Instruments & Gear: New Gear

Martin 000-17E Whiskey Sunset

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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).


Category: Instruments & Gear

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Mar 24, 2017
Elderly’s Chris Rietz explores three common sizes of Martin guitars, playing mahogany and rosewood versions of each size.

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