Acoustic Guitar Community

Welcome to the Acoustic Guitar Community.

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.

Views: 6646

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
if it says,,,cf martin &co,,,its a martin thay made them to give people a taste of that martin tone,i wish i still had my dx1,but now have a d16gt,,,most makers will copy martin guitars and one day thay will copy the dx1,,martin desiened the dx1,and the new bracing pattern and the neck and fit,,its ok to be different,,put it this way if good old cf martin had not been different in 1833 we would not have the ,000,or ,OM ,or the mighty dreadnought ,if martin had brought out HPLin 1833 every man and his dog would have wanted it as people craved new ideas,,,,good old martin
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.......


Check Out the Latest in Acoustic Guitar

Free e-newsletter!

Sign up for Acoustic Guitar Weekly—the weekly e-mail newsletter that delivers coverage of players and gear, lessons and technique tips, and advice about performing and recording. Get it now!




Be alerted to the latest articles on, including lessons, CD, guitar, and gear reviews, how-to tips, and player profiles.

© 2015   Created by Acoustic Guitar.

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service