This guitar is a bit smaller than you would expect, but that is definitely not its weaknes. We have featured this guitar in our best acoustic guitars comparison, but in this review, I’m going to discuss its main features such as sound, build quality and materials used, but you’re also going to hear the sound quality.
Hope this buying guide makes your buying decision easier!
Martin LX1E, or Little Martin, as some people call it, is a great sounding, small-sized guitar made by a very reputable brand, known mostly for its high-end guitars.
This model is pretty small, however it is certainly not the smallest one on the market, but rather the smallest one among all Martin acoustic guitars. Because of that, it is a great option for people who like to travel, young players and smaller people in general.
The hassle of having to carry a full-sized guitar through busy airports and crowded tour buses can force you to leave your most prized possession behind when you travel. This is why smaller-profile instruments like travel guitars are gaining popularity fast.
Considering its size, it’s worth mentioning that you won’t get that dreadnought sound impact, but it still performs pretty decent! Definitely not one of the best quality Martins out there, but far from the worst either.
My expectations weren’t high in the beginning, as I don’t usually expect much from small guitars, but this one left a solid impression on me.
As far as the body goes, it is pretty durable (something you definitely want in a travel guitar) and is less prone to warping, thanks to laminate.
The Martin’s are renowned worldwide for manufacturing the finest musical instruments with an experience spanning over 180 years. All their guitars are created by highly skilled craftspersons, who blend cutting-edge innovation with the ideologies of Christian Frederick Martin – the company founder.
Their acoustic guitars have been used by various reputable musicians of our generation on stage and in the studio, and they all appreciate the gold standards and playability maintained over the years. Notable players include John Lennon, Elvis Presley, Paul McCartney, Kurt Cobain, Mumford and Sons, John Mayer, and Ed Sheeran.
Not all travel guitars perform as expected, but the best-selling Martin LX1E easily stands out from the crowd. Popularly referred to as Little Martins, the LX series represents the company’s smallest size guitars. The LX1 is Martin’s line flagship instruments which ships in 4 variants – Acoustic-Electric (LX1E), LXM, LX1 and the Ed Sheeran signature variant. Martin has put in the full effort to this small but mighty guitar to offer you the best value for your money.
Sound is probably the most important thing you’re interested in, so let’s jump to our review.
While other travel & little guitars tend to produce bright and thinner sounds, the Martin LX1E (which is known as little martin) projects the classic Martin sound, just slightly miniaturized. It has a deep and rich sound which gives it the edge over its closest competitors.
The Fishman ISYS T with a preamp combo system on the LX1E features built-in tone shaping, volume control, and phase controls giving you a whole new level of customization regarding sound. This mini guitar may lack a punch of dreadnought and bass, but it possesses an exceedingly useful palette of sounds loud enough if you want to play it around the campfire or for practicing. Guitarists on the go looking to splurge for having the honor of owning a Martin guitar should seriously consider purchasing this guitar.
Material & Build Quality
For its top, Martin used solid Sitka spruce, like they do in most of their guitars (this feature looks nice on electric guitar as well). Thanks to this material, guitars can sound bright and more dynamic.
On back and sides, we can find Koa pattern – HPL, which stands for high pressure laminate. That’s just a standard in this price range, nothing else to expect. It also looks really nice because of this.
This guitar comes with die cast tuners, which are painted in black and I personally love that feature!
Saddle is made out of TUSQ, which is, again, standard in most guitars in this price range, or even in the high-end ones. That’s a synthetic material, but far from cheap plastic.
Nut, on the other hand, is built out of Black Corian and the bridge out of Black Richlite.
The neck or the Stratabond is also laminated with approximately 35 strips of layered wood glued together. The material may be human-made, but the bridge and fingerboard resemble dense ebony evoking a classy feel and look. The LX1E model lacks position markers to the fingerboard face and features less decoration. Despite its size, the LX1E Little Martin is a fully capable guitar with an impressive variety of built-in tonal assets. The contour switch adds some crispness, add the pushy acoustic voice and you will have fun playing. You will also love the chrome-plated Gotor Tuners and the appealing Martin Logo on the peghead. Despite its miniature size, this model is easy to play comfortably on the knee or strap.
The Martin LX1E is suitable for a whole range of players. Its small size means it’s most suitable for individuals with smaller hands and small stature as opposed to people with a bigger stature Players with a more significant stature should not worry though as they can quickly adjust.
It may be smaller than you would expect, but that is certainly not its weakness. LX1E is a great choice for beginners as it does not require much stretching, but also a great fit for experienced players who travel a lot.
It’s also worth mentioning that there are different editions of this guitar – the most popular ones are definitely Ed Sheerans edition and the classic Signature edition.
Some people also want to know the difference between Martin LX1E vs GS Mini guitar, stay tuned because we’ll post the comparison soon.
Features and Specifications
- Stratabond low oval-neck
- Highly pressured mahogany laminate at the top, back and sides.
- 23. scale length Richlite fretboard
- 20 frets in total
- Belly bridge style
- Hand rubbed finish.
- Onboard electronics, Fishman Isys for plug-in-and-play flexibility
- Richlite fingerboard material
- Mortise neck joint
- Inlaid Bolter on rosette without red fiber
Best Strings For Little Martin LX1E
If you decide to purchase this guitar, it’s worth mentioning what kind of strings fit on it. Most people prefer light strings such as Takamine GS330S (with eXP lights on it). Another great option is also Elixir Polyweb Medium strings.
- Clear and bright sound
- Great preamp
- Nice feel and great playability
- The bass projection is not as good as on bigger guitars
Considering its price, it is indeed a pretty solid guitar. However, because of its size, it is most suitable for kids, people with smaller hands and especially for people who like to travel. If I had to pick one, I’d definitely put this one on my best travelling acoustic guitars list!