I tested 5 of the best Martin acoustic guitars and rated them based on build, sound, feel, price, and other factors. In this post, I’ll share my research to help you find the best model for your particular needs.

At A Glance

ImageProductFeaturesPrice
Best Overall
Martin D-28 Acoustic Guitar

Martin D-28 Acoustic Guitar

Top Material: Spruce Wood
Body Material: Rosewood
Back Material: Rosewood
Neck Material: Mahogany
Fretboard Material: Rosewood

4.9
Check Price
Best Value
Martin 000-15M Acoustic Guitar

Martin 000-15M Acoustic Guitar

Top Material: Mahogany
Body Material: Mahogany
Back Material: Mahogany
Neck Material: Mahogany
Fretboard Material: Rosewood

4.8
Check Price
Budget Option
Martin DX1E Acoustic Guitar

Martin DX1E Acoustic Guitar

Top Material: Mahogany Wood
Body Material: HPL (High-Pressure Laminate)
Back Material: HPL
Neck Material: Mahogany
Fretboard Material: Mahogany Wood

4.7
Check Price
Cutaway Option
Martin SC-13E Acoustic Guitar

Martin SC-13E Acoustic Guitar

Top Material: Koa Wood, Spruce Wood
Body Material: Koa Fine Veneer
Back Material: Koa Fine Veneer
Neck Material: Wood
Fretboard Material: Ebony Wood

4.3
Check Price
Portable/Kids Option
Martin LX1

Martin LX1 "Little" Acoustic Guitar

Top Material: Spruce Wood
Body Material: Spruce;Mahogany
Back Material: Mahogany
Neck Material: Stratabond
Fretboard Material: Rosewood

4.4
Check Price

We’re reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no additional cost to you.

The 5 Best Martin Acoustic Guitars

Best Overall
Martin D-28 Acoustic Guitar
4.9

Brian's Take: Honestly, this thing is S-tier. I once heard someone say this is “the” sound of an acoustic guitar, and that is so true. It doesn’t get more pure than the D-28. It can do anything, sound like anything, and is just such a pleasure to listen to. It’s got an incredible, well-deserved reputation and comes in as my pick for best overall Martin guitar. It’s expensive, but you’re not just buying a guitar, you’re buying a piece of history.

Pros
  • Exceptional tone
  • Plays smooth
  • Top craftsmanship
Cons
  • Higher price tag

The Martin D-28 acoustic guitar stands as a testament to excellence in craftsmanship and musical artistry. This instrument has garnered a chorus of praise from seasoned players, and it’s easy to see why. The sound quality is nothing short of breathtaking, with reviewers repeatedly emphasizing the guitar’s amazing tones and rich resonance. Whether you’re strumming softly or belting out powerful chords, the D-28 delivers a beautiful sound that captivates both the player and the audience.

For even more detailed information, read my full Martin D-28 review.

Beyond its stunning sound, the Martin D-28 offers a level of playability that’s hard to match. Multiple reviews mention the guitar’s easy playability and smooth feel, making it a joy for musicians of all skill levels. The design and build quality are exceptional, a testament to the brand’s long history of craftsmanship. While the price tag might be a hurdle for some, the investment in a Martin D-28 is one that promises years of musical satisfaction. Whether you’re a dedicated musician seeking the best or simply someone who appreciates fine instruments, the Martin D-28 acoustic guitar stands as a pinnacle of acoustic guitar craftsmanship and performance.


Best Value
Martin 000-15M Acoustic Guitar
4.8

Brian's Take: The 000-15M comes in as my pick for best value. It’s half the price of the D-28, but still gets extremely high praise in the areas that count the most: sound and feel. You’ll get that signature Martin sound, but beware – it comes with a softshell case, which is the Achilles heel of this otherwise amazing deal. If you don’t mind that, then great. If you do, consider shopping around, but you might see the price go up.

Pros
  • Unique sound
  • Quality craftsmanship
  • Distinctive look
Cons
  • Doesn’t always come with a hard case

The Martin 000-15M acoustic guitar has undoubtedly left a significant impression on guitar enthusiasts, as evident from the diverse range of reviews. One common theme that resonates through the positive feedback is the guitar’s exceptional sound quality. Crafted with an all-mahogany body, this instrument delivers a rich and warm tonal profile, catering well to various playing styles. Whether it’s the melodic strumming of folk tunes or the intricate fingerpicking of blues, the 000-15M holds its own, offering a distinctive sound that captures the essence of Martin craftsmanship. Many reviewers have marveled at the vintage aesthetic of this guitar, appreciating its minimalist design, matte finish, and nuanced details that contribute to its overall visual allure.

However, even amid the chorus of praise, there are voices of critique, as seen in one review. The discontent stems not from the guitar itself, but from the purchasing experience. The absence of a hard case when bought from certain platforms like Amazon compared to the same product bundled with one at Guitar Center has led to disappointment for some buyers. This serves as a reminder that consumers value both the product itself and the accompanying accessories or services, and that different purchasing avenues can influence the perceived value of a purchase.

For even more detailed information, read my full Martin 000-15M review.

In summary, the Martin 000-15M acoustic guitar garners admiration for its exceptional tonal qualities, quality craftsmanship, and vintage charm. The guitar’s resonant sound, particularly its warm and rich notes, brings music to life in ways that delight both players and listeners. While some concerns about purchasing options have been raised, they underscore the importance of considering the complete package when evaluating the value of this instrument. Ultimately, the 000-15M stands as a testament to Martin’s legacy of producing guitars that merge musical excellence with timeless design.


Budget Option
Martin DX1E Acoustic Guitar
4.7

Brian's Take: We are now at a much lower price point without sacrificing too much on quality, playability, and tone. The D-X1E is just about 1/3 the price of the 000-15M, which makes a Martin guitar accessible to a lot more people. In fact, the price point makes it probably the most versatile option on this list; it’s great for beginners, intermediate players, and experienced players adding to their collection.

Pros
  • Playable
  • Durable
  • Good sound
Cons
  • Wood tone / color can look much different in person

The Martin D-X1E guitar presents an exceptional playing experience that resonates with musicians at every skill level. Its standout feature lies in its remarkable playability, attributed to its thoughtfully designed neck and excellent action. The neck’s shape evokes the feel of high-end guitars, lending a professional touch to each strum. The guitar’s construction is equally impressive, boasting a robust build that some reviewers have dubbed “indestructible.” Crafted with high-pressure laminate (HPL), the D-X1E stands as a reliable companion for live performances and outdoor ventures, maintaining its integrity over time. Although a few users have noted differences in the wood tone’s appearance, such disparities often arise between images and real-life observations, especially for guitars with darker tones.

What truly distinguishes the Martin D-X1E is its distinctive tonal accuracy, reminiscent of its higher-priced Martin counterparts. Despite incorporating synthetic components, the guitar successfully captures the essence of the classic Martin sound. While it may not replicate the exact volume or deep lows of traditional wooden guitars, its tonal qualities remain impressive and unmistakable. The D-X1E seamlessly adapts to various settings, effortlessly transitioning from hushed living room sessions to commanding the acoustics of a concert hall. Its electronic system has garnered acclaim, particularly the conveniently placed controls within the sound hole. While debates about wood color are inherently subjective and not uncommon for guitars with darker finishes, the Martin D-X1E’s overall excellence in playability, durability, and tonal prowess positions it as a solid choice for guitar enthusiasts seeking a harmonious blend of performance and dependability.

For even more detailed information, read my full Martin D-X1E review.

Amidst the myriad of guitar options, the Martin D-X1E garners admiration for its fusion of qualities that cater to musicians in pursuit of a dependable and gratifying playing experience. While discussions about wood color may be subjective and frequent with darker-finished guitars, the instrument’s exceptional features and performance characteristics shine brightly, reflecting Martin’s steadfast commitment to quality craftsmanship and exceptional sound.


Cutaway Option
Martin SC-13E Acoustic Guitar
4.3

Brian's Take: The SC-13E is a beautiful cutaway option that sounds and feels fantastic. The price is comparable to the 000-15M, and it, too, has a fantastic reputation. This is a guitar that’s more eye-grabbing and modern-looking than the other models on this list, so if you’re looking for something different, something that might stand out more, this is a great option to consider.

Pros
  • Impressive sound
  • Comfortable
  • Great build quality
Cons
  • Some quality control, setup, and build quality issues encountered

The Martin SC-13E has garnered both praise and criticism from users, resulting in a mixed overall impression. On the positive side, the guitar’s exceptional sound quality stands out as a hallmark feature. Numerous reviewers noted the guitar’s impressive tone, comparing it favorably to renowned Martin models. Whether played unplugged or amped up, the guitar consistently delivered a distinctive Martin sound that resonated with users. Additionally, the comfortable playability of the instrument received praise, with mentions of the compact size, reachable upper frets, and unique cutaway design contributing to an enjoyable playing experience.

However, the SC-13E is not without its drawbacks. Several critical reviews shed light on issues related to quality control and design. A key concern emerged regarding the guitar’s setup, with one reviewer highlighting a lack of included shims necessary to adjust the action. This design flaw hindered the ease of adjusting the action and intonation, leading to frustrations among users. Furthermore, there were reports of playability issues, including strings touching frets, rendering the guitar untunable and unplayable in some cases. These quality control and build-related problems reflect negatively on the overall reliability and functionality of the instrument.

For even more detailed information, read my full Martin SC-13E review.

That said, the positive reviews far outnumber the negative, and my experience with the instrument (as with pretty much every Martin I’ve ever played) was very good. Sure, you might need to get a setup if the guitar is brand new, but that’s not uncommon and, in my opinion, shouldn’t reflect negatively on the guitar. The SC-13E is a great pick if you’re looking for a Martin cutaway model!


Portable/Kids Option
Martin LX1
4.4

Brian's Take: Don’t let the few negative reviews here and there fool you – this is an awesome guitar that looks, feels, and sounds like a Martin, for a very accessible price. I’ve personally logged hours on the LX1 and, sure, it isn’t a top-of-the-line Martin, but that’s not how it was built. It was built to be a portable guitar, a travel guitar, a kid’s guitar – there’s so many purposes for it, and if one of those fits your scenario, you’ll definitely want to consider this axe!

Pros
  • Portable
  • Sounds great
  • Plays great
Cons
  • Tough to play for very young children
  • Sound quality is lower (compared to full-scale models)
  • Expensive guitar for accident-prone kids

The Martin LX1 Little Martin is a compact and visually appealing travel guitar that promises portability without compromising on tone. With a solid spruce top and HPL sides and back, it boasts a sturdy build that’s capable of handling on-the-go situations. The guitar’s 3/4 scale contributes to its loud projection, making it an ideal choice for small gatherings or impromptu jam sessions. Its compact size and included gig bag make it an attractive option for those seeking a convenient travel companion.

While the Martin LX1 has garnered praise for its recognizable tone and respectable sound, there are some drawbacks to consider. Some users have reported issues with tuning stability, indicating that the guitar struggles to maintain pitch over time. Additionally, opinions on sound quality vary, with some finding the tone to be lacking warmth or depth compared to their expectations. This points to potential inconsistencies in the guitar’s tonal characteristics that may affect its overall appeal.

For even more detailed information, read my full Martin LX1 review.

Overall, this is a fantastic choice if you’re considering a portable model or a guitar for your child. For years I taught a young student that owned a Little Martin, and I’ll be honest, when she took a bathroom break, I played the heck out of this guitar! When you consider it with the low price point, it’s a great option.


Buying Guide

Here are a few things to consider before purchasing a Martin acoustic guitar:

  1. Determine your budget: Martin acoustic guitars range in price from a few hundred dollars to several thousand dollars. It’s important to determine your budget before you start shopping so you can focus on guitars that are within your price range.
  2. Consider your playing style: Different Martin acoustic guitars are designed for different playing styles. For example, some models are better suited for fingerpicking, while others are better for strumming. Consider your playing style and the type of music you want to play when choosing a Martin guitar.
  3. Choose the right body style: Martin acoustic guitars come in a variety of body styles, including dreadnought, auditorium, and grand concert. Each body style has its own unique sound and feel, so it’s important to choose the one that best suits your needs.
  4. Pay attention to the materials: Martin guitars are made from a variety of materials, including spruce, mahogany, and rosewood. The type of wood used can have a big impact on the sound of the guitar, so it’s important to pay attention to the materials used in the guitar you’re considering.
  5. Try before you buy: Finally, it’s important to try out a Martin guitar before you buy it. Play a few chords and scales to get a feel for the guitar’s sound and playability. If possible, try out several different models to find the one that feels and sounds the best to you.

FAQs

  1. What is the difference between a Martin dreadnought and a Martin auditorium guitar?
    • Martin dreadnought guitars are larger and have a more powerful sound, making them ideal for strumming and playing with a band. Martin auditorium guitars are smaller and have a more balanced sound, making them ideal for fingerpicking and solo playing.
  1. What is the best Martin guitar for beginners?
    • The Martin LX1 Little Martin is a great choice for beginners. It’s a smaller guitar that’s easy to play and has a bright, clear sound.
  1. What is the difference between a solid wood Martin guitar and a laminate Martin guitar?
    • Solid wood Martin guitars are made from a single piece of wood, while laminate Martin guitars are made from layers of wood glued together. Solid wood guitars tend to have a richer, more resonant sound, while laminate guitars are more affordable

Final Thoughts

As the curtain falls on this review, we are left with a chorus of Martin guitars, each singing its own melody in the grand symphony of musical artistry. Choosing the best Martin acoustic guitar necessitates a careful calibration of personal preferences, budget constraints, and the intended purpose of the instrument. Whether it’s the resonant chords of the D-28, the nostalgic echoes of the 000-15M, the budget-conscious hum of the D-X1E, the contemporary strums of the SC-13E, or the vibrant notes of the LX1, there’s a Martin guitar that awaits its rightful place in the hands of those who seek to harmonize with the legacy of a brand synonymous with acoustic excellence.