K (K for Koa wood on sides and back) in Studio B, I immediately did the “ooooh” sound upon inspection. Something just attracted me about the unassuming, quiet appearance of this full-sized Martin. The guitar felt solid, and I didn’t feel like I was going to break it.
Now I’m no acoustic guitar guru, but I’ve played quite a few acoustics above and below the price of this DX1, including old Yamaha FGs, Takamines, and Taylors. I was a bit skeptical when Martin told us it had “that sound.” Boy, was I wrong.
After tuning it up, I played a chord and stared at my wife…”This sounds like a Martin!” After realizing what I said, I tried to revive my credibility by stammering “but-but-but it’s like $600! You don’t understand!”
We tracked some soft finger-picking and strumming out some rhythm chords to songs I wrote years ago, and I found myself wishing I had me one of these on my last album. It had presence without being in-your-face. The top end of the sound was defined, but not tinny and bright. The bottom end was warm and round without sounding boxy and muddy. It’s a very nice, natural sound just going into your system raw.
If you thought it was impossible to get that Martin tone and feel for under $600, your prayers were just answered. If you’re a first-time player, you just got incredibly lucky for searching out for the best guitar value for the money. If you’re a long-time acoustic player, then your jaw will drop when you hear the sounds you can make with this baby.
Martin has truly done it. They’ve built their signature sound into an incredibly modest price. This guitar is just perfect for someone who’s ready to move on past their first entry-level guitar, and into the Martin culture. Their techniques for creating affordable instruments that retain the Martin sound and feel have achieved near-perfection, and they deserve to feel proud. A company that takes the stand of “we want to put our guitars in your hands, no matter what your level,” really reinforces their commitment to excellence.
I don’t think there is a guitar out there that packs so much sound and playability for this price. This guitar comes with no regrets, and once you play one, you’ll understand.