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An unusual folk instrument built with modern materials.
The Martin LXM Tenor acoustic guitar features a spruce patterned durable patented HPL (high pressure laminate) top and mahogany patterned HPL back and sides, gold and black herringbone rosette, mortise/tenon neck joint, and comes with a padded gig bag.
The Tenor guitar is a four-stringed musical instrument shaped like an acoustic guitar, but is smaller and has a 23" scale length. It is typically tuned in "fifths" (usually CGDA). 4-stringed tenor guitars are extremely fun to play, but often costly and hard to find in today's marketplace. The LXM Tenor provides extremely brilliant and projective tone at a very affordable price.
Reviewed by 8 customers
Displaying reviews 1-8
See my above spiel. For me, a product reccommendation is married to the performance of the vendor.
I am a beginning Tenor player with some experience with Baritone Ukes and Upright Bass in high school. I didn't want to take out a second mortgage for a vintage Martin or Gibson that may swell in a humid climate so after reading other reviews of the Little Martin, I decided to take the plunge. MF seemed to have a great price and I wanted a gig bag so as Popeye might say, Here I yam. The LXM was shipped promptly and quickly and arrived in great shape. (actually fairly bombproof in a carton inside a carton). I am a former courier and appreciate "over packing."
I second other reviewers on its nice tones and sustain, even with laminate materials. All in all I am happy with the purchase and MF as a vendor. Now, I just have to learn to coax some songs from the little fella.
I love this thing. Lots of fun to play and useful for songwriting because it gives such a different sound and harmonic texture; it tends to prompt new song ideas as you're playing it. I'm primarily a bassist, but also play classical guitar, electric guitar, and now tenor guitar... and I'm learning dulcimer. From what I understand, Martin has stopped making these little tenors. Too bad for them. I guess they want to go with the herd and come out with another 953rd acoustic guitar that does the same thing as the other 952. Stupid decision in my opinion. This litte gem is unique. So, if you are interested in Tenor guitar and don't just want a full size behemoth with four strings, see if you can find one of these. Most of the others being made right now are simply six-string guitars with four slots in the nut and two less tuning machine holes in the headstock--nothing unique about them at all.
It's an acoustic instrument and has the same features most any of them do. I will say that even after reading about how small this guitar is, I was still surprised when I opened the box! It really is smaller than you'd think--significantly smaller than even a classical guitar. That's not a bad thing though: it's unique, it sounds good, it plays easily due to the size. One thing I love about tenor guitars (and especially this one because it does have a pretty sweet tone for its size and price) is the interesting chord voicings you can get because of the tuning in 5ths. It's unique and clearly not just a "regular guitar" if you listen to the chording textures. I guess the main "features" that set this guitar apart from other acoustic guitars are the small size and unique sound.
I'm giving it the best possible rating here. Not because it's a handmade in Spain ten-thousand-dollar classical guitar, but because for the price you pay, it is superbly put together. Obviously with a lower-priced guitar like this one, something has to be compromised to get the cost of manufacture down. Building in another country only goes so far in cutting costs. The way I see it, there are two things that can be done to reduce costs: cutting the labor/manufacturing cost and cutting the material quality/cost. You can have a guitar made of the finest materials (solid wood, bone nut, etc) that was put together by unskilled butchers or you can have better quality craftsmen working with junk materials. Either way, you've got junk when you're done. I think what Martin has done here is use acceptable quality "modern" materials, built primarily with technology (CNC machining, pressed laminates, etc) rather than hand-made with lower-grade traditional materials. The result is a laminate top and laminate neck that is meticulously machined to spec. It's very clean. Fretwork is great. "Woodwork" is great. It's light. It's resonant. The neck is very strong (it's made of the type of wood laminate that you see quite often in fancy modern gunstocks) and quite nice looking in it's own kind of way. All around great modern material build.
No complaints here. It's a great price. Yes, it's made in Mexico, but it may as well be made in Antarctica because it's mostly modern technology that built this guitar.
Overall, I'm glad I bought it.
It sounds great. The only flaw I have encountered is the bottom of the circular design imprinted around the sound hole wore off almost immediately where apparently the pick strikes it. This doesn't bother me very much, but it does take away from it's looks. I'd buy it again, plays great, sounds great.
My ancient Harmony tenor guitar was resurrected with a cracked top and was bulky to play, not to mention the concern it would crumble some day. The Martin has a gorgeous tone, is smaller and so easy to carry around! I had looked for years for the right price, size and sound and was nervous when I ordered this marvel without playing it first. It was everything advertised and more. It draws envious stares immediately. It is a dream come true.
I just got this tenor online, and was surprised by how tiny it was when I took it out of the box. But, wow was I impressed with the sound. While I would love to get my hands on one of those classic Gibsons or the like, this is a great little tenor for the price. This is my third tenor guitar and the best sounding of the bunch. Albeit, a bit disappointing that I can't get to that Irish tuning out of the box. Full, rich notes and comfortable playing, can't wait to get out and play this thing at my next show. Any tips on how to best capture the sound in a concert setting would be appreciated.
I've long been fond of Martin guitars and own several of the six string versions. Martin is well known for quality and for customer service so it's difficult to go wrong buying a Martin. But the LXM is a different breed of Martin. Not bad, but it may not be what you are expecting if all you know are USA-made Martin six-string guitars.The LXM is made in Navojoa, Mexico. Martin doesn't brag about that in the specifications but it is plainly listed on the inside label. But don't let that put you off. The quality of MIM instruments has improved significantly over the last 20 years. Although mostly made of laminates, the quality of the LXM is typical of a Martin. They keep the price down by building it outside the USA and omitting labor intensive ornamentation and finishing. The top is "spruce pattern" HPL (high pressure laminate) and the sides are "mahogany pattern" HPL. In other words, the body is 100% plywood. But, given the increasing scarcity of guitar tone woods, this helps keep the price down. There is no finish so it's not a bad idea to give the guitar a couple of coats of quality guitar wax straight away, especially if you perspire or have oily skin. The neck is not bound and the body binding is faux tortoise shell plastic. There is no purfling, the sound hole decoration is simple, and there are no fret markers on the fingerboard.This guitar is a "Little Martin" and that is obvious the first time you pick it up. Not just the neck, which is roughly the width of a tenor banjo neck. The body is noticeably smaller than a standard dreadnaught or auditorium model. The downside of this is that the volume is lower. The upside is that the sound is bright and clear. You will have to work a bit more to get volume but the tone will stand out. If you want a larger body consider tenor guitars from Aria or Gold Tone.If you have never played tenor guitar before, the first thing you will want to do is pick a tuning. Which to use may take some thought. DGBE or GCEA are handy if you already play guitar (or ukulele). All of the melody chords on the top four strings are immediately available. If you play mandolin, GDAE lets you use all your mando chords and licks although some are quite a stretch on a guitar! Traditional standard tuning for tenor guitar (and banjo) is CGDA which will take some adjustment if you have only played guitar.The LXM comes optimized for standard tenor tuning (CGDA) and that's what will sound best out of the box. If you use another tuning you may need to change string gauges and have a luthier make adjustments to the neck, nut, and bridge. I found that Irish or Celtic tuning (GDAE, an octave lower than mandolin) sounds better with slightly heavier strings. A change of gauge helps for Chicago tuning too. (DGBE, like the highest 4 strings on a 6-string guitar). Some people use GCEA (like a ukulele or the top four strings of a guitar with a capo at the 5th fret). TUNE CAREFULLY if you are experimenting. The strings that come on the LXM are not designed for every tuning and you will break strings if you tune too high.If you plan to use a tuning other than CGDA standard I would suggest obtaining appropriate strings and having a luthier set up the guitar for you. Out of the box, mine sounded right in CGDA but did not play in tune up the neck in Irish and Chicago tunings. The intonation was noticeably off at the 12th fret. New strings and adjustment of the bridge saddle fixed that. The bridge and the nut are plastic so having a luthier replace them with bone won't hurt. The LXM can sound decent with any tuning but anything other than standard will require some tweaks.The Little Martin LXM tenor is a decent first tenor guitar. If you can live with the smaller size and lack of finish and ornamentation I expect you will be pleased once you have it adjusted for the tuning you prefer.
If you read opinions on discussion boards, tenor guitar purists are mostly not enthusiastic about this guitar. Don't listen to them. It's a great little guitar with a rich sound and, best of all, Martin quality construction.If you are in the market for a tenor guitar, your choices are slim. You can get a restored vintage one on ebay for a lot of money, a broken old one that you need to restore yourself, or one from Asia of questionable quality. I went with the Martin because I trust the company and I like the Martin sound.One of the things I like about this guitar is that it has a small body. I think the parlor size is appropriate for a tenor guitar. Also, the HPL material means that you don't have to pamper the thing, a real plus for me.If you want to tune this like an octave mandolin, GDAE, it won't be possible without working on the nut, as the nut slots are not wide enough. I tried Chicago tuning DGBE, but settled on standard tenor guitar tuning CGDA. Martin says the guitar is optimized for that tuning and it does bring out the best sound of the guitar.I spent a lot of time shopping for a tenor guitar, and I'm glad I went with this one.
Once you play a tenor guitar, you will never go back to a 6 string again! This Martin has a short scale and a narrow neck. It plays and sounds incredible. It has such a rich and full sound, that you don't even miss the low strings. It way easier to play, especially if you like to fingerpick.
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