2020 HAS THUS far proven to be a historically challenging time, and most people will likely forget any good that came from this year. But one notable highlight I’d like to remember is Martin Guitar unveiling their most forward-thinking instrument in the company’s almost 200-year history. At the 2020 Winter NAMM Show, Martin surprised a lot of journalists and devotees with the introduction of the SC13E, a pioneering acoustic-electric that was completely built from scratch. Even more eye-opening are its three chief design hallmarks, all of which are departures from Martin’s time-honored style and traditional acoustic-build approach: an asymmetrical S-shaped body style, a dramatically sloped cutaway and, most importantly, a radically novel and innovative neck joint that combines elements of dovetail construction. If you’re thinking this guitar looks like it’s made for an electric player, you’re spot-on, but it is indeed an acoustic, and Martin’s most easily playable one at that. Nevertheless, the SC-13E will have widespread appeal for novices and virtuosos alike, and dare I say, even Martin’s most dyed-in-the-wool purists can’t deny its ergonomic ease and satisfyingly woody top-end tone.
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