Build Quality:4.8 out of 5 stars
Hardware:4.7 out of 5 stars
Sound:4.7 out of 5 stars
Value:4.8 out of 5 stars
Average:4.8 out of 5 stars

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  • Made out of sustainable materials
  • Durable
  • Wonderful sound


  • Might not be as good as its high-end siblings

As time passes by, guitar manufacturers start experimenting even more to find materials that are more durable than traditional woods. The latter is susceptible to external factors and some internal properties, as well. It’s important to use something in construction that will improve durability even more. That is particularly significant with 12-string acoustic guitars, since the tension is even higher, which may result in damage on the neck. That’s why it should be as rugged as it can be, and wood can’t always be enough for that purpose.

Those, who are into traditional materials and can’t open up newer possibilities, should probably skip this one and look elsewhere. The model we’re about to discuss is produced by Martin – a brand, whose name has become so prominent that everyone is familiar with it around the globe. Their acoustic guitars are a different kind of luxury – along with a magnificent guitar, you acquire countless sonic possibilities.

D12X1AE is perhaps the best 12-string acoustic guitar, which is really hard to say no to. The brand utilized newer approaches and materials to make sure it would be one of the best models on the market. They surely succeeded at that. If you want to try out something new and want to challenge yourself, then this might be the perfect guitar for you. Let’s begin our journey, explore everything there is to explore and figure out if this model is worth your money or not!

Build Quality

It has turned into some sort of common truth that Martin guitars have high-quality construction. Even though we should never judge guitars with our predisposed attitudes, it can’t be helped with this brand. Expectations are high whenever we mention Martin and I think that’s due to the legacy the manufacturer has created. Their D12X1AE is the representation of all the properties we love about their guitars: it combines innovation, high quality, and impeccable sound. The innovation here means their renewed attitude towards construction and materials. Instead of going for classic woods, they chose to include sustainable parts and resources. The top features Sitka spruce, while the back and sides are made from mahogany-grained High-Pressure Laminate (HPL). This means that the materials are blended with resin, which enhances durability and makes the guitar less susceptible to damage. The scale length is 25.4 inches, which is a typical measurement for dreadnought body shape. I can’t help but mention the design: even though we don’t have anything extraordinary, the classical approach works wonders here. Hand-rubbed natural finish, mahogany back and sides, tortoise-style pickguard and multi-stripe rosette go with one another perfectly. Their harmonic combination is what makes this guitar so beautiful.

Rust Birch Laminate neck is topped with an FSC Certified Richlite, which makes the guitar really smooth to play. The latter is also an eco-friendly material, just in case you care about the environment and that particular feature makes a difference for you. The neck has a low profile and is connected to the body with a Mortise & Tenon joint. There’s something you should always keep in mind: don’t let the word laminate scare you, since the ones that are used have a really high quality. There are certain advantages to utilizing HPL in guitar construction and you can read all about that online. But you could also trust me and Martin and believe that D12X1AE is an indestructible instrument.


You’d probably notice that D12X1AE is constructed with materials that are more or less eco-friendly. The same pattern continues in terms of hardware as well, which is something we should always appreciate. Be it an intentional move or not, such materials are still better for everyone – especially the earth.

Belly style 12-string bridge is made from FSC Certified Richlite, just like the fretboard. It has a compensated white tusq saddle on top, which holds your strings in place. Even though bridge pins are plastic, they are still rugged. The material used for the nut is White Corian. It measures around 1 7/8”, which is a standard size for such guitars. It goes without saying that chrome enclosed tuning machines know what to do and how. Finally, it’s important to note that D12X1AE is an acoustic-electric model. It features Fishman Sonitone electronics that turns its sound into a powerful beast (more on that later). What else could we ask for?

Martin 12 String Sound

I’m sure you remember how I said that HPL can be even more durable than solid woods, but is it better in terms of sound? – not really. You see, woods always add their own character to the guitar, be it the top or the body. Their extraordinary touch is really hard to emulate, which is why an HPL will never sound better than solid wood. However, just the fact that wood is solid doesn’t mean that it has high quality. With that in mind, the materials used in D12X1AE still contribute to the magnificent sounds it produces. Since the top is made from solid wood, there’s no doubt about the quality of the tone. The brand chose a non-scalloped X-bracing, which enhances the projection of the guitar and delivers fantastic results. This bad boy will prepare you for a true Martin, with its power and pristine notes. No matter what techniques you’ll use – the tone will remain clean. D12X1AE is dimensional and versatile both plugged-in and unplugged. Its 12 strings will take you to another universe where every note is rich, thick and deep.


As time passes by, Martin becomes more accessible to the players. Their high-end range is impeccable, and so is their affordable line. D12X1AE showcases that perfectly. It’s a guitar you should purchase if you want to understand what is so special about the brand. It will deliver spectacular results to the point where you’ll never be able to go back. That’s a characteristic of a 12-string guitar, especially the one made by Martin. This guitar is a magic – listen, explore, create and you’ll unveil its supernatural character. Good luck! 

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