The Martin LXK2 is one of the most promising travel guitars on the market in 2019. Whether you’re looking to teach a child, go on a busking journey with a loop pedal, or simply want a convenient guitar, the LXK2 Little Martin deserves a close look.
If you’re unfamiliar with Martin, this family company is behind many of the most popular guitar designs and features, such as X-bracing and the dreadnought shape. With the trailblazer LXK2, they aim to deliver that unmistakable Martin sound in a smaller guitar.
Also, you may have seen one of these in the hands of British pop star Ed Sheeran. Let’s find out what makes the LXK2 Little Martin so popular.
The Martin LXK2 has a familiar Martin design, except for the size and materials used. For the body, they’ve used high-pressure laminates made from Koa wood with non-scalloped Sitka spruce X-bracing inside.
While some may object to the concept of using laminate instead of a solid wood top, it’s the result that matters.
Martin knows how to build guitars that resonate, and this is no cheap cash-grab guitar.
Plus, the laminate helps the guitar endure variable conditions and retain its tone better than solid wood constructions.
Similarly, the neck consists of a birch laminate called stratabond with a Richlite fretboard. Richlite is a wood-like material made from paper fibers, and it’s stronger and more consistent than the typical woods. Therefore, it’s gaining popularity as a fretboard and bridge material.
As for the stringing, it uses a Tusq saddle and a Corian nut along with closed chrome tuners.
Regarding scale length, this is a 23-inch guitar. There are 20 frets, and the neck joins the body at the 14th fret. As for the neck joint, it’s Martin’s signature mortise and tenon joint.
It’s a standard taper neck with a modified low oval profile and white side dots that help you find the right frets. The Martin LXK2 has a fretboard width of 2.06 inches at the 12th fret and 1.68 inches by the nut.
Martin LXK2 guitars also come in left-handed varieties.
Also, note that the Martin LXK2 doesn’t feature any electronics, so you can’t plug it into an amplifier.
There’s nothing noteworthy about the finish of the LXK2 Little Martin, but it’s quite pretty. It’s minimal and matte, letting the koa grain shine.
How the Martin LXK2 Plays
Playability is generally what matters most, and this is where you can really tell that the Martin LXK2 is a high-quality guitar. Although it’s small and very suitable for children and other guitarists with small hands, there’s nothing stopping bigger guitarists from playing it.
I think the best word to describe it is “balanced.” The neck seems smooth and fast, and the fret width and string spacing allow for complex shapes without any trouble.
The concern I had when first looking at the LXK2 Little Martin was how it would sound. It would stand to reason that a small laminate guitar would have a thin sound, but that’s not the case here.
While it’s no rumbling dreadnought, it does pack a pretty meaty low-end for a travel guitar, and the bridge gives it a relatively thick sustain too. Meanwhile, the highs are shiny and clear, especially if you use the right strings.
The overall projection is good too. If you’re a traveling busker looking for a guitar companion or you need something for the campfires when you hike with friends, the Martin LXK2 won’t let you down.
What People Say
Guitarists who play the LXK2 Little Martin say it’s comfortable and easy to play, and that it has a great sound for fingerstyle playing. Regarding negatives, some wish the tuners were more responsive, but that’s about it.
As a result, the Martin LXK2 gets 4.5 out of 5 stars on Amazon.
Prices for Martin LXK2 guitars vary a bit, but they mostly fall in the $300 to $500 range including a gig bag. However, you can find sweet deals here and save some money.
Little Martin LXK2 VS Baby Taylor BT2
The Baby Taylor BT2 is probably the most comparable competitor out there. It’s small and suitable for kids and travelers, but it’s a three-quarter-size dreadnought with an even shorter 22.75-inch scale length.
Regarding material differences, the Baby Taylor BT2 has a solid mahogany top on a sapele laminate body with a slightly arched back for better projection. Also, the fretboard and bridge are rosewood, and the neck is screwed on.
Since they’re so similar in features and pricing, it’s mostly a matter of preference. If you’re interested in this competitor, learn more here.
Pros & Cons
The goal of an in-depth Martin LXK2 review is to spread understanding, so let’s summarize things to make sure that the insights don’t get lost.
- Martin quality at a good price
- Easy playability
- Travel-friendly format
- Good guitar for children
- Powerful sound for the size
If you’re looking for a small guitar that can withstand the stress of traveling or children, the LXK2 Little Martin is a top choice. Although it’s small and simple, it doesn’t compromise on sound or build quality.
- No solid wood
- Minimalist design
While the Martin LXK2 has a very rich sound, you can’t expect a solid wood dreadnought tone from a laminated travel guitar. Also, a preamp and adjustable truss rod would have been nice, but they’re not essential.
Is Martin LXK2 the Best Travel Guitar for You?
In fewer words, the Martin LXK2 is an impressive work of craftsmanship that manages to combine the advantages of a smaller size, good playability, and a charming tone without any notable sacrifices.
What’s more, it’s affordable too. Check it out here.
Martin LXK2 John Holloway Rating: 5 out of 5