Selecting the best Martin guitar for your purpose is not difficult. Martin is a respected and reliable guitar brand, and the best Martin guitars have proven their reputation. Their instruments have stood the test of time, and have kept high quality craftsmanship. They always improve and develop innovative instruments from sustainable materials and ecologically friendly technology.
Martin has been around for years, and they’ve produced a broad range of guitars, from budget X Series to Performing Artist Series made for performing artists. That’s why it can be a bit confusing to pick the best Martin guitar out of all the diverse choices.
To make it easier for you to choose the best Martin guitar for yourself, in this post from Breathe Carolina, we’ll review 13 best options from Martin as suggestions, and some useful information you need to know about Martin guitars to make a decision.
Best Martin Guitars Comparison 2021
Best Martin Acoustic Guitar
Best Budget Martin Guitar
Best Small Martin Guitar
** Below, you will find our detailed reviews of the best martin guitar, but you can also click the links above to see current prices or read customer reviews on Amazon.
Detailed Reviews Of Top best martin guitar
The Martin D-18 has a modern and sleek design. It features a Solid Sitka Spruce top which produces a well balanced tone. The solid mahogany back and sides help deliver a warm base and a clear treble. The materials are durable for long term use. The neck is fast and is enhanced for better playability.
The guitar is extremely comfortable to play. The space between the strings is ideal for fingerstyle, but strumming chords with a pick still gives a nice sound and feel. The note is clear whether you pluck or strum. The high performance taper neck is easy and fast to play. The black ebony fretboard is smooth on your hand.
There’s no dead spots or imbalances between registers. The guitar has dynamic sound and is responsive. The sustain and intonation is perfect due to the bone nut and compensated saddle. Nothing is sloppy on this guitar. It ticks all the boxes of the best Martin guitar criteria.
This guitar has a unique vintage-inspired design and has features that can be found in the pre-war era guitars. The neck features a modified low oval profile with Performing Artist taper for easy playability.
The 000-18 is an auditorium guitar made of mahogany back and sides and solid sitka spruce wood top. The materials are all solid, so the sound and the build quality get better over time. The body has a V-contoured hardwood neck, which is a standard Martin feature. The ebony bridge and fretboard are smooth and easy to play. The X bracing made of solid Adirondack spruce adds to the vintage vibe of this guitar.
This guitar is not especially powerful or loud, but it has sweet upper frequencies. The sound is well balanced between the bass, mid and treble, creating an intimate feeling.
The Martin D-15 has a classic, reminiscent design of Martin guitars made in the first half of the 20th century. It has solid wood construction with a solid sitka wood top, rosewood back and sides, which delivers a warm and clear sound. The neck is durable and the ebony fretboard is smooth to put your hand on. The satin finish adds to the comfort of this guitar and you can play on it for hours.
It has a warm and well balanced sound, making it one of the most unique and special guitars on the market. The dreadnought design offers a vintage tone that stands out from the crowd. This guitar doesn’t have electronics, so if you plan to buy a guitar for performance, you may need to consider this aspect.
The Martin Backpacker has a very unique and funky design that makes it different from any other guitars. It’s lightweight and slim, which is great for travel, and for backpackers, as the name suggests.
Despite the low price and the small size, the strings are great, and the sound is excellent. Because of a small size, it may lose volume, but you get all the compactness. The action is low and easy to play. The fretboard has a solid, natural feel, so the transition between notes and chords is very easy.
The guitar is neck-heavy, but if you adjust the straps properly, you can fix this problem. Such a sweet guitar to play and listen to. The unique design also makes it a perfect gift for friends, children, or family members. It will definitely catch all the attention at a party or a camping night.
Martin has collaborated with the Woodstock Foundation to celebrate the 50th anniversary with this special Custom DX Woodstock model. This guitar features colorful custom artwork by Robert F. Goetzl, which is a cool and special design.
Martin has used HPL (High Pressure Laminate) for the top, back and sides. This is a great and durable material, while still delivering a rich and dynamic sound. The neck has a High Performance taper which makes the guitar extremely playable. The fretboard is made of a sustainable and water resistant material.
The built-in electronics allow you to get a great sound. The design is one of a kind, the sound is great, the materials are durable, this guitar deserves to be on the list of the best Marin guitars that you can own without breaking the bank.
The D-10E is a model of Martin Road Series, specifically designed for road use. The solid Sitka spruce top, sapele back and sides have offered a well balanced, warm voice and great projection. The high performance taper neck from Martin makes it easier to play. The Fishman MX-T electronics are perfect for performing artists.
The more you play the guitar, the more character reveals itself. And because it’s made of solid wood, the sound is getting better and better as time goes by. There’s a built-in tuner for you to tune your guitar easily.
The highs are sparkle, and of course, the bass is emphasized as well, which then creates a well balanced and warm tone. The non-scalloped X-bracing helps the sound vibrate more freely. The action has an ideal height, neither too low that there may be buzzing noise, nor too high that it’s a little challenging for beginners.
The Ed Sheeran 3 Divide Signature Edition Little Martin is designed based on the Martin X Series LX1E Little Martin. It features a solid Sitka spruce top, a laser-cut Divide signature with matching blue rosette and a mahogany HPL back. This is a perfect guitar for those who are a big fan of Ed Sheeran, or for those looking for a gift to Ed’s fan friend.
The Fishman Sonitone electronics make this model a great choice for performing artists. The built-in tuner is accurate and the display is clear and bright. The neck with a modified low oval profile has shallow shoulders and is extremely easy to play. The guitar produces impressive volume and a delicate sweetness when fingerpicked.
This signature guitar also includes a padded gig bag. There’s nothing to complain about the quality of the guitar's build, sound or playability, making it one of the best Martin guitars under 1000 dollars. Whether you're an Ed Sheeran fan or not, this guitar looks cool and is well priced too.
This is one of the flagship guitars from Martin, and it doesn’t disappoint. It has a solid Sitka spruce top that helps deliver bright, clear sound. The rosewood back and sides, the ebony fretboard and bridge add to the luxury look and the sound quality of the D-28. It has a glossy finish which is stunning and polished. Although the design looks like a standard dreadnought guitar, the sound exceeds and surpasses our expectations.
The D-28 is great for offering sounds for different styles of music. It produces warm, resonate and punchy projection. It has been chosen by various artists and performers. The hardwood neck is easy to play and durable.
It comes with a hard case and a limited lifetime warranty. If you’re looking for the vintage, jangly tone similar to John Lennon, or Jimmy Page, this guitar gives you that. As you play and as the guitar ages, you’ll receive better and more beautiful sounds. Overall, this can really be the best Martin guitar that you can own.
The LX1E from Martin is a perfect guitar for those with small hands and those who prefer small sized guitar. It’s ideal for practice, travel and bring around. Although it’s small, it still provides a clear, loud and powerful sound.
The guitar has a solid Sitka spruce top, which offers a rich, high-quality tone. The Mahogany on the back and sides add to the warmth and tonal clarity. The laminate material doesn’t take away the quality of the tone, but it’s durable and can endure the harsh conditions of constant travel.
The LX1E is lightweight and small, which can be a great gift to children, travelers or those with small hands. You get the excellent projection, power and clarity in such a small body guitar.
The Martin GPX1AE acoustic-electric guitar combines that special Martin sound with the great playability of an electric guitar. It has a tight waist and a deep body, which delivers a well balanced, clear, powerful tone and projection.
The solid Sitka spruce top gives you a full, rich tone that is suitable for a variety of music settings. Its tone is even and bright, ideal for fingerstyle and flatpicking. It’s also boomy and resonates well.
There’s built-in Fishman Sonitone electronics that allow you to control and customize the tone and volume. You can also plug the guitar in your computer and play. For those looking for a guitar that’s made for jazz and folk, this GPX1AE is a very worthwhile choice.
The LX "Little Martin" Acoustic Guitar is an ideal choice for travel and practice. It features a wood-pattern HPL top with Sitka spruce bracing, giving it a wonderful tone and powerful projection. It’s loud enough to play in a small place without an amplifier or microphone.
The Micarta fretboard is smooth and sturdy. The neck is fast, easy to play and durable. There’s a high quality built-in tuner which is convenient to keep your guitar well-intonated. The short scale length and the small size are perfect for those with small hands, and are also easy to bring around on the road.
This Little Martin comes with a padded gig bag, soft and firm enough to protect your little guitar. Overall, it checks all the boxes for the best Martin guitar, and will be a great gift to yourself, your friends, or your children.
The Martin D Jr 10 is a junior-sized guitar that is portable and perfect for all guitar players, from beginners to veterans. It features a Sitka spruce top and sapele back and sides, offering a warm, clear, full tone that is well balanced. The harwood neck, together with the Richlite fretboard, is so smooth and comfortable to pluck or strum.
The guitar has a dreadnought shape and it’s small, which is easy to play, especially for guitar players with small hands. The size doesn't sacrifice the sound quality. The sound is sharp, bright, nicely balanced and is excellent for pop.
This Jr-10 doesn’t disappoint. It gives a great feel and sound, whether by holding it in your hands, or listening to its melodies. It will give you the joy and motivation to continue striving on your music journey.
The Americana 16 Series DC-16E Acoustic-Electric Guitar is a dreadnought guitar, with a 000 depth and single cutaway, which is a friendly design to guitar players. It is made of a solid Sitka spruce top and Sycamore back and sides, providing a warm and shimmering tone.
The modified low oval neck with a high performance taper is easy to play for hours. The black ebony fretboard is so smooth for your hands whether you play notes or chords. There’s built-in Fishman Matrix VT Enhance electronics that offer decent, crisp sound quality for performance on stages.
Overall, this guitar is one of our favorites in the 16-series, delivering an innovative tone and feel of classic Martin, with a cutaway design.
All You Need To Know About The Best Martin Guitar For The Money
Martin Guitars is well renowned for guitars made of high quality materials and producing unique sounds. The manufacture process and quality control are reliable with painstaking attention to detail to ensure that the quality matches the brand reputation.
Martin has been around for decades, and they’ve produced a huge deal of guitars with different series and different price ranges, for different purposes and for different ranges of guitar players. If you decide to buy the best Martin guitar for your budget, you may feel overwhelmed by the broad range of choices. That’s why you should know some information about Martin guitars to get a broader look at what they’re offering, and to select the best choice for yourself.
Martin often produces guitars with classic and simple design. Though there are still some funky and fun Martin guitars, a large number of their products still have a dreadnought body. If you love something that looks classy and simple, you’ll never run out of options.
Some Martin guitars feature a cutaway for easier access to upper frets. Some are full-bodies, while others have sloped shoulders. The small-sized guitars from Martin are also very popular, and are even favored by professional artists like Ed Sheeran.
Martin often produces guitars with 12 frets, 14 frets, or 15 frets. There are also 12-string options if you want to look for something more advanced and shimmering.
Most Martin guitars feature a modified low oval with a high performance taper neck, which enhances playability and comfort for long hour playing. There’s also low oval, modified V neck; tenor neck; performing artist shape, etc. Martin offers neck shapes that have multiple widths, too.
Martin guitar finish offers an attractive, natural, woody look. Most of their models are made of solid woods which are getting more beautiful and shiny over time. Some custom and special models have bold designs and colors, but most of the options look simple, yet high end.
Some Martins are made through a process called Vintage Tone System, giving them a special color. The Vintage Gloss Finish is also a process of lacquering their guitar. Overall, Martin guitar finish looks well made, and high quality.
Some Martin guitars are equipped with built-in electronics, which is convenient for those playing on stages or wanting to practice with an amplifier. Some feature Fishman electronics. American made guitars can have Aura VT Enhance or Matrix VT Enhance, while Mexican made models may have Fishman MX-T.
Martin has collaborated with Fishman to offer built-in stage-ready electronics to many of their most popular guitar models. Fishman is one of the well known names in amplification, and their electronics collaborate with Martin’s unique sound to deliver a wonderful music performance. Fishman preamps and pickups are specifically made to help bring out the one of a kind, natural tonal spectrum of each Martin acoustic-electric model on which they’re installed.
Martin and budget, most of the time, don’t go together. There are only a few Martin options that are affordable for those on budget. But they are pricey because of a good reason - the high quality. Mexican-made models can be cheaper than those made in American. To get the highest quality craftsmanship and the unique, high quality sound, Martin guitars are worth the investment.
Size, Scale and Sound
It’s important to choose a Martin guitar that suits your needs and your preferences. If you are small or have smaller hands, or you love the idea of a small guitar, the Little Martin Series are perfect choices. These small sized guitars are also great for artists who travel a lot and want a compact guitar. Of course, there are acoustic and acoustic-electric options if you consider the performance purpose.
If you’re looking for something bigger than a Little Martin but still smaller than a standard guitar, then the 000 and OM designs are what you need. They provide excellent comfort, neither too small nor too big. They offer well balanced sound and great for recording as well as gigging.
The dreadnought models from Martin offer powerful volume and projection. They are well known for the bright, jangly tonal contrasts. The notes are deeper, stronger and more rhythmic.
Martin Guitar Tonewoods
One of the most important aspects when choosing guitars is the types of woods. They affect majorly the sound, build, and playability of the guitar. Most Martin guitars are made of a solid wood top, delivering a clearer, richer and more well-balanced sound than laminate wood.
Solid Sitka spruce is the most common wood type found on Martin guitars, especially the top. It provides a clear and powerful sound. You can also see Martin guitar top made of cedar with a light and airy tone, or of mahogany which is deep and robust.
The back and sides of Martin guitars are often made of rosewood, mahogany, sapele, and maple. Rosewood offers deeper bass and excellent highs. Mahogany delivers a more balanced, well blended sound, similar to Sapele. Maple provides more projection, sustain and volume.
The combination of spruce and rosewood is great for live artists as it offers a more powerful and outstanding sound when amplified. Spruce and mahogany together are great for recording studios or small performances as it creates a dynamic and clear tone. So considering where you would use the guitar is also necessary.
In terms of laminate woods, Martin often uses HPL (high pressure laminate). Though the sound quality can’t be compared to solid wood, laminate Martins are still durable and still offer decent and amazing, unique Martin sound. HPL is made of fibers and resins compressed together and coated with protective finish. They have the grain look of solid wood. They can also endure the harsh conditions and can be used for a long time.
To craft their guitars, Martin uses a number of excellent tonewoods. All the components are perfectly paired and are valuable for their aesthetic beauty and tonal quality.
Cutaway body styles are a common feature on acoustic or acoustic-electric guitars, allowing easier access to upper frets of the guitar. If you’re playing solos a lot and fretting on upper frets a lot, then a cutaway would be a great feature.
The Martin Family of Guitars
Martin manufactures a wide range of guitars in a great number of different families. Each family has its own specs, characteristics, and aims to different guitar players with different budgets. Martin families include:
Martin X Series are one of the most affordable families. They are often made of solid wood or HPL wood, but mostly HPL to reduce the price. The neck is often made of hardwood which is durable and resists warping. The materials are environmentally friendly and innovative.
X series guitars also have left-handed versions. If you’re a beginner or looking for an affordable option from Martin, you can look for guitars in the X series to find out the most suitable option.
Road Series is also an affordable family of Martin. They are made of solid wood or laminate wood, but have more details and electronics for those constantly on the road and gigging artists. At a moderate price, you can get the signature sound and the well made build quality of Martin without breaking the bank.
Performing Artist Series
Performing Artist Series are specifically designed for performing musicians. They feature cutaways for easier access to upper frets, great for solos. There’s built-in Fishman electronics of high quality for performing on stages and gigging nights. The build quality is durable and is made for the extreme condition of regular touring. The tone is superb and special, with the unique Martin sound, to offer the audience the best melodies.
Martin Guitar 15 Series
The models in 15 series are reissued versions of the 1940s 15 series guitars. They have East Indian rosewood fretboards, A-frame X-bracing, solid mahogany tops and bodies. They offer a warm and vintage tone of the old time guitars, as well as the special signature tone of Martin. If you’re an old school guitar player and love the quality of the old 15 series, these models won’t disappoint you.
Martin 16 Series features a special pairing of woods. They are made from domestically sourced hardwoods and each 16 model offers a unique guitar tone. The woods used for this series are sycamore, cherry, and koa.
The 16 series guitars provide punchy sounds and lots of sustain. They are moderately priced since there aren’t many luxurious components of more expensive series. But they still have the well balanced and responsive tone of Martin.
This series includes sloped shoulder dreadnoughts, like the DSS-17, as well as 00 and 000 models. 17 models are made from mahogany with solid Sitka spruce tops and rosewood fretboards. Designed based on the 1960 guitars, these Martin guitars offer clean, jangly, vintage look and tone, and are suitable for a wide variety of music styles.
The Standard Series is the most iconic guitar family of Martin. They are made of high quality woods, excellent techniques and designs, with high end look and finishes. They can surpass the expectation of the pickiest musicians and guitarists. Some popular models from this series are D28 and D35, as you probably know. This is a valuable long term investment for those looking for a lifetime soulmate, or a powerful beauty for recording and performances.
The Authentic Series recreates the aesthetic beauty of vintage guitar, as well as the jangly old school tone from vintage instruments. Martin has a Martin Vintage Tone system that allows them to reproduce guitars of certain time periods and eras.
Guitars in Authentic Series are light, beautifully made and offer the best build and sound quality. Even the case included is customized based on the vintage instruments. These guitars are so special and can go up to 60 thousand dollars.
We believe that there are also other Martin guitar series that are loved and used by many artists, such as Junior Series or Little Martin. The above series are the most popular ones that we want to introduce to you.
There are plenty of videos on the Internet that can help you make the decision more easily. We suggest that you choose the one whose sound you love most, because it’s something you will listen to and play on every day. Every person has different taste, so in the end, it’s still you who make the final decision. Anyway, we have found a video that is very helpful for choosing a Martin guitar.
Final Thoughts of best martin guitar
We hope that our article about the best Martin guitar and all you need to know about this brand has helped you imagine the versatility and characteristics of Martin guitars. The brand can stand firmly on the competitive instrument market because of their high quality products. The excellent craftsmanship, the great durability that stands the test of time, the unique and special Martin tone, everything is combined into one small guitar.
Basically, every model of Martin is made with attention to detail and offers stunning quality. But each of them has its own voice and look. Based on the features of the guitars we list above, we’d like to round up with 3 best suggestions for the best Martin guitar. If you still don’t know which one to choose, you can find out more about these suggestions to see if they suit you.
Best Martin Acoustic Guitar
Best Budget Martin Guitar
Best Small Martin Guitar
Whether you choose an affordable mini guitar, or a high end expensive one, we believe that the beauty, simplicity and reliability of Martin won’t let you down. Have you found the best Martin guitar based on our list? Or do you have any other suggestions? Tell us in the comment section below.