Martins on Parade: Leo Kottke and Michael Hedges

Cleveland, Ohio, March 4, 1988

Leo on an MC-28 Sunburst model with the old oval sound hole, Michael on a vintage 5-18

For my birthday, my younger sister wanted to buy me tickets to this concert. But I already had my plane tickets to fly back from my internship in New York City, a day or two too late. I had been a Kottke fan since my early teens and had discovered Hedges about a year before this show. So I was seriously bummed. But thanks to modern marvels like YouTube, at least I get to see the encores, when Hedges came out to join Kotte for some impromptu jamming.

The First Cutting, by Michael Hedges, followed by Eight Miles High, by David Crosby

 

2021 Issue of The Journal of Acoustic Guitar is out and I’m in it

Martin: The Journal of Acoustic Guitar 2021 is Out and Available

Focusing on Environmental Sustainability

And featuring an in-depth article on the SC-13E by T. S. Phillips

There was some minor editing going on after my official proofreading and approval. But they paid me well enough that I can live with an awkward sentence here or there.

Martin Journal Cover and SC-13E page onemanz
https://www.martinguitar.com/martin-journal.html

My article starts on page 36.

 

Martin D-28 vs. HD-28

Symposium Compares and Contrasts the Iconic Martin Dreadnoughts

To scallop or not to scallop, that is the bracing question

Aaron Short Music, February 8, 2021, featuring Aaron Short, NYC, Maury Rutch of Maury’s Music, in Coaldale, PA and T Spoon Phillips of Brooklyn, NY

Here are better examples of the difference physical differences between scalloped bracing used on the HD-28 and most other modern Martins, and non-scalloped bracing used on the D-28 and D-35.

Scalloped vs Non Scalloped Braces onemanz.com

Martin scalloped bracing diagram onemanz.com

Exaggerated relief showing the “suspension bridge shaping of scalloped braces and tone bars used on a 14-fret Martin Dreadnought

John Mayer NAMM Set 2021

John Mayer plays Martin guitars with Engelmann spruce tops

Winter NAMM Mini Set for Martin’s Jam in Place Series

Here’s a decent opportunity to hear what Engelmann spruce sounds like after it has some time to mature and get played in. It is paired with East Indian rosewood on the OM-28JM, the original John Mayer signature model from 2002 (released January 2003,) and it can be heard matched with Guatemalan rosewood on his 2016 D-45JM later in the set. In between the two can be heard Sitka spruce, backed by cocobolo rosewood on the 12-fret 00-42SC Stagecoach model released on 2013.

 

Guitars of Winter NAMM 2021




New Acoustics in Short Supply at NAMM 2021

The 2021 Winter NAMM Show was a virtual event, understandably enough, with virtually no acoustic guitars

Still, there were hundreds of events, including performances by musicians, famous and not so famous, as well as interviews and discussions. But while there were also actual products being released, few acoustic guitars were among them, compared to normal years. Even lil’ ol’ Huss & Dalton of Lynchberg, VA has recently gotten into making electric guitars!

Huss & Dalton Statesboro SC Classic Winter NAMM onemanz

C.F. Martin & Co. made a valiant effort for 2021, by offering four new acoustic guitar models across their pricing tiers, and four ukuleles. While it was reduced from what was originally planned for this NAMM show, it was considerably more of an offering than anyone else could muster, among the major players in the acoustic guitar industry.

Martin 00L Earth full One Man's Guitar onemanz

There is still some news of interest, from companies like…

Click on Links

Gibson,

Taylor,

Breedlove,

Collings,

Santa Cruz,

Bourgeois,

Eastman,

D’Angelico

Martin Guitars 2021 Offerings for Winter NAMM




Martin Offers New Models at Most Pricing Tiers for Winter NAMM 2021

UPDATED Monday 10:00 AM after a talk with Fred Greene at Martin and with guitarist Craig Thatcher providing some demo playing.

From the modest OXK Concert Uke to the Magnificent D-35 David Gilmour signature models,  there is much to admire

In a scaled-down offering for a scaled-down NAMM Show, the 2021 Martin guitars still offer plenty of excitement. And none are more thrilling for me than the long-awaited David Gilmour signature models.

Designed by Martin’s Fred Greene and David Gilmour in a close collaboration, the D-35 David Gilmour its companion D-35 David Gilmour 12 String are inspired by some iconic Martins that the guitarist has played and loved since he first skyrocketed to superstardom with Pink Floyd. These include a pre-war Martin D-18, and the two instruments he used to record the immortal classic, Wish You Were Here – a 1969 D-35 and 1971 D12-28. And I wish both where here with me right this very minute! But you can click below to read about why I feel that way, in my twin reviews.

Click on Photos to Enlarge

Martin D-35 David GilmourMartin D-35 David Gilmour onemanz clear back

Martin D-35 David Gilmour 12 String

Martin D-35 David Gilmour 12 String Guitar onemanz clear

For the forward-thinking 16 Series, Martin has released the new Grand J-16E 12 String made with all solid tonewoods including East Indian back and sides and a Sitka spruce top with scalloped bracing, It is unusual for Martin to put scalloped bracing on a twelve-string guitar, not to mention giving it a long-scale neck. And these are not typical Martin braces.  Having Martin’s largest soundboard, they are progressively scalloped, so they taper shallower as they expand toward the sides, and it has an additional tone bar below the bridge. But then this guitar is unique even for a Grand J, as it is the first one made with 000 depth to side, considerably shallower than other Grand J guitars  like the Pete Seeger baritone models and the CEO-8. Despite having less depth, which makes it more comfortable for the player, it still has a full and complex voice that reminded me of a harpsichord, and brought to mind Leo Kottke’s early albums.

Martin had great success with using the 000 depth on their Dreadnought and Grand Performance sizes in the 16 Series of acoustic electric performance instruments and the more affordable Road Series as well. So I am looking forward to giving this one a test drive as soon as possible. The Grand J-16E 12 string comes standard with Fishman’s Matrix VT Enhance NT2, fine-tuned for guitars with shallow sound chambers.

Grand J-16E 12 StringMartin Grand J-16E 12 String onemanz

Martin Grand J-16E 12 String back onemanz

As for the Road Series, two gorgeous debutantes are the D-13E Ziricote and the GPC-13E Ziricote. Both have the 000 depth and Fishman MX-T electronics that offer a volume and tone wheel inside the sound hole on the bass side, as well as an on-board tuner hidden on the treble side.

D-13E ZiricoteMartin D-13E Ziricote front onemanz

Martin D-13E Ziricote back onemanz

Ziricote is a dense hard wood from tropical America, and when used as a solid tonewood it has great thickness to the tone and pronounced bass response. But here, it is being used as a cosmetic veneer, laid down over top a core of solid khaya, also called African mahogany, which does most of the heavy lifting when it comes to enhancing the tone of the spruce soundboard. But there is also a layer of ziricote on the inside, which does add its influence. Having now heard one of these guitars, they do sound darker and fuller in the low mids than the Style 13 Martins with koa veneer, which also use a kyaya core. And they offer a very different look, as ziricote has dramatic grain patterns often resembling Rorschach drawings, and rich, dark colors that rival the wildest rosewoods. As with the SC-13E (see my article in the new issue of Martin – The Journal of American Guitars) these new ziricote Martins have the kind of hypnotic beauty that can lead a guitarist to sit for long periods of time just admiring the amazing back and sides.

GPC-13E ZiricoteMartin GPC-13E Ziricote front onemanz

Martin GPC-13E Ziricote back onemanz

The Journal of American Guitars issue for 2021 is dedicated primarily to environmental sustainability of precious natural resources like wood. And Martin has released a model dedicated to exactly that proposition. The 00L Earth is a short-scale, slope shoulder Grand Concert guitar made entirely from wood certified by the Forestry Stewardship Council, including quartersawn sapele with perfect copper banding, and Sitka spruce from a sustainable timber forest. And it contains no plastic. But it also contains a stunning piece of artwork of Mother Earth printed on the top, created by artist Robert F. Goetzl. There is also a high-end FSC Ukulele, a Concert size instrument with all FSC Certified woods, including Big Leaf mahogany for the back, sides, and top, just like the professional level ukes from the 1920s, and ebony for the fingerboard and bridge. It has a lovely and surprisingly warm tone for the size, but also has the comfortable Concert size string scale with plenty of room for the fretting hand.

00L EarthMartin 00L Earth full One Man's Guitar onemanz

Concert Uke FSC Martin concer uke fsc_front onemanz

Rounding out this winter’s Martin lineup is a new Junior Series guitar with a dreadnought shape and the fabulous Streetmaster styling from the 15 Series, and a matching T1 Uke Streetmaster, made from mahogany (sapele) with the same sort of styling. The mahogany top imparts a terrific bottom end on the DJr. that makes it sound like a much larger guitar. And it has a USB port, to go direct from the Fishman pickup to your PC recording software! The Tenor size uke has a pretty, woody tone.

DJR-10EMartin djr-10e-streetmaster front onemanz

T1 Uke StreetmasterMartin T1 uke-streetmaster_front onemanzThere is an even more-affordable ukulele in the X Series, the OXK Concert Uke with a glorious koa pattern. But being made from Martin’s High Pressure Laminate, it looks way more expensive than it is while being the ideal travel instrument, virtually impervious to weather, spills, or the heat from a campfire.

OXK Concert UkeMartin 0XK uke_front onemanz

A pretty great showing for an officially scaled-down release!

I am not allowed to comment on what didn’t come out. But I will say I must now look forward to 2022 with even greater anticipation. And I am hoping we might see something from the postponed releases in July for Summer NAMM.

Visit Martin Guitars and check out their redesigned website!

Martin 00L Earth Announced for 2021 NAMM

C. F. Martin’s commitment to combating Climate Change embodied in the 00L Earth

New slope shoulder Grand Concert size acoustic guitar made from Forest Stewardship Council certified woods, the 00L Earth is 100% plastic free

Martin 00L Earth One Man's Guitar onemanz art

00L Earth Specs Include

14-fret Slope Shoulder 00 (Grand Concert size) body; FSC*-certified all-solid tonewoods, including sapele back and sides, Sitka spruce top with artwork by Robert Goetzl, scalloped 1/4″ bracing, wood fiber trim; 24.9″ short-scale sipo neck with Modified Low Oval Profile, Simple Dovetail neck joint; ebony fingerboard with High Performance Taper (1-3/4″ width at bone nut, 2-1/8″ at 12th fret,) sapele position markers in 1955 Style 18, aluminum side dots; ebony belly bridge with bone saddle and 2-5/32″ string spacing; Flamed European maple bindings; satin finish; comes with environmentally-friendly hemp gig bag

List Price: $2,249.00

*Forestry Stewardship Council certification ensures that products come from responsibly managed forests that provide environmental, social and economic benefits for the forest and its local inhabitants.

NAZARETH, Pa. – January 12, 2021 – C. F. Martin & Co.® (Martin®) will introduce the 00L Earth guitar

Martin 00L Earth full One Man's Guitar onemanz

On March 15, 2019, artist Robert Goetzl watched the news in awe as a million students, across 125 countries, took part in the School Strike for Climate, an international movement of students who skip Friday classes in protest to demand action from political leaders against climate change. The movement started in 2018, when Greta Thunberg, a then 16-year-old activist from Sweden, staged a lone protest outside the Swedish Parliament holding a sign that read “School strike for climate,” inspiring students across the globe to stand together to fight for the future of the planet.

The movement fanned a flame in Goetzl that had been slowly burning for many years. He wanted to use his talent to become part of the solution, so he immediately dropped what he was doing and painted a watercolor of the earth. His hope was that it would one day adorn the top of a Martin guitar that could be used to bring awareness to the urgent need for climate action.

Upon completing the painting, Goetzl wasted no time, driving to Nazareth to share his idea with Martin Chairman and CEO Chris Martin. Like Goetzl, the sixth-generation leader has a deep passion for fighting climate change and preserving the earth for future generations. This shared passion, reignited by the energy and perseverance of this new generation of activists, put into motion the plans to develop what is now being introduced as the Martin 00L Earth guitar—the first acoustic guitar that is 100% FSC® certified AND 100% plastic-free.

Robert Goetzl_One Man's Guitar onemanz

“When I first heard this eloquent young woman, Greta Thunberg, speak so passionately about climate change, I was immediately inspired and thought, why not design a guitar with a visual element as a tool to promote the message ‘Save the Earth,’” said Goetzl. “Perhaps this is a way to help raise awareness of resource sustainability and our society’s failure to take action against the global crisis that this troubled planet is facing.”

With CEO Chris Martin’s blessing, Goetzl set about doing what he does best—turning his initial ideas into refined art—and he later presented several variations to the Martin team. The final design featured the earth and stars with a beautiful light burst peaking over the horizon.

While Goetzl was finalizing the artwork, Martin Lead Instrument Designer Tim Teel and former Martin Green Team Leader Chris Thomas began working on building out the model that would ultimately become the master canvas for Goetzl’s artwork. Teel and Thomas decided to use the framework from the Martin 17 Series and then went on to collaborate with many colleagues throughout the company to select and source only materials that are 100% FSC certified and free of all man-made plastics. Even the gig bag was specially sourced and made with hemp, a fast-growing and highly sustainable material, another first for the company.

“I respect working for a company that takes environmental issues seriously,” said Teel. “This project illustrates the importance of our planet and is depicted in this amazing graphic by Robert Goetzl. By using responsibly harvested materials, we will ensure the next generation of musicians and luthiers will have great tonewoods to choose from when designing, building, and playing stringed instruments of the future.”

Martin chose to go plastic-free with this model because single-use plastic is destroying entire ecosystems and greatly contributes to global warming. The world urgently needs to reduce single-use plastic, and Martin hopes  this guitar will be another vehicle for spreading the message.

“There’s so much that we can do as individuals to fight climate change in our daily lives,” said Chris Martin. “Yet we are continually looking for ways that our company can inspire musicians and their fans to take action. Not just on Earth Day, but every day. Music has always been a powerful tool for bringing people together for change.”

The guitar is priced at $2,249.

In honor of the 00L Earth guitar, Martin will make a charitable donation to the Rainforest Alliance.

FSC Certified Logo One Man's Guitar onemanz

If you would like to learn more about this or any of the 2021 Martin guitars, drop us a line at oneman@onemanz.com.

Due to COVID-19 Restrictions I will be unable to make my annual visit to C. F. Martin & Co. for a hands and ears on review of the Winter NAMM Martins.  I shall however be sharing as much information as I am permitted to, as soon as I can.

I hope to get my usual videos of many new Martins created once Martin feels it is safe for me and them to have me pay a visit to Nazareth, PA.

Full 00L Earth Spec Sheet Here

Martin Guitar in the New York Times

The New York Times Feature on Martin Guitar

How Martin combines hand-worked craftsmanship and modern robotics to create “America’s guitar.”

There is a feature article in today’s New York Times, originally created for their kids supplement, that goes through the step-by-step process of making an acoustic guitar, at C. F. Martin & Co. in Nazareth, PA.  And it has some nicely composed photos to go with it.

The article on Martin Guitars is probably only available to subscribers. But if you are familiar with Martin and their factory, you probably already know everything mentioned.

How to Build a Guitar

The buffing machine pictured above sits right next to the Martin sound testing room where I make my annual guitar review videos. If you turn up the volume and listen closely when I am not playing a guitar, you can sometimes hear the buffer whirring away.

The More Times Change…

As I read this human interest piece, I was reminded me just how many things have changed since I first started visiting the Martin factory, when it comes to the automation. For example, there is a photo of a large side mending machine, where steam heat and high pressure bend the thin solid-wood plates into the shape needed to create guitars of different sizes. Each size has its own machine. Not long ago, that was all accomplished by hand, taking much longer to make a certain number of usable sides.

When I first toured the factory some twenty years ago, the sides for every guitar made at Martin was still being bent by the hands of a man using a curved electric iron (also invented and made at Martin.) He soak the wood in water before molding it on the hump of super-heated steel, holding it in place long enough to change its shape while being very careful not to scorch it. Before electricity, the humped irons would have been heated in burning coals. On my second visit, they had just invented (and made on site) the first experimental side bending machine, to make the Dreadnought size guitars. But all other sides were still bent by hand.

Later, only the sides requiring a “cutaway” on the treble side of a guitar were being bent by hand for guitars of common sizes. Today, that man and his side-bending counterparts have retired, and almost every Martin guitar made in Nazareth has its sides bent by a machine.

But while the article and photos focus on automation involved in guitar making in the twenty-first century, they also make clear how the actual construction of a guitar is done by human hands, the most important parts anyway. And it is enough so that Martin can proudly claim their guitars are still handmade.

C. F. Martin Sr. invented what is now considered the American guitar, at roughly the same time Antonio de Torres Jurado was working to develop what became the Spanish guitar. In fact, Martin developed what became the American acoustic guitar by combining luthiery techniques he learned in Vienna, Austria with elements of contemporary guitars from Spain that he encountered once he emigrated to America in 1833. By the early 1840s he had invented the X-bracing pattern to support the spruce soundboard, which turned out to be the ideal design for getting the most tone out of the steel guitar strings that came into use in the early twentieth century, decades after Mr. Martin died in 1872. But many of the techniques used by Martin craftspeople today would be familiar to old C. F. Sr.

A photo in the article shows a woman hand carving the braces that support the spruce soundboards. Another shows a collection of soundboards clipped to a large paddle wheel, as the glue binding the two halves together dries in the open air, before they have their bracing attached. Martin has two or three of those in-house invented paddle wheels, made of metal, with various adjustable joints. But it was only in the past decade that they retired the wooden paddle wheel invented in the 1800s.

While Martin and other guitar makers use modern technology to speed up the process, and save their workers from considerable repetitive stress wear and tear, the Martin guitars themselves are still made very much they were all along, from the hand-fitted dovetail neck joints to the hand-buffed nitrocellulose lacquer so thin it is measured in mils, that being one-thousandths of an inch.

This factory, one of the oldest family businesses in America and the oldest musical instrument maker, may produce upwards of 200 guitars a day in modern times, but it still takes a month more or less, to make one Martin guitar. And that is with all the mechanical streamlining.

As has been the case since before the America Civil War, an old Martin sales slogan remains true to this day. More people own or want to own a Martin than any other guitar in the world. And with good reason, too.

C. F. Martin IV Announces Retirement

Chris Martin Announces Retirement as C.E.O of Martin Guitars

Will remain as Chairman, following in the footsteps of his grandfather C.F. Martin III

Jackie Renner to retire as President

On July 16, C. F. Martin & Co. announced that an executive succession plan is being put in place for the
company. Christian Martin IV has decided that at the conclusion of his NAMM Chairmanship in July
2021, he will step into the role of Executive Chairman of C.F. Martin & Co. He will remain Chairman of
the Board and family ownership of the company will continue.

“I’ve spent over 40 years in my family business and what a ride it’s been,” said Chris Martin, Chairman
and CEO of C.F. Martin & Co., Inc. “Now I’ve reached the point where it’s time for me to move into the
role of Executive Chairman. I am confident in the current leadership team because I know they love the
company as much as I do and I will be working closely with them through this transition.”

Jacqueline Renner, President of C.F. Martin & Co. also announced her plans to retire on October 1, 2021.
She feels with Chris’ change, it is the right time for her to transition as well. She is committed to
working with Chris on a smooth executive transition process. “I have truly enjoyed working with Chris
and all our co-workers over the last five years to strengthen Martin Guitar. I look forward to continuing
to do so through the executive transition process. I appreciate Chris’ planned approach for a smooth
transition for the company which benefits our customers, co-workers and ultimately the musicians that
Martin Guitar seeks to inspire.”

“I am very grateful for the support and leadership that Jackie has shown as President over these past
five years.” said Chris.

Martin will be doing a search for a CEO-President who will embrace and augment our unique culture and
continue to enhance the Martin brand around the world. Hudson Gain Corporation has been retained to
conduct this search.

Chris Martin Retires Jackie Renner

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