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…”
Acoustic guitars of note among the booths and pavilions of Nashville NAMM
Something for every budget and taste
The summer installment of the biannual trade show of the National Association of Music Merchants took place on July 28-30, at the Music City Center in Nashville, Tennessee. While never having quite the impact and inventory of Winter NAMM, the 2018 summer show provided some interesting additions to this year’s lineup of new guitars. Most of those being electric guitars, the acoustics required some sleuthing to track down. But they still cover most price ranges and a great deal of the familiar brand names.
Here are some of the most interesting acoustic guitars seen at Summer NAMM
Alvarez Artist Series was attracting attention with the updated AGW77AR showing up on Twitter videos throughout the weekend.
This long-scale Grand Auditorium model has walnut top with forward-shifted scalloped bracing and walnut back and sides, and their new, sleeker body bevel. Priced to sell at $499.
Luthier Dana Bourgeois clearly enjoys his trips to NAMM, and always comes up with some some seriously amazing one-of-a-kind guitars, like this OMS wood deluxe, with a redwood top and figured English walnut for the back and sides!
“The AJ-220S has a unique bell-like shape, a larger lower bout, and a small round upperbout which gives this new addition to our Advanced Jumbo family of guitars a unique voice.” These guitars feature a glued-in dovetail neck joint, mahogany back and sides, and solid Sitka Spruce tops, or an optional solid mahogany top that has its own mahogany burst toner option.
Typical price $269. And there is also the cutaway acoustic-electric AJ-220SCE for $369.
Offered in a variety of colored and burst finishes, these cutaway Super Jumbos feature the Shadow eSonic-II™ Stereo Pickup System and Grover machine heads, pricing starts at $459.
“The EJ-200SCE reimagines the historic ‘J-200 Jumbo’ acoustic guitar now featuring a Solid Spruce top, Grover Rotomatic™ machine heads, and the revolutionary new Shadow eSonic-II™ Stereo Pickup System that maintains your true acoustic tone when plugged in to an amp or PA system.”
The new Jumbo Junior is a smaller jumbo model made with a solid Sitka top and Guild’s arched back of either mahogany or maple. These should prove comfortable couch or travel guitars for a MSRP of $555
C. F. Martin & Co. had a smallish offering compared to the January show, but it is spread across board. These include, but are not limited to a new affordable Road Series model, the 000RSG, with solid Siris back and sides and a solid Sitka spruce top (MAP $1,499,) two limited edition models made from black walnut, GPCE Black Walnut Ambertone, and the DE Black Walnut Ambertone which come with Fishman electronics(MAP $2,649 each,) a black, slope shoulder Jimmy Buffet Custom edition to go along with the Broadway musical Margaritaville (MAP $5,999,) the had-to-happen D-16EPD with soundboard featuring the iconic poker playing dogs painting (MAP $2,799,) and the stunning OM Arts and Crafts 2018 featuring ornate pearl inlay evoking the aesthetic of the Arts and Crafts movement in design, as well as German white oak back and sides, a torrefied Adirondack spruce top, Guatemalan rosewood trim with a MAP of $13,999.00.
This debut was accompanied by the announcement that Taylor expects to convert all their series to the new bracing. It is intended to deliver a “more dynamic voice.” And from my experience with their Winter NAMM offering it does do exactly that, at least when compared to similar Taylors made the previous year.
The Builder’s Edition 14ce has solid figured Big Leaf maple back and sides with a torrefied solid Sitka spruce top, beveled armrest, new Silent Satin finish with a Wild Honey burst on the back and sides (optional for the top,) and Scepter faceplate and fretboard inlays are among the impressive features.
The 300 and 400 Series instruments will begin shipping in July and include the 314, 314ce, 324, 324e, 324ce, 414e-R,414ce, 414ce-R
NAMM, the National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM), established in 1901, is the not-for-profit association that strengthens the $17 billion global music, sound and event technology products industry. Our association and our trade shows serve as the crossroads for professionals wanting to seek out the newest innovations in music, recording technology, sound, stage and lighting products. Membership also includes access to the latest industry news and education, opportunities for music advocacy and cost-saving programs that will help your business thrive. All of these activities and programs are designed to promote music making for people of all ages and to help create a more musical world.
Seven Grammy Awards and now five Martin Artist Signature Editions
Specs include: 14-fret Dreadnought body size with all solid tonewoods throughout, Guatemalan rosewood back and sides; Engelmann spruce soundboard with Aging Toner; scalloped, forward-shifted 1/4″ Adirondack spruce braces with Golden Era shaping; one-piece mahogany neck with Full Thickness profile; ebony fretboard with 1-11/16” width at the bone nut; ebony bridge with 2-1/8” string spacing at the compensated bone saddle; high-color Style 45 abalone trim, back, sides, and top with full circumference soundhole rosette; large abalone hexagon position markers; grained ivoroid binding; gold open gear butterbean tuners; faux tortoise pickguard; numbered interior label signed by John Mayer
“…a clear and articulate top voice, with cavernous space behind it, good for reflecting reverberating sympathetics but also for allowing the main notes to stand up and out…But even brand new, the D-45 John Mayer already has considerable shimmer and glimmer to its it ring, and power in its bones.”