I was acquainted with this guitar at my local Guitar Center when I was looking around for a good mid-range accoustic-electric guitar with a cutout. I paid about $650.
This guitar has a really loud clear sound. The neck is thin enough to where I can easily manuever up and down it and it's a good looking guitar. I have yet to purchase an accoustic amp, but when I played it on one in the store, it sounded really good. It still sounds pretty good on my electric amp.
I only had a few problems with this guitar. When I installed new strings on it, I got just a hint of fret-buzz on the first fret low e string. Also, the instrument cable output on the guitar in within the bottom strap nob, which makes it extremely difficult to find a strap with a whole big enough to stretch over it.
I liked the construction of the guitar pretty well. After playin in for a while, the neck got a little rough (i don't know why) and sometimes the guitar seems a little heavy towards the neck joint compared to the rest of the guitar, which can be a little annoying when sitting and playing. But overall, the construction is what you would expect from a good quality Martin.
Before I bought this guitar, I had a beginner's Takamanie, which didn't sound good at all. When I was trying out guitars in the store, it was pretty much down to 2 guitars: a Martin DCX1E and a Ovation CS257 Celebrity Deluxe. They were both about even in quality, sound, playability, etc., except the thing that brought the Martin over the Ovation was that when you sit down, the Ovation slips alot. It's like you have to hold it close to yourself to get it to stay where you want it.
Great Martin sound for an unmartin like price. I do miss some of the extra trimmings like pearl inlays around the soundhole and dots on the fretboard, however, this has a very clean and simple no frills look to it. This guitar is just made to play and sound good...none of the extra frilly stuff is included except the preamp which works pretty well. This guitar sounds better or as good as any other guitars I've tried until you hit about the $2K+ range. It takes a serious Martin like the OM-28 or the D41 before I'm left yearning a little bit, and even then I'm more than happy. Bass tones pour out of the sound hole with easy while the mids are full and the highs are clear. Very balanced in tone overall as highs, mids, and lows don't overpower one another. Another curious thing is this guitar simply smells great.
The Mahogany veneer on the HPL back and sides does look a bit fake, but how often are you or anyone else looking at the back. It would be nice to have some of the pearl inlay frills, rosette work, etc but everyone overpays in a huge way for that stuff. One word of warning...you must humidify and watch the level of humidity with this guitar. The HPL back and sides seem fairly impervious and to changes, but the top and neck seem to fluctuate a bit. I constantly humidify this baby when not playing to assure that the top does not sink and the proper action and relief are maintained. Anything above 35% is okay, but once below that the top starts to settle and I get a lot of nasty buzzing right around the 10th and 11th frets.
Construction and quality was typical of the exceptional Martin craftsmanship....no complaints. If I have one...it was that there was still sawdust and wood shavings in the guitar that I had to shake out....I'm still shaking out a bit.
Excellent value for the money. If you want a Martin....Martin sound that is...this is a can't miss for the price. If you need the pretty inlays and extra frills than you'll be dropping at least an extra grand to match or surpass the sound and playability in the Martin line or any other line for that matter.
Bought in Guitar Center on Sunset in Los Angeles for just over $500.
This was my favourite 6-string acoustic I've ever played, including test runs of much more expensive Taylors, Breedloves, Guilds, and other Martins. The acoustic sound is lovely, projects well, with both sparkle and bass depth. The neck and fingerboard felt instantly welcoming to my left hand, the guitar is very comfortable to play both standing up and sitting down, and the tuners are responsive. Extremely easy action. The finish on the spruce top is unusual but very striking -- natural matte finish with very dark grain.
One thing I hadn't tried out in my test run was string bending, and the very low frets make this nearly impossible -- the strings go dull when you try to bend. This is the penalty for the very easy action. Also, I'm weaned on Ovation's terrific OP-24+ preamp (as found on the Balladeer 12) and the Martin's Classic 4 Fishman pre-amp has very limited options in comparison.
Top-notch. Absolutely no complaints.
I love this guitar. The low frets are the only major flaw. But as with a great guitar, it improved my playing the minute I picked it up. The only other guitar to have done that was my Gibson SG Classic.
The Martin DCX1-E is a smaller bodied acoustic guitar made with mostly composite materials. The top is solid sitka spruce, but the back and sides are a high-pressure laminate or "HPL" with a textured mahogany appearance, the neck is made of "stratabond" which is a fancy way of saying they glued up a bunch of scrap and milled a neck out of it, and the fingerboard is made of something called "black micarta". I have not a clue what that is or if any tree was used for its creation. Even the face of the headstock is some synthetic veneer. This guitar has 20 frets, 14 of which are easily accesible by the cutaway.
It features a Fishman Classic 4 pickup/preamp. I noticed the no-frills approach to this guitar, with it having no inlays, no binding, and a simple rosette. Martin cut all kinds of corners to keep this guitar under 700.00 I guess.
The neck had a nice feel to it, a smooth finish (if you could call it that) that allowed for easy movement up and down the neck. The cutaway is convenient for playing higher than a standard acoustic would allow. The body seemed fairly thin to me, compared to my 1970's Martin Sigma, and it was quite comfortable to play sitting down, or standing up.
I was impressed with the sound as I played it, to the point that it made me scratch my head wondering how they can make a guitar sound so typically "martin-esque" when most of it is not even WOOD!
To be honest, I kinda want to hate this guitar. The materials in it are fairly untested and unfamiliar to me so I don't know how well they will hold up compared to more expensive Martin models that are, umm.... actually made with wood. But I do like its sound. Though not spectacular by any means, it is fairly warm and full, and by all counts very sweet and mellow sounding. It seemed to lack a bit of volume and projection since its got less cavity size than most guitars. Though there are exceptions; my ears usually don't have much patience for most guitars in the $500 range, or even <$1000 range for Martin. So I was suprised when I didn't want to put this guitar down. I could have sat and played it all day because whether it was chords, or single note runs, or graceful fingerpicking there was a sweetness of tone shining through. I genuinely enjoyed this guitar.
It seems like with all the composite materials Martin could make this guitar a bit cheaper- like maybe $500.00. And then it would be worth snapping up. Based on sound and features alone, I guess its a $700 guitar but something about forking over that kind of money for so much plastic and so little wood leaves me queasy. It won't sweeten over time like a typical guitar, and who knows how fragile these synthetic or composite materials are through climate changes.