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June 2017 Giveaway

Martin D12X1AE - Natural Reviews

4.5 stars based on 24 customer reviews
Questions about the Martin D12X1AE - Natural?

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  • from March 28, 2017

    Martin D12X1AE 12 String

    The guitar has a fantastic, rich sound. I'm glad I purchased it.

  • from Gardiner, Maine March 28, 2017Music Background:
    Long time

    Dead On...!

    Ok, Ok. I know this is not a 'true Martin'. But guess what? It's as good as the classic guitars. After reading review after review and trusting the folks at Sweetwater, I took a flyer on this 12-string (and it was on sale by a hundred bucks!). Open the box, good grief, it IS a Martin guitar. But wait, yes the sides and back are plywood (so is your house), but they are beautiful! The spruce top is perfect as are ALL the details. That HPL neck is rugged and makes perfect sense from a design standpoint. The finish is understated, but suits the guitar totally. And then there's the sound and playability.....both excellent. I have avoided 12-string guitars (I own a classic Gibson Jumbo from the sixties and a new J-29 from the Custom Shop) because of the issues with the design. Martin has worked this all out in creating a state-of-the-art, modern materials option. Sure, I'd love a 'real' one, but like the Velveteen Rabbit, this one just spoke to me and....it became real! Thank you, Sweetwater!

  • from Orchard Road Studio Wheaton Illinois January 12, 2017

    Exactly what I wanted

    I purchased this Martin 12-string solely on the advice of my Sweetwater rep Zach. I explained the type of sound and playability I was looking for and I wanted his opinion because I know he has played the current crop of 12 strings in stock at Sweetwater. Typically I like to play a guitar before I purchase it so it was a leap of faith but one I will not hesitate to do again with Zack and Sweetwater . He recommended the Martin for quality playability and for the kind of sound I was looking for. I received the guitar and he was spot-on. It arrived perfectly and well set up. Thanks Zack

  • from Indiana December 20, 2016


    I've wanted another 12 string and always wanted a Martin. This really satisfies on both counts. It sounds great, plays so well, and at the price it was a no brainer. Thanks to Andy and all at Sweetwater for the beautiful instrument. You guys make having quality equipment affordable and easy.

  • from Columbia City Indiana November 23, 2016

    It's Beautiful

    This 12 string is truly gorgeous and plays as well as it looks! Thanks again Andy for all your help and being the pro you are. Sweetwater's people are the driving force behind it's success and the major reason I've bought a P bass, a Les Paul, a Strat, an Ovation and now the Martin. As soon as these are paid off I'll be back. My hat's off to you folks.

  • from Los Angeles June 16, 2016

    Sounds better than a $2000 Martin

    I wasn't even looking for a 12 string when I bumped into this one and was just blown away by both the sound and playability. It compared favorably to guitars that cost 3 times as much -- my favorite 12 string I've ever owned. If you've got $600 to spend on a 12 string, this is just an amazing value and a wonderful guitar.

  • from North Carolina June 13, 2016Music Background:
    playing guitar for over 50 years, solo and quartet.

    All the sound at less than half the price

    This guitar is the best sounding 12 string I could find anywhere near an affordable price. I played some other guitars and this model at a local music store. Not a single one came near the sound quality of the Martin D12X1AE. Some of these guitars were over double the price of this 12string guitar. This guitar doesn't have a lot of inlays and is not a real flashy show piece. But if sound is what you're after, you wont find a better sounding 12 string. I tried. I'm not a beginner guitar player, I've been playing guitar for over 50 years. I own several guitars, banjos and a mandolin. I'm not a professional by any stretch of the word, but I have performed for audiences of over a thousand and I have been invited back. So I guess it wasn't to bad. This guitar is what a 12 string should be. easy to play, and a great Martin sound.

  • from New Jersey April 19, 2016

    Can play this one forever

    This is the first 12 string I've ever played that I can honestly say that it plays like a 6 string in the sense that the action is excellent and allow you to play it for a long time without tiring. The first thing I noticed was how flat the neck is. This un-curved neck, low action and use of extra light strings make this guitar a breeze to play. It sounds wonderful, even and balanced. I've had it about 1 week now and I haven't even had to adjust tuning, it just stays in tune, perfectly. I like the fact that it's HPL and while I certainly wouldn't expose it to temperature and humidity extremes I do like the fact that it's less of a concern with this guitar.

  • from Grosse Ile, MI January 13, 2016Music Background:
    Live solo performer

    Excellent, Booming 12 with a super stable neck

    My main acoustic is a Rainsong WS1000N2 (carbon fiber, bulletproof and mega stable), so I stability is important to me. I am very pleased with this Martin.

    I had played several locally, and was more impressed each time. I finally ordered from SWS due to the extra warranty, better initial setup, and amazing customer service (whcih was generally lacking at the locations I played locally) . Great guitar for the money, loud, stable. Very happy. Solid choice.

  • from Beattyville, KY June 3, 2015Music Background:
    Guitarist for a Gospel Group

    Awesome 12 String

    I bought one of these 12 strings recently. Greatest purchase of my life!!!! After I pulled it off the wall and played it, I had to buy it!!!! Sounds just as good, if not better, than a lot of 12 strings that cost twice as much!!!! Stop waiting, JUST BUY IT!!!!!

  • from Bear, DE March 24, 2015Music Background:

    Exceptional sound

    I started performing with this guitar just 3 weeks ago. I knew I had something special when I started my first song and so did my audience. Wide appreciation for the guitar (and the performer). This Martin adds a fuller dimension to my songs and to my version of other great songs. My signature song "Delaware Bay" is requested days in advance of my shows....One musician friend of mine captured it best when she asked me to include her in my will and will this guitar to her when I'm gone....A little much but it captures thte spirit of this instrument....

  • from Orlando, FL December 11, 2014Music Background:
    Long-time player -- amateur and pro

    Fantastic guitar

    I had always heard that Martin guitars were some of the best around and now I know it. This 12-string is sweet. It sounds full and plays very easily. If you're looking for 12 strings, get this guitar. You won't be sorry.

  • from October 23, 2014Music Background:
    Part-time band member, Hobbyist, love of music.

    Excellent sound and playability

    I've only had one other 12-string guitar and that was when I was very young and didn't know much about guitars. Here I am in my fifties and decided to try out another 12-string guitar, but I didn't want to spend a ton of money on one. When I selected this Martin (and I knew Martin makes a good guitar) 12-string for this price I figured I was going to get a decent guitar. I was totally amazed how nice this guitar is made, the sound it produces and ease of playing it! Worth every penny!! Love this guitar and it sounds amazing plugged in too!!! The other band members love the sound of it! I highly recommend this guitar!!

  • from Brooklyn New York September 12, 2014Music Background:
    Guitar player

    Martin D12X1AE Wow

    I just received my Martin D12X1AE and could not believe how good this guitar is. The sound is as good if not better than any 12 string I've played. Martin hit a home run with this guitar. The sound for the money can't be beat. And as always the Sweetwater crew got me the guitar in 3 days.

  • from El Segundo, CA August 27, 2014Music Background:
    Band-leader, songwriter, engineer

    Best 12 String guitar for the money!

    I own other Martins and this one is no different... perfect. This is the best 12 string for the money out there... also you can go direct with this... awesome!

  • from Springfield, IL July 31, 2014Music Background:
    Acoustic Guitar Enthusiast, Martin, Taylor, , Fender, Gibson, Guild, Takamine, Alverez

    Excellent playability, awesome tone

    The guitar is excellent hands down, I tuned it up, once out-of-the-box, plays like a charm, the action on this guitar is excellent. It reminded me of how I need to have my older Martin guitar necks adjusted to play as well as this 12-string guitar. Plug-in, it sounds great !! I can't keep my hands off of it, love playing it. Thanks, Sweetwater for getting me the guitar I selected on your website!! Great value for a "back-up" 12 string guitar at a great price, this guitar is solid and stays in tune, after initial tuning(s), allowance for new string stretch..

  • from Salem, OR January 7, 2014Music Background:
    Hobbyist - Rock, alternative, etc ...

    Martin D12X1AE 12 String Review

    So I've been shopping for a budget 12 string acoustic guitar for awhile. After trying out several models including Takamine, Fender, Ibanez, Dean and Seagull, it came down to just this model and the Seagull S12. My personal preference was this one hands down! The sound was awesome and the playability just plain blew me away!!! Originally, I had thought I would use a budget guitar to eventually trade up to a more expensive model ... not likely happening now that I have this one! It will stay with me for a long time ... I see why Martin does not have a problem putting their label on this beauty! Than add the fantastic service you have provided in my purchase of this guitar and I couldn't be happier!!! What a great experience!!!!!!!!!

  • from United States December 6, 2013Music Background:
    Ex concert and recording artist

    Functionally incredible

    I've been playing 12-string guitars almost exclusively for over 40 years. Two different Guild models and the Glen Campbell Ovation were my instruments of choice. I didn't think anything could match the GC Ovation for ease of play, and since I always performed with it plugged in, I could shape the sound however I wanted it.

    The first time I played the D12X1AE I was shocked at both the sound and the excellent action. It was easier to play than I could believe, and the unplugged sound was far superior to my Ovations.

    Whether this guitar is for you depends on what you value most. If you want a guitar that plays and sounds GREAT at an unbelievable price, you'll love it. However, look elsewhere if
    you want beauty - as in lots of ornamentation,
    you're a purist - as in traditional solid wood only, or
    you expect your guitar to appreciate significantly over time.

    From what I can tell, this guitar will probably be more durable than solid wood. And who knows - it may actually appreciate. But I didn't buy it for that. I bought it to make music - that is its function, and it does it incredibly well.

    Thanks, Greg Baum and Sweetwater, for your exceptional service.

  • from Vacaville, CA August 19, 2013Music Background:

    Pleasently surprised!

    I was just taking a chance when I bought this guitar on line without ever playing it, because it was only $650, but it was a Martin! I couldn't be happier! It arrived in tune and it was about 3 weeks before it was out of tune at all. It is very easy to play and sounds amazing! Can't tell the difference between it and much more expensive Martins that I have played.

  • from Valley Center Kansas September 11, 2013Music Background:
    play on Church Praise Team and for fun, self taught

    1 small tweak

    loved it from the 1st time I played it. easy to play, workmanship is excellent no flaws found. The only thing I will change if possible is where the battery is. You have to loosen strings to get to it, bummer. otherwise a perfect guitar

  • from sc. March 30, 2016


    Not a bad guitar, Martin needs to install better tuners,goes out of tune easily, drives me crazy..having second thoughts.

  • from Ozark Al. January 21, 2015Music Background:

    Martin 12 String is a Good Buy!!

    I have owned several acoustic guitars...Fender ,Epiphone, Charvelle. Ibanez and all have a different tone and sound..but by far this Martin sounds the best. My father owned one when I was younger and now I know why. Theres nothing out there to compare. Its just a great piece of ART.

  • from Sacramento, CA November 15, 2015Music Background:
    40+ years playing professionally

    Great tone!

    The acoustic trio I'm in occasionally needs a 12-string guitar, so I recently decided to upgrade from the LAG I'd been using for a couple of years. The Martin 12 is definitely a superior instrument, with outstanding, brilliant tone and much better playability. The Fishman electronics are great and the instrument sounds super when amplified. I will probably upgrade to an higher level Martin in the future, but until then, this will be a great performance and recording guitar.

  • from North Hollywood, CA November 15, 2015

    Great looks and sound, subpar manufacturing

    This guitar looks great, and does indeed sound great. It even smells great. However -even though the materials are good- I have clear complaints about the manufacturing/QA.

    More specifically, the uneven fretboard. While I have to say that I only have another 12 string in my collection (and I don't think it would be fair to compare it to a guitar of a different class), the guitar I received can't achieve what I consider a decent string action without unacceptable buzzing (of the first two pairs on the 10th-12th frets).

    No amount of truss rod / saddle adjustment seems to fix it, it's the frets that need to be balanced. Of course I take price into account and I didn't expect a Plek degree of precision, but what I received left me quite unsatisfied.

    Other than that, part of the electronics were loose. But that had a trivial fix.

    I also can say that Sweetwater's so-called "55-point evaluation" (at least this time -out of many?) didn't really mean anything... a lot of different issues were clearly visible (even the strings had rust)...

Questions about the Martin D12X1AE - Natural?

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