It’s hard to argue against owning a Martin acoustic electric guitar, if you can afford it. The Little Martin guitars, which are acoustic electrics, are the slightly more affordable models. The Ed Sheeran custom model mentioned above is a variation of one of the two basic Little Martins.
In this overview and review, I’ll look at these two (or three, depending on how you count) models to help you decide which one you’d like best.
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How Do the Little Martin Guitars Compare to Each Other?
Tables are good for comparisons, so I give you the three below so you can see how similar these three models are to each other. Remember, as you scan down the rows, that the Ed Sheeran is really a special edition of the LX1E.
Also note that “HPL” stands for High Pressure Laminate.
|Construction||Mortise & Tenon Neck Joint||Mortise & Tenon Neck Joint||Mortise & Tenon Neck Joint|
|Body Size||Modified 0-14 Fret||Modified 0-14 Fret||Modified 0-14 Fret|
|Top||(Spruce pattern) HPL||Sitka Spruce||Sitka Spruce|
|Back||(Mahogany pattern) HPL||(Mahogany pattern) HPL||(Mahogany pattern) HPL|
|Sides||(Mahogany pattern) HPL||(Mahogany pattern) HPL||(Mahogany pattern) HPL|
|Neck||Rust Birch Laminate||Rust Birch Laminate||Rust Birch Laminate|
|Neck Shape||Modified Low Oval||Modified Low Oval||Modified Low Oval|
|Bracing Pattern||X Brace||X Brace||X Brace|
|Brace Material||Sitka Spruce||Sitka Spruce||Sitka Spruce|
|Nut Material||White Corian||White Corian||Black Corian|
|Headplate Detail||Rosewood pattern||Rosewood pattern||Black|
|Headplate Logo||Script Ink||Script Ink||Script Ink|
|Fingerboard Material||FSC® Certified Richlite||FSC® Certified Richlite||FSC® Certified Richlite|
|Fingerboard Width at Nut (in.)||1 11/16||1 11/16||1 11/16|
|Fingerboard Width at 12th Fret (in.)||2 1/16||2 1/16||2 1/16|
|Fingerboard Inlay||n/a||n/a||Blue plastic|
|Fingerboard Inlays||White dots||White dots||Division signs|
|Scale Length (in.)||23||23||23|
|Bridge Material||FSC® Certified Richlite||FSC® Certified Richlite||FSC® Certified Richlite|
|Bridge Style||Junior Style Belly||Junior Style Belly||Junior Style Belly|
|Saddle||Compensated White Tusq||Compensated White Tusq||Compensated White Tusq|
|Bridge Pin||White plastic||White plastic||Black plastic|
|Bridge Pin Dots||Black plastic||Black plastic||Blue plastic|
Not much difference between the LXME and the LX1E, is there? To see the only major difference, you have to scroll back up to the “Top”.
There you’ll see that the LXME has a high pressure laminate (HPL) top, whereas the LX1E has a top made of Sitka spruce. The only other tiny difference is in the rosette pattern.
Get an idea of what it sounds like from this brief video from Sweetwater.
As I mentioned, the Ed Sheeran 3 is an LX1E with custom decorations. It has more blue and black accents than a standard LX1E, plus the signature division sign which is related to his third album produced in 2017.
All of these models are lacking a pickguard. All are made in Mexico and has Fishman Sonitone electronics. You also get a soft gig bag to protect your purchase.
LXME and LX1E Little Martin
The Martin website has this to say about both the LXME and LX1E guitars.
“While the Little Martin is our smallest guitar, it is very big on tone, quality and versatility. It’s ideal for travel, student practice or for just playing around the house or campfire. This model includes sustainable wood certified parts.”
It seems that it’s the “big on tone, quality, and versatility” part of the description that endeared Ed Sheeran to the LX1E, as you’ll see below.
LX1E Ed Sheeran 3 Divide
Here’s another interesting quote from Martin about the 3 Divide edition.
“After selling millions of records and taking a year-long creative hiatus, Ed Sheeran has re-emerged in 2017 with a new chart-busting album and his latest Martin Custom model, the Ed Sheeran ÷ Signature Edition. Built upon Ed’s love of the LX1E Little Martin, and continuing with his mathematical themed album cover art, the “Ed Sheeran 3” forms a trilogy of signature guitars that have supported Ed along his soaring career path to pop stardom.”
There’s nothing more to really say about the 3 Divide because it’s just a LX1E with a custom look. You have to look at the pictures to get a good idea of the differences.
|Little Martin LX1E||Little Martin Ed Sheeran|
What’s the Verdict on the Little Martin Acoustic Electric Guitars?
Here is what some owners have to say about their Little Martins.
“I can honestly say this is one of the best investments I’ve made.”
“This guitar may be little, but there’s nothing little about the sound, and it’s definitely a Martin.”
“Most Travel Guitars sound like a tin can. This one sounds like a full sized guitar!”
So it sounds obvious that the Martin quality is there, even in this smaller sized instrument. If you like the idea of a guitar that is less than full sized – perhaps for a child or a small adult – then one of these Little Martin acoustic electric models could be just what you need.
If the Little Martin acoustics aren’t quite what you were looking for, check out these smaller acoustics from Yamaha.