Here’s basically what it’s about: pickups are handy but mostly don’t sound that great, and almost never sound like the real deal. In order to add what’s missing back into the pickup signal, Roland created this cool algorithm that simulates the body sound and gives you that breath and richness that most pickups aren’t able to capture. I would say they’re 75 percent successful, and that’s really good. The preamp has several built-in reverbs and three different body models that you can edit to taste. The 7-band EQ is easy to use and very responsive. I plugged into my trusty Baggs Core 1 Reference Monitor, and as I heard the harbingers of feedback stirring, I pressed the Anti-Feedback button and the feedback was instantly busted and my tone was intact. That right there is worth its weight in gold.

The Body knob is the heart of the modeling part, and dialing from left to right is quite an adventure. I found straight-up to around one o’clock to be the most musical positions, and preferred model 2 out of the three defaults. The preamp also has a tuner that is super easy to read and remarkably quick to respond. Batteries are housed in a chamber in the side of the lower bout, so they’re easy to access—gotta love that.

Shut up and play the damn thing
Acoustically, it’s a decent sounding guitar, though I wasn’t blown away by the tone. It’s bright and snappy, and as I said before, plays like buttah. There isn’t anything this guitar won’t let you do. It is a pro-level guitar that requires no compromise from a player, at least none that I could find, and I took it for a pretty wild ride. I can’t imagine any player hitting the wall with this guitar. It just wants to play.

Plugged in, you get to play with the EQ and the models, almost like painting with the tone. You can make it sound as rich and full and vibrant as you want, or snarky and raw, or sizzling and poppy. It’s kind of like a video game for your ears. In a recording studio, this could be very useful mixed with a mic’d signal to bloom up into a mix, smash your way through it, or dance on top of it. It’s a true stage-ready axe, light and comfortable, perfectly playable and versatile as it gets.

The Final Mojo
I wish the acoustic sound was a little more irresistible, but that’s not what this guitar is about. It’s about walking out on a stage and kicking ass, and it does that extremely well. It’s also a guitar you can feel good about, from its solid made-in-America pedigree to its sustainable mojo.
Buy if...
you need a stage-ready guitar that will let you play anything your heart desires.
Skip if...
you just want to cuddle on the couch with a heart-meltingly gorgeous sounding playmate.

Street $1650 - Martin Guitar -