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 in-depth written review of the new D-18 Authentic 1937 will appear at One Man’s Guitar in early August.
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 14 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.
Seven New Martin Guitars in the Modern Deluxe Series
Two 12-fret models, a mahogany 000, and a new Style 42 among the additions
At long last, I may now share with you the first glimpses of the SEVEN new Modern Deluxe Series Martin guitars, released in lieu of the canceled Winter NAMM show. These guitars blend classic Martin guitar specifications with ultramodern technological enhancements to realize twenty-first century musical instruments that are both modern and deluxe.
The new Modern Deluxe Martins include a 12-fret 0-size rosewood model in rosewood Style 28, the 012-28 Modern Deluxe. A 12-fret 00 and 14-fret 00 join it, the 0012-28 Modern Deluxe and 00-28 Modern Deluxe.
Yes, that is a new naming convention for 12-fret Martin guitars, with the 12 on the LEFT side of the dash, replacing the archaic S for a “Standard” body size on the right side of the dash. And about time too, I say! The 12-fret configuration hasn’t actually been the standard design since 1934.
Moving to the next larger size, the mahogany 000-18 Modern Deluxe is also included, and super-fancy rosewood 000-42 Modern Deluxe have arrived. Larger still are the full-size Dreadnoughts, the D-42 Modern Deluxe and, at the top of the Series, the D-45 Modern Deluxe.
The D-45 Modern Deluxe heralds the return of the classic torch inlay that graced the headstock face plates of Martin’s Style 45 guitars up through 1930. It also brings back the snowflake fingerboard pattern to a D-45, like those made pre-1939. But this time, the exquisite diamonds, snowflakes, and cat’s eye fret position markers are not just inlaid with high-color abalone shell; each marker is outlined in even more pearl.
Around the East Indian Rosewood back and sides are the glittering abalone pearl trim that sets Style 45 Martins apart from their other handmade, professional-level acoustic guitars. But unlike other D-45s out there, the D-45 Modern Deluxe has flamed European maple binding on the body and the neck.
All guitars in the Modern Deluxe Series include a unique set of advanced features engineered to increase tonal depth (a Vintage Tone System aged Sitka spruce soundboard supported by VTS Adirondack spruce braces with Golden Era scalloping and set in place with natural protein glue,) increased volume and sustain (Liquid Metal bridge pins and a VTS Adirondack spruce bridge plate protected by thin outer layers of carbon fiber,) extended fret life thanks to the copper-infused EVO Gold frets with matching gold tuners, and a wonderfully comfortable neck shape based on the 1930 OM-45 Deluxe owned by the Martin museum.
The MD neck is asymmetrical with an apex that gradually drifts off center, to effortlessly fit into the palm of the hand at every position along the fingerboard, just like a marvelous pre-war Martin neck, except that it is a lower profile, made without the tubby vintage heel where the neck fits into that all-all important solid mahogany neck block with the traditional, hand-fitted dovetail neck joint.
The D-42 Modern Deluxe and 000-42 Modern Deluxe also have the pre-war Style 45 torch and same fretboard inlays, plus the addition of two large abalone snowflakes on the bridge extensions. But they do not have the extra pearl inlay around the back and sides, greatly reducing the price compared to the D-45 Modern Deluxe.
The mahogany 000-18 now joins the D-18 Modern Deluxe, combining these advanced tone enhancements with the clear, woody tone of a mahogany Martin. The 14-fret 00-28 Modern Deluxe brings an even smaller body to the MD Series, as do the two 12-fret models, each with a traditional slotted headstock.
I look forward to sharing more details about these exiting new Martin guitars soon, including full reviews of as many of them as I can get into my hands and ears.
He recorded it on 3/19/2020 for the web “show” Til Further Notice, which takes place in Willie Neslson’s back yard. But this year is including Socially Distant performances.
For those who cannot access the performance, a different performance of the same song appears below. He ended the Facebook performance with “Stay save everyone. Be well!”
I used to perform this every 4th of July, until I forgot how to play it. Since I may have some time on my hands, it is nice the composer provided this handy How-To video. 🙂
I had forgotten his Martin Paul Simon Limited Edition signature models have faux tortoise shell binding, ala Style 21. They also has a special fretboard width that has a 1-11/16″ width nut, at a time when Martin OMs all had 1-3/4″ width-at-nut. But the Simon models taper wider to almost the same width as a traditional OM once the fretboard reaches the 12th fret.
This particular guitar is the PS2 model released in 2000, signified by the inlaid image of Earth on the headstock. Unlike the original 1997 version, the OM-42 PS, the PS2 guitar does not have a traditional hand-fitted dovetail neck joint, but rather the Mortise & Tenon joint, and probably lower grade tonewoods, which allowed the price to be a lot lower.
Here is the maestro performing American Tune on his OM-42 PS, from 2015.
Ergonomic versatility in a beautiful, cutting edge acoustic-electric guitar
January 15, 2020
At three o’clock today, Pacific Standard Time, C. F. Martin & Co. unveiled to the public the SC-13E. With its innovative S size, deep angular Cutaway, and the attractive updated Style 13 appointments, this acoustic-Electric guitar introduces to the world the first new Martin-invented body design since 1934.
SC-13E specs include: New S body size with deep scoop cutaway; fine koa veneer back and sides over solid Khaya core; solid Sitka spruce top; unique asymmetrical bracing with partial scalloping; new heel-less Sure Align neck with new asymmetrical ergonomic Velocity profile; FSC Certified Richlite fingerboard with High Performance Taper; FSC Certified Richlite bridge with 2-5/32” string spacing; newly revised Road Series Style 13 appointments; faux tortoise teardrop pickguard; chrome open back tuners; Fishman XT electronics with onboard tuner.
Note: Specs based on final prototypes, subject to change between now and actual production models.
“Not your granddad’s Martin, the SC-13E is an ultramodern acoustic-electric guitar of tremendous versatility. Its ergonomic design is ideal for long term playing sessions and its innovative shape and bracing provide satisfying tonal balance, good for countless musical styles.”
Dick Boak has created a video about a Martin-loving maverick named Mark Groulex, aka Moon River Mark of Ontario, Canada. Moon River runs through the forests near the eastern section of Lake Huron called Georgian Bay, about 200km north of Toronto. Boak first encountered Groulex at a local open mic when vacationing in Canada. The two have remained friend ever since.