Tips & Tutorials | January 17, 2024
The Martin Grand Performance Buying Guide
When it comes to acoustic guitars, Martin is a name that resonates with musicians worldwide. Our guitars are a top choice for both beginners and seasoned players – but it can be hard to figure out which body size is right for you.
In this buying guide, we’ll take a deep dive into the specifics of the Grand Performance (GP) body size. These guitars don’t get nearly as much hype as Martin's iconic Dreadnought and 000 sizes, but this Goldilocks body size is definitely worth a look. And what’s even more exciting, we recently launched the all-new GPCE Inception™, which we’ll tell you more about below. The GPCE Inception, along with the others in the Grand Performance lineup, offer a versatile choice for guitarists of all genres and fit in any player’s arsenal.
What is a Grand Performance (GP) Style Guitar?
Simply put, a Grand Performance guitar is the perfect mix between a Dreadnought and 000 style guitar. Striking that balance results in a versatile acoustic that delivers both comfort and power, making it an ideal choice for a wide range of playing styles. It provides a projective and balanced tone with a bit more bass than smaller body guitars provide.
The Grand Performance’s distinctive curves also contribute to its versatility. The waist is slightly narrower than that of a Dreadnought, giving players a comfortable experience, while the broader upper and lower bouts ensure a robust and resonant tone with plenty of volume.
If this sounds like your kind of acoustic, let's check out the Grand Performance models that are currently available so you can find the one that's right for you.
GPCE Inception Maple
Martin’s newest Grand Performance sized guitar, the GPCE Inception Maple, not only provides that versatility and comfort, but also unlocks the sonic beauty of sustainable tonewoods.
Combining nature and technology, this groundbreaking acoustic-electric features one-of-a-kind skeletonized scalloped bracing and sonic channels for increased resonance and superior tone – technology that’s purpose-built for this model’s particular tonewoods. They work together to increase sustain and amplitude, optimize airflow, and reduce the guitar’s mass without losing structural support, making maple sound better than it ever has.
The GPCE Inception Maple is made from a combination of sustainable tonewoods, including an FSC®-certified European spruce top, maple sides, and an eye-catching three-piece back of maple and black walnut. These woods – and the guitar’s body size – provide a clear, projective, and balanced tone, improving upon what has, up until now, been the standard sound of maple.
This guitar also features a new satin amber fade sunburst finish, black walnut binding, maple arrow fingerboard inlays, gold open gear tuners, a cutaway to help players reach the highest frets, a 25.4” scale length, LR Baggs Anthem electronics, and a molded hardshell case.
To learn more about the GPCE Inception Maple, and Martin’s new era of guitar making, click here.
X Series Grand Performance Models
Durable and affordable without sacrificing tone, Martin X Series guitars are made to play, giving musicians the freedom to play how, where, and when they want without breaking the bank. They deliver legendary Martin tone and can easily make the transition from the couch to the stage.
The newly remastered X Series is available with solid wood or high-pressure laminate (HPL) tops and HPL backs and sides in a variety of eye-catching patterns. These acoustic-electric guitars have long been revered for their affordability, durability, and versatility, making them a top choice for both aspiring musicians and seasoned professionals.
They combine tradition with modernity, providing players of all skill levels with the perfect tools to create, perform, and inspire.
The acoustic-electric GPC-X2E features a hand-rubbed satin wood top and HPL back and sides, available in either a cocobolo pattern with a spruce top or ziricote pattern with a sapele top (pictured above). Playability enhancements include a thinner fingerboard with a gently beveled comfort edge and refined string spacing, and a modernized bridge contour for a smooth and comfortable playing experience, while its Grand Performance body size provides a projective, balanced tone with added bass, and a cutaway helps you reach the highest frets. The GPC-X2E also features an elegant abalone pattern rosette, select hardwood neck, fingerboard, and bridge, and Martin E-1 electronics with a built-in chromatic tuner and volume, tone, and phase controls.
This Grand Performance sized model’s HPL top, back, and sides are finished in a striking satin black and includes the same playability enhancements as the GPC-X2E, satin chrome closed gear tuners, and Martin E-1 electronics. The GPC-X1E also features a hand-rubbed satin black neck made of birch laminate with a high-performance taper and a Richlite® fingerboard and bridge. All remastered X Series models come with a softshell case.
Road Series Grand Performance Models
Built road-ready and made to perform on stage or in a studio, Road Series models are ideal for working musicians or up-and-coming players looking for a guitar they can grow into. These instruments are professional grade, and they’ll be there for you every step of the way. With a Road Series model, you’ll enjoy stunning fine veneer wood options, advanced electronics, elegant appointments, and a price tag that’s easy on the wallet.
They're built using high-quality, hand-selected exotic tonewoods. Every guitar is pleked for precision and expertly set up before leaving the factory for easy playability right out of the box – just plug in and go.
A built-in soundhole tuner automatically mutes the output, so you can tune up quietly even while plugged in, and easy-to-use built in Fishman® or LR Baggs electronics are specially designed for the Road Series and give you classic Martin tone with crisp fidelity.
With a gorgeous, glossed spruce top and satin sapele back and sides, the solid wood GPC-11E is a great sounding guitar at an affordable price. It has a cutaway, FSC®-certified Richlite® fingerboard and bridge, and hand-rubbed select hardwood neck. It also includes a Fishman® MX-T electronics package and comes with a softshell case so it’s ready to join you on all your adventures!
Available with either a natural or burst gloss spruce top and gloss ziricote back and sides, the GPC-13E also features a cutaway, FSC®-certified Richlite® fingerboard and bridge, and a hand-rubbed select hardwood neck with high-performance taper. The Fishman® MX-T electronics package includes a built-in soundhole tuner and the guitar comes with a quality gig bag.
16 Series Grand Performance Model
Our 16 Series guitars are built in Nazareth, Pennsylvania with the same craftsmanship as their more famous and expensive cousins. They’re available with affordable tonewoods like mahogany and granadillo, making the legendary Martin sound more attainable. Whether you love playing for yourself, need a guitar for writing, or enjoy hitting the stage, you’ll find a guitar that matches your skill level at a price that sounds great.
The GPC-16E cutaway model includes a spruce gloss top with the depth of a 000 for balanced tone and projection, East Indian rosewood or mahogany satin back and sides, scalloped bracing, and a high-performance neck taper for ease of playability up and down the fretboard. This Grand Performance model also comes equipped with Fishman® electronics.
These Grand Performance guitars stand as a testament to Martin’s dedication to innovation, craftsmanship, and sonic excellence. Whether you’re a seasoned performer or a budding musician, this body size invites you to unleash your inner artist.
Discover the possibilities that await with these guitars, and make sure to explore the wide range of other Martin models that can help your music reach new heights.
Until next time, happy playing!