NAMM 2024: “Sustainably taking the art of guitar manufacturing to new heights and new sounds”: Martin ushers in a new era of acoustic guitar innovation with the GPCE Inception – and the results could be game-changing

NAMM 2024: Martin has sought to reinvent the wheel of acoustic guitar manufacturing by debuting its precision-engineered GPCE Inception model – an instrument that introduces a “new innovative approach to building acoustic guitars”.

At first glance, the GPCE Inception looks to be a standard single-cutaway Martin acoustic electric guitar – what with its timeless aesthetic and ornate Amber Fade Sunburst finish – but under the hood the wholly unique build is quite literally unlike anything that has ever been produced before.

What makes it so special? Well, the one-of-a-kind skeletonized scalloped bracing and sonic channels, which, according to the brand, have been purpose built for the GPCE Inception’s specific concoction of tonewoods.

Said to be “a testament to Martin Guitar’s relentless pursuit of innovation”, the Inception uses its unique bracing to increase sustain and amplitude, optimize airflow and reduce mass without losing structural support.

There’s a significant tonal bonus, too: all of these ingredients, apparently, mean the GPCE Inception makes “maple sound better than it ever has”. Indeed, Martin says its latest innovation improves upon “what has, up until now, been the standard sound of maple”.

As per the brand’s website, the Inception concept was tested using spectral analysis to determine the result of its unique construction – tests that proved the format increases sustain and amplitude.

"The new Martin GPCE Inception Maple marks a new innovative approach to building acoustic guitars utilizing sustainable domestic woods,” said Vice President of Product Management at Martin, Fred Greene. “Our new innovative design will allow guitar players to experience the Martin tone they have always loved in a guitar made from woods sourced in North America.”

The rest of its spec sheet isn’t anything spectacular, though it is made from sustainably sourced woods, which is another aspect of the build worth raving about. FSC-certified European spruce and maple is used for the top and sides, respectively, with the back flashing a three-piece maple/black walnut blend.

Elsewhere, you can find black walnut binding, maple arrow fingerboard inlays, gold open gear tuners, a 25.4” scale length and LR Baggs Anthem electronics.

Can we expect the skeletonized scalloped bracing system to be intorduced to other Martin families? Well, the benefits of it are clear to see (and hear), but it comes at a price: the GPCE Inception is available for $3,999.

That shouldn't rule anything out, though – the product page URL indicates the Inception could be a whole series – and we imagine it won't be long before Martin makes clear the intention it has for the Inception concept.

To find out more, head over to Martin.

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Matt Owen

Matt is a Staff Writer, writing for Guitar World, Guitarist and Total Guitar. He has a Masters in the guitar, a degree in history, and has spent the last 16 years playing everything from blues and jazz to indie and pop. When he’s not combining his passion for writing and music during his day job, Matt records for a number of UK-based bands and songwriters as a session musician.