My first guitar was a Korean made acoustic guitar that wasn’t even branded. I loved that guitar and it was my first step into a lifelong endeavor of being a guitarist. So when I finally wore the frets down to the wood I decided to get myself another acoustic guitar. What I was looking for was an acoustic guitar with the following qualities:
- It had to have a very low, electric guitar type action.
- It had to be a thin body.
- It had to have a cutaway to allow access to the upper frets.
- It had to have an electric pickup in it.
- It had to sound great plugged in and unplugged as well.
- It had to be in the $500-$700 range.
Thus began my search for my new acoustic guitar. I went to my local guitar store and began playing acoustic guitars. Being a predominantly electric player I really wanted my acoustic guitar to feel like an electric. So I first grabbed the Fender Stratacoustic because it looked like an electric with an acoustic body. Long story short, it sounded awful. So I moved on to the more traditional style acoustics. I played a few and they either sounded bad, had too high of an action or sounded poor plugged in. Finally I saw the Martin 00CXAE Grand Concert and thought “It’s a Martin, it will be way out of my price range.” So I asked the salesman how much it was and he told me it was $650 so I picked it up and gave it a test play.
My first reaction was amazement at how beautiful the guitar sounded. I just couldn’t believe that a black plastic looking, thin body guitar could sound so amazingly full. I just can’t say enough about it’s acoustic sound. It has nice warm overtones and sounds like a full bodied dreadnought. I was really surprised to find out that the guitar is made out of a wood composite and plastic. I figured it had to have the “Martin Magic”. What I believe gives the guitar such a fantastic acoustic sound is Martin’s famous X-bracing system on the top of the guitar. It’s an amazing sounding guitar acoustically.
The second thing I noticed was how fantastically low the action was. The guitar is very easy on the hands even with heavy bronze strings on it. This leads to the guitar’s only weakness which is some slight buzzing on the high string during hard hitting soloing. But that only happens when I really beat on the guitar, when I solo with the guitar electrified it’s perfect. So the action is as close to an electric guitar action as I have ever felt on an acoustic guitar.
So I plugged the guitar in and it sounded fabulous as well. The electrified sound is clear as a bell and the Classic 4 Preamp and Sonicore pickup are versatile with EQ for Bass, Middle, Treble and Brilliance. The guitar has very high output and is extremely feedback resistant. I am well pleased with how the Martin 00CXAE sounds plugged in.
I have had this guitar for about 3 years now and it has never let me down. I’ve played many gigs with it and it keeps up with higher priced acoustic guitars. It really shines when it’s on its own though. My Martin has been a hit at many a campfire and family gathering. It’s small and light enough to take anywhere and it’s cheap enough that I don’t mind throwing it in the back of the truck and taking it camping. I highly recommend the Martin 00CXAE Grand Concert Acoustic-Electric guitar. For $650 it’s a steal.