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Martin SC-10E
 
The most affordable version of Martin’s innovative SC-series offers great playability and Fishman electronics.
March 30, 2022
 

Introduced with a splash at the 2020 NAMM show, Martin’s SC-13E ushered in a new phase of innovative design at the generally rather traditional company. Two years later, after COVID-19 related shutdowns, supply-chain issues, and other factors, we’re finally seeing an expansion of the line, both with the slightly higher-end SC-13E Special, which I recently demoed, as well as the more affordable SC-10E, which I check out in this demo. 

The first thing that becomes apparent after taking the SC-10E from its case is that this is a fully-featured SC, not a watered-down version of the design. The only differences between the SC-10E and its more expensive siblings are the types of woods used, simpler appointments, and some different hardware choices. Martin uses veneered koa for the back and sides of the SC-10E, matching it with a solid Sitka spruce top. While not particularly figured, the koa has the wood’s typical rich color, and on our demo guitar, the top has even grain and consistent coloring. Like the other SCs, the guitar has a select hardwood neck and ebony fingerboard and bridge. The SC-10E has a satin finish, simple black-and-white purfling, and an “aperture” rosette design similar to the other models in the series. For the fingerboard position markers, Martin chose simple dots, but a “celestial bullseye” inlay at the 12th fret is a simplified version of the inlay found in the SCs that are higher up the line. Naturally, the guitar includes the same X-bracing on both top and back, and even more importantly, it has the innovative and completely adjustable neck joint, heel-less neck design, and Low Profile Velocity neck shape that was introduced with the SC line. 

The guitar has the same incredibly easy playability I noted on the other SCs. With its relatively shallow body, asymmetrical shape, deep cutaway, and superb upper-fret access, the guitar feels more like an electric guitar than most acoustics, a vibe that is further enhanced by the extra-light .011-gauge strings it ships with. The cool thing is that while the SC-10E easily allows you to play rock-style leads in the upper positions, it retains the classic Martin tonality, especially when strumming open chords. And while the SC-13 Special has LR Baggs electronics, the SC-10E includes the same Fishman MX-T system included with the original SC-13E. Consisting of an active undersaddle pickup with controls for volume and tone mounted inside the soundhole, the MX-T also includes a built-in tuner mounted on the opposite side of the soundhole that works whether the guitar is plugged-in or not. Played through a Fishman Loudbox Mini Charge, the SC-10E offered solid acoustic-electric performance.

By making its latest developments available in an affordable instrument, Martin shows its commitment to a new generation of players, and I’m sure that the SC-10E will find a lot of approval from guitarists looking to move beyond traditional designs. At the same time, existing Martin players who may want to relieve a more expensive instrument from performing duties, will find the SC-10E to be a worthy substitute. Ultimately, a round of applause is in order!

SPECS: S-13 body with cutaway. Sitka spruce top with treble-side scalloped X-bracing. Veneered koa back and sides. Select hardwood neck with Sure Align joint. Ebony fretboard and bridge. 25.4-inch scale. 1¾-inch nut width. 2⁵/₃₂-inch string spacing at the saddle. Black open-gear tuning machines. Fishman MX-T electronics. Made in Mexico. $1,299. Martinguitar.com

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    ● Courses
    ● Live Workshops
    ● Instructors
    ● Sample Lessons
    ● Notation Guide
    ● For Beginners
 
 
    ● Vintage Vault
    ● New Gear
    ● Fine Lutherie
 
 
    ● Workshops
    ● Advice
    ● Repertoire
 
 
    ● Recordings
    ● Events
    ● Breaking News
 
 
    ● In The Studio
    ● Live Onstage
    ● Backroom
 
 
    ● New Products
    ● Inside Look
    ● Performances
    ● Partner Pages
 
 
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