Before Ed Sheeran flooded the charts and radio stations across the world, he was just a guy with a guitar who liked to perform in the streets. It stands to reason that a Martin Ed Sheeran Signature Edition should be suitable at each step of such a journey.
Martin is a reliable brand, but the world of artist signature guitars can be a murky pond to traverse. So, let my Martin Ed Sheeran Signature Edition review help you discover how well this guitar keeps its promises.
Since these are Martin guitars, you can trust the quality, even though they come from non-US factories.
The original Martin Ed Sheeran Signature Edition has a solid sapele soundboard, but the newer editions have traditional spruce tops. The soundboard material affects the sound characteristics, and the sapele is a bit mellower.
Other than that, the construction is practically identical across all editions, and this is the standard LX1 Little Martin build in most regards. You can tell the editions apart by their symbols, which match the corresponding albums. In other words, the plus is the oldest and the divide is the most recent. Also, the Martin Ed Sheeran Signature Edition comes with a gig bag.
The Plus and X editions feature Fishman Isys T preamp systems. It offers a volume knob, a phase button to counter feedback, and a contour switch for tone shaping. It also has a built-in tuner.
The Divide has the modern standard Fishman Sonitone setup instead. Here, you get volume and tone knobs in the soundhole instead of on the guitar’s side. Both in terms of sound and control placement, it all comes down to preference.
In the typical fashion, Martin Ed Sheeran Signature Edition guitars have a sleek gloss finish. What stands out is the symbols on the headstock and body of the guitar. Depending on the model, there’s a yellow cross, green X, or blue divide sign on the headstock.
You’ll find a matching symbol in a natural wood tone next to where the neck joins the body.
How the Martin Ed Sheeran Signature Edition Plays
In case you didn’t know, the Martin Ed Sheeran Signature Edition is smaller than the average guitar (It's a 3/4 size dreadnought). As such, it’s ideal for children, travelers, and guitarists with small hands. What’s more, this makes it very comfortable to play. Even if you do have quite large hands, it’ll be easy. If you’re used to electric guitars, this is one acoustic model that will be right up your alley. The way it handles everything from intricate fingerpicking to hard strumming makes it easy to see why Ed favors this design.
Considering the small size, it’s impressively loud and dynamic. If you’re worried about your fingerpicked passages being too quiet, worry no more. You get that classic bright and punchy spruce top sound, and it only gets better the more you play it. Solid wood soundboards mature as you break them in. Since Sheeran started as a busker, you can trust that the Martin Ed Sheeran Signature Edition lends itself well to that purpose. That’s another reason why it’s excellent for travelers. Although the bass may be somewhat thin, there’s nothing lacking in terms of sheer volume and projection. It is an acoustic guitar, but in reality it is made to be plugged in and played in front of a crowd, like Ed Sheeran did when starting out. You won't find it's acoustic tones to be awe inspring, but that's not to say they are bad either.
What People Say
On Amazon, people give the X 4 stars while the Divide gets a full 5. They say the Martin Ed Sheeran Signature Edition is a joy to play and sounds great for its size. A few buyers wish for more volume or tighter string action.
This isn’t one of those cases where manufacturers slap a pretty name on a guitar and double its price. The Martin Ed Sheeran Signature Edition guitars cost around $600, which is affordable for the brand.
Martin Ed Sheeran Signature Edition VS Little Martin LXK2
If the price is too steep but you want something similar, the Martin LXK2 is a good pick. For about $200 less, you get the same general guitar but with slightly different details. Notable differences include the layered koa body and the absence of electronics. If you don’t need anything fancy, it’s a worthy competitor. Read my detailed review here.
Pros & Cons
Is all that information becoming a bit blurry? Let’s recap the essentials.
- Easy playability for small hands
- Loud for its size
- High build quality
It’s easy to see why they keep making additional editions. Martin Ed Sheeran Signature Edition guitars take the Little Martin format to new heights with their special features. Certainly one of the best guitars for small hands.
- The inlay color
- No double-action truss rod
One slight issue I can see with the Divide edition is the dim color of the fretboard inlays, which may make it harder for beginners to find the frets. Also, the X edition’s green inlays will probably divide people into camps of love and hate. An easy-access truss would be nice for intonation and string action adjustments, but it’s not essential.
Martin Ed Sheeran Signature Edition Review Conclusion
All in all, this little Martin may be the best of its kind. Even if you’re not an Ed Sheeran fan, its format and features make it an excellent choice for any beginner or intermediate player. It’s impressive for its size, and the price is reasonable. What’s not to like?
Martin Ed Sheeran Signature Edition John Holloway Rating: 3 out of 5