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So if this is not considered a "real" Martin just kindly let me know and I will bow out. I bought an older (relative term) like NIB Lefthand DX1 a couple of months ago. Changed the strings and we were amazed at the sound.
A buddy has a Martin Shenandoah and D18 and he just can't believe the sound I get from a $225. (my cost) guitar. Says it sounds just like a Martin.
Then at a local guitar store when I bought my son a new Yammie for christmas I was told a DX1 is not a real Martin. So I went home and looked at the headstock again. It says "Martin". The label inside says "Martin DX1 Made in USA,"
So I guess I'm thinking what constitutes a name is the sound that comes from the assembly, not neccessarily what some of the parts are made of.
I know the HPL sides and back are crappy and I will soon own a solid wood Martin. At which point the DX1 will be a camp guitar.
So if this is not going to be considered a real Martin just let me know and I'll understand.

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Replies to This Discussion

The DX series are the best and loudest bang around guitars ever made-period.....imo

Well, I love mine. Let's be honest tho'...if I was buying only one guitar, I would buy a really good one. I have the D-18 & love it! But I wanted a second 12 string & simply couldn't afford another expensive guitar. What a shock when I bought & played the D12X1. It's very nice. It stays tuned forever too. I defy anyone else to find a guitar costing $800.00 that sounds as good as this. Heck! Let me rephrase...find me one that costs $2000.00 that sounds better!
Your story is mine, my good one is a 16D-RGT, but I love my DX121, It sings to me, and it stays tuned
I have a 000\OM X and think its great.
I have a DX1...and IMO you should be proud to own it. Living near a large guitar store, I've had the chance to try out many guitars. I'm always astounded at how pitiful most $400-600 and even more expensive guitars sound compared to my DX1. I think Martin has a real gem here... Every person I've ever played for is astounded by the sound of it. Being a college student, I'm really thankful for such a high quality, affordable guitar. Unless my itching for a new guitar just grows too strong, I wholly believe I'll be satisfied with this guitar until I graduate, and can afford something further up the Martin ladder (since I am now addicted to the Martin sound).

Anyway, I hope you're enjoying yours as much as I am!

Or, like me, you might decide that even though you graduated from college 20-some years ago and could afford a much, much better guitar, you just don't want to.

There are opinions and judgments, and sometimes salespeople will make comments that are self serving. There is less profit margin on lower priced Martins, and there a snob aspect to many Martin owners. There are collectors who say "They don't make Martins like they used to." (Actually, they do...if you've got deep pockets.)

All Martins made today from the D18 series up are called standard Martins. They all have solid tonewoods and varying degrees of traditional manufacturing. Depending upon appointments, details and rare woods, they can cost more than even wealthy professionals care to spend.  (D100 is about $110,000.) 


It's less cost effective for features like hide glue, dovetail neck joints, and expensive tone woods. How much difference these features make in the sound is a constant debate. The lower series Martin guitars 16 series, 15 series, One series, and X series usually have less ornate features, and no dovetail neck joints, but they also benefit from advanced technology. There are no more Road series (veneer) Martins made, and with the progressing rarity of exotic tone woods, Martin is trying to build a bigger market for hpl (a formica like comibination of highly compressed material 60% wood fiber and 40% resin with a photo finish), and less rare tonewoods like cherry. These guitars still have the basic Martin design and much of the Martin feel and sound and they get better as they age. Personally, I prefer the A frame X bracing on the 15 series and the SW series to many standard Martins. I like the micarta fingerboards and the stratabond necks. These are are stronger than traditional Martins. 


Don't be surprised if your DX1 ends up sounding as good or better than solid wood Martins. It's the top that makes the most difference in the tone, and the DX1 series have only a slight hand rubbed poly finish. I have a DCX1 that sounds great...not as good as my 1971 D18, but my D18 sounds a lot better than it did in 1971. Mexican made X models use the same machinery and technology as the Nazareth plant uses. 


They make sure the high price Martins sound great before they leave the factory, but they don't make sure the lower price one sound inferior. Sometimes, the non standard Martins sound even better than more expensive Martins.


The newest rage is the Performance Artist series which is built with 16 series specs and high end electronics. Traditionalists may say they're not a real Martin, but for stage work and recording, they are first rate.

Ed I agree with you. I had a DX1 and later bought my wife a DX1 Tawny Satinwood. I played perhaps 10 to 15 different guitars each time before I bought them. Many I played were high dollar, but none of them sounded as good as the ones I bought. Price and brand are good indicators sometimes, but not always. Most Martins I've played over the past many years sound like Martins. They have that one sound and I guess thats just the way it's supposed to be.  Keep on playing.

Right after I bought my DCX1 our local store received another shipment from Martin with a Tawny Satinwood. It cost a little more than I expected for hpl and I was interested in getting a rosewood model...which I did. However, that Tawny Satinwood sounded great! It sold quickly.


I think if people chose guitars blindfolded, some of those lower price Martins would rate pretty high.

Now the X series comes with onboard tuning. I'm waiting for some of the PA electronics to migrate to the lower price Martins. I asked Chris Martin about this and he said they're reluctant to make a guitar where the electronics cost more than the guitar. Well, NAMM is coming up shortly...I'm curious what they have in store.

It's a real Martin ! Am my Sepal sides an back an statabond neck look just fine on my DC-1E. And yes it has the Martin Tonal Quality, just as a Harley has it's Unique sound! Rock on.......

I know this is an old dead topic but I bought my DX1 two years ago and It is working out quite nicely!

First off let me say that I could not afford a $2000+ guitar. Yes they are nice but it is just not going to happen. I have been playing for the past 30 years and began to take the acoustic guitar seriously about 4 years ago. I wanted to upgrade from an Ibanez  so I began looking at GC, I found my DX1 and thought to myself this is exactly what I have been looking for. 

Since I bought it I have played some higher end Martins and the only one that I think that would upgrade to is the D-35. I also don't feel like I have to baby my investment and not take it out to play. I feel comfortable by the campfire as well as playing on stage.

All that to say that I love my DX1!

I'll add to what Mark said.  I don't have a DX1, but I just got a DCPA5K, which, I'm sure the original poster's guitar store guy would also say isn't a "real" Martin.  Not only because it has HPL back and sides, but because of the Statabond neck and Richlite fretboard, and the fact it's made in Mexico.

I would have to highly disagree with this store guy though, and I would debate him through the wall any day of the week.

First of all, the main reason I chose my DCPA5K is "because" of the materials it's made of.  Where I live, the winters make taking care of all solid wood guitars a chore and a half.  It also restricts where I can take the guitar.

So, I have this guitar for it's durability AND it's fantastic Martin, yes "MARTIN" sound.  I also wanted that quality of workmanship that Martin is famous for.  I got that.  If you think Mexicans cannot do the same work as Americans, you'd be not only racist but just plain wrong.

The neck alone is way stronger and more durable than is even possible from solid wood.  The back and sides will never worry about cracking or swelling due to heat and humidity.  And the HPL is very stiff which makes for a great sound reflector, which is the main purpose of the back and sides.

So, at the end of the day, if you ask me, I have a far superior "Martin" for half to 1 tenth the cost of those "real" Martins.

The only people that all solid wood really matters to, I think, are purists and people wanting to sell a higher end product for the higher end prestige and profit.  But you blind fold these types and ask them to pick out the "fake" Martins from the "real" ones and you'll seem them fail.....a LOT.

And yes, needless to say....I LOVE my DCPA5K!  This guitar is definitely a keeper.


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