New Old Pre-War Body Shape for the New D-28 Authentic 1937
The first Martin Authentic to receive a make-over
D-28 Authentic 1937 specs include: All-solid tonewoods with hot hide glue construction; Guatemalan rosewood back and sides; Vintage Tone System torrefied Adirondack spruce top with scalloped, forward-shifted VTS Adirondack spruce bracing, pre-war style tucked tone bars and tucked maple bridge plate; one-piece mahogany neck with 1937 V shaping unique to this model, T-bar neck reinforcement; 1-3/4″ width at the bone nut and 2-5/16″ string spacing at the long, glued-in bone saddle; ebony fingerboard and 1930s-style belly bridge; ebony bridge pins; faux tortoise body binding and pickguard; open-back Waverly tuning machines; Martin’s Authentic Series thin finish in Vintage Gloss sheen; grained ivoroid body binding
The in-depth written review of the new D-28 Authentic 1937 will appear at One Man’s Guitar in early August.
D-18 Authentic 1937 specs include: All-solid tonewoods with hot hide glue construction; tropical American mahogany back and sides; Vintage Tone System torrefied Adirondack spruce top with scalloped, forward-shifted VTS Adirondack spruce bracing, pre-war style tucked tone bars and tucked maple bridge plate; one-piece mahogany neck with 1937 V shaping unique to this model, T-bar neck reinforcement; 1-3/4″ width at the bone nut and 2-1/4″ string spacing at the long, glued-in bone saddle; ebony fingerboard and 1930s-style belly bridge; ebony bridge pins; faux tortoise body binding and pickguard; open-back Waverly tuning machines; Martin’s Authentic Series thin finish in Vintage Gloss sheen.
The first Martin 13-fret guitar made in the Custom Shop, the CS-SC-22 shines
New tone-improving technology exceeds expectations
CS-SC-13 specs include: 13-fret asymmetrical S body size with deep scoop cutaway; solid East Indian rosewood back and sides; solid VTS Sitka spruce top, with newly patented internal soundboard recurve; VTS Adirondack spruce Tone Tension X-bracing with proprietary shaping; heel-less solid Genuine Mahogany neck with Sure Align neck joint system and ergonomic Low Profile Velocity shaping; solid ebony fingerboard with High Performance Taper and EVO Gold frets; solid ebony belly bridge with 1930 profile but smooth contour surface; 2-5/32” string spacing; abalone shell appointments exclusive to this model; faux tortoise asymmetrical teardrop pickguard; gold-colored Waverly high-ratio open back tuners; Fishman Aura VT Blend electronics with Aura HD imaging and onboard anti-feedback technology. Comes with a silver molded hard-shell case with plush lining.
“Unplugged, the CS-SC-22 resonates with a warm harmonic complexity beyond the capability of other SC models. But its maximum potential will be realized during amplified on-stage performances.”
Read our original preview of these awesome additions to the Authentic Series HERE
The CS-SC-2022 is made in Martin’s Custom Shop in Nazareth, PA out of all-solid tonewoods, using the innovative S body size, Martin’s first 13-fret guitar. It has an asymmetrical shape along with an ergonomic neck thanks to the Low Profile Velocity profile and the Sure Align neck joint that removes the heel at the back of the neck. Everything about this limited edition acoustic-electric hybrid is a major upgrade from the other SC models, of the Martin’s Road Series, made at the Martin plant in Navojoa, Mexico, (the groundbreaking SC-13E, SC-13E Special models and the affordable SC-10E.) This newest SC model is the deluxe version of these hybrid acoustic-electric guitars, and it is packed full of special features.
The East Indian rosewood back and sides are topped with torrefied Sitka spruce with torrefied Adirondack spruce bracing. The top has a patented shaping on the inside that Martin calls a “recurve” to accentuate bass response, something lacking in the aforementioned Road Series SC models. The onboard electronics are the latest version of Fishman’s Aura system with special anti-feedback technology designed expressly for this model. Other deluxe features include flamed European maple bindings on the body, neck, and head stock, and abalone pearl inlay all over the place, especially the swirling vine motif on the fingerboard.
The latest Artist Custom edition is a close replication of the 1954 D-28 owned by the Black Crowes’ founding member Rich Robinson. This is the first time Martin has used their exclusive aging techniques to replicate the cosmetic appearance of a specific vintage guitar.
Like Robinson’s well-played 1954, this instrument has non-scalloped, rearward-shifted bracing, hot hide glue construction, a 1-11/16” width at the bone nut and 2-1/8” fingerboard width at the 12th fret, to go along with the 2-1/8” string spacing at the bone saddle. The heel, barrel, and profile of the neck was copied directly from the artist’s personal Martin, which he used to compose most of the band’s songs.
The East Indian back and sides have the Vintage Gloss finish previous reserved for the Authentic Series, with some “aging” applied, including the replication of specific dings seen on Robinson’s rosewood. There are nicks and scrapes and scuffs all over the guitar, copied directly from the original, and each a souvenir from a long and fruitful career. I particularly like the wear on the neck, including the shiny patch along the bass side of the fingerboard up near the nut, where Robinson’s thumb has made its presence for many years, in addition to whoever owned the guitar before him.
A full review of the Martin D-28 Rich Robinson is coming soon
This limited edition is a replica of the first steel string guitar Martin made in a large body size, which predates the Dreadnought size dominating the world’s guitar markets today. But this revolutionary instrument had been utterly forgotten until a series of letters were recently discovered in the company archives, between Martin and Major Kealakai, who ordered the instrument.
Major was a major star in 1916 when he became only fourth artist granted the privilege of having Martin make him what we now would call a special order with customized features. Hawaiian guitar music was played with a steel slide over steel strings, at a time when Martin guitars were still made with gut strings used for classical and folk music. He needed steel strings and an extra-large body for increased volume. The Mr. Martin of the day accommodated his requests. Afterwards, Martin redesigned the body shape and invented the size D we all know and love today.
The Custom Major Kealakai instrument looks very much like Kealakai’s guitar, but is actually made with modern Martin construction techniques and specifications, thankfully. The body resembles a 12-fret 00, that’s been supersized until it has the same side depth and top width of a dreadnought. The back and sides are made with rare Sinker Mahogany, old-growth Big Leaf mahogany from logs that were salvaged from the bottom of a logging river in Belize. The top is made from torrefied Adirondack spruce, as are the braces.
Otherwise, it has construction similar to an Authentic Series Martin, like hide glue construction and the bracing and neck of the D-28 Authentic 1931, along with the simple fretboard dots of a 1931 D-18. That and having it set up for normal guitar playing makes it a much more viable instrument. Had they made a true recreation of Kealakai’s guitar, it would have been too lightly braced, have no internal neck support, and not conducive to the rigors of modern music.
This new limited edition was inspired by some artwork featuring a large image of barley still on the stalk, which reminded head Martin instrument designer Tim Teel of the Arts and Crafts movement he has always admired, and the Martin models created with similar styling. That led to this new guitar made with figured black walnut back and sides and a top made from sinker redwood that had be salvaged from waters in California, similar to the mahogany Martin sourced from a river in Belize.
It has the large, slop shoulder dreadnought body shape and comes with multiple upscale appointments like hot hide glue construction, Style 42 abalone inlay around the top, and gorgeous inlays of abalone, mother-of-pearl, and colorful woods for the back strip, headstock, fingerboard, bridge, and the pickguard that is made from Guatemalan rosewood!
For over 30 years, Dick Boak was the face of Martin guitar, when it came to being a general, genial good will ambassador. He started out as a draftsman, before wearing many hats at Martin. Dick eventually became Head of Artist Relations and co-designed of many celebrity signature models. He was later put in charge of the Martin Museum and the company archives. Now retired, Dick has been honored with this limited edition inspired by drawings he did years ago. He had sketched out an intricate botanical design, hoping to use the company’s new laser etching machine to reproduce the imagery on a faux tortoise shell pickguard. But the technology wasn’t quite there yet, as the pickguard caught on fire!
The original drawings were recently rediscovered and Chairman of the Board Chris Martin decided to use Dick’s design to create the new D-42 Special. Boak teamed up with world-class inlay artists from Pearlworks to expand the design to the fingerboard, headstock and bridge, and the artisans at Pearlworks inlaid them all with high-color abalone shell. Otherwise the guitar has the same construction and features as the lofty D-42 from atop the Standard Series. The East Indian back and sides and Sitka spruce top are of the highest grade, and Style 42 pearl lines the top, including the fingerboard extension. Elegant and opulent, it is a classic high-end Martin all the way around.
This short-scale 000 is the first 16 Series guitar with Adirondack spruce for the top and bracing. Not only that, it is a torrefied Adirondack spruce top, matched with Indian rosewood back and sides via Martin’s proprietary Vintage Tone System. And over all is the StreetMaster distressed finishing, previously used only on the all-mahogany 15 Series. The combinations of features came about because the sap in Adirondack spruce has higher sugar content than other spruces. When it is torrefied in the oxygen-free kilns to crystalize the cellular interiors, the baked sugars create dark streaks and patches visible on the outside. This limits the amount of VTS Adi Martin is willing to put on their high-end guitars. A solution was found in dressing up such wood with the StreetMaster finishing techniques. This is a win win for people who want a Martin below the price of the Standard Series but still get Adirondack spruce and solid East Indian rosewood.
The new offering in the Road Series is the return of the GPC-13E, now made with gorgeous ziricote fine veneer for the back and sides, and an attractive burst finish on the solid Sitka spruce top. Like other Road Series models, this Grand Performance size Martin has onboard electronics with a build in turner, inside the sound hole, and the low and comfortable Performing Artist neck profile.
Artist Robert F. Goetzl was commissioned to do a painting celebrating classic aircraft nose art. He chose the iconic toothy grin of the legendary Flying Tigers from World War II. Martin chose recreate this painting on a 14-fret dreadnought made with 17 Series construction, for an open airy resonating voice. It has solid mahogany back and sides (either sipo or sapele) and a solid Sitka spruce top. The satin finish is thin enough that you can feel the wood grain with your hand. The guitar is so responsive that the vibrating solid wood body can be easily felt during playing. As for the artwork, it is remarkably realistic, with the illusion of being three-dimensional, especially the exhaust ports when seen in person! To achieve the look of the steel skin of a Curtiss P-40 fighter plane, Goetzl chose not to use typical canvas. He screwed together slats of wood and then painted over them. It all really looks exactly like the front fuselage of an Army Air Corps P-40 Warhak with Flying Tiger insignia circa 1942.
New Dreadnoughts Join Martin’s Authentic Series – D-28A 1937 and D-18A 1937
My tongue hurts from countless times I had to ignore or deflect queries asking if we would ever see Martin adding new models to the Authentic Series. Martin removed many Authentics from the catalog without any to replace them, until now. At long last, we have two new Authentic Series models released to the public – the revised D-28 Authentic 1937 and the long-desired companion, the D-18 Authentic 1937.
These new Authentics are but two of many new models that Martin Guitars will be debuting later this week at Hall D, Booth 5602, at the NAMM show in Anaheim, California. They saw fit to put out a press release today mentioning a few of these instruments. But the real news is found in the latest editions to the fabulous Authentic Series.
Each of these new Authentics is made with a new dreadnought body shape. Or rather, I should say an old body shape. The silhouette of each model is quite close to the shape of an actual 1937 D-28 and D-18. This should satisfy critics of the Authentic Series that have claimed it was inaccurate to refer to Authentic Series models as vintage Martin recreations if they are made with the modern-day Martin body shapes.
D-28 Authentic 1937 (2022)
The instrument often cited as the best sounding acoustic guitar ever made is a particular Martin D-28 from 1937. It was taken to the Smithsonian Institute in 2013 for magnetic resonance imaging and X-rays to reveal as much as possible about the inner workings of that “Stradivarius of guitars” so that Martin could recreate the bracing and bridge plate down to the smallest detail. The resulting D-28 Authentic 1937 has gone through some changes since it debuted at Winter NAMM in 2014.
Until now, the most significant improvements were the addition of Martins exclusive Vintage Tone System and the Vintage Gloss version of the traditional nitrocellulose finish. Today, I am finally allowed to tell you about two new significant changes, the revised body shape and the tonewood used for the back and sides – Guatemalan rosewood.
Although the differences are subtle between last year’s D-28 Authentic 1937 and the one appearing at NAMM 2022, the silhouette of the soundboard and back, which determine the exact shaping of the sides, and therefore the specific shape of the sound chamber, are truly different. This is a tracing Tim Teel, Martin’s Head of Instrument Design, created to show the differences between a dreadnought made in the 1930s and one found in the Standard Series today.
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How much this might affect tone production will be debated for at least as long as how much difference it makes to the tone of actual pre-war D-28s compared to modern guitars. But one thing that will certainly affect tone production of this new D-28A 1937 is the replacement of Madagascar rosewood for Guatemalan rosewood.
Both rosewoods have been equated with the Brazilian rosewood used on actual 1930 Martins. To my ear, Madagascar rosewood sounds more like the brightest, least-warm Brazilian rosewood Martins, chimey, expressive and colorful, with a quick reflection of soundwaves. Guatemalan rosewood sounds typically warmer and throatier, with a darker undertone more like Cocobolo and East Indian rosewood, but with quicker reflection than either of them. It also offers the endless depth to the bottom end that is very much like the bassier example of Brazilian rosewood Martins, complimented by high-end overtones with a colorful richness likewise similar to that holy grail of endangered species that once grew in the costal lowlands of Brazil.
Martin’s supply of Madagascar rosewood is dwindling, and they will not be getting more any time soon. Retired CEO Chris Martin is passionate about environmental stewardship He has spent decades educating and assisting nations of the world in the responsible management of-their precious natural resources. When the legal government of Madagascar was overthrown in a coup d’état in 2009, by a faction intent on exploiting the rare resources of that tropical island for short-term gain, Martin Guitars was the first American manufacturer to cease the acquisition of Madagascar rosewood. When I first got wind of Chris Martin investigating the inevitable replacement of Madagascar rosewood in the Authentic Series, Guatemalan rosewood was the first thing out of my mouth. It is the most logical choice. I believe future owners of this new D-28A 1937 will be most pleased with the rich and powerful tone these battleships throw out.
Hooray for C. F. Martin & Co. for making dreams come true! Countless people have been wishing they would release an Authentic Series D-18 with 1937 specs, as good as if not better the original D-18 Authentic 1937 created in small batches from 2006 until the advent of the Modern Authentic Series. At long last, the wish is granted with the debut of the 2022 D-18 Authentic 1937.
Like the revised D-28 Authentic 1937, this latest Authentic model has the new body shape, notably closer to Martin dreadnoughts made before the Second World War. Unlike the current D-18 Authentic 1939 and D-18 Authentic 1939 Aged, this new 18 has forward-shifted bracing rather than rearward-shifted bracing. This physical shifting brings about a tonal shift with a fuller, rounder bass and increased natural reverb.
It also has a 1-3/4” V neck with shaping like the D-28 Authentic 1937. But it is unique, having been copied from a 1937 D-18 once owned by James Taylor. Originally, it was reported this guitar was based on the old D-18As made in 2005, which were not based on a specific prewar Martin, but rather the original four-person team took their inspiration from multiple vintage Martins. But it is indeed the faithful reproduction of a specific 1937 D-18, with a little extra star power thanks to JT.
NAMM is finally upon us (in three days’ time.) C. F. Martin & Co. has seen fit to release the identities of some of the many new models that will be debuting later this week at Hall D, Booth 5602, at the NAMM show in Anaheim, California.
The new guitars I can mention today are the D-18 Authentic 1937, D-28 Authentic 1937, 000-16 StreetMaster®, and the GPC-13E Burst. There are also three new ukuleles, the 0 Tenor Uke, C1 Uke, T1 Uke FSC. You can read more about the two Authentic Series models HERE.
The more-affordable options offer plenty of excitement in their own right. They are as follows.
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Not only does this new 000-16 get the StreetMaster finish hereto before seen on the all-mahogany 15 Series instruments, it is the first 16 Series instrument made with an Adirondack spruce soundboard. Not only that, it is first instrument made in the 16 Series to feature Martin’s Vintage Tone System, their propriety torrefaction treatment. The back and sides are solid East Indian rosewood! Rosewood/VTS Adi, short-scale 000 with the StreetMaster finish for a very reasonable price that’s very nice. List price: $1,999, including a softshell case.
The latest instrument made with Style 13 appointments at the top of the affordable Road Series is a Grand Performance size acoustic-electric guitar with a cutaway that features a back and sides of gorgeous ziricote fine veneer and a solid Sitka spruce top with a classic Martin burst finish. The onboard MX-T electronics include an onboard tuner that mutes the output single when engaged. List price: $1,549 with a soft shell case.
Spec Sheet Coming Soon
Professional Level Ukuleles
0 Tenor Uke – Sinker Mahogany!
Since 1929, Martin tenor ukes have been prized since they first appeared in 1929. With a 17″ string scale, the tenor uke puts out very nice, resonant volume. The back and sides of this one are made from the old growth Big Leaf mahogany salvaged from a logging river in Belize. This incredibly dense Genuine Mahogany provides rich tone and improved volume to any instrument made from it. A satin finish and old-style Martin logo give it vintage Martin cred. List price: $1,599 with a high-quality soft gig bag.
Martin crafted this concert-size uke with koa fine veneer that has a hand-rubbed satin finish. Just like the concert ukes made at Martin 1925, it is smaller than a tenor, but larger than a soprano uke. Concert size ukes are known for there balanced tone. List price: $449 with a high-quality soft gig bag.
Constructed of materials approved by the Forest Stewardship Council, this Tenor ukulele is made with African sapele back and sides and an African sipo neck that has an ebony fingerboard and bridge. All of these beautiful tonewoods are FSC certified as coming from forests managed in a respectful and environmentally sustainable manner. It has Ratio tuners for fast accuracy and comes with a blue gig bag made from recycled plastic water bottles. List price: $459.
Two new solid-wood models have been released by D’Angelico, each has mahogany back and sides, a Sitka spruce top with scalloped bracing and an abalone rosette, and a bound pau ferro fingerboard. They also feature the Scroll-style Excel headstock, seen for the first time on D’Angelico acoustics, and a Fishman INK-4 pickup system with controls in the treble side of the guitar, as well as an onboard tuner. Finish options include Vintage Sunburst, Walnut Stain, and Vintage Natural.
Click on Photo to Enlarge
Excel Tammany XT
The OM sized Excel Tammany XT is here seen in Vintage Sunburst.
Excel Gramercy XT
An upgraded, all-solid version of D’Angelico’s top-selling single-cutaway grand auditorium instrument, the Excel Gramercy XT is seen here in Walnut Stain.
Aged Mahogany Finish
D’Angelico’s Premiere Series offers affordable acoustic-electric models in various sizes and shapes made with laminated mahogany back, sides, and top, and an artistically distressed finish, equipped with an onboard preamp and tuner.
The Men of the East at Eastman Continue to Improve
In my previous post, I mentioned how Eastman is partnering with Dana Bourgeois to create a more-affordable line that will be partially made by each company, before being sold under the Bourgeois brand, with an emphasis on world-wide distribution. Delayed for obvious reasons, I am looking very forward to the results!
As for the Eastman brand, they are another acoustic guitar company that got into the electric guitar business, and their only new model for Winter NAMM is one them.
This thinline semi-hallow body electric guitar features a laminate spruce top, with mahogany laminate back and sides, maple neck with a “swept curve neck joint,” ebony fretboard and a 24.75-inch string scale. The neck joint features a swept curve for player comfort.
AE Series Upgrades
But they have updated their upper-tier acoustics for 2021 to include sound ports on all their AE models, and upgraded appointments that include figured maple trim and maple leaf fretboard markers, as well as new a top shading option.