Martin DX1SAE Westside Custom Sapele Edition #II review

New twist on an icon

  • £619

MusicRadar Verdict

Proof that an object can really be greater than the sum of its parts.


  • +

    Superb playability. Solid neck.


  • -

    Very few.

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The Westside Custom Sapele Edition #II is a tweaked version of the dreadnought-size Martin X-Series DX1AE.

Its spec is pretty much identical, but while the DX1AE features a Sitka spruce top, our Westside Edition #II uses solid sapele. Like the DX1AE, and the other guitars here, back and sides are High Pressure Laminate.

HPL is created by compressing wood particles under intense heat in a resin to create a sheet that can be formed into the appropriate shapes. Martin generally 'prints' its HPL sheets to make them look like mahogany, but the Westside Editions are finished in flat black.

Another common trait of the X-Series guitars and our three Westside Editions is the birch laminate neck. As the name suggests, the neck is made from slices of birch that are glued together - a method of construction that not only keeps manufacturing costs down, it produces a strong, stable neck. The Richlite fingerboard is fitted with 20 medium frets.

We've come to expect a lot of volume from a dreadnought, and the DX1SAE doesn't disappoint. The solid sapele top gives the guitar a warmer voice than you'd typically find in a spruce-topped version, something that makes you forget you're playing a guitar made of compressed bits and pieces.

Playability is excellent. The 'Modified Low Oval' profile neck is slim and comfortable, and the stability of its construction allows for a low action and zero tuning issues.

Martin dreads have always been great all-rounders and the addition of a Fishman pickup system makes this a versatile tool for any guitarist.