An affordable acoustic-electric cutaway built with solid woods and Fishman electronics.
by Teja Gerken
April 29, 2019
Martin Guitars’ reputation is founded on archetypal models like the D-28 built at its venerable Nazareth, Pennsylvania facility. But the company’s large catalog of instruments includes several lines, including most of its entry-level instruments, built in its factory in Navojoa, Mexico, the only Martin production facility other than the company’s headquarters. We recently had a chance to check out an instrument built in Navojoa: a new GPC-13E from Martin’s affordable Road Series.
The GPC-13E has Martin’s mid-size grand performance body, built with a solid Sitka spruce top and solid mutenye back and sides, and includes a cutaway and Fishman electronics, making it a stage-ready acoustic-electric. Sourced in Africa, the mutenye used on the GPC-13E has light-brown coloring and dramatic striping. The guitar’s fingerboard and bridge are black Richlite, a material that has proven to be a viable alternative to ebony. White body binding, style-28 fingerboard position markers, and a mother-of-pearl rosette complete the instrument’s appointments.
The guitar’s electronics package consists of Fishman’s new MX-T system, which includes an undersaddle pickup, controls for volume and tone mounted inside the bass side of the soundhole, and an endpin preamp with easy access to the nine-volt battery. The system includes one cool new addition: a tuner located in the treble side of the soundhole.
Martin’s grand performance guitars are known to be versatile instruments, and the GPC-13E is no exception. It has a big sound with great volume when it’s strummed, but also a nice balance and response when played fingerstyle. The cutaway allows easy access to the upper regions of the fingerboard, and its sound plugged into a Fishman Loudbox Mini Charge amp proves that the guitar will do well in an amplified setting. Fishman’s new tuner works well, displaying both a simulated needle and a color change when a note’s pitch is reached. The tuner includes two handy features: it works when the guitar is not plugged in, and the output signal is muted when the tuner is activated (via a small push-button above the display), allowing for silent tuning onstage.
Overall, the GPC-13E should definitely be considered by anyone looking for an affordable acoustic-electric steel-string flattop that can cover a lot of musical ground.
SPECS: 14-fret grand performance body. Solid Sitka spruce top with X-bracing. Solid mutenye back and sides. Hardwood neck. Richlite 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-T electronics. Made in Mexico. $1,699. Martinguitar.com
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