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Martin DX1AE Solid Top Dreadnought Acoustic/Electric - Mahogany HPL Back and Sides Reviews

4.5 stars based on 11 customer reviews
Questions about the Martin DX1AE Solid Top Dreadnought Acoustic/Electric - Mahogany HPL Back and Sides?

Questions about the Martin DX1AE Solid Top Dreadnought Acoustic/Electric - Mahogany HPL Back and Sides?

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  • from Washington State September 29, 2016Music Background:
    Hobbyist

    The Millennium Falcon of Guitars

    "She may not look like much, but she's got it where it counts." Isn't that how Han Solo put it?
    People will pass on this guitar because they will find overseas manufactured imports with crazy inlays and bindings that tout that they have backs and sides from some endangered wood rescued from the Amazon, for the same price or less. People will pass on this one because it has laminate sides and back. They will look at the neck which is made from 30 layers of wood adhered together to become what martin calls "stratabond", and they will tell you that they can get a better guitar for less money. They will hold up a lesser priced overseas manufactured guitar and tell you it is better.
    This guitar really doesn't have any frills. No inlays, no, binding, no crazy electronics (besides the pickup with interior controls.) But when I played it next to comparably priced guitars, I immediately decided that the sound and play-ability were on a whole other level.

    The first thing that I noticed when I played it was the playability. It has a satin feel to the entire guitar. If you like a highly glossy feel, this won't be for you, but satin is my thing, so it feels fantastic. It frets so easily and just feels great. The frets were all dressed and cut perfectly with no edges or imperfections at all. I also love the rounded routing on the body rather than a sharper cornered binding that many other guitars have. It is just comfortably to touch and lean on while I am playing.

    What truly sets this guitar apart is the sound. (I know sound is subjective.) If someone handed me this guitar to play and I heard the sound and they told me it was a $2000 guitar, I would not have batted an eye. There is nothing shrill about the high treble tones, they just blend so well with the mid favored tone from this guitar. Playing quiet fingerstyle sounds fantastic and there is a warm compression when you really strum at it with a louder dynamic. I just can not get an unpleasing tone from this guitar.

    I will also state that having owned this guitar for a couple of months. The tuning stability is better than any guitar I have ever owned. I keep this guitar in a room that does change temperature quite a bit and have seen no ill effects. I imagine that the solid neck has something to do with this stability, but I am thrilled with it.

    For what this guitar is, I absolutely LOVE IT and am overwhelmed with how wonderful the tone and feel are.

    The only potentially negative things from this guitar are:
    The neck is heavy. It does feel that the heavy neck makes a little out of balance. I really don't notice it while playing it, but when I am sitting with it on my lap, the guitar really droops toward the neck.
    also...
    It is not the loudest dreadnought that I have ever played. The warm tone and compression of this guitar come at the price of volume. I am personally completely fine with this. The loudest guitars usually sound 'shrill' to me, and this one has a mature and balanced tone.
    also...
    The on board pickup seems to favor the lows and mids seems to try and emulate the warmth of the natural tone by quieting the treble. The beautiful compression of this guitar doesn't totally come through the pickup. (btw, I have never heard an onboard pickup in a beautiful guitar and thought that it captured the tone the way that a good mic will.) A good mic will make this guitar sound warm and gorgeous the way that it does in person. This is also evident on all online demo's of this guitar.

    Without a doubt, I am thrilled with this guitar. I can not find the tone and playability of this guitar for this price anywhere else, and after playing this guitar, I don't need to find it anywhere else.

  • from August 20, 2016

    Beautiful Entry level Martin

    I started playing on a 3/4 that was my dad's when he was younger. He surprised me on my birthday and took me to look at some full size guitars. I couldn't believe there was a Martin at this price, it almost seemed to good to be true. This guitar has great tone and great playability. It stays in tune incredibly well and it sounds better than my friend's $2000 Gibson

  • from October 7, 2015

    great guitar

    this is a great guitar and the price is outstanding. I have a 50 year old D18 and this DX1AE has the same tone as that fine old instrument. The electronics are a nice added feature but for my playing I will not be using that part. still; a good guitar at a very good price.

  • from September 15, 2015Music Background:
    long time hobbyist

    great guitar, great tone, great price

    I have been involved with guitars for 50 years including a D18 that is over 50 years old. This DX1AE has the some tone as that D18. It plays as easy and the action is as close to that old guitar as I have found at a price that is a fraction of a new D18. I do not use the electric component but that is a bonus. you will not be disappointed if you are a beginner or a seasoned pro with this guitar.

  • from Bedford, NH June 5, 2015Music Background:
    Performing artist

    Just astounding, perfect A1+++++

    Truly I was blown away with this guitar. I had purchased a Taylor Big Baby, took it out of the box, played for 3 or 4 minutes, put it back in the box and shipped it back to Sweetwater. Of course Sweetwater, Patrick Dennis in particular always take care of me. Superior customer service and knowledge. within 6 days they Taylor had been received, full credit given and the Martin was knocking at my door. This guitar is..... well I have no words. The bass is huge, the mids and highs just ring out. Talk about play ability.... the easies guitar to play in the world I'm sure! (well, aside from Martin's "big money" guitars I mean). anyway, for the money spent here I doubt there is a better guitar on the market. Just buy it!

  • from Delaware May 30, 2015Music Background:
    Playing since 1991

    Awesome playability and sound, very happy owner

    Ive played guitar for 20+ years and Ive tried many many acoustic instruments, and a year ago while in the market for an "around-500-bucks" acoustic guitar i tried a dozen more. This one won over all the others I tried, mainly because of two things: PLAYABILITY AND SOUND.

    This guitar plays really really good, feels great in the hands and in this area it rivals guitars 2 or 3 times the price, honestly the only one i tried that played better was the Clapton model for 3600 bucks, but it didn't play 7 times better, no way.

    The sound is magical in the price range and extremely good for the 500-2000 dollar range. I honestly don't know how they do it if you consider that the back and sides are not even wood. Excellent job by Martin magicians.

    The guitar does have a wood top with no coating so if you treat it poorly or gig a ton with it it will end up with scratches and other dings, i treat it like a princess and I'm yet to see any scratch on it while playing it routinely.

    I tried recording with it using the built-in electronics and it sounded like a dream, with a bit of EQ help it belonged in any record you hear out there today.

    Overall I'm very pleased with this instrument. I cannot think of any other guitar in this price range that can beat it, and honestly it plays and sounds more like a 1000-1500 dollar instrument but the price is what it is because there is no wood on back and sides and it doesn't have inlays or other fancy appointments that are all cosmetic and have no bearing in the sound or playability.

  • from Saint Paul, MN May 16, 2014Music Background:
    20 years performing and recording guitarist and vocalist.

    Better than I expected

    I figured for a lower priced guitar this was going to be "just ok".
    I was wrong, it's a great guitar! Great fit and finish, loud clear tone and great playability! Great stage guitar!

  • from Ohio March 16, 2015

    Wow, the tone!

    I have a 2013 HD28 that I love. But never want to take it out to cookouts or parties. Needed a beater that still sounded good. Tried the Yamaha..bla..the Taylor 110 series, nice playability but thin bright tone. Then tried this plane Jane looking DX series with Formica back and sides. What on earth? It sounds 90% as good as my HD28. I was shocked. Seriously. The top doesn't seem to have any finish on it at all. I'll put a John Pearse arm rest to fix that . I am beyond pleased with this guitar. The set up needed nothing. Very low action. I still can not get over the tone! How do they do it? Amazing guitar for the money!

  • from Gloucester, Masachusetts February 27, 2014Music Background:
    Hobby

    Martin DX1AE

    I have owned this guitar for a few years. It had outstanding tone. I frequently go to the guitar store and play guitars $1,000 - $4000 and I like the sound of this guitar just as much.

  • from United States December 23, 2013Music Background:
    Student

    Excellent guitar for the price

    It's hard to find a better guitar in this price range. The sound is astounding, and it feels great in your hands. The reason it's not five stars is that the back and sides are HPL, and it takes away from the look and sound of the guitar a little bit. The other thing is that the top is not finished in any way, and the guitar gets dinks and scratches very easily. I don't usually use the electronics inside the guitar, but putting the controls in the sound hole is a brilliant design, and adds to the beauty of the instrument. I love this guitar, I highly recommend it to anyone looking to buy a less expensive guitar.

  • from October 28, 2014Music Background:
    Pro Musician

    Be Careful

    Purchased this guitar 14 months ago, noticed the other day the top yellowing where my arm touches it when I play, e mailed Martin Customer service and so help me there response was, "wipe it off after each use with a cloth, and it may not worsen, it has a urethane finish". I can't make this stuff up !! This top is austere enough without being unprotected. It plays and sounds great, but I cant imagine that I will enjoy playing a guitar with a two tone top, as the problem worsens, and Martin OFFERS TO DO NOTHING. If you are going to buy a guitar in this price range, please look at the Yamaha LL6, I've sweated on one for years and the tops one color

Questions about the Martin DX1AE Solid Top Dreadnought Acoustic/Electric - Mahogany HPL Back and Sides?

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