2020s Martin LX1E 3/4 or Terz Guitar

A historical version of this instrument would be called a "terz" guitar and intended for tuning G-G over E-E due to its short scale. These days we call them "3/4" or "kids" or "travel" guitars. It's just a smaller guitar. We get it.

This one was just in for setup work and crack repair to the lower bout. It had dried out over winter and gotten a big, wide crack down there. I took the guitar out of its gigbag and let it sit out in the "upcoming work" pile and within a couple of days in the 60% or so humidity of the shop this time of year and that crack disappeared. Nevertheless, I installed some cleats all along the lower bout in hopes of keeping the top more stable for this winter.

But -- why post? I wanted to share my observations about these newer "composite" back/sides Martins and lower-rent Mexican Martins in general and this one is a good case in point.

I find them to be somewhat unstable (large action fluctuations season to season requiring separate saddles rather than just minor shimming of a single saddle) and the "composite" (glued-up wood pulp, right?) back and sides give a similar sort-of overtone sound that you get from a masonite-bodied Danelectro. That's ok but I feel like average plywood (like you'd have on a Taylor GS Mini or any low-budget flattop these days) gives a better "woody" sound.

So -- is it a bad guitar? No, not at all -- the neck is comfortable and it sounds decent for its size. As a repair guy, though, I'm consistently frustrated with the season to season setup irregularities on instruments coming out of the Mexico Martin factory runs.