NAMM 2020: In addition to the new Series 16 and Crossroads models, Martin’s biggest launch of the show is the SC-13E – a fascinating all-new guitar design that aims to bridge the boundaries of electric and acoustic guitar.
Aimed squarely at more experimental and boundary-pushing guitar players, the most striking aspect of the new guitar is its offset body shape. Designed to enable players to fully use every fret on an acoustic like never before, the SC-13E has a deep, tapering cutaway that allows unencumbered access to the dusty end.
The guitar has an expanded lower bout to maintain its acoustic profile, meaning that despite the loss of body space around the cutaway, it retains that full, classic Martin acoustic voice. Another highlight is the X-bracing – with the back bracing crossing the soundhole and the classic Martin label fitting around the braces themselves.
Around the back, upper-fret access is further enhanced by an innovative neck join. This deeply carved ergonomic feature is enabled by a new neck join method, which pairs Martin’s classic dovetail method with aluminium rods that enable the guitar and neck to be joined together securely and traditionally without any glue or bolts.
The neck itself is a 13-fret example, chosen to blend classic playability and versatility of a longer scale while still feeling compact and playable. The carve itself has been tapered to provide a more comfortable playing experience all the way up the neck.
Compared to a traditional Martin guitar, the action on the new instruments is also noticeably lower. Combined with a redesigned, more curved bridge, this is designed to enable players to play electric-like parts with classic Martin acoustic tonality.
Perhaps the most surprising thing about the SC-13E, however, is the price. We’re used to seeing guitars with this level of R&D and fanfare come with high price tags to match, but Martin says the guitar will street at just $1,499 – very much in the ballpark of the younger, experimental guitar players Martin is seeking to appeal to with this radical new instrument.
More information at martinguitar.com.