Martin LX1 Review – Little Martin Acoustic Guitar: Small, Concert Body – Great for Travel


Brand/Model: Martin LX1 Little Martin

Number of Strings: 6

Hand Orientation: Right/Left

Body Material: Mahogany/Spruce top

Neck Material: Birch

Fretboard Material: Richlite

Price Range: Under $500

Our Rating: 8.2/10

Martin LX1 Little Martin Acoustic Guitar Review

Martin is one of those brands where you don’t have to trade off sound for small size.  It is a Martin after all.  But, why choose to buy a small acoustic guitar?  We admit that a scaled-down guitar isn’t for everybody, but there are some good reasons for it.

The Little Martin LX1 has a concert size body that’s excellent for travel.  Being small and great for young players or for adults with smaller hands, it’s an instrument that’s ready to play at all hours no matter where you are.  But, despite its size, Martin’s LX1 can also be your primary guitar.  Ed Sheeran did it, so why couldn’t you?


The sound projection from the LX1 may not be able to compete with a full-on dreadnought since it’s not designed to.  Plus, it’s hard to get around the assumption that a smaller guitar is going to sound too bright or tinny.  But, this LX1 isn’t just an ordinary, little guitar – it’s a Martin.

Thanks to the solid spruce top and quality build, the LX1 provides deeper and warmer intonation than you would expect.

So, if it’s such a great guitar, why is it so cheap for a Martin?  The company can drop the price by incorporating HPL materials.  High pressure laminate mahogany makes up the sides and back, and rust birch laminate makes the neck.

The fretboard is made from FSC certified richlite with 20 frets and a 23″ scale.

Keeping the design simple and in line with smaller scale guitars, Martin’s LX1 lacks a pickguard, dot inlays on the fretboard, and scalloped bracing.  However, there are fret markers on the side of the neck, and it still has an X bracing pattern.

No-one ever said you’re obligated to replace any of your guitars with a 3/4 scale one.  But, you can always add this beauty to your collection.  You might find it’s easier to pick up and play when the mood strikes, and who knows, you might enjoy it more than you anticipated!

  • Price
  • Travel size
  • Concert-body
  • X bracing
  • Solid top
  • Laminate construction

Martin LX1 Reviews

It’s unfortunate, but the compromises on the build and design for the LX1  guitar is eventually what turns some buyers off.  Very few buyers who reviewed the LX1 were expecting sound projection that isn’t capable from an acoustic travel guitar, and it’s no fault of the Little Martin.  This is not a full-size acoustic!

Rare instances also involve constructional issues that may cause some to question the Martin’s reputation.  However, no two guitars are alike, and this guitar is listed at a low price point to be used vigorously for travel or for younger players beginning to respect, maintain, and learn on a guitar.

There’s a lot more positive feedback from buyers that prove the LX1 is a great guitar.  It’s even said that it would make a great beginner guitar, petite adults can play comfortably with it, and it’s playable for hours at a time if you have the stamina.

Martin LX1

Alternative  Acoustic Guitars to Consider

Martin’s LX1 is an acoustic guitar that’s made for strumming in an instant.  If you want plug-in power, you’re going to have strum yourself over to the acoustic electric category.  Luckily for you, Martin has you covered.  The Little Martin LX1E is the acoustic electric version of the LX1.

With Fishman Isys T electronics, you’ll be able to amp up and share your newly-earned skills.  As far as specs go, the two Little Martins are practically identical.

However, if you’re wanting to stick with authentic acoustics, the Taylor GS Mini Acoustic Guitar is in the same budget class for acoustic guitars under 500 dollars.  It’s quite different to the Martin, and it truly is a specimen worthy of considering.

With a solid mahogany top, a size convenient for both portability and impressive sound impact, it’s a winner in everyone’s books!

Martin LX1 Little Martin Acoustic Guitar
  • Mahogany pattern HPL (high pressure laminate) textured finish, solid sitka spruce top
  • Rust Stratabond neck, shortened 3/4 scale
  • Chrome small-knob tuners. Tusq saddle.

Little Martin LX1 FAQ

What is an FSC Richlite Fretboard?

This is a synthetic material that’s made in the USA.  While being appropriate for use as a fretboard on a guitar, it’s also resistant to scratches, heat, and stains.

It won’t warp over time, and it’s practically impervious to damaging environmental factors.  It’s a great option if you plan on traveling and playing outside in various climates.

Is there a Left-hand LX1 Little Martin Guitar?

Martin is a great brand to consider if you’re a left-handed player.  The Little Martin is available in both right and left-hand models.

Can an Average-sized Adult Play the Little Martin?

Despite its travel and compact size, a full-grown adult will certainly enjoy jamming with the Little Martin acoustic.

It’s not only a size suitable for a 10 year-old or a petite female, it’s a great practice and travel guitar for a normal adult with average hands to have fun with.

Where is the Martin Guitar made?

This Little Martin is made in Mexico.

What is a Laminate Neck?

The neck on this guitar is made from birch laminate.  Without participating in the solid versus laminate neck debate that’s highly controversial, suffice it to say that the laminate neck is cheaper to make.

Laminate in and of itself is also going to withstand environmental damage and will not warp like solid necks can.

What Hardware does the LX1 Guitar come with?

The Little Martin comes with chrome enclosed gears, white corian nut, and a compensated tusq saddle.

It also has a multi-stripe rosette, white plastic bridge pins with black plastic dots, and phosphor bronze medium gauge strings.

Can a Strap be Attached to the Acoustic Guitar?

The Little Martin does have two pre-installed strap buttons for use with a strap.  One is on the base of the guitar and the other is on the heel.

Does the Little Martin come with a Case?

The guitar does come with soft gig bag.  There are no other accessories included with the LX1 guitar.

YouTube video

Hardware/Electronics You’ll Need


Fortunately, an acoustic guitar needs very little upfront if you’re short on cash, and the guitar does come with an included gig bag.

However, if you’re very new to guitars and you’re still learning how to tune by ear, you’re going to need a few things to tune your guitar and improve your skills.

It can get expensive buying everything you could ever want, but our guide to must have accessories will help to prioritize your needs.

Here’s a starting point at what essentials you should consider.

Standout Features of the Little Martin LX1

  • Portable and compact size
  • For all skill levels
  • Low price for an authentic Martin guitar

Our Verdict on the Martin LX1 Acoustic Guitar

To strum it up, the LX1 Little Martin guitar may be small, but it’s no youngin’ to the market.  It comes with a big reputation to live up to, and it will more than serve its purpose at home, for small performances, or out on the road.

Finally, the price point couldn’t be sweeter.  If you want to get a cheaper Martin than the LX1, good luck with that!

Further Reading: