What do traveling buskers, petite musicians, and parents of new guitarists have in common? Probably the struggle of finding a quality parlor-size guitar at a reasonable price.
Thankfully, this Martin LX1 Little Martin review will give you a closer look at one of the most promising candidates.
Martin is a trusted brand associated with high-end guitars, and it’s one of the trailblazers in modern travel-size guitars. Seeing this name on the guitar is a good sign that it’s probably one of those reliable guitars you can just pick up and play.
Let’s see just how well this Little Martin stands up to scrutiny.
Table of Contents
Martin LX1 Little Martin Physical Features
- Top: Solid Sitka spruce
- Back and Sides: High-Pressure Laminate
- Neck: Stratabond (birch laminate)
- Nut Width: 1 11/16”
- Nut & Saddle: Corian nut – compensated Tusq saddle
- Body Shape: 3/4-size non-cutaway
- Electronics: Optional – Fishman Sonitone
As the name implies, the Little Martin LX1 is a travel-size guitar and the smallest in Martin’s roster. It has a concert body design and a 23-inch scale length, which essentially makes it a pygmy dreadnought.
The solid Sitka soundboard gives it a lively, professional sound with strong projection. Thanks to the artificial bone saddle and nut and the Richlite (artificial ebony) fretboard, it retains a shiny tone with a fairly long sustain.
Its slender Stratabond neck lets you fret big chords without stretching your hands, and you get 20 frets to play with. And with its sealed chrome tuners, you can expect it to stay in tune well.
Now, the regular Martin LX1 Little Martin doesn’t have a preamp system. However, there is an electro-acoustic version called LX1E for those who need a preamp.
A sleek varnish finish makes the LX1 Little Martin shiny and durable and provides a fast neck feel without noticeably dulling the tone. There are no flashy visual details, it’s all straightforward and tasteful.
How the Martin LX1 Little Martin Plays
In typical Martin fashion, the LX1 Little Martin plays like a charm. The neck has a nice balance to it that makes it one of the best guitars for little hands without hindering big-pawed guitarists.
As you may have guessed, the string action is pretty slinky, but not excessively so. This makes it ideal for children and beginners who haven’t built up the dexterity for a hard-action guitar.
If you’re into fingerstyle, barre chords, and hybrid styles, a Martin LX1 Little Martin will serve you well.
Everything’s smooth, straight, and simple. It doesn’t get much more welcoming than this.
Ok, that’s all fine and dandy, but what about the sound? Can a guitar that small sound good?
Well, it certainly sounds bigger than it is. While the bass response can’t match a dreadnought, the overall sound is quite powerful and balanced. It’s got shimmery highs and warm mids, and enough projection for busking and campfires. You can hear that it’s a well-built Martin guitar despite the size and price. And with its solid spruce top, it’ll only sound better as it ages.
What People Say
Users give the Martin LX1 Little Martin 4.3 out of 5 stars on Amazon. They praise it for the light weight, versatility, and ease on smaller hands. Some say it sounds and feels incredible. I couldn’t find any negative remarks about the design itself, except one user who wishes there was a truss rod.
Considering the build quality and how it comes with a gig bag, it’s certainly one of the best guitars under $500. And get this! We’ve found an even better deal online. Also, you can upgrade to the electro-acoustic Martin LX1E for about $100 more.
Martin LX1 Little Martin VS Taylor BT1 Baby
Rival brand Taylor offers a similar guitar at a similar price, the BT1 Baby Taylor. Its scale length is a half-inch shorter, and some of the materials differ, but those are the biggest differences. In terms of playability, the Baby Taylor BT1 offers a reduced heel that may give you better access to the highest frets if you have short fingers. While the shorter scale length gives you lighter action, it also means the frets are thinner. Sound-wise, the Martin LX1 Little Martin is somewhat brighter.
Pros & Cons
That’s a lot of information so far. Let’s break this Martin LX1 Little Martin review down into bite-size chunks.
- Budget-friendly Martin guitar
- Suitable for small hands
- Versatile and easy to play
- Big tone in a small package
The Little Martin format isn’t all about the size. The layered sides are more than a cost-saving design, as it helps the guitar endure travel conditions and use by children. Add in the good build quality and low price, and it’s easy to see why it’s so popular.
- The truss rod situation
- Minimal in general
The Martin LX1 isn’t the most feature-rich guitar, especially not the standard edition. An accessible truss rod would convenient for action adjustments and intonations, but it’s not crucial.
Final Thoughts on the Martin LX1 Little Martin Review
From the format to the feel and the reasonable price, there’s a lot to like. Whether you’re a guitar teacher or a traveling busker or anything in between, you’re likely to fall in love with this little guitar. Thank you for reading my Martin LX1 Little Martin review.
Martin LX1 Little Martin
5 out of