Martin SC-13e

Martin SC-13e Review An Inside Look – Best in Show at Namm 2020

Last update 14/11/2023
Our Martin SC-13e Review: This is a new addition to the Martin Guitars road series. Martin has embraced that not all players want a traditional guitar design. Be that as it may, the design team wanted to develop an acoustic with the “comfort and playability of an electric.” In effect, they have done that spectacularly well.

Martin SC-13e Review

While the SC-13e will appeal to electric players who would like an electric player-friendly acoustic, This is an instrument that any player on its own merits should consider. While it’s not a D-28 tonally, it’s not intended to be.

However, it has that gorgeous, well-balanced Martin tone that sounds awesome acoustically and plugged in. Moreover, It is beautiful aesthetically; its ergonomic patented neck makes it effortless and comfortable to play with. In addition, it offers unparalleled access to the higher register up the neck.

Specs overview

  • All-new body shape
  • 6 String, an acoustic-electric guitar
  • X Bracing
  • Open-gear nickel tuners
  • Heel-less Design
  • Sure Align™ Neck System
  • Built-In Tuner
  • Fishman® MX-T Electronics

What I like about the Martin-sc-13e

  1. It’s a guitar that sounds great both acoustically and plugged in.
  2. Its unique neck design allows unencumbered access up the top of the neck to reach all those high notes (shredders take notice). It does feel like an electric guitar; it’s fast and comfortable.
  3. Martin has managed to enhance the feel of the neck with what Martin calls a “progressive taper” to enhance the feel of the neck as you play. It’s subtle but noticeable.
  4. Great for players who play leads up the neck. The SC-13e is also very comfortable to play for extended sessions, especially while standing.
  5. This guitar is perfect for the player who typically uses both an electric and acoustic.
  6. The neck meets the body at the 13th fret instead of the 12th or 14th. That allows the tone of a long-scale and playability like a short-scale guitar.
  7. The strap button has been moved to allow unencumbered access to the neck.
  8. The neck slips vertically onto the dovetail and is secured by two bolts. (NOTE: However, this might be mistakenly called a bolt-on neck; it is not.)

SC-13E features

Tone Quality

The combination of the tonewoods mahogany and Sitka. As a matter of fact, that combination makes for a beautiful and loud resonant modern tone, rich and balanced with sustain. Interestingly, the tone bars have no scalloping, yet the treble side does.

Plugged in, it makes for a woody and warm sound.

The body

The S-body shape is gorgeous., Most of us are accustomed to the more traditional type of acoustic guitars. When you first see this guitar, odds are you will stare at it for a time. I love it; it just takes a little getting used to. You will come to love it even more when you realize how comfortable it is when you play it.

It feels smaller than it is because the first position on the fretboard is closer to the body. The weight is centered on the neck joint, making the body seem shorter. It hangs on a strap perfectly balanced.

Martin SC-13E Acoustic-Electric Guitar front body
Martin SC-13e Review – The front body of the guitar

The neck

Martin SC-13E Acoustic-Electric Guitar back closeup
The Martin sc-13e Sure Align Linear Dovetail Neck Joint

Apart from the new S-shape asymmetric body, the new Sure Align neck system is undoubtedly one of this guitar’s most popular features. The design of the neck gives you access to all 20 frets. Playing up the neck, the SC-13e feels like the neck of an electric guitar. In fact, the guitar is marketed as the perfect acoustic for electric guitar players.

 Guitar setup

Setups are a breeze. Martin has said, “Take it to a Martin dealer, and they will generally do it while you wait.” For the most part, most adjustments (including intonation) can be made quickly. I think anything that makes it easy to keep a guitar playable is a big plus! The neck as a whole is ergonomically designed to accommodate the player’s hand as it naturally twists along the neck when moving along the length of the neck.

Fast and comfortable neck

The result is a neck that feels like the fast neck of an electric guitar. Now, when you play, no more contorting your hand when moving up the dusty end like a regular cutaway. Furthermore, you can keep your thumb under the 13th fret. The helical style neck profile changes as you move up because of what Martin calls its “progressive taper.”

Moving right up the neck might initially feel strange if you’re primarily an acoustic player. However, you will appreciate the ability to play all those high notes that are generally unreachable, even on most standard cutaways.

The top

The top is solid Sitka spruce. It is a tonewood that is a favorite for the majority of guitarists. In addition, It’s well known for its crisp articulation and broad dynamic range. Excellent for any playing style, Flatpicking, fingerpicking, hard or light strumming. The top is stunning on this guitar.

Martin sc-13e-Top solid Sitka spruce
Martin SC-13e Review – The top

Back and sides

A solid Mahogany core back with thin Koa veneer, top and bottom. Furthermore, the sides are thin Koa veneers, making this guitar very easy to look at.

Martin sc-13e back horizontal
The back of the Martin Sc-13e

Soundhole Rosette

The gorgeous Mother of Pearl Pattern rosette adds to the visual interest of this instrument.

Martin SC-13E Acoustic-Electric sound hole
Martin SC-13E Acoustic-Electric soundhole and Rosette

Martin’s “Tone Tension X Brace

The SC-13e utilizes Martin’s “Tone Tension X Brace.” The Tone Tension X-Brace does much for the guitar’s sound and projection. Furthermore, the design promotes a well-balanced tone with an excellent bass response.

Martin’s Tone Tension X Brace
Martin SC-13e Review – Martin’s Tone Tension X Brace

Soundhole tuner

I love this tuner; it is in the soundhole and only visible to the player. The idea is that the guitarist can tune the guitar on stage quickly and easily. In addition, the sound is muted. For that reason, the audience isn’t audibly alerted to the player tuning the guitar.

Martin SC-13e sound hole tuner 2
Martin SC-13e soundhole tuner


Fingerboard Inlay Style: The Mother of Pearl Pattern and Celestial Blue Dot match the Rosette and sport a Tortoise-pattern pickguard for the top.

SC-13e Fingerboard Inlay Style Celestial Bullseye
SC-13e Fingerboard Inlay Style Celestial Bullseye and Celestrial blue dot.

Fishman MX preamp

The preamp can be located in the soundhole just under the lip. The tone is excellent and should satisfy most users. Look in the guitar’s soundhole for the tone and volume knobs.

Martin SC-13E Acoustic-Electric Guitar Sound-Hole 2
Martin SC-13e Review – Fishman MX preamp

Scale Length

The scale length is 25.4″, The combination of the “Sure Align Linear Dovetail Neck Joint.” The offset body, custom cutaway, and heel-less design feel like a guitar with a shorter scale length. It’s very comfortable.

Martin SC-13e
Martin SC-13e Review – Scale length


The SC-13 comes with Authentic Acoustic Lifespan® 2.0 Custom Light strings, making effortless bends. Some SC-13e owners have opted to use light strings. In a word, It’s a matter of personal taste and preferences by the player.

Martin Authentic Acoustic Lifespan 2.0 Custom Light strings
Martin Authentic Acoustic Lifespan 2.0 Custom Light strings


A well-padded gig bag is included in the price. It has a lovely blue plush lining inside, matching the guitar’s pearl rosette and bullet fret marker. In addition, there is plenty of pocket space for your guitar accessories, spares, batteries, capo, and portable guitar stand. Martin has not yet made a hard case available for the Sc-13e.

Martin SC-13e gig bag open
Martin SC-13e gig bag open

SC-13e Specifications

SC-13e Specifications   
Built-inMexicoBridge spacingEbony w/compensated Tusq saddle/55mm
Body sizeS-13 Fret CutawayFinish-TopGloss
ConstructionSure Align Linear Dovetail Neck JointBack & Side finishGloss
Bracing patternTone Tension X BraceScale length25.4″
Brace shapeTreble Side Scalloped X with Non-Scalloped Tone BarsNut width1 3/4″
Top materialSitka SpruceNeck shapeLow Profile Velocity
Back materialKoa Fine VeneerNeck taperHigh-Performance Taper
Side materialKoa Fine VeneerElectronicsFishman MX-T
 Tuning machines Open gear Bridge material Ebony
 Fingerboard Material Ebony Fingerboard Inlay Celestial Blue Dots
Number of Frets20Scale LengthOpen Gear
 Martin SC-13e Specifications

The verdict


  • It is hard not to like this guitar.
  • Excellent ergonomics with a technically innovative cutaway design make playing very comfortable.
  • Plugged into an amp, it sounds great.
  • The guitar is elegant, and the beautiful woods and Mother of Pearl adornments. Given these points, the guitar is not overdone with excessive bling.
  • The build quality is superb.
  • Well-balanced sonically.
  • The price is reasonable.
  • The new neck is groundbreaking.
  • A gig bag is included.


  • Fretboard Ebony marbling on some may not be to your taste.
  • No hard case is available yet.
  • Aggressive play can cause compression and quack.
  • No left-handed model is available.

The New Martin SC-10e &  SC-13E Special Burst – 2022

Martin SC-13E Special | Martin SC-13E Special Burst

Martin SC-13E Special

A step up from the Sc-10 e, the SC-13E Special also retains the Sitka spruce top but utilizes a gorgeous ziricote fine veneer gloss back and sides. The pickup system has been upgraded with the LR Baggs Element and skeleton-style open-gear tuners.

The body now comes with an aperture design multi-stripe rosette, white binding, and a compensated white Tusq saddle paired with an ebony bridge. Furthermore, the Sc-13e Special retains the Martin Tone Tension X Brace system, ebony 20-fret fingerboard, and a white Corian nut.

Notably, the Sc-13e Special keeps the High-Performance Taper neck profile for which this guitar is famous.

Martin SC-13E Special Burst

The Martin SC-13e Special Burst is the same as the SC-13e Special, except it has the Burst finish.

Martin Sc-13e Special – Specifications

Back and Side FinishGlossKnobButterbean
Back MaterialZiricote Fine VeneerLeft / Right-HandedRight-Handed
BindingWhiteMachine HeadsRatio Nickel Open Gear
Body SizeS-13 Fret CutawayManufacturer Model Number40/RS-SC13E-SPECIAL
Bracing PatternTone Tension X BraceNeckTaper High-Performance Taper
Bridge MaterialEbonyNeck MaterialSelect Hardwood
Bridge Pin DotsBlack PlasticNumber of Frets20
Bridge Pin MaterialWhite PlasticNumber of Strings6
ConstructionSure Align Linear Dovetail Neck JointNut MaterialWhite Corian
CutawayYesNut Width1 3/4”
Fingerboard Inlay MaterialZiricote Dot – Plastic Ivory Pattern BorderPickguardTortoise Pattern
Fingerboard Inlay StyleSC-13 Special StylePickguardInlay None
Fingerboard MaterialEbonyPickup TypeLR Baggs Element
Fingerboard Width at Nut1 3/4′RosetteAperture Design with Multi-Stripe
Finish NeckSatinRosetteAperture Design with Multi-Stripe
Finish TopGlossSaddleCompensated White Tusq
Fretboard MaterialEbonySaddle Radius16″
Gross Shipping WeightVolumetric (kgs) 20Scale Length25.4″
Headplate Logo StyleSilver Script OverlaySide DotsWhite
Headplate MaterialEbonySide MaterialZiricote Fine Veneer
Included AccessoriesSoft Shell CaseSolid Back & SidesNo
Solid TopYesTuning MachinesRatio Nickel Open Gear
Martin Sc-13e Special – Specifications
The Most Important Martin Guitar in 20 Years.


The Martic SC-13e is a groundbreaking design. It is like no other Martin guitar that came before it. It is part of the Martin Road Series Range. The radical design of its Align neck system and low action allows unprecedented access up the neck. It’s great for playing at home, on stage, or in a studio. It’s ideal for flat-picking, fingerstyle, and strumming.

The Sc-13e was related with much fanfare; some of the Martin traditionalists had reservations about the guitar’s new design. The Sc-13 has now proven itself to be one of the most radical designs in acoustic guitar history. Few would argue that the guitar is now a clear-cut success, a fact that is ratified by market sales and positive reviews.

The new additions to the Sc-13e family, the Sc-10e, the Sc-13e Special, and the Sc-13e Special Burst, will undoubtedly fuel the success of the guitar.

Before buying this or any other acoustic guitar, read our best acoustic guitar buying guide first. For example, the guide answers people’s questions, like buying the best acoustic guitar. There is much to consider; realizing that you overlooked some fundamental technical or another issue after purchasing is too late. Therefore, make sure you do your homework before spending your hard-earned bucks on that cool guitar.

Transparency disclosure: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links, meaning that I may earn a commission if you click on a link and make a purchase. This commission comes at no extra cost to you. We only recommend products and services that I believe are helpful and valuable, and we never let the potential for a commission influence our recommendations.

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