A cutaway dreadnought with Fishman electronics
by Teja Gerken
August 24, 2020
Martin’s X-series models are the company’s most affordable full-size guitars. What originally started with a single dreadnought has grown into a full line of instruments (check out our recent demo of the GPC-X2E Macassar), and I was happy to have a chance to demo the new DC-X2E Mahogany in the Peghead Nation video studio.
The DC-X2E Mahogany’s body is a cutaway version of the original X-series dreadnought body. Like all X-series guitars, it uses(High Pressure Laminate) material for its back and sides. HPL is a composite material made from paper and a special resin, pressed together under extremely high pressure. The material has an incredibly durable surface, and on Martin’s instruments, it is “photo finished” to look like various tonewoods. Our demo guitar had the mahogany finish, and the guitar is also available with Macassar ebony and rosewood finishes. The guitar’s top is made from solid Sitka spruce, which is braced with Martin’s traditional scalloped X-bracing. Martin’s familiar Performing Artist neck shape provides a contemporary feel and easy playability. The guitar includes Fishman MX electronics, which consist of an undersaddle Sonitone pickup and controls for volume and tone that are discreetly mounted in the bass side of the soundhole. It’s an active system and there is easy access to its nine-volt battery via a dedicated compartment in the guitar’s lower bout.
Playing the DC-X2E Mahogany was a reminder that a guitar’s top is the single most important contributing factor for how it will sound. In this case, the traditionally voiced solid spruce top provided the foundation for a classic Martin dreadnought sound. While not as rich or complex as more expensive Martin dreadnoughts, the guitar has a muscular voice, good volume, and a satisfying bass response. The cutaway allows easy access to the upper regions of the fingerboard, and the guitar’s 1¾-inch neck width facilitated fingerstyle playing. Plugged into a Fishman Loudbox Mini Charge amp, the guitar performed well in an amplified setting, conveying a natural sound with no tendency for feedback at normal stage or jam volumes.
Overall, the DC-X2E Mahogany is a cool guitar that would be a good choice for anyone looking for a modern dreadnought with stage-ready electronics. Affordable, durable, and versatile, the guitar shows that Martin can deliver great value, even at its lowest price points.
SPECS: Cutaway dreadnought body. Solid Sitka spruce top with scalloped X-bracing. High Pressure Laminate back and sides with mahogany photo finish. Select hardwood neck. Select hardwood fretboard and bridge. 25.4-inch scale. 1¾-inch nut width. 2⁵/₃₂-inch string spacing at the saddle. Enclosed chrome tuning machines. Fishman MX electronics. Made in Mexico. $899 (list). Martinguitar.com
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