Great-sounding mahogany and spruce 000 includes Fishman electronics.
by Teja Gerken
December 12, 2016
Martin’s mid-size 14-fret 000 guitars offer a great balance between volume, bass response, and playing comfort, and their versatility makes them suitable to just about any musical style. The latest 000 in Martin’s line is the 000-17E Whiskey Sunset, part of the company’s recently revamped 17 series. The instrument, built with mahogany back and sides and a Sitka spruce top, has a new look for Martin that combines its vintage style with the simple appointments and satin finish of prewar catalog guitars. The 000-17E is, of course, built to Martin’s high standards, with high-quality woods and the impeccable craftsmanship the company is known for.
The 000-17E Whiskey Sunset sounds the way a mahogany-and-spruce 000 should. It has a well-balanced, bright and clear tonal quality with plenty of volume and responds well to a variety of playing styles. The guitar’s short 24.9-inch scale makes it easy on the hands, and the relatively wide string spacing will appeal to fingerstyle players.
The 000-17E we checked out includes the optional Fishman Matrix VT Enhance electronics, which combines a bridge-plate-mounted transducer with an Acoustic Matrix undersaddle pickup. Two sets of soundhole-mounted dials control volume, tone, and the amount of transducer signal that is added to the undersaddle pickup. Plugged into a Fishman Loudbox Mini, the amplified sound of the 000-17E was present and natural, and the “Enhance” control easily allows you to get a variety of sounds by adding more or less of the transducer’s signal to the basic sound.
The 000-17E Whiskey Sunset is a cool new twist on a proven design that includes a great pickup system. Martin’s new 17 series also includes the 000-17E Black Smoke, which is the same guitar with a black finish.
SPECS: 14-fret 000-size body. Solid Sitka spruce top with scalloped X-bracing. Solid mahogany back and sides. Select hardwood neck with simple dovetail joint. Rosewood fingerboard and bridge. 24.9-inch scale. 1¾-inch nut width. 2⁵/₃₂-inch string spacing at the saddle. Open-gear tuning machines. Made in the USA. $2,549 (list). Martinguitar.com
Comments and Discussion
Thanks for your note. The guitar in the demo was stock, as described in the Martin specs: https://www.martinguitar.com/guitars/17-series/000-17e-whiskey-sunset/. As such, it didn't have a torrefied top, and I'm guessing it was strung with Martin Retro Lights. It's been more than a year since I played the guitar, but I remember liking it a lot, and thinking that it sounded a lot like some 000-18s that I've played, which makes sense, given the wood combination. And I do like the stock Fishman electronics, but it's a fairly sophisticated system that will take some experimenting to get the best results from, and it will also depend on what you're playing through. But ultimately, choosing a guitar is a very personal decision, and it's possible that the 000-17E just isn't the best match for what you're looking for.
I hope this helps,
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