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Martin is definitely not a type of brand you associate with affordable instruments. After all, one of the reasons how they managed to survive for almost two centuries was exactly their unwillingness to sacrifice quality over quantity. However, times have changed. Martin LXM is a rather odd travel guitar, which has a lot to offer but is pretty controversial at the same time. Even so, it’s among the best performing travel guitars at the moment, which definitely means something.
The explanation for all the controversy comes from the fact that Martin used mostly artificial materials when they designed the LXM. Instead of laminate wood, they’ve used Spruce and Mahogany patterned HPL – or High-Pressure Laminate. This alone turned many away from LXM, which is understandable. However, Martin somehow managed to make this guitar work despite this. Their HPL and the way it was all put together, simply delivered a more than satisfactory performance. It took some time before people even started considering the LXM as a viable option, but that time is long behind us.
In terms of hardware, we are looking at the same old configuration. There’s a good quality rosewood bridge which sports a quality compensated white Tusq saddle. The nut is also made of white Tusq, which gives both of these components nearly identical properties as a bone. Tuning machines are Martin’s own design, and are fairly decent all things considered. Martin LXM Little Martin’s hardware is more than capable of retaining intonation as well as your tuning of choice. Even if you start going hard on those strings, chances are you won’t have to make any adjustments. Speaking of strings, this guitar comes with a pretty decent set which you won’t have to change anytime soon.
Martin LXM’s tone is probably the main reason why this guitar became so popular. Even with all the HPL, you still get that trademark Martin tone. Guitar has quite a bit of range to offer, despite belonging to the compact range, and the projection is actually pretty good. One of the main things people worry about when looking at travel guitars is the volume. In this case, you will find that Martin LXM alleviates that issue quite effortlessly. Sure, it’s not as loud as a full sized dreadnought, but it’s far from sounding shallow.
At the end of the day, Martin LXM is a great travel guitar being offered at a decent price. The stigma of using HPL for just about everything won’t go away anytime soon. We say that even though this model has become relatively popular by now. Still, many can’t justify this type of price for an instrument that is essentially all laminate design. If you can look past these drawbacks, Martin LXM Little Martin might prove to be the perfect answer for your needs.