A Beautiful Acoustic From Martin Guitars

The DX1KAE is yet another excellent entry in Martin Guitars’ X-series.
Martin Guitars are popular amongst acoustic players and there’s a reason for that. With their high-quality builds and gorgeous acoustic sound, this classic American guitar company have long since cemented their reputation for quality.
But how do their more affordable models hold up?

The X-Series

Created as an affordable alternative to their mainline acoustics, the X-series – and thus the DX1KAE – are an innovative approach to the guitar design.
The key to creating the X-series was, of course, lowering costs, and one of the biggest costs in any manufacturing is materials. In this case, they found that they could lower material costs by replacing traditional wood with a composite material called HLP.
HLP stands for High Pressure Laminate and is essentially a thick layer of resin sandwiched between two thin layers of wood.

While the cheaper material might seem off-putting, it looks identical to wood and has little to no effect on the sound. The only real downside is that HLP is less sturdy than wood so this guitar won’t take quite the beating some other acoustics would.
That being said, an acoustic guitar is generally used as an instrument and not for short-range combat, so this shouldn’t be too much of a concern.

Should You Buy The DX1KAE?

The DX1KAE is a rare kind of instrument. It’s a beginner guitar that can take you far.
Although the quality is not quite what you might expect from higher-end Martin Guitars, it’s still a cut above most beginner guitars. With a beautiful sound, a solid sitka spruce top, and a built-in piezoelectric pick-up the DX1KAE really does have a lot to offer.

The downside is that, although the x-series is more affordable than other Martin acoustics, the DX1KAE isn’t what you’d call cheap.
They generally retail somewhere between $600-750 which is a pretty steep bar for entry. Martin’s lower-end price might be cheap by their standards, but it’s still a fair amount more than you’d be expected to pay with most acoustic brands.

At the end of the day, you get what you pay for. If you spend a little more up-front, you’ll get a great instrument out of the deal, but if you want something that sounds nice and won’t break the bank, then this probably isn’t what you’re looking for.

DX1KAE technical specifications

Manufacturer Martin
Series X Series
String Number 6
Body Type Family Dreadnought
Body Type Square Shoulder
Cutaway? No
Solid/Laminate Wood Solid Top
Top Material Solid Sitka Spruce
Body Material HPL
Fretboard Material FSC Certified Richlite
Neck Material Natural Birch Laminate
Number of Frets 20
Neck joint at 14th fret
Scale Length (inch) 25.4
Nut Width (inch) 1.75
Finish Natural
Amplification Piezo
Pickup Active/Passive Active
Pickup Brand Fishman
Pickup Model Sonitone
Left-Friendly? Yes
Left/Right Handed Right Handed
Made In Mexico
GTIN 14 00729789400787, 04250503821879

DX1KAE reviews & comparison videos