Updated November 14, 2022
Granted, the Little Martin series is designed to be more affordable than most other Martin offerings, but is this particular model worthy of serious consideration? Find out in this in-depth Martin LX1E review.
Small, compact size makes it easy to transport and play
Well built guitar with a strong reputation from a trusted brand
Versatile thanks to high quality acoustic and acoustic-electric tones
Value for Money
May be a bit pricey for a beginner, but valuable option for gigging musicians
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Martin LX1E Review: Is This the Little Powerhouse Acoustic You’ve Been Looking For?
The Martin LX1E may be best known as one of pop icon Ed Sheeran’s main acoustic-electric instruments.
This small, easily transported acoustic-electric boasts the iconic Martin Acoustic branding and aesthetic that has made them arguably the most popular acoustics of all.
Much like their larger LX2E model, the LX1E is a far more affordable option than most all other Martin offerings.
For over 180 years, C.F. Martin Guitars has been producing the very best acoustic guitars out there.
This LX1E makes it even easier for you to get your hands on one, whether you’re a beginner or pro.
Martin’s LX1E is built around two major concepts: building a high quality travel guitar and providing a gig-ready acoustic.
With exception of the Backpacker, the LX1E is Martin’s smallest guitar, making it light and easy on the player regardless of size or experience. Plus, it packs a Fishman Sonitone pickup letting you plug in and play when the need arises.
This versatility is what makes the Martin LX1E such an appealing option. It’s suited for a wide variety of roles, whether it’s world wide touring like Ed Sheeran, or bed room practicing.
Who Would Get the Most Out It?
The sub-$500 price tag makes the Martin LX1E a more high end beginner option. On the other hand, it’s an incredibly affordable gig-ready guitar for more experienced players as well.
These two statements come together to show that the Martin LX1E is really a “one size fits all” solution. That being said, the smaller body size does it make easier for beginners or players of small stature.
Martin’s quality control and trusted name make it an easy investment for even the least educated acoustic guitar shopper.
What Comes With The Martin LX1E?
Unlike some of its competitors, the Martin LX1E is not currently sold as part of a beginner bundle.
While these beginner bundles are incredibly convenient, they often don’t feature guitars of this quality. The Martin LX1E with Fishman Sonitone Pickup does come with a high quality, padded gig bag.
Martin’s padded gig bag and the compact body of the LX1E make it incredibly easy to pick up and play around the house or to take it on the road.
LX1E Features & Specs
Martin’s LX1E acoustic-electric guitar packs plenty of quality features into its small package. The body boasts Mahogany high-pressure laminate on the back and sides with a solid Sitka Spruce top.
The Spruce top features a classic natural Satin finish that has adorned many of the classic Martin guitars we all know and love. A Fishman Sonitone acoustic-electric pickup powers the plug-and-play readiness of the LX1E.
This pickup can be controlled by two dials within the body of the acoustic, a popular feature of all Fishman Sonitone-equipped products.
The LX1E also boasts a compact 23” scale length and can be purchased in both righty and lefty configurations.
- Acoustic-electric thanks to Sonitone Pickup
- High quality acoustic sounds
- Solid Sitka Spruce top
- Includes padded gig bag
Playing the Martin LX1E
The Martin LX1E is a pretty straightforward instrument. With only two knobs, for volume and tone, the electronics couldn’t be simpler.
Just plug in and play right after you tune up your new LX1E. The included gig bag also lets you take your guitar on the go right after you get it.
Want to take it to a gig? Play it on the beach? Wherever you want to take it, the LX1E will go. Check out this helpful demo of the Martin LX1E and its electric-acoustic applications!
Martin LX1E Review: Key Points
The Good Stuff
- Compact size is easy on the player
- Fishman Sonitone pickup makes it gig ready
- Classic acoustic looks
- Comes with padded gig bag
The Not So Good Stuff
- Lower quality tone woods
- Smaller body means lower acoustic volume compared to full-size
Taylor GS Mini-e
Note: This model is discontinued but you can still find it aftermarket
Looking for another electric-acoustic from a legendary guitar company? The Taylor GS Mini-e is a similarly priced model from Martin’s main competitor for the title of most iconic acoustic guitar maker.
The Taylor GS Mini-e packs the same convenience of a small sized acoustic into the electro-acoustic format.
Taylor’s own ES2 acoustic guitar pickup powers this classic looking model, with external controls on the top side of the body.
It’s a bit more expensive, but it’s a worthwhile offering from a legendary guitar maker.
Looking for the same Martin greatness in a different aesthetic? Check out the Little Martin LXK2, a Koa topped acoustic guitar that is similarly comfortable.
Providing a darker wood look, and Martin’s classic headstock, the LXK2 provides much of the same as the LX1E.
Furthermore, it comes with another sturdy, padded gig bag. Rich acoustic tones, a 23” scale length, and high user ratings wrap up the features on this lovely acoustic!
For more info on this model, read our full review here.
Final Thoughts On The Martin LX1E
Acoustic-electric guitars are sometimes hard to judge, as some see them as less necessary unless you’re a very specific type of player.
That may be true, but the Martin LX1E should be seen as a really versatile model. It can be taken around to wherever you want to strum a few acoustic chords while being plugged into an amp or PA system later that night at a gig.
From coffee houses to picnic blankets, the Martin LX1E with Fishman Sonitone pickup is an affordable and trustworthy option for musicians of all levels.
If you’ve always dreamed of owning a Martin acoustic, this may be your best bet at getting a useable, reliable, and sweet sounding instrument!
- User Friendliness
- Build Quality
- Sound Quality
- Value Factor