Martin DCX1E acoustic guitar review

I’d always wanted a Martin guitar. So, about 10 years ago, I retired my old Ibanez and purchased a dreadnought-shaped DCX1E.


  • Solid spruce top
  • High-pressure laminate (HPL) back and sides
  • Plywood neck
  • Fishman Classic 4 preamp pickup

Ease of use

For me, a musician who gigs often, this guitar has everything I need. It comes with a Fishman Classic 4 preamp pickup, which is useful for adjusting the tone quickly without having to reach over to my mixing board. Also, the sliding volume control enables me to adjust my volume as I switch between finger picking and using a plectrum.

Though I don’t play much lead guitar in my duo (the other guys handles most of that) the cutaway makes it easy to play all the way up the neck.

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Sound quality

Thanks to its solid spruce top with a mat finish, the guitar has a nice warm tone, which I love. I’ve never used the pickup when recording (I prefer to use microphones); however, through a PA system, the pickup does its job and sounds great.

You can hear what the DCX1E sounds like in this video.

Overall rating

The back and sides of the guitar is high-pressure laminate (HPL), which you probably won’t like if you’re a purist. And, to be honest, I thought the guitar was made entirely of wood when I bought it, and I was a bit disappointed when I realised it wasn’t.

The HPL, though, makes the guitar affordable, and I was able to by mine for NZ$1,600, which is a great price for a Martin.

Anyway, I’ve played hundreds of gigs in all sorts of environments—including boats, rowdy pubs and outdoors—and, for me, the Martin DCX1E is an excellent guitar.

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Andrew Healey


Andrew is an Auckland-based writer and musician.

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