Martin stands among the few rare and best acoustic guitar brands that continue to be at the forefront of manufacturing high caliber instruments. As such, we made the decision to use this article to feature the best Martin acoustic guitars available.
Quick Links To My Top Martin Acoustic Guitar Recommendations
- Martin D-45 – My all time favorite and top choice!
- Martin 000-28 Eric Clapton Signature Auditorium – My runner up choice.
- Martin Standard Series HD-35
- Martin Standard Series M-36 Slim Body
- Martin D-28
- Martin GPC-16E Rosewood
- Martin OMC-15ME
- Martin D-15M StreetMaster
- Martin Road Series DCRSG
- Martin D-X2E
The brand has an exceptional viewpoint as it relates to versatility, craftsmanship, intonation and use of innovative elements. Martin has a tremendously broad range of acoustic guitar series that always have something to suit the taste of guitarists of every level. Regardless of the scale, sound or size, you will always be able to find an instrument suited to your performance level.
- Quick Links To My Top Martin Acoustic Guitar Recommendations
- My Martin Acoustics Reviews
- Choosing The Right Martin Acoustic Guitar For You
My Martin Acoustics Reviews
Containing 45 instruments, in essence, the Martin D-45 is a limited-edition guitar made in the extravagant Style 45 for which the brand is known. It is designed to satisfy John Mayer’s playability and sound which this multi-Grammy-winning songwriter and guitarist prefer. Similar to music made by Mayer, this signature model was inspired by legends from previous eras; however, its sound has its own uniqueness.
Where John Mayer is concerned, this is the fifth model and the first dreadnought which Martin made for him. The design was originally modeled off of a D-45 that was manufactured in the 1970s. However, although the new version has kept some of the design components of the 1970s D-45 model, such as the shape of its neck, other features are inspired by the 1930s and 1940s version of the classic D-45s. There has never been a D-45 like this Martin D-45 as it relates to the factors that are most accountable for the music it delivers.
This is the first Martin model that formally combines the rosewood specie with a soundboard made from Engelmann spruce and the first D-45 model with the sides and back made out of Guatemalan rosewood. The tonewood mix is made even more delightful by the use of the scalloped bracing made with Adirondack spruce.
- Martin’s most popular guitar.
- Known for its rich, clear tone with excellent volume and carrying power.
- Excellent projection and volume .
- Nice balance of high end and low end frequencies .
- Great deep basses with full mids.
- Martin guitars are expensive!
Martin 000-28 Eric Clapton Signature Auditorium
The Martin 000-28 guitar is in a category among Eric Clapton’s favored acoustic guitars; as such, it should not be surprising that this is the core for this signature model. Undoubtedly, this is a huge deal; however, the 000-28 does not really require this level of endorsement since it is widely sought by many guitarists. It has a solid Sitka Spruce top combined with the solid Rosewood used on its sides and back; therefore, it delivers a noteworthy sound. The tonewood combination produces a warm and rounded tone with ample brightness and spring from the spruce to give the desired definition.
When played quietly, the rich and complex tone produced is sweet and delicate. However, when more energy is applied, there will be enough energetic headroom to transport an impressive volume of air. The guitar basically produces some of the most clean and wonderful acoustic tones players have come to expect from the brand and they even go beyond the expectations of some. This guitar is a marvelous illustration of the most fantastic art forms currently available in the world of musical instruments.
- Martin is a respected acoustic guitar manufacturer.
- The 000-28 is designed to meet the needs of modern players.
- It has an ebony fingerboard and bridge, with a rounded neck profile.
- It’s an auditorium body that has perfect balance between lows and highs .
- High price point for an acoustic guitar.
Martin Standard Series HD-35
One of the best kept secrets of the brand is the Martin HD-35 is based on the renowned D-35 with a bound fingerboard, a three-piece back and the classic appearance of the herringbone trim all over the top perimeter. This extraordinary instrument got a well-deserved overhaul in 2018, with an upgraded low profile oval neck with a slender taper for greatest playability and with modified scalloped top braces for tone.
The guitar is an all-rounder and features a non-cutaway body that combines East Indian rosewood sides and back with a Sitka spruce top. This has resulted in pure tone boosted with strong bass. It provides a stellar sonic experience, improved playability and master-level build quality. The guitar also features antique white binding, a glossy finish and comes with a tortoise pickguard. Its select hardwood neck attaches at the 14th fret dovetail joint and it has a 20-fret fingerboard made of ebony.
Other features include its 25-2/5-inch scale, dot inlays, 1¾-inch bone string nut, chrome-plated tuning machines and a fixed ebony bridge. Tonally, the rosewood back produces a strong bass. The solid Sitka spruce top and braced with scalloped ¼-inch high-performance braces that deliver big and open tones.
- Pearloid fingerboard inlay
- Solid Sitka spruce top
- Clear, bright sound that is full of overtones
- Beautifully balanced tone across the strings
- Finish has a high gloss shine that some might find distracting or feel reflects too much light on their playing surface.
- Neck does not taper as gradually as other models to more comfortably play higher up on neck.
Martin Standard Series M-36 Slim Body
The M-36 has a 0000 or M shape body that is reminiscent of an OM but has a 16-inch lower bout and 4-inch depth. This indicates that it produces dreadnought-like deep bass but preserve the thump of an OM, which leads to a hybrid tone that has won over a number of guitarists for recording, even the renowned George Martin.
In addition to its shape, the key distinguishing features of this guitar is its three-piece back; this feature is derived from the D-35 Dreadnought. Not only does this three-piece solid East Indian Rosewood back look gorgeous and unique, but it also acts as reinforcement of the guitar and enable scalloped bracing. The forward-shifted X bracing provides more bass and more sparkle, which, when combined with the solid Sitka spruce top, provides the M-36 with its fabled and unique tone.
Where appearance is concerned, the guitar is dual bound with purfling lines side and front. The fingerboard is made from ebony and is also double bound, which is rare in the Standard Series to provide a very premium look. The top has an ‘Aged Toner’ finish and a high-gloss Nitrocellulose lacquer.
- Weight and size may not be appropriate for some players.
The first impression of this guitar gives it an appearance of any other regular dreadnought guitar. The sparkle occurs when the guitar is picked up and the playing starts. The instrument has Indian Rosewood sides and back, a Sitka spruce top and its neck is made of a select hardwood. A large number of guitarists love hardwood necks since they are quite easy to hold and largely contributes to the playability of the Martin D-28.
As it related to the sound, the tone of the guitar is among the most unique. Experienced guitarists, who have played a variety of guitars during their many years in the music industry, have attested to the fact that they have never heard anything similar to this tone of this guitar.
For those who are classical rock music lovers, this instrument could be your best choice. This is because the sound is just like some of the most prevalent vintage acoustic out there. The instrument was played by legendary performers like Johnny Cash and Bob Dylan. This guitar will also age well because of its high-quality solid-wood construction. This is an indication that the guitar tone will get better over time.
- Martin is one of the most trusted names in acoustic guitars.
- It has a distinct, iconic sound.
- The D-28 is considered to be the best sounding guitar of all time and was also used by legends like Elvis Presley and Johnny Cash.
- Usually more expensive than other models.
Martin GPC-16E Rosewood
The Martin 16 series updates continue in their efforts with tremendously affordable prices and new aesthetic choices, features and tonewoods. However, this all-solid wood acoustic gem is still crafted in a way that is synonymous with the Martin brand. The GPC-16E Rosewood combines these values and features with the Martin visuals in a modern Grand Performance Cutaway (GPC) version.
The GPC body is noticeably wider at its lower bout than a Martin 000 or OM; however, it features a lighter bracing and tighter waist than a dreadnought. This guitar is designed to perform impressively across a variety of playing styles. Its lighter bracing and smaller top ensure the instrument will respond favorably to the light touch of finger style performances.
There is extra real estate on the lower bout which indicates that a flat pick will not overpower the instrument and volume is abundantly available. Basically, it will handle whatever is thrown at it. With its solid East Indian Rosewood sides and back, similar guitars are not typically available at this cost from American manufacturers. Its Fishman electronics and fast-playing neck finish off this fascinating option.
- Built with a Sitka spruce top
- Solid mahogany back and sides
- Mahogany neck paired with ebony fingerboard and bridge pins
- None to be found!
The Martin OMC-15ME guitar is a mid-sized orchestra instrument. The entire guitar is made with solid mahogany pieces and produces a punchy and focused tone. This is remarkable for inserting a layer of acoustics to an ensemble where it will not get lost in the mix. For a seamless playing experience, the neck of this instrument has a performing artist taper and for a pure amplified tone, there are the brand new Fishman Matrix VT Enhance electronics. These electronics effortlessly complete this Martin guitar model so that players will not have sacrifice the natural tone of the instrument when it is being playing while it is plugged in.
The upgraded OMC-15ME is basically an electro-acoustic guitar with a cutaway design. Along with its mahogany top, sides and back, the instrument features an East Indian rosewood fingerboard and bridge. Its fingerboard is enhanced with beautiful diamonds inlays and squares. It is hard not to notice the warm and gorgeous tones with the mix of the mahogany wood used to make the guitar and the small orchestra size of the body. The OMC-15ME features a sleek reworked low oval neck that makes it possible for greater ease when the instrument is being accessed up and down the fretboard.
- Made in the USA
- Hear and feel the difference of a hand-made guitar
- High quality sound. You can hear every note, chord, and fingerpicking.
- a bit pricey.
Martin D-15M StreetMaster
This D-15M StreetMaster is another dreadnought, made from a solid South American mahogany and it features an A-Frame X bracing. The neck, sides and back are all made from the same material. The profile of the neck is an upgraded low oval and it is difficult to imagine anybody having issues with it. It has a vintage style and features bone nut and saddle, open-gear tuners and has an all-over matt nitrocellulose finish.
When it comes to tone, it produces a core sound that is rich, projecting and accompanied by the distinctive D-resonance from Martin. It is warm, full and lively without being indistinct or thick. Every cent of its build budget is put into creating the best playing and sounding instrument, with little concession to electronics, cosmetics or anything else.
There is no binding and the rosette is most minimal rosette, save for the understated brown ‘burst finish. The plainness of its appearance is much appreciated by the cool folk in modern bands; however, even people who do not consider themselves cool or modern like them too. Overall, with its solid wood construction, bone nut and saddle and upgraded neck joint, it is recommended unreservedly to those in search of the world’s best acoustic guitars.
- Aesthetically pleasing.
- Smooth and well-rounded tone.
- Good consistency in tone across the instrument.
- Fairly heavy for an acoustic guitar.
Martin Road Series DCRSG
The Martin DCRSG is a dreadnought that features a solid Sitka spruce top and a back and sides made of mutenye. Mutenye is described by Martin as a tonewood from Africa similar to ovangkol and rosewood. It is said to give the DCRSG an even and beautiful tone with clear trebles and mids and a good bass response. The Martin DCRSG belongs to a Road Series that features certified sustainable wood parts. Again, it is a classic dreadnought all-rounder; therefore, it is fascinating to see just how close to set tonal norms the DCRSG comes.
There is interestingly a softness to the mids of this guitar, particularly with single notes. Although the highs might not provide the vibrant attack some guitarists who are used to rosewood would like from a dreadnought, its action here is too low to contribute to that but something else is offered.
Instead, the highs give an airy feel to chord work and its bottom end adds much depth for that balanced hi-fi spectrum players have come to expect from a Martin. It is a smoother take on higher-end shimmer. Where the guitar really shines is rhythm work, although the resonant lows also gives authority to bass notes.
- Solid Sitka spruce top provides excellent tone
- C Shape neck for easy playability
- Absolutely no electronics or cutaway.
This remarkable entry level instrument has all of the quality built-ins for which Martin is known. The Martin D-X2E has a Solid Spruce top and the use of High-Pressure Laminate (HPL) or Stratabond material is extended to the sides and back. Along with the deviation from their typical all-wood design, Martin has departed from the dovetail neck joint on these versions as well. The benefit of utilizing the Mortise and Tenon joint is that if resetting the neck becomes necessary, doing so would be a bit easier than the customary dovetail joint.
In the cost category that the guitar is in, the tone of the instrument might fall a bit short of that of the standard series; however, its setup and quality components make the guitar easy to be kept in tune. Additionally, you will not have to be concerned about precision in the upper registers. This is really good as an entry level instrument. The HPL is less susceptible to climate change and is exceptionally durable, which makes this quite the resilient guitar to add to your collection and especially for the beginner.
- Martin’s signature tone
- Quality workmanship
- Slightly heavier than other models.
Choosing The Right Martin Acoustic Guitar For You
Congrats! You decided to buy a Martin acoustic. But which one will you choose? There are many things to consider when choosing the right Martin acoustic guitar for you. This section will discuss those considerations, and help you find the perfect Martin guitar for your needs.
Acoustic Guitar Body Styles and Shapes
You’ll find that Martin guitars come in all shapes, sizes, colors and price ranges. Generally speaking, Martins with dreadnaught bodies typically have a less bright sound than smaller bodied instruments such as an 000-18 series dreadnaught or a J-35 series jumbo – this is due to the size and shape of the body. However, if you’re a finger-picking player, or if you use a flatpick and play faster material such as bluegrass or Irish tunes, then generally speaking, the smaller bodied guitars will give you more control.
The Sound Of A Martin
Take the time to go to your local guitar store and strum an acoustic guitar – preferably an 000-18 or J-35 series dreadnaught – with a pick. Notice the volume level and overall sound projection of the instrument. You’ll discover that the smaller bodied models will have a greater projection and volume than the bigger bodied instruments. You may also be surprised at how much more projection the smaller bodied guitars give out. They’re easier to control and use for finger-picking style playing … and if you’ve never tried a Martin, you don’t know what you’re missing!
Another consideration is that many Martin guitars come equipped with piezo pickups which give you a rich fuller tone than standard acoustic guitar pickups. These pickups pick up the vibration of the guitar top and convert it to an electronic signal that can be picked up by a standard quarter inch plug. So you’ll need to have a pickup equipped Martin guitar, and an amplifier with a quarter inch port.
Martin guitars are priced from under $300 to well over $10,000 – you can get a basic Martin for the same price as a department store beginner guitar, but it won’t be a real Martin. The best way to find the right acoustic is to take your time and do some research. Go to your local guitar store and see what they have in stock and ask some questions. If they don’t have any Martins on display, then call ahead and see if they can order one for you.
Martin guitars are available in a number of different shapes, sizes and combinations of woods. They are also available in a variety of cost categories. The degree of handiwork and the wood quality and the quality of other materials used to make the Martin models will dictate their cost. However, it should be noted that there are some incredibly affordable Martin acoustics that are designed to produce much of the craftsmanship and tone for which the brand is known. You are the only one who can ultimately determine which of the best Martin acoustic guitar is right for you.
More more Martin options that I have reviewed: