Winter NAMM Martins Revealed

New Martins for a New Decade

Limited Edition D-18E 2020 and the latest, greatest Aura Blend electronics highlight Martin’s Winter NAMM 2020 Offerings

Winter Martins

A year ago Martin debuted their Modern Deluxe Series with four new models that employ cutting-edge technologies to create light-weight acoustic guitars that feel and play a lot like vintage Martins, with unique and impressive tone all their own. Today they unveiled the acoustic-electric versions of those same models, the D-28E Modern Deluxe, D-18E Modern Deluxe, OM-28E Modern Deluxe, and 000-28E Modern Deluxe.

 

I’ve had to keep my trap shut for half a year about the new Hi-Def generation of Fishman’s Aura electronics, ever since the power that is C. F. Martin IV decided to not to release the acoustic-electric versions of the Martin’s Modern Deluxe Series until Winter NAMM 2020.

 

But now they are out of the bag and I can tell you this is one of the most exciting upgrades in a long while when it comes to live acoustic tone via a plugged-in guitar.

 

At the heart of the new Aura VT Blend system is the amazing and highly-complex algorithm that is the adjusts in real time to whatever  and however a guitarist is playing the instrument, and the proprietary tone-sculpting effects that work together to make the plugged-in tone sound much more like the actual acoustic instrument as heard through a world-class microphone.

 

Their are two parts to why this new version of the Aura technology is an improvement over the one that is currently in use on other Martin models. First, there is the greater detail and definition to the overall amplified voice. But perhaps best of all, the new Aura Blend system includes the ability to control how much of the Aura filters are applied to the direct signal from the Fishman undersaddle pickup. So, in addition to the VT volume and general tone control, the player blends in the amount of the onboard Aura microphone image they like best, depending upon the sound system, room, or purpose.

 

It has been a while, so I went looking for my notes from last year and can’t find them. So, I returned to the source, and asked Tim Teel, Instrument Design Manager at C. F. Martin & Co., what is his current take on the new Modern Deluxe models with the latest, greatest Fishman Aura VT Blend system.

 

“I thought it was very important to marry this new incredible sounding Aura VT Blend system to what I consider is our best sounding series; Modern Deluxe.

 

The new Aura VT Blend starting in 2020 on the Modern Deluxe series is the next evolution regrading pro-level sound reinforcement for the acoustic guitar. Full blend control between under-saddle piezo pickup and Aura microphone image has been given back to the player!

 

In a live setting, 40-60% Aura Image is more than enough, and when plugged directly into a computer for recording, up to 100% of Aura image can be utilized. Also, new for this release is Aura HD Imaging, giving stunning realism to the sound of the guitar when played through an amplifier or direct recording. A volume and multi-effect EQ scoop round out the user controls located conveniently in the sound hole of the guitar.

 

 I encourage folks to give it a test play at their local dealer.

 

And I shall be testing them out in the now public version next Thursday, on the very day they are released at Winter NAMM.

 

Here is a quick overview of many of the new Martins debuting next week.

 

​​C. F. Martin & Co.® (Martin®) will introduce a suite of upgraded X Series guitars, a new 12-fret nylon string guitar, a new acoustic bass guitar, new 16 Series models, new Modern Deluxe Series models with electronics, a limited edition D-18E 2020, and the fourth in a series of exquisite Purple Martin models at Winter NAMM in Anaheim, California, January 16-19, 2020.

 

​​​​LIMITED EDITIONS

​​D-18E 2020

Winter Martins D-18E Modern DeluxeThe D-18E 2020 is a limited edition version of the historic 14-fret D-18, which officially joined Martin’s lineup in 1934. Like its namesake, the D-18E 2020 is constructed with a Sitka spruce top and genuine mahogany back and sides plus all of the Standard Series elements that, combined, offer supreme playability and legendary Martin tone. What sets it apart is the use of exquisite East Indian rosewood for the headplate, fingerboard, binding, bridge, and heelcap. The D-18E 2020 comes stage-ready with LR Baggs Anthem electronics. The guitar is strung with Martin Authentic Acoustic Lifespan® 2.0 strings, and it is limited to 2,020 instruments.

​​List price $3,649

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D-42 Purple Martin Flamed Myrtle

Winter Martins NAMM Purple Martin​​The D-42 Purple Martin Flamed Myrtle is the fourth instrument in the Purple Martin Series. The “Purple Martin” theme is inspired by a native bird of Pennsylvania, where Martin Guitar’s headquarters and factory are located. Limited to 100 instruments, this head-turning model includes 42-style pearl inlay throughout and highly decorative inlay on the fingerboard and pickguard of the purple martin bird and mountain laurel flowers, the state flower of Pennsylvania. It is a full-gloss guitar with a heavy bearclaw Engelmann spruce top with a deep purple burst and stunning flamed myrtle back and sides. Each model includes a label signed by C. F. Martin & Company Chairman and CEO Chris Martin. The D-42 Purple Martin is strung with Martin Authentic Acoustic Lifespan® 2.0 strings.

​​List price $14,999

 

​​MODERN DELUXE WITH ELECTRONICS

Winter NAMM Martins Modern Deluxe Aura D-28 D-18 000-28 OM-28

​​The award-winning Modern Deluxe Series was introduced at Winter NAMM 2019, and Martin has received universal praise for marrying vintage appointments, like a VTS top, and modern upgrades, like a titanium truss rod. This year, Martin has added all-new Fishman® Aura® VT Blend electronics to offer players more control over the voice of the guitar than ever before. It utilizes Aura HD Imaging to provide stunning realism and delivers a new level of performance for direct recording in live situations. The stage-ready Modern Deluxe Series with electronics is offered in four models—the D-28E, 000-28E, OM-28E, and D-18E—and all are strung with Martin Authentic Acoustic Lifespan® 2.0 strings.

 

​​List prices range from $4,999 – $5,799

 

​​16 SERIES

​​Winter NAMM Martins 16 Series

D-16E Mahogany

​​The Martin D-16E Dreadnought is crafted with satin-finished mahogany back and sides for a big sound, punchy midrange, and bright treble response. It include a Sitka spruce gloss top for balanced tone and projection and a 000 body depth and high-performance neck taper for comfort and ease of playability. It comes equipped with Fishman® Matrix VT Enhance™ electronics and Martin Authentic Acoustic Lifespan® 2.0 strings.

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List price $2,049

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GPC-16E

 

​​The Martin GPC-16E Grand Performance Cutaway is crafted with satin-finished mahogany back and sides for a big sound, punchy midrange, and bright treble response. It includes a Sitka spruce gloss top for balanced tone and projection and a 000 body depth and high-performance neck taper for comfort and ease of playability. It comes equipped with Fishman® Matrix VT Enhance™ electronics and Martin Authentic Acoustic Lifespan® 2.0 strings.

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List price $2,049

​​000C12-16E NYLON

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The Martin 000C12-16E Nylon 12-fret guitar is ideal for any classical guitarist looking to take their playing to the next level. This Auditorium-style, six-string guitar features a Sitka spruce gloss top and satin-finished mahogany back and sides for bright treble response and plenty of volume. It comes equipped with Fishman® Matrix VT Enhance™ electronics and is strung with Martin Magnifico® premium classical strings.

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List price $2,499

BC-16E

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The Martin BC-16E is the ideal tool for the modern bassist’s acoustic or electric needs. The BC-16E includes a solid Sitka spruce top, East Indian rosewood back and sides, and forward-shifted scalloped bracing to deliver deep, thumping Martin tone, whether you’re unplugged or using the built-in Fishman® electronics. It also includes a fast, comfortable neck so you can keep the rhythm section tight. The BC-16E is strung with Martin Authentic Acoustic SP® Bass strings.

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List price $2,399

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X SERIES

Winter NAMM Martins X Series

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​​Two decades ago, Martin broke into the world of alternative, sustainable materials and created a whole new class of high-quality guitars called the X Series. Today, with new HPL patterns, scalloped bracing, and a solid wood neck, fingerboard, and bridge, the new X Series guitars look and sound better than ever. Plus, every X Series guitar now comes with a padded, water-resistant gig bag. The new and improved Martin X Series guitars are built to go anywhere, offering beginners and active musicians a carefree playing experience.

 

Learn more about the MANY new X Series instruments via the links below.

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X2 Series 

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Made with Solid Wood Tops with High Pressure Laminate Backs and Sides

 

​​List prices from $799 – $899.

​​X1 Series

 

Made with High Pressure Laminate Top, Back, and Sides.

 

 

Martin D-18 Modern Deluxe Review

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.”

Martin_D-18_Modern_Deluxe_logo

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!

Read the Full Review Here!

More New 2018 Martins Announced!

Martin D-45 models and a new Authentic make the cut among the 2018 Martins

Doesn’t look like anything from the lists I saw were put off til Summer. So there’s LOTS of new Martin videos soon!

Check back to see and hear these and all the new Martins starting next week!

In the meantime, there is a sneak preview of this soon to be released …

Martin 000C-21 TSP T Spoon Phillips Custom Artist-Dealer collaboration, which will be officially announced on January 25.

D SS-2018 NAMM Show Special

A 12-fret dreadnought with the High Performance neck! Ultralight build with Adirondack spruce over Big Leaf mahogany with hide glue construction, light-weight carbon fiber used for the pickguard, and in composite with torrefied Adirondack spruce for the bridge plate! As well as lightweight tuners and fabulous Liquidmetal® bridge pins that for the first time have lost their chrome appearance and look like bone. 

martin-d-42-purple-martin_f_new
click to enlarge

D-42 Purple Martin third edition:

OK the previous two were done in similar Style 41. This one has the Style 42 pearl around the fretboard extension. Gorgeous inlays grace this stunning guitar made from highly figured katalox from the American tropics, which is harder than ebony, and heavily-bear clawed Engelmann spruce for the top!

D-45 Fire and Ice:

Figured Engelmann spruce over Madagascar rosewood, with outrageous inlays by the one and only Harvey Leach that have an ice dragon on the headstock and a phoenix rising up the fretboard

D-45S Authentic 1936 Aged:

Martin’s new cosmetic aging process is applied to the second edition of a D-45 Authentic that appeared the first year of the Authentic Series, which has an wider-than normal body and a honking huge neck, now with aged Adirondack spruce thanks to Martin’s Vintage Tone System, which wasn’t yet developed the first time around.

D-18 Authentic 1939 Aged:

Like the 45 above, this D-18 Authentic with its classic mahogany and Adirondack build has the new cosmetic aging and will be “aged” one guitar at a time.

00-17 Authentic 1931:

My mouth has watered for this model since I saw it on a list at Martin some time ago. And now I understand the wait, as it introduces torrefied Vintage Tone System mahogany to the Authentic Series!

OME Cherry FSC Certified Woods

Made entirely from woods certified by the Forestry Stewardship Council promoting responsible management of our precious natural resources, this Orchestra Model with on-board Electronics combines American cherry back and sides with a Sitka spruce top and European spruce bracing.

These are in addition to the D-45 John Mayer model and the forest of newly revised Standard Series Martins, see the links below!

 

Martin D-18 Jason Isbell Review

With aged Adirondack Over Mighty Mahogany, the D-18 Jason Isbell is more stallion than workhorse

As unpretentious and as powerful as the songs of its namesake.

Specs Include: Solid tonewoods with extra-thin high gloss nitrocellulose finish, including mahogany back and sides, torrefied Adirondack spruce top; 5/16” rear-shifted Adirondack spruce braces with Golden Era style scalloping; satin finished one-piece mahogany neck with 1939 profile, two-way adjustable truss rod, and ebony fingerboard with 1-11/16” width at the bone nut, 2-1/8” at the 12th fret; ebony pyramid bridge with 2-1/8” string spacing at the drop-in compensated bone saddle; custom tattoo fretboard inlay; Ditson style rosette; black binding; Schaller open-back tuners with “clover” buttons; Fishman Infinity Matrix electronics; signed interior label

“Simply put, this guitar sounds huge. Explosive chords burst into the room with near-concussive waves of power and punch, and relaxed, expressive picking lights up an expansive tonal chamber, as if by ballroom chandeliers.”

D-18 Jason Isbel Ditson tatoo inlay
Full Review with Video Here

Chris Eldridge and Julian Lage – Cool Video

The Bone Collector by Julian Lage and Chris Eldridge

Mahogany Martins with Adirondack red spruce tops, a 1937  D-18 and a 1939 000-18

While the music speaks for itself, you may want to read more about these two excellent artists, who traveled very different routes to reach the pinnacle of critical acclaim, and are now weaving their different styles into the same music, by checking out this article that was published at the New Yorker, on my birthday, which is probably why I didn’t see it until now.

Julian Lage and Chris Eldridge and Their New Record, “Mount Royal”

The Lost D-18 of Janis Ian

Love, loss, and faith renewed, as only Janis Ian can render

A touching tale from a brilliant storyteller

Over drinks this weekend, a friend showed surprise when he found out that I had not heard the story of Janis Ian’s lost Martin D-18.

So, he sent a link to the story as published in Songwriter Magazine, now available on her own website.

I happened to visiting my mom when I received the link. For the benefit of my mother’s aged eyesight, I read this story aloud. When I looked up at the end, tears were streaming down my her cheeks and she was sniffling and laughing at her own outpouring of emotion.

But then, emotional impact is something Janis Ian has been providing the general public since she was a teenager, through such songs as “Society’s Child” and “At 17.”

So, do yourself a favor and check this out!

On Guitars & Righteous Men by Janis Ian

Our Martin D-18 Authentic 1939 Review

The Classic Mahogany Dreadnought Explored:
Our D-18 Authentic 1939 Review

The time machine Martin closest of all to the priceless pre-war instrument sought after by so many.

The light build on this mahogany/Adirondack is reinforced by rear-shifted braces, with the main X brace placed a bit farther back than on modern Martins. This helps add to the openness of the voice, and reduces the rumble in the bass, so the bottom notes retain great definition while the highs have all the cutting power a Bluegrass flatpicker could hope for.

Whether you are listening to Brownie McGhee singing the Blues, or Kris Kristofferson singing about Bobby McGee singing the Blues, you are hearing a D-18 laying down the rhythm. The folk music of Simon and Garfunkel, Donovan, and Gordon Lightfoot featured the D-18, as did the Rock n Roll of Elvis Presley, Jerry Garcia, and Kurt Cobain. And when it came to Mountain Music, Old Time, and Bluegrass, the D-18 has reigned supreme, especially among the hot-handed pickers.

And no D-18 yet is as like to taking a time machine to the 1930s and buying one, days after the glue has dried.

Read the full D-18 Authentic 1939

Martin D-18 Authentic 1939 review
photo: R. Dennie

 

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