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  • Martin DCX1E

    A guitar student of mine has one of these guitars. His is several years old since the fetboard is made of rosewood instead of the black Richlite Martin uses now. He got it at a pawnshop a couple of months ago. I must say...what a piece of crap!!!!

    The action was about 1/4" at the 12th fret and I really hate the feel of the neck. The action at the other end eas also horrible and the nut needs adjustment. The guitar is impossible to play comfortably. Not to mention it was sonically dead even with brand new strings. It also had horrible fretwork. When sighting down the neck the frets were horribly uneven which caused buzzing up and down the neck. The neck seemed fairly straight though but maybe could have benefitted from a little more relief. I borrowed it for a few days (lent him my acoustic) and used it for a practice with my all acoustic band. It was so crappy and dead it couldn't keep up with mandolin, fiddle and upright bass. Howver I did use it plugged in for a 30 minute gig on Saturday night and the built in electronics worked well. It sucked so bad to play though that I'm glad I only had to use it for 30 minutes.

    I have to admit that my $250 all laminated Takamine G340 dread has more volume and sustain than this Martin DCX1E!! It's also better built with much nicer frets and fretwork. The only good thing about the DCX1E was the Fishman electronics. I suggested if he wants to keep this guitar it needs a good setup and it might be playable. As for the acoustic sound of the guitar...well that cannot be helped.
    Guitars = Chick Magnet
    Guitar Hero = Guy Magnet
    You do the math.


    HCAG Civil Posters Society, Charter Member #002.
    Simple music is the hardest music to play and blues is simple music. - Albert Collins

  • #2
    Martin's suck, huh?

    They do for me anyway: overpriced dull boom-boxes.
    Howard

    Comment


    • #3
      Martin's suck, huh?

      They do for me anyway: overpriced dull boom-boxes.


      Well...not all Martins suck but this one surely did. I feel bad for the guy who bought it used. I know a fellow who as a newer Martin X series guitar with the koa HPL back and sides and it sounds nice and plays pretty good too. Maybe the one my student has was built on a Friday?
      Guitars = Chick Magnet
      Guitar Hero = Guy Magnet
      You do the math.


      HCAG Civil Posters Society, Charter Member #002.
      Simple music is the hardest music to play and blues is simple music. - Albert Collins

      Comment


      • #4
        Nope - it was hanging on a pawn shop wall. It was neglected and needs to be repaired.
        Nigel Hawkins

        Comment


        • #5
          Nope - it was hanging on a pawn shop wall. It was neglected and needs to be repaired.


          Indeed it does. I humidified it for a few days which seemed to help since it was very dry. I am sure that with a decent setup it might be restored but again the fretwork was aweful and it was simply a dead sounding guitar. I also felt the stratabond neck to be somewhat rough. I also didn't like the shape of the neck either but that's a personal thing.
          Guitars = Chick Magnet
          Guitar Hero = Guy Magnet
          You do the math.


          HCAG Civil Posters Society, Charter Member #002.
          Simple music is the hardest music to play and blues is simple music. - Albert Collins

          Comment


          • #6
            Indeed it does. I humidified it for a few days which seemed to help since it was very dry. I am sure that with a decent setup it might be restored but again the fretwork was aweful and it was simply a dead sounding guitar. I also felt the stratabond neck to be somewhat rough. I also didn't like the shape of the neck either but that's a personal thing.


            Humidification is only part of the issue here. The previous owner obviously neglected it. Don't get me started on pawn shops other than to say that I once had a guitar stolen and KNOW it got pawned.

            As for the feel of the neck, it's not your call but I can sympathize. I've heard of people taking steel wool to them to smooth them out. Why Martin doesn't do this at the factory is beyond me. If the owner doesn't like the profile then he can all-out sand it. IIRC they still have truss rods so it shouldn't weaken the neck and there's no warranty anyway.

            Regarding the tone, understand that this is an acoustic/electric, not a straight acoustic instrument. IMO many A/E's are overbuilt because they're meant to be lugged to gigs and plugged in, not kept in a humidity-controlled space with no other instruments to compete with. I'd wager that the real culprit deadening the tone is the UST. If the owner is going to play plugged in all the time then again it's not your call, but if they don't need the pickup at all then pull it and put a bone saddle in. It's a matter of bad contact in the groove and having something between the strings and the soundboard that inhibits the transmission of vibration.

            I'd also look around inside the soundhole and lay a straight edge along the fretboard to the bridge. If the guitar was neglected then there may be stuff loose on it, like a brace or the neck joint itself. A hump at the bridge could throw the action off and is a dead giveaway of a lifting brace. If the neck joint is coming loose consider that it's a MT joint, neither a bolt on or a dovetail. It's basically a glued-bolt on joint so it would still need to be steamed apart - probably not worth it if it's a pawn shop find.
            Nigel Hawkins

            Comment


            • #7
              Martin's suck, huh?

              They do for me anyway: overpriced dull boom-boxes.


              Well, I don't agree with the "suck" part or the "dull boom box" bit, but I agree with the "overpriced" comment. I've played some really great sounding Martins, but I've also played some really great sounding "other brands" that sound every bit as good at half the price. That name on the headstock has a lot to do with the price of 'em. I feel that anyone who doesn't believe that is only fooling themselves.

              I'm convinced, if you want a "good bang for the buck" deal on a Martin, search for a lightly used one that you can buy for half of its former street price, which is how I obtained my DM. I love it and I feel I got a great deal on it, but no way would I have paid the same price as it was when it was new.

              There's no way I'd even consider buying any of the "X" models......new or used. For less money a person can purchase a like new DM or DR Martin that, in my opinion, is a much better guitar.

              I'd like to believe that an HD-28, D-41 or D-18A is really worth what they're going for new, but I don't. Not to me, anyway. I think, for now, the Martin MMV is probably one of the most realistically priced Martins you can buy today. I've played them, but haven't been all that impressed with the ones I've found at GC. Scared to order one from Musician's Friend for fear I'd get a bad one.

              Right now I've got the cash set aside for a nicer guitar. Don't know that it'll happen, but I'm looking for a really nice used standard D-28 or D-18 for about half of its current "new" price. I found a beautiful D-28 on Craig's List a couple of months ago, but I was just about 5 minutes late.......it was gone about 20 minutes after it was listed. The early bird gets the worm.
              Three Dreads......2 Martins and 1 YamahaA fiddle, a mando, a uke, eight harmonicas, a Zoom H2, a Panasonic recorder, coupla penny whistles, an Italian made Titano accordion, three handguns, at least a dozen chess sets, more power tools than Bob Vila, and one old Westclox "Big Ben" wind-up alarm clock that still works! Oh, BTW, I forgot to mention my ocarina and maracas.

              Comment


              • #8
                Early X-Martins have never been PLEKed, so expect a setup to be needed.
                X's with electronics were not meant to sound good played dry. Decent when amped.
                They are rugged throw-around beaters and they do nicely then. But they are no match for the wooden Martins.
                .

                Comment


                • #9
                  Humidification is only part of the issue here. The previous owner obviously neglected it. Don't get me started on pawn shops other than to say that I once had a guitar stolen and KNOW it got pawned.

                  As for the feel of the neck, it's not your call but I can sympathize. I've heard of people taking steel wool to them to smooth them out. Why Martin doesn't do this at the factory is beyond me. If the owner doesn't like the profile then he can all-out sand it. IIRC they still have truss rods so it shouldn't weaken the neck and there's no warranty anyway.

                  Regarding the tone, understand that this is an acoustic/electric, not a straight acoustic instrument. IMO many A/E's are overbuilt because they're meant to be lugged to gigs and plugged in, not kept in a humidity-controlled space with no other instruments to compete with. I'd wager that the real culprit deadening the tone is the UST. If the owner is going to play plugged in all the time then again it's not your call, but if they don't need the pickup at all then pull it and put a bone saddle in. It's a matter of bad contact in the groove and having something between the strings and the soundboard that inhibits the transmission of vibration.

                  I'd also look around inside the soundhole and lay a straight edge along the fretboard to the bridge. If the guitar was neglected then there may be stuff loose on it, like a brace or the neck joint itself. A hump at the bridge could throw the action off and is a dead giveaway of a lifting brace. If the neck joint is coming loose consider that it's a MT joint, neither a bolt on or a dovetail. It's basically a glued-bolt on joint so it would still need to be steamed apart - probably not worth it if it's a pawn shop find.


                  Thanks!
                  Guitars = Chick Magnet
                  Guitar Hero = Guy Magnet
                  You do the math.


                  HCAG Civil Posters Society, Charter Member #002.
                  Simple music is the hardest music to play and blues is simple music. - Albert Collins

                  Comment



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