New Toys: Martin Guitars X Series Brazilian Acoustic Guitars

Founded in 1833, Martin Guitar is a mainstay of the finest American production guitars. The X Brazilian Series brings a great sounding and precision instrument within reach as both a high-quality beginner’s level to intermediate level guitar. Martin offers an affordable range with nine different models available, and many different styles—traditional and cutaway, natural and sunburst finish. They play beautifully in tune and have a durability that is robust.

I received two Martins for hands-on evaluation, a 000-X2E 6-string and D-X2E 12-string acoustic. The X Brazilian Series feature a Brazilian rosewood pattern high-pressure laminate (HPL) to make the back and sides of the guitar. Martin describes HPL as “a composite material made from paper and resin that is pressed at very high pressure.

The surface will have a wood pattern (mahogany, rosewood, koa, etc.) and a protective clear coating. It is not a wood veneer.” The feel is very solid, musical and fun to play, and the wood grain is distinctive and attractive. The top of the guitar is spruce, and the rest of the guitar is made of “select hardwoods.” Both guitars have a nice heft and feel satisfying to play. As seems to be the trend these days in more affordable instruments, the finish is satin and has nice beveled edges.

The sound on both guitars is tight without boominess and have a nice treble sparkle. The bass is not big and would record well and layer nicely in a mix. The feel is precise, and intonation is excellent. The tuning machines have a nice smooth feel and are reminiscent of Schaller gears. They hold tuning nicely and are stable. The action is a little on the high side, but the guitars still play well.

The standard Martin E-1 built-in electronics feature four controls inside the sound hole. There are volume and tone sliders and two pushbuttons. One button controls a built-in tuner—an easy-to-read LED in the sound hole that facilitates accurate tuning. The pickup volume is muted while the tuner is on, which is a welcome feature for all those who don’t want to hear a guitarist tuning. Another button inverts the phase 180 degrees, which can help reduce or eliminate feedback, and in some situations can increase bass response.   

$599-$749 model dependent