Martin guitars return to the pages of Gi with arguably the company's most significant release since they created the dreadnought. With its offset cutaway shape and innovative Sure Align neck joint, the SC-13E is a bold new direction in design for the company, but does it live up to the hype? Here's Rodney McG with his in-depth review.
The SC-13E sees Martin bringing new innovation to one of the guitar field's most traditional instruments. The SC-13E sets itself apart by being a bolt-on acoustic. The bolt-on is sculpted at multiple angles using what Martin calls the Sure Align joint. This is supposed to offer superior stability to the neck joint of the body while also creating a comfortable pocket for the fretting hand to be able to reach the highest frets.
The construction of the SC-13E mirrors Martin's most recent offerings with a Sitka Spruce top, Ziricote back and sides done in a gloss finish with a white finding and tortoiseshell pickguard.
The neck leaves the gloss behind with a satin finish for a smoother feel under the fretting hand. Breaking again with tradition is the round Halo style fret markers and slim-line contoured tuning pegs called the Skeleton Key shape. They definitely resemble the old Victorian keys in that style.
Finally, onboard is a soundhole pickup, the LR Baggs Element system. This system offers two rotary controls accessible through the soundhole. One is a volume, and the other a tone. The tone has a centre detent that locks easily into position and lets you know where the unaffected center-point is. The movement to the right brings you more bass and adds a rounder, fuller overtone to the output. Movement to the left brings in more treble and definition. Movement in both directions offers a great deal of boost and cutability for detailed sound-shaping without the need for an additional preamp or EQ.
Despite its slightly different shape, the guitar sounds rich and full with plenty of detail and resonance. The big attention point, here again, will be the single-cut style neck attachment and higher for access. Virtuoso soloists, Rock and metal players that may transfer electric songs over to acoustic, or even jazz players who want less restriction in an acoustic instrument for their set are definitely going to be target audiences for the SC-13E.
The appeal is definitely to be somewhat of a hybrid in between acoustic sound and electric feel. The neck is fast, easy to navigate, and the multi-angle sculpted neck joint allows for relaxed hand positioning when moving even up to the highest fret. Definitely something unique and innovative from Martin Guitar, that should interest players from multiple genres.
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