Thanks to Ed Sheeran and his mega-hit Thinking Out Loud, there seems to be an increasing number of people picking up the guitar, as well as taking a big interest in “baby sized” guitars.
While he isn’t playing his favourite Little Martin in this video (it is believed that the parlour he plays here is a custom made Martin 0 sized 12-fret), the ginger haired hotshot from UK has certainly created a trend.
Martin has since created two signature guitars for Ed Sheeran.
The first one was dubbed the LX1E Ed Sheeran, It featured a solid sapele top and black body. I remember it sold for less than $800 but prices in second hand markets shot up to more than $1k after it was discontinued.
The latest signature guitar Ed Sheeran X Signature features a solid spruce top with koa laminate back and sides. This time retail prices have gone up even though it’s essentially still a regular LX1E without the blings. Citymusic is selling this for over $900 compared to $7xx for the previous model. Preorders started about half a year in advance, and I think people even profited by selling on the grey market.
These things are red hot and sold out all over the world, leading to the crazy prices found on internet forums and classifieds sites.
It also created a strong interest in learning the guitar. I have at least two colleagues picking up the guitar, and more specifically, shopping for baby sized guitars. I’m quite sure these people are influenced by Ed Sheeran. After all, one can finally purchase the very same instrument a rockstar plays at less than $1k.
Perhaps that’s why no one has picked up the guitar after learning how much an Eric Clapton Martin sells for. 🙂
We take a look at some of the more commonly seen travel sized acoustics in this series of writeups.
In this part, we look at the 3/4 sized pack.
The guitar made famous by our favourite gingerhead. There are many versions of the Little Martin ranging from the LXM (laminate top) to the LX1 (solid top).
Also features options such as LXK (koa laminate), the black version and the E versions with Fishman Isys.
Of course there are the two sold-out-before-u-blink Ed Sheeran editions.
The sapele version. Jack Ho of Jack and Rai frequent plays one. I’m surprised he hasn’t whipped out the latest spruce on koa version on stage.
And the latest signature edition with all the nice blings. Nice koa patterned laminate.
All the Little Martins are made in Mexico and features plenty of innovative materials such as HPL (Martin proprietary material) for back and sides, richlite fingerboard and bridge (some sort of paper-based material), and stratabond or laminate necks. Purists will frown upon such materials, but hey, if they work they work. 🙂
The Little Martins also feature a 43mm nut and 23inch scale which is pretty standard for travel guitars.
Another heavyweight contender in the baby (3/4) sized fight, the Baby Taylor was introduced in 1996. It is about the same size as the Little Martin apart from the slightly thicker waist and a round back.
The Baby Taylor features a solid spruce top with laminate sapele back and sides. Like the Little Martin, there is the option for electronics too.
Here’s a funny video review on Baby Taylor VS Little Martin. The reviewer made interesting comments with regards to the popstars which the guitars are named after.
The Baby Taylor also has a mahogany top version. More commonly called the BT2, it features a mahogany top and sapele b/s.
Taylor Swift fans can rejoice that there is a a signature Baby Taylor. It has the same specs as a regular Baby with patterns and designs and also Taylor Swift’s signature. Unlike the Ed Sheeran Martins, this one isn’t sold out as fast.
It is interesting to point out that the Baby Taylors have ebony fingerboards and sapele necks as oppose to Little Martin’s non-wood parts. I personally prefer real wood. Another thing worth noting is that the Baby Taylor costs a little less than the Little Martin here in SG. Comparing the BT1 ($395) and LX1 (just over $500 after discount), it seems that the Baby Taylor may win some fans with its pricing.
Cort Earth Mini
Another baby sized guitar from popular guitar maker Cort, the Earth Mini has recently packed on some muscles by adding the Adirondack Spruce top to its lineup. Although not as prestigious as Taylor or Martin, the Mini is largely popular and sells fast in local classifieds.
This sells just over $200 in SG.
Relatively newcomers to SG, the Veelah brand has shown us what budget guitars can do. I think SV Guitars only brought in this brand in the last 3 years. At $199, these are hot sellers for a travel guitar featuring a solid top.
It has the same recipe as most other babies, solid top and laminate back and sides. The spruce top version looks handsome with the carved rosette.
Its mahogany sibling isn’t too bad either.
Going very high up on the price scale, we have the Maton Mini brought in by MusicArk. Featuring all solid wood using Australian timbre such as Queensland maple and professional grade pickups, this one is not for the beginner guitarist. I must admit it is very very well made even if it’s well over $2k retail.
Hardcase comes as standard although I sometimes feel that they make the guitar less portable. My favourite online teacher Justin Sandercoe who is a Maton endorsee plays one.
So… that’s my take on the 3/4 sized pack of guitars that are more common in sunny SG. The list is definitely not exhaustive and I’m sure more makers will roll out or reintroduce such guitars at some stage.
Stay tuned for Part 2!
*pictures from Taylor, Martin and Cort official sites, SV Guitars, Musiczoo and Turramusic.