First long-scale large body Martin in the affordable 17 Series impresses mightily
Specs include: Slope-Shoulder Dreadnought size; all-sold wood construction; mahogany back and sides; Sitka spruce top with scalloped-braces; mahogany neck with Modified Low Oval Profile, Simple Dovetail neck joint; rosewood fretboard with High Performance taper, 1-3/4″ at the bone nut, 2-18″ at 12th fret; straight rosewood bridge with compensated bone saddle and 2-5/32″ string spacing; Antique White binding; ebony headstock faceplate with Authentic 1933 script logo; satin finish throughout; open-back Golden Age relic tuners with cream buttons.
Available in Whiskey Sunset burst finish with tortoise pickguard or Black Smoke motif with Antique White pickguard.
“Light in the hand yet large in the ears, the DSS-17 Whiskey Sunset I played at the Martin factory was very impressive indeed, with distinctly defined fundamental notes that have an expansive depth behind them, reflecting the dry, woody mahogany tone, and amplifying the well-rounded bass notes that are weighty enough to reach down into the generous body cavity and inject some richness beneath the entire voice.”
Martin’s DSS-15M with Sloped Shoulders and StreetMaster Styling
Mahogany mystique hits the streets as an affordable slope-shoulder dreadnought
Specs include: Slope-Shoulder Dreadnought size; solid mahogany back, sides, and top; satin finish with StreetMaster® distressed toner; solid mahogany neck with Modified Low Oval Profile; solid katalox fretboard with 1-11/16″ width at the bone nut; solid katalox belly bridge with compensated drop-in bone saddle, 2-1/8″ string spacing; scalloped A-Frame X bracing; Simple Dovetail neck joint; Old Style gold headstock logo; Golden Age relic tuners with cream buttons; short pattern Diamonds and Squares fretboard markers
“…as the thicker mids and barrel-chested bass notes are humming away, the trebles ring with a musicality that just puts a smile on my face, and effortless in how they are heard clearly from atop that warm, woody undertone, until their own sustain dips down into the massive cellar to meld with the lower registers.”
A Genuine Mahogany and Torrefied Sitka Spruce D-18 with Modern Acoustic Engineering
The D-18 Modern Deluxe Offers Awesome Upgrades to a Classic Martin
Specs include: All solid wood construction; Genuine South American mahogany back and sides; torrefied Sitka spruce top with scalloped, forward-shifted, torrefied Adirondack spruce bracing attached with natural protein glue, carbon fiber/torrefied Adirondack spruce bridge plate; Genuine South American mahogany neck with Vintage Deluxe profile, satin finish, two-way adjustable titanium support rod, hand-fitted dovetail neck joint and solid mahogany neck block; ebony fretboard with High Performance Taper, 1-3/4” width at nut, 2-1/8” at 12th fret, abalone vintage Style 18 position markers, EVO Gold frets, solid bone nut; ebony bridge with Liquidmetal® bridge pins, compensated solid bone saddle and 2-5/32” string spacing; Indian rosewood binding, end piece, heal cap; multi-stripe top trim; high gloss nitrocellulose lacquer finish; high gloss Indian rosewood headstock faceplate with abalone script logo and golden Waverly open back tuners with butter bean knobs.
“It is just so vibrant and alive. The energy streaming through the wood of the D-18 Modern Deluxe is palpable each and every place it comes into contact with the player’s body – very much like a pre-war Martin. And the futuristic elements of torrefaction, neck rod, bridge plate, and bridge pins combine to convert as much of that energy into audible tone as possible, while creating a voice and personality that is unique among Martins.”
Given how successful this mahogany dreadnought is, I know I am not alone in hoping the OM-18 and 000-18 versions get released sooner than later!
Combining traditional and contemporary features into a one of a kind guitar, a well-thought-out Custom Shop Martin like this OM-42 Deep Body is a beautiful treasure and a magnificent musical instrument.
[Updated, with new video shot in May 2019 with the current mics and mic techniques I use for video shoots at the Martin Guitar factory.]
“This OM-42 Deep Body is a showcase musical instrument with a sophisticated voice to match its luxurious appointments, combining classic looks of a Style 42 guitar from Martin’s 12-fretter era with the powerhouse playability of a 14-fret OM made in an extra-deep body of luscious Madagascar rosewood.”
Specs Include: Auditorium body size, 4-5/8” deep; solid wood construction including Madagascar rosewood back and sides; Adirondack spruce top; 1/4″ scalloped braces; one-piece, 14-fret, low profile South American mahogany neck with slotted headstock, bound in grained ivoroid, 1-3/4” width at nut, 2-1/4″ at the 12th fret; ebony pyramid bridge, 2-5/16” string spacing; Style 30 colored wood back strip; Style 42 high-color abalone top trim, rosette, fingerboard markers; 1920s Style 45 torch headstock inlay; high-gloss nitrocellulose finish including neck; Fishman Matrix Infinity pickup system with discrete volume and tone controls inside the sound hole
The Conception and Formative Years of a Great Guitar
The serial number was stamped into the neck block in mid May, 2010. So, this guitar is turning nine years old and has provided its owner with considerable joy and satisfaction since he first received it from the Martin Guitar factory in Nazareth, Pennsylvania, four months later.
The in-depth review is soon to appear at One Man’s Guitar
The CEO-9 is the ninth model designed by Chief Executive Office C. F. Martin IV. Like its predecessors, it showcases alternative materials and design elements outside the traditional Martin box.
It has the same body size and neck as the CEO-7, but different woods, looks, and special construction features.
I have taken some grief lately by internet flamers who feel I am too enthusiastic about my Martin guitar reviews. But I gotta say, the 2019 Martin models are extraordinarily impressive, from the new Modern Deluxe Series to the amazingly toneful D-42 Custom, to the other limited editions. And this CEO-9 right up there with the best of them. I would truly love to own one for my very own.
Martin Unveils a Bold New D-28, Truly Modern and Deluxe
Vintage Vibe Ahead of Its Time
Specs include: All solid wood construction; Indian rosewood back and sides; torrefied Sitka spruce top with scalloped, forward-shifted, torrefied Adirondack spruce bracing attached with natural protein glue, carbon fiber/torrefied Adirondack spruce bridge plate; Genuine South American mahogany neck with Vintage Deluxe profile, satin finish, two-way adjustable titanium support rod, hand-fitted dovetail neck joint and solid mahogany neck block; ebony fretboard with High Performance Taper, 1-3/4” width at nut, 2-1/8” at 12th fret, abalone Diamonds and Squares position markers, EVO Gold frets, solid bone nut; ebony bridge with Liquidmetal bridge pins, compensated solid bone saddle and 2-5/32” string spacing; European flamed maple binding; bold herringbone purfling; high gloss nitrocellulose lacquer finish; high gloss Indian rosewood headstock faceplate with abalone script logo and golden Waverly open back tuners with butter bean knobs.
“It is the futuristic features of the D-28 Modern Deluxe that are responsible for how it weighs and plays more like a very old D-28 than a very new one, with a bell-like tone that is truly original, yet with qualities that should thrill Martin fans, all for a price significantly less than the D-28 Authentic 1937.”
A neck shape exclusive to their new Modern Deluxe Series guitars.
It is claimed to be inspired by the neck on the priceless the 1930 OM-45 Deluxe residing in the Martin Museum.
The OM-28 Modern Deluxe is the only MD model thus far to have the traditional fingerboard width to go along with this vintage-esque neck shaping. So how close is it the genuine article?
The day I first played that old guitar, I begged the people responsible for what gets made at Martin to put that neck on every OM they made thereafter. At the very least, I suggested, they needed to make it available on something less expensive than the $100K Authentic Series model based on that classic museum piece.
And now they have. And there was much rejoicing. “Yea!”
Martin Modern Deluxe Series Breaks New Ground for 2019
Debuting at Winter NAMM – Four New Models: D-28 Modern Deluxe, D-18 Modern Deluxe, OM-28 Modern Deluxe, 000-28 Modern Deluxe
Combining modern takes on vintage Martins with ultra-modern design specs, Martins newly announced Modern Deluxe Series breaks new ground by offering revved up versions of their Standard Series models with features previously only available on select Limited Editions.
VTS Top and Bracing
With the same tonewoods for the back, sides and top of the Standard Series, these Modern Deluxe Series models get Sitka spruce soundboards that have the extra benefit of Martin’s Vintage Tone System, their propriety torrefaction treatment, adding considerable depth to the voice of a brand new guitar that makes it sound “opened up” right out of the box.
Unlike Standard Series Martins, these new models get top bracing made from Adirondack spruce with the VTS treatment. They are shaped with Golden Era style scalloping that removes more wood via carving angles different from the Standard Series scalloped bracing, allowing the denser Adirondack spruce extra flexibility and responsiveness while having greater stiffness along and across the grain compared to Sitka spruce bracing.
This is a feature I have longed for on Sitka-topped Martins, particularly on the short-scale 000s. And while I was aware these guitars were approaching release, I did not know they were treating these Adirondack spruce braces with the Vintage Tone System! That had been previously reserved exclusively for the Authentic Series of high-priced vintage Martin recreations.
Another vintage Martin feature is the use of natural protein glues, which bond with wood, and more deeply into it, for joinery even better than what is on most Martin guitars.
This is also a new specification for Martin, as the glue on the Modern Deluxe models is different from the traditional animal Hide Glue they use on Authentic Series instruments. This new glue is derived from fish protein primarily, and is already being used elsewhere in the high-end guitar making industry.
I have since learned that this new-to-Martin glue is being used to secure the top braces, but is not being used on the other joinery.
For the first time, Martin is using three ultra-modern Limited Edition specifications as standard features. A two-way adjustable titanium rod supports the neck with greater strength than a steel rod, but with less weight. And an ultra-light carbon fiber bridge plate, made from composite layers of wood and carbon fiber pressed together, contributes to an overall instrument weight closer to a vintage Martin, while reputedly increasing resonance as well. So too do the So I can relate to rooting for two closely connected rivals.
bridge pins, which I have found to noticeably increase the initial sustain of fundamental notes.
New Look Appointments
The Style 28 instruments show off flamed European maple for the binding, heel cap, and end piece, while Style 18 gets dark and woody Indian rosewood. All of the Modern Deluxe Series instruments get gold frets that are more sturdy than typical Martin frets, and the position markers and script logos are inlaid with colorful abalone. The 18s also get gold bridge pins with red dots, and the Style 28 bridges sport Liquidmetal pints what look like vintage red dot pins made of bleached white bone.
The prototypes I have seen all have matching gold Waverly tuners. But the published spec sheets do not mention this, so the brand may be subject to change by the time they get to the NAMM show, which opens Thursday, January 24.
New Neck Shape
The new Vintage Deluxe neck profile is publicly referred to as “slightly skewed.”
Rather than having the apex of the carved profile running straight and directly at the center of the neck, with identical shaping on either side, this new neck shape is slightly asymmetrical, to fit the shape of the human hand in a more-natural way.
Or rather, it is a new neck shape inspired by old Martin neck shapes from the 1920s and 1930s. This is special shaping was discovered in 2014, and I happened to be visiting my friends in the Martin Custom Shop offices the moment that discovery was made.
Martin purchased at auction a priceless 1930 OM-45 Deluxe, and they were beginning to investigate it for their upcoming Authentic Series version of that rarest of vintage Martin guitars. After spending some 30 minutes with such a mouthwatering vintage Martin masterpiece, I had remarked that they should use that very neck shape for every OM they made from that day forward, as it was marvelously comfortable.
So began the discussion of why and what made that neck different from other necks. It seemed to my hand that the apex of that V neck wasn’t directly centered, so the mass and grade of the slope on the bass (thumb) side and the treble (fingers) side were slightly different. But it was quite subtle and difficult to tell for certain.
So, they had an employee fetch a proprietary gadget and took a convex mold from a section of the neck.
To everyone’s surprise, I was correct. But no one was prepared for just how asymmetrical the factory workers had shaped necks at that important time in the Company’s history. And yet, once we saw the mold, it became quite obvious when in the hand.
A 1931 OM-28 was sent for, and it had an even more extreme difference between the two slopes of the barrel, while having a similarly “skewed” apex.
Martin applied this new knowledge in the making of the OM-45 Deluxe Authentic 1930. But to date, that $99,999.00 wonderment has been the only modern Martin to take advantage of this discovery – despite my repeated lobbying to the contrary.
Now, at long last, they have applied that knowledge in the creation of the new Modern Deluxe Series, which feature the new neck shape they are calling the Vintage Deluxe profile. Most interesting to me is the fact they are using it in combination with their modern High Performance Taper, which narrows the width of the fretboard faster than on traditional Martin necks, giving the entire neck a faster, sleeker feel.
The only new model that does not get the High Performance Taper is the OM-28, which has the Standard Taper, meaning it measures 2-1/4″ wide at the 12th fret, like actual vintage Martin OMs!
And so the instruments in Martin’s oh-so-Modern Deluxe Series combine vintage Martin aspects with modern day know-how and high-tech advancements in a most exciting way.