Martin recently changed the model code of most of its Road Series models, giving them a numerical code as well as letters, instead of an endless string of letters nobody can remember. This D-10E, for instance, used to be called the DRS1. Although Martin's efforts to recapture the sound and appearance of its iconic models from 80 or so years ago get all the press, they've obviously been working overtime to counter the success of Taylor's affordable acoustic-electric models. This spruce-topped sapele Dreadnought is a serious contender and the D-10E combines modern features with that classic Martin tone that no other company seems to be able to get right, especially in this price range.

Along with easy string action and great acoustic tone, the Fishman MX-T pickup system is full-featured with handy controls but is almost invisible (unless you're actually playing the guitar). Our favorite touch is the built-in tuner which sits just below the inner lip of the soundhole, just north of the pickguard. You just reach down below the high E string to push a button and the brightly-lit screen comes on, turning from blue to green when each string is in tune (it also shows the increments as you get that string closer to just right). Best of all, that button mutes the audio output of the pickup while you're using the tuner. On the other side of the soundhole are the tone and volume controls for the pickup, and they're easy to reach with any finger on your right hand. Once you get used to these nicely knurled knobs you can adjust them while holding your flatpick, no need to take your left hand off the neck, which means you can strum a chord, hold it, and fine-tune the output. Solid woods, great Martin tone and volume, a realistic-sounding pickup system, and no more clipping tuners to the headstock. Pretty impressive for not much over $800.

stock no. 56104

ModelD-10E
TopSitka Spruce
Back and sidesSapele
Frets to body14
Nut width1 3/4"
Scale length25.4"
Bridge spacing2 5/32"
Bridge materialFSC Certified Richlit
Fretboard MaterialFSC Certified Richlite
Neck materialSelect Hardwood
BracingX-Brace, Non-Scalloped, 5/16" with 1/4" Tone Bars
ElectronicsFishman MX-T
InlayMother-of-Pearl Pattern, Dots - 28 Style Pattern
Neck profilePerforming Artist
RosetteMOP Pattern with Multi-Stripe
Total frets20
TunersChrome Enclosed Gear
FinishSatin
CaseGig Bag
Serial No2275849
BindingBlack