Whether you’re looking for a tried-and-tested guitar for players with smaller hands or a quality acoustic for a child to develop their skills, Martin’s LX1 Little Martin is usually one of the first to pop up in searches. And for good reason! This popular little acoustic is one of the best out there in terms of quality, sound and feel. Plus, for an authentic Made in Mexico Martin, it’s surprisingly affordable. Let’s see what all the fuss is about…
The Little Martin is exactly what its name suggests! It’s a small-scale Martin guitar (the smallest the iconic brand produce), showing off classic Martin style with typical Martin quality. The non-cutaway concert body – with its 23” scale length – is made from solid Sitka spruce on the top, with a High Pressure Laminate mahogany on the back and sides.
Falling in line with some of the other more affordable Martin instruments, the Little Martin uses rust birch laminate for the neck, which creates an interesting pattern and a comfortable feel in the hands, along with a Richlite fretboard and 20 frets. It looks great, and – regardless of the affordable price – feels like a quality instrument in both build and playability. But, made in Martin’s impressive Mexican facility, we wouldn’t expect anything less.
There are no electronics on this Little Martin, although the electro-acoustic LX1E is available, featuring a Fishman mic system which is great for plugging in to quickly amplify your sound.
However, the original LX1 does feature a set of good quality Martin sealed chrome tuners, which are smooth to use and hold tuning in place well. It also comes with a Tusq nut and compensated saddle, a Richlite bridge, and is strung with a set of Martin’s SP strings. Perhaps most importantly, it comes with a padded gig bag, which is an essential and stylish addition to protect your little beauty when in storage or transport.
It looks good, plays well and stays in tune. So, how does it sound? Ultimately, due to the compact body, the projection and tone just doesn’t compare to a full-size Martin dreadnought – but it was never designed to. However, for practice and small performances (think campfire or hotel room), it’s perfect. It sounds well-balanced in tone, and has that satisfying warmth that can only really come from an instrument with such a quality build.
Whether you’re looking for a model to travel with or something that will feel comfortable in the possession of smaller hands, the Little Martin is hard to beat – certainly comparable with the Baby Taylor in terms of sound, playability and affordable price. There are cheaper small-scale acoustics out there, but the Little Martin just seems to give you that bit extra.