A Reader Asks Why His Martin “GPC-16E Special” Warranty Card Shows A Different “Model”
Mark from Iowa writes –
I purchased a Martin guitar and when I registered it the warranty card said the style was CMGCGT0083. Is that explainable? It was sold as GPC-16E Special.
Hi Mark and thanks for your query,
As far as I can tell, these hieroglyphs say that your guitar was made for Guitar Center/Musician’s Friend, with a long history of Martins designed exclusively for them. So, it is not technically a GPC-16E because Martin either wasn’t making them at this time for the regular catalog, or the ones they were making had some different specs.
For instance, 16 Series GPCs weren’t offered in rosewood for some time. Also, GPCs in the 16 Series are built with a 000 side depth rather than the actual, deeper GP depth, with less bass boom for anti-feedback reasons. That includes the new 2020 GPC-16E Rosewood.
Your guitar being rosewood, from a time when Martin wasn’t offering that, and possibly having true GP depth, are the probable reasons it was “special.”
Also, your guitar was likely marketed by GC/MF before Martin cracked down on dealers saying things like “Custom D-18” or “GPC-16E Special” in their marketing copy, when Martin wasn’t actually naming specific models that way. Today, Martin dealers are required to say something like “Custom GPC with 16 Series styling and onboard electronics.”
Personally, I feel it would be better for Martin if they said, “So long as it has the same neck joint and bracing as the standardized model and the same cosmetic styling, regardless of the wood species, neck shape, etc., the neck block stamp should read:
Limited Edition D-18E 2020 and the latest, greatest Aura Blend electronics highlight Martin’s Winter NAMM 2020 Offerings
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.
The 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
D-42 Purple Martin Flamed Myrtle
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.
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.
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.
List price $2,049
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.
List price $2,049
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.
List price $2,499
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.
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.
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 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 pins that 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.
Martin Guitar’s bright future and storied past merge in the 000-28 (2018)
Enduring through the decades, now refreshed with a long-awaited makeover
Select Specifications: Solid tonewoods throughout, including Indian rosewood back and sides, Sitka spruce top with scalloped 5/16″ Sitka spruce bracing; short-scale High Performance neck with Modified Low Oval profile, ebony fretboard with 1-3/4″ width at the bone nut, 2-1/8″ width at 12th fret; ebony bridge with compensated bone saddle, 2-5/32″ string spacing; Style 28 (2018) appointments including Aging top toner, herringbone purfling, Antique White binding, abalone Diamonds and Squares fret position markers, Style 28 back strip, chrome color open back Schaller GrandTune tuners.
“…this new short-scale 000 has a full-bodied voice that immediately says it is no “small guitar.” The bass has Grade A beef in its rosewood brisket, a satisfying heft in the midrange fundamentals under a firm flatpick, and trebles that sound precise and strong when picking out melody, or glint like whitecaps atop a flood of sweeping strums that swell and heave with the woody warmth from the Stika/rosewood undertone. And yet, when played with delicacy, notes from the unwound strings roll out from arpeggios as defined, delicate, and pure as sunlit dewdrops…”