Which Mini Martin Will Best Fit Your Life?

by Adirondack Guitar August 20, 2019 0 Comments

Which Mini Martin Will Best Fit Your Life?

We answer your questions about Mini-Martin guitars and other scaled down versions of iconic Martin acoustics

Are you looking for a campfire guitar but are afraid to bring the Martin Dreadnought or 000 that cost you a couple of grand on vacation with you? Are you looking for a high quality guitar for your child that won’t break the bank but still sound and play great? We have the perfect solution... you’re looking for a Mini-Martin!


What is a Mini-Martin?

Mini or Little Martins belong to the Martin LX Series of acoustic and acoustic electric guitars. These are scaled down little beauties with small bodies, short scale necks and small price tags. In fact, you could say that everything about a Mini Martin is small, except their sound, which is authentically Martin and as big as life.

Martin LX 1E

The Mini-Martin body size makes it perfect as either a student guitar or a travel guitar, and the short scale neck makes it a lot of fun to play. The 23" scale length relaxes the string tension, making it perfect for student fingers just finding their way into chord shapes, or for the fingers of a professional guitarist just looking for a guitar to strum lazily around the campfire.

Yes, but how do they sound?

Martin LX1

Many parlor acoustics and small scale travel guitars have an excessively bright or tinny sound, but this is not true of the Martin LX Series. Mini-Martin guitars including the Martin LX1, LX1-E, LX Black, LXM and LXK2 have a warm and rich sound that is unique among small scale acoustics. While Mini-Martin guitars do deliver a bright treble tones, they are also still capable of warm mids and full low tones that give each of these little Martins the full tone that you would expect from a much larger, and more expensive instrument.


How is this possible?

The Martin LX Series are made from the same materials as other Martin guitars, including HPL laminate tops, backs and sides, select hardwood necks and FSC Richlite fingerboards and bridges and they benefit from the same high quality build conditions. Sure, these aren't Signature Series guitars, but they are also just a fraction of the price. But the laminates and solid Sitka Spruce tops that are used in Martin guitars are available in Mini-Martin versions that each deliver the authentically full and rich tone you would expect from a Martin.


Demo Video:


The Martin LX1 and LX1E have a solid Sitka Spruce top with Spruce X-bracing and mahogany high pressure laminate (HPL) back and sides and a select hardwood neck with FSC Richlite fingerboard. For its size, these little beauties punch way beyond their weight class with surprising volume and amazing projection, and a rich sound that you will love.

Martin LX Black

The LX Black, LXM  and LXK2 have all HPL laminate tops, backs and sides, which each have their own distinct advantages. Though HPL laminates are not solid wood, they are wood-based products that retain many of the sonic characteristics of the tone woods that are used to make them but do not require the care and maintenance that solid wood requires and are very resilient when dealing with high temperatures and humidity, which makes them perfect for travel guitars as you never quite know what environmental conditions you are going to be walking into when you are traveling.

Martin LXK2

If there are Mini-Martins with solid tops, why would I get one made from HPL laminate?

While guitars made from solid wood are generally considered to sound better, they are much more sensitive to environmental conditions than those made from composite materials like Martin's high pressure laminate and FSC Richlite fingerboards and bridges. If you've invested in a Martin Dreadnought or 000 with a solid top, you would never think of bringing that beauty to a campsite or on vacation in conditions where the heat and humidity are likely to be high because it could cause costly damage to the wood and it would never sound or play the same afterward.

The composite materials used by Martin in the production of the LX Mini-Martin series guitars are extremely durable and resilient when it comes to changes in environmental conditions and are not usually damaged by heat and humidity in the way that solid tops usually are. This means that you can take your Mini-Martin LXM, LX Black or LXK2 camping, hiking, or anywhere you might want to play around a campfire, without worrying that the environmental conditions are going to hurt it in any way.


Can you gig with them?

Though the LX Series little Martins are not expressly intended for gigging, the Martin LX1E does come equipped with Fishman electronics and can be plugged into a PA system or acoustic amplifier of your choice. Featuring a solid Sitka Spruce top, the LX1E Mini Martin does deliver the kind of authentic Martin tone and projection that you can gig with under certain conditions.

A perfect example of a performer who gigs with a Mini-Martin is Ed Sheeran, who loves these guitars so much Martin gave him several signature models, the latest of which is the LX Ed Sheeran 3 . Note in the performance below the rich and full tone that Sheeran gets from his LX Series signature guitar with its small body and short scale neck which make all of the LX Series models extremely comfortable and easy to play.


Ed Sheeran and his Martin LX Ed Sheeran Signature:

Is there a Mini-Martin that sounds like my Dreadnought?

Though the LX Series guitars do punch way beyond their weight class, they don't have the kind of volume and thunderous tone that you get from a Dreadnought. However, Martin does make a scaled down Dreadnought called the Dreadnought Jr. which has a short scale (24” scale length) neck, slimmer waist and 000 depth and costs a fraction of the amount of a D-28.

Martin DJR10E 

Made with a solid Sitka Spruce top and Sapele back and sides, a select hardwood neck and FSC Richlite fingerboard, the Dreadnought Jr. is the perfect solution for anyone who wants to get authentic Martin Dreadnought tone in a size and shape that is designed for player comfort and playability.

The Martin DJR10E is also outfitted with Fishman electronics, making it ideal for out of the way gigs and other playing situations where you need that authentic Martin sound but you don't want to bring your high-end Martin.


Demo:


What makes a Mini-Martin a good student guitar?

Martin LX Series guitars are not only great for travel, they are also ideal for people of small stature, especially young people, who usually struggle with full sized acoustic guitars. Mini-Martins have a shallow body depth, small body size and short scale necks that make it easy for students and players of small stature to hold the guitar on their lap and reach around it with their strumming hand, while also being able to reach the entire neck while playing.

The 23“ scale length short-scale neck also reduces the string tension, making it easier for students to hold down strings and form chords. A short scale neck also has reduced fret spacing that makes it easier for small hands to manage. As they become experienced players, students will find that their LX Series Mini-Martin will make an excellent travel or campfire guitar that they will enjoy playing for years to come.


What are the advantages of Mini Martin guitars?

If you are looking for a small scale acoustic guitar for vacations and travel, there is no better solution than a Mini-Martin LX Series guitar. Mini-Martins have several unique advantages that make them the perfect choice for anyone looking for a small bodied acoustic:

  • Durability - the laminates and materials used in the Martin LX Series guitars are highly durable and resilient and will withstand changes in environmental conditions, making them perfect for use as travel guitars.
  •  Playability - the small body size and short scale necks of the LX Series guitars make them extremely comfortable on your lap, and extremely light and easy to play. Whether you are playing informal gigs or just hanging around the campfire, the LX Series guitars will feel right.
  •  Tone - Martin LX Series guitars are unique in this size category for their deep, rich and full tone. Mini-Martins are really the only alternative for anyone looking for a small bodied acoustic with the rich and deep tone of a much larger guitar.
  •  Price - Martin LX Series guitars, including the Ed Sheeran Signature, all come in under $600, with the least expensive coming in at under $350.

Martin LX Series Mini-Martin guitars deliver premium Martin sound and silky playability in a pint-sized package that punches way beyond their weight class in terms of volume and tone, and they are in stock now in both right and left handed models! Visit our website or contact us for more information about Martin LX Series guitars.






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