|Body And Neck:|
A high-end Martin can easily cost you several thousands of dollars – and who wouldn’t want one of those models?! But not all of us can afford something so high-end. Enter, the Martin Road Series, which is a collection that still offers the high quality the iconic brand is known for, but at a more wallet-friendly price. The DRS2 is a key part of this series and proves one of the most popular acoustic guitars under $1000. This calls for a closer look…
Starting with aesthetics, there’s nothing too extraordinary about the DRS2. Martin seems to stick with the ethos of only adding something if it needs to be there. So, apart from a pickguard and simple dot inlays, there’s no further decoration. Yet, the DRS2 shows off a simple and timeless dreadnought design which would look great in any collection. Plus, although the DRS2 is one of the brand’s more affordable models coming from Martin’s Mexican facility, it shows off superb craftsmanship.
Unlike the HPLs you may find on some other Martins, the sides and back of the DRS2 are crafted from solid sapele, while the top is made from X-braced solid Sitka spruce, all finished with a silky-smooth satin. Joined at the 14th fret, the neck is made of hardwood and features a very comfortable hand-rubbed finish. While Martin uses traditional woods for the body and neck, we see the appearance of the brand’s eco-friendly Richlite on the 20-fret fretboard, which is a great ebony substitute – dark, tough and slick.
The DRS2 is an electro-acoustic so it features something under the hood – Fishman’s Sonitone system with soundhole-mounted controls for volume and tone. This stealthy system doesn’t affect the clean design of this acoustic at all. At the Martin-branded headstock, in a 3+3 configuration, you’ll find a set of Martin’s own sealed chrome tuners, which do a great job of precision tuning and then holding it in place.
There’s also a Richlite bridge, a compensated Tusq saddle, a White Corian nut, and a set of Martin’s SP strings. Finally, the DRS2 comes complete with a protective Martin hardshell case, which is a great addition even at this sub-$100 price tag.
What can we say about the tone? It’s clear, beautiful and full of Martin character – rich and warm but well-balanced thanks to the combination of the spruce and sapele. With the generous dreadnought shape, solid woods and bracing pattern, it projects very well indeed. Plugged in, the Fishman system offers quite a natural replication of the acoustic tone and proves a worthy companion for performances, even with limited onboard controls.
Even for a sub-$1000 guitar, the DRS2 just feels like very good value. It doesn’t offer the drop-dead gorgeous detailing or the vintage-inspired designs of some of its peers, but the DRS2 gives guitarists a high-quality all-solid-wood guitar that should last a lifetime.