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Martin Road Series DRS1 – Leading The Group With a Head Start

4.9 out of 5 stars

Martin is a legendary guitar company known for exceptional sound quality and high-end prices, but if you dig deep enough, you will be able to find that sonic excellence at a bit more of an affordable price. For example, the DRS1 model stands out with packing a stellar audio punch while brandishing a more than reasonable price tag way below the $1,000 mark.

As odd and contradictive as it might sound, this is a top-notch cheap high-end guitar. We took it out for a bit of a spin, conclusions patiently await below.


Body and Neck

The guitar utilizes a solid sapele top, back and sides, along with a modified low oval select hardwood neck with a black richlite fingerboard featuring 20 frets and small white dot markers.

This tonewood combo secures an impeccable, unique, warm and organic sound with impeccable intonation and sonic accuracy. The guitar is able to cut through any mix both in unplugged and plugged-in regime, as any Martin ought to. The neck is easy to play, allowing you to effortlessly grab a hold of any chord or make those fast-paced runs up and down the scale.

In the durability section, the guitar is sturdy and perfectly capable of taking a few minor punches during transport, but it is an acoustic model after all, so make sure you treat it like a lady. To help you with that, the company included a free hard-shell case in the price.

Martin Road Series DRS1-neck


In the electronic section, the six-string utilizes a basic Fishman pickup and Fishman Sonitone electronics. It might sound peculiar, but the combination of top-level wood and this stock pickup actually secures an awesome sound, and even allows the budget cut that placed the six-string below the $1,000 threshold.

Additional equipment includes a set of chrome die-cast tuners distributed in groups of three across the classic Martin headstock. Also included in the mix is a black richlite bridge with a white tusq saddle, white corian nut, and a classic black pick-guard.


So how does it all sound then? Well, very good and absolutely worthy of the Martin name. We already described the tone as quite rich and full, but it is the loudness factor that stands out a bit above the rest. Regardless of sonic environment, this six-string will always sound stronger and fuller than its peers, and we believe that this trait makes the DRS1 far more valuable and efficient for modern production values and approach.

Despite being strong, the guitar is still super expressive and responsive, allowing you to deliver every single sonic nuance of your performing and strumming style. Good stuff!


In a nutshell, this guitar offers a great value for money. The sonic quality is easily worth twice more than the indicated price tag, and if you are willing to adjust the electronic department by kicking in a new pickup, you're in for some genuine sonic excellence!

If you want to enter the realm of high-end instruments, but can't spend thousands of dollars for it, give Martin DRS1 a shot. As long as you are after a top-level acoustic-electric guitar, this one is a choice you cannot regret making. Treat yourself with one of these as early as today!

For more info about Martin Road Series DRS1, click here.
For more acoustic electric guitars, click here.

Reader Interactions


  1. Sean says

    Curious how you rate these compared to some of the Seagull SWS models. I’m looking for a new acoustic solid wood – like both the Seagull and Martin brands. It will be my main go-to everyday tool. I am getting into more fingerpicking but also love to strum around. Love your vids – and reviews – interested in your opinion here. Cheers.

    • Gregg says

      I would stay away from the Martin DRS1. Sound is great but it is prone to cracking easily and it was delivered with a saddle issue. Check it over well before purchase and you must keep a humidifier in it at all times. Martin does not stand behind product, just tells you that it needs to be in a controlled environment with good humidity. I have other guitars like Taylor and Takamine which have had no issues in the same environment so I would stick with them if you are looking for something that you can just play that is not high maintenance.

      • Dennis says

        I have had my DRS1 for about 5 years now, don’t know what problems you are talking about, The guitar sounds much better as it is getting older, and as for it being solid it retains it sound phenomenally. I keep it in its case and do not have a humidified environment, no cracking or warping. This guitar is a workhorse and sounds great.

  2. Randy says

    The neck is a tad wider 1 3/4″ takes a little while to get used to but all in all a pleasure to play. I love the full martin sound. A great value for the dollar.

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