The Martin SC-13e is an acoustic-electric guitar that has been designed from the ground up. A brand new concept born from years of research it’s a radical departure from anything Martin Guitars has produced in the past.

[toc]The sc-13e is a new addition to the Martin Road Series of guitars. Martin has embraced the fact that not all players want a traditional guitar design. The design team wanted to come up with an acoustic that has the “comfort and playability of an electric,” they have done that spectacularly well.

While the SC-13e will appeal to electric players who would like an electric player-friendly acoustic. This is an instrument that should be considered by any player on its own merits. While it’s not a D-28 tonally, it’s not intended to be. However, it has that gorgeous well balanced Martin tone that sounds awesome both acoustically and plugged in. It is beautiful aesthetically, it’s ergonomic patented neck makes it effortless and comfortable to play with unparalleled access to the higher register up the neck.

Specs overview

  • All-new body shape
  • 6 String, an acoustic-electric guitar
  • X Bracing
  • Open-gear nickel tuners
  • Heel-less Design
  • Sure Align™ Neck System
  • Built-In Tuner
  • Fishman® MX-T Electronics

What I like about the Martin-sc-13e:

  • It’s a guitar that sounds great both acoustically and plugged in.
  • Its unique neck design allows unencumbered access up the top of the neck to reach all those high notes. (shredders take notice) It really does feel like an electric, its fast and comfortable.
  • Martin has managed to enhance the feel of the neck with what Martin calls a “progressive taper” to enhance the feel of the neck as you play, It’s subtle but noticeable.
  • Great for players who play leads up the neck. The SC-13e is also very comfortable to play for extended sessions, especially while standing.
  • This is a guitar that is perfect for the player who gigs typically using both an electric and acoustic.
  • The neck meets the body at the 13th fret instead of the 12th or 14th. That allows the tone of a long-scale and playability like a short scale guitar. The strap button has been moved to allow unencumbered access to the neck. The neck slips vertically onto the dovetail and secured by two bolts. This might be mistakenly called a bolt-on neck, it is not.

SC-13E features

Tone Quality

The combination of the tonewoods mahogany and Sitka makes for a beautiful and loud resonant modern tone, rich and balanced with sustain. Interestingly the tone bars have no scalloping, yet the treble side does.

Plugged in, it makes for a woody and warm sound.

The body

The S-body shape is gorgeous, most of us are accustomed to the more traditional form associated with acoustic guitars. When you first see this guitar, odds are you will stare at it for a time. Personally, I love it, it just takes a little getting used too. You will come to love it even more when you realize how comfortable it is when you play it.

It feels smaller than it is because the first position on the fretboard is closer to the body, and the weight is centered on the neck joint, making the body seem shorter than it is. It hangs on a strap perfectly balanced.

martin-sc-13e S body

The neck

The neck is what Martin has called the “Sure Align Linear Dovetail Neck Joint” (no heel), which combined with the necks shape “Low Profile Velocity” and its “High-Performance Taper” is a dream to use. This system has another noteworthy benefit; the sure align system makes any adjustments if needed dead easy; setups are a breeze. Martin has said, “Take it to a Martin dealer, and they will generally do it while you wait.”

Most adjustments (including intonation) are made in a very short time. In my opinion, anything that makes it easy to keep a guitar playable is a big plus!

Martin SC-13E Acoustic-Electric Guitar back closeup

The neck as a whole is ergonomically designed to accommodate the player’s hand as it naturally twists along the neck when moving along the length of the neck. The best way to describe the neck’s ergonomic design is that necks profile changes to accommodate the player’s hand as and as it naturally twists while moving up the neck. The result is a neck that feels like a fast neck of an electric guitar.

Now when you play, no more contorting your hand when moving up the dusty end like a regular cutaway; you can keep your thumb under to the 13th fret. The helical style neck profile changes as you move up because of what Martin calls its “progressive taper.” If you’re primarily an acoustic player, moving right up the neck might feel strange at first. You will appreciate the ability to play all those high notes which are normally unreachable, even on most standard cutaways.

martin-sc-13e The neckmartin-sc-13e Neck joint

The top

The top is solid Sitka spruce, it is a tonewood that is a favorite for the majority of guitarists. It’s well known for its crisp articulation and broad dynamic range. Excellent for any style of playing, Flatpicking, fingerpicking, hard or light strumming. The top is stunning on this guitar.

martin-sc-13e Spruce top

Back and sides.

A solid Mahogany core back with thin Koa veneer, top, and bottom. The sides are thin Koa veneers also, making this guitar very easy to look at.

martin-sc-13e Back and sides

Rosset

Gorgeous Mother of Pearl Pattern rosette adds to the visual interest of this instrument.

SC-13e Mother of Pearl Pattern rosette

Brace

The SC-13e utilizes Martin’s “Tone Tension X Brace.” The Tone Tension X-Brace does much for the guitar’s sound and projection. The design promotes a well-balanced tone with excellent bass response.

The image below is an example of Martin Guitar’s “X Bracing.”

Martin Guitars X brace

Soundhole tuner

I love this tuner, it is in the soundhole and only visible to the player. The idea being that the guitarist can tune the guitar on stage, quickly and easily. The sound is muted, so the audience is not audibly alerted to the player tuning the guitar.

SC-13e sound hole tuner

Appointments

Fingerboard Inlay Style: Mother of Pearl Pattern and Celestial Blue Dot matches the Rosette and sports a Tortoise-pattern pickguard for the top.

SC-13e Fingerboard Inlay Style Celestial Bullseye

Fishman MX preamp

The preamp is located and can be accessed in the soundhole just under the lip. The tone is excellent and should satisfy most users.

Look in the guitar’s soundhole for the tone and volume knobs.

Fishman MX preamp

Scale Length

The scale length is 25.4″, The combination of the “Sure Align Linear Dovetail Neck Joint,” the offset body and custom cutaway and heel-less design make it feel like a guitar with a shorter scale length. It’s very comfortable.

Martin SC-13e horizontal

Strings

The SC-13 comes with Authentic Acoustic Lifespan® 2.0 Custom Light strings. It makes for more effortless bends, and in general, an electric guitar feel. The SC-13e will happily accept light strings (53 12). Many SC-13e owners have opted to use light strings. It’s a matter personal taste and preferences by the player.

Authentic Acoustic Lifespan® 2.0 Custom Light strings.

Accessories

A well-padded gig bag is included in the price. It has a lovely blue plush lining inside which, matching the pearl rosette and bullet fret marker on the guitar. There is plenty of pocket space for your guitar accessories, spares, batteries, capo, portable guitar stand.

Martins has indicated a hard case should be available towards the end of 2020.

Martin SC-13e gig bag open

Specifications

Body size S-13 Fret Cutaway Finish-Top Gloss
Construction Sure Align Linear Dovetail Neck Joint Back & Side finish Gloss
Bracing pattern Tone Tension X Brace Scale length 25.4″
Brace shape Treble Side Scalloped X with Non-Scalloped Tone Bars Nut width 1 3/4”
Top material Sitka Spruce Neck shape Low Profile Velocity
Back material Koa Fine Veneer Neck taper High-Performance Taper
Side material Koa Fine Veneer Electronics Fishman MX-T

The verdict