Gear Review: Martin GPC-13E Ziricote Acoustic Guitar Review


CF Martin & Company is an American guitar manufacturer founded in 1833 and known worldwide for its high quality and durability instruments. It would be hard to find a commercial guitar company that is so well respected and known for its long history of manufacturing acoustic guitars. Many models have achieved collector status, and for good reason: they are excellent instruments and the choice of some of the best musicians. So when Martin announced the GPC-13E Grand Performance Cutaway as part of their popular Road Series earlier this year, promising professional sound, features and playability, I couldn’t wait to try it out. I was also interested in the possibilities offered by the look and tonal qualities of a ziricote veneer used on this model.

Main characteristics

The GPC-13E is unique, using deep-grained dark Ziricote. Zircote is a Central American hardwood that is typically dark brown with spectacular hints of colored grain. In a veneer, it covers the back and sides of the GPC-13E, but instead of the typical veneer method on poplar or maple, Martin chose khaya, also known as African mahogany, for the base material with outer layers of ziricote. On the guitar I checked out, the dark tones provided a stark contrast against a spruce top with a sunburst finish – a very unique look. Martin also offers mutenye, another hardwood similar to rosewood as an option for the back and sides, promising similar tonal qualities, but with a lighter brown appearance.


Khaya and Ziricote sides with a Sitka spruce top make for a great tonal combination with rich, deep bass with prominent sustain. The GPC-13E projected particularly well with crystal clear highs. The guitar played well for fingerstyle, but really shone for flatpicking, producing well-defined melodies and leads with great definition and tone. The cutaway upper body provided easy access to the high frets. The guitar sounded great in tune when strumming, providing both body and definition to the chords.

Manufacturing quality

The neck of this model is flattered by a patterned mother-of-pearl fingerboard with rosette inlays, mother-of-pearl fretboard, striped rosette trim, and white binding. The fingerboard and bridge are made from FSC-certified Richlite, a phenolic resin/cellulose composite that is more stable than wood and less likely to be affected by dry conditions. FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) certification ensures that products are environmentally friendly and, in the case of wood, come from well-managed forests that provide environmental, social and economic benefits to the areas that produce the materials.

The GPC design offers a very manageable body size with top and bottom combat based on dimensions close to the width of a dreadnought, so the GP (Grand Performance) body size can deliver plenty of lows and highs , with a relatively narrow waist. giving it the feel of a smaller, more manageable guitar. Additionally, the Martin’s Performing Artist neck shape with a high performance taper adds to the playability. This provides a comfortable and easy playing experience for all players, but is particularly appealing to electric guitarists who might occasionally “die out” on the acoustic and guitarists who appreciate a more modern feel at the neck. . Another nice feature is the clean, hand-rubbed finish of the neck, which provides both playing comfort and a clean look to the instrument.

Performers who need to hook up to a sound system will appreciate that this model comes equipped with a Fishman MX-T electronics package with newly upgraded pickup hardware and a built-in soundhole tuner. The easy-to-read tuner is hidden from public view and automatically mutes audio output so you can tune at any time without using a pedal. Additionally, this guitar comes with a premium, snug-fitting soft case for safe storage and protection on the go.


Martin’s quality and playability make this guitar a great investment, but most players will be attracted to the powerful, clear sound it produces. In terms of appearance, the GPC-13E is well equipped and the Ziricote veneer back and sides provide a very unique look that doesn’t detract from the sound.

Fishman MX-T electronics, a professional on-board soundhole tuner, and a cutout design make this a great choice for stage players, whether that means the occasional stand-up on stage or on tour.

The inconvenients

The only issue I found with the instrument I played was that the edges of the nut were sharper than I personally like, but that’s definitely minor and easily fixable as a small adjustment for any competent guitar technician.


This instrument is an excellent choice for performers, gigging musicians looking for big sound and Martin quality. The distinctive and dramatic look of the Ziricote, cutaway design and Fishman’s high-end on-board electronics are undeniable bonuses.


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