The big, booming dreadnought has been a Martin hallmark since its debut in the 1930s. From that tradition comes Martin’s Dreadnought Junior, a smaller, more playable version of the signature shape.
The DJr-10E StreetMaster is the one of the latest entries in Martin’s Junior lineup, with solid construction and gig-ready electronics. It’s not a full-sized cannon, but it can still boom – and it won’t lower the boom on a budget-conscious player.
Perfect for smaller pickers and those looking for a more manageable size, the Junior body is 1.4″ narrower than a standard dreadnought and has the depth of a 000. The high-performance-taper neck has a 24″ scale – great for smaller hands but long enough for the average player accustomed to standard scale lengths. The 1.75″ nut width lends credence to the fact this is not a typical short-scale guitar. The Dreadnought Junior body balances nicely seated or standing with a strap, and feels substantial and comfortable.
Sonically, the DJr-10E strikes a fine balance between a booming dreadnought and the midrange punch of auditorium-sized guitars. The back, top, and sides are sapele, lending to a favorable comparison to Martin’s mahogany offerings. The DJr-10E projects a warm, balanced, and compact sound. Strumming hard doesn’t produce an overwhelming bass response, and the guitar is still loud enough to hold its own acoustically with full-sized models. The top is X-braced with scalloped braces of Sitka spruce. Martin equips this model with Fishman Sonitone electronics for a robust and dependable electric experience, with simple soundhole control of amplified sound. A gig bag is also included.
The distressed finish on StreetMaster instruments makes an impression; the DJr-10E has a warm mahogany-colored finish with simulated wear on its top, back, and sides. A mother-of-pearl pattern rosette is a nice complement to the dark top. The bridge and fretboard are FCS-certified Richlite, the fretboard sporting 28-style mother of pearl inlays. The Dreadnought Junior very much looks like its big brother in proportion.
With the DJr-10E StreetMaster, Martin adds another option to its budget-friendly line of guitars weighing in at less than $1,000. Whether it’s a first guitar, a step up, or a dependable acoustic/electric to stage, it delivers a big experience in a slightly smaller package.
This article originally appeared in VG’s November 2021 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.