Martin Cherry Hill Customs

For sale only in walking distance from Cherry Hill

Modest in appearance but right at home among their flashier siblings, the Cherry Hill Customs at the Martin factory might be overlooked by some visitors. But they will be much admired by those who appreciate the natural beauty of wood on guitars with simple cosmetic appointments and pure, pretty tone.

The Martin Cherry Hill Customs Uncloaked

Martin Cherry Hill Customs at

The Martin Cherry Hill Customs – two Factory Special models – are intriguing for many reasons. The guitars do not appear on the Martin price list. They received no official launch or lead-up announcement in the Media, so not many people have heard of them, yet. Perhaps the most interesting fact is how these under-the-radar guitars can only be purchased in person at the Martin factory.

The Cherry Hill Customs are offered as a Dreadnought and 000 and may be summarily described as a custom D-18 and custom 000-18 built with backs and sides of cherry wood and with some extra-woody upgrades. They get flamed maple for the bindings and endpiece instead of plastic, and the Old Style 18 sound hole rosette and other body trim are made from wood fiber.

The soundboards follow Martin’s current specification which says standard-grade spruce tops can be made of Sitka spruce or its natural hybrid cousin Lutz spruce, depending upon current availability. The vintage toner used on the spruce top works very well with the unstained cherry.

Not just any cherry is used, but nicely figured cherry that’s grown right there in Pennsylvania. It is fitting that local tonewood is featured on these subtly beautiful musical instruments because they can only be purchased in Pennsylvania, and only at the Martin Guitar factory.

If a visiting dealer & distributor sees a Cherry Hill Custom instrument that appeals to their design sensibilities, they may purchase it for sale to their customers. But they can only request one of each model while they’re at the factory.  No phone in follow-up’s or replenishments are permitted.

These guitars are chiefly meant for those who make the pilgrimage to Nazareth for the factory tour or to see the rich history on display at the Martin Museum in the visitors’ center, and to offer them unique instruments a little different from typical Martins sold elsewhere and provide, as Martin’s Scott Sasser puts it,”… an engaging surprise for those enthusiasts that come to the factory.  Hopefully they see something nice and think to themselves. . . ‘hey that’s neat – I’ve never heard of that before. What’s that all about?’”

What the Cherry Hill Customs guitars are all about is Martin’s legacy and future. Named for the gently sloping rise that starts just a stone’s throw from the parking lot of C. F. Martin & Co., Cherry Hill is a place of special, romantic significance to the Martin family, their employees, and fans of Martin history.

Along the road that traverses Cherry Hill, there once stood the first humble home and workshop of luthier C. F. Martin Sr. when he moved to Pennsylvania in 1838. It is now a five-minute walk from the current home of the world-famous guitar manufacturing company and museum that bears his name.

The choice of Pennsylvania cherry evokes all of that history but also acknowledges Martin’s continuing commitment to responsible sourcing and utilization of sustainable natural materials, and their longstanding commitment to environmental conservation. In that respect, it shares similar goals with the American maple back and sides on the adventurous new GPC Inception model. But the Cherry Hill Custom design elements and aesthetics are more in line with the venerable Standard Series Martins.

While Martin has made some lovely models out of cherry, the Cherry Hill Customs are the first cherry models offered for sale with a full-size dovetail neck joint and high gloss finish. Other Standard Series specs include scalloped bracing (forward-shifted on the Dreadnought) and a select hardwood High Performance neck with a dovetail neck joint, Modified Low Oval profile, black ebony fingerboard, and the select abalone fret position markers of the classic D-18 and 000-18. These new Cherry Hill models also have some very attractive figuring in the undyed ebony bridges.

The inspiration for the models comes from Martin’s desire to enhance the Nazareth visitor experience with an exclusive opportunity to own an upscale yet approachable Martin model with some rarity baked in due to its limited availability. A few points of inspiration for these specific Cherry Hill Custom models comes from a collaboration with a close friend of Scott Sasser during his time as manager for the Custom Shop, and Scott’s longstanding realization that cherry remained an under-appreciated domestically sourced material. . . both aesthetically and tonally.

Pleased with these results along with other occasional customs delivered through Martins Custom Shop program, he kept a few design cues in his mind for future use. Fast forward to these woody Style 18-inspired cherry guitars, made from sustainable materials that will remain available to musical instrument makers, hopefully ever after.

These new Martins are not meant to be part of their ongoing catalog. They are designed to offer a local complement to the Martins available globally without being in direct competition with them. They are also not meant to be available for long. The models will be periodically evaluated and replaced as appropriate to keep the “Factory Special” offerings fresh.

Whether they keep the name Cherry Hill Customs for future models, or decide to keep it exclusive to these two models, there will be others. New Factory Special models that take advantage of the beauty and tonality of domestic American woods and sustainable woods from other parts of the world will be forthcoming from Martin Guitars, in the new Inception Series that has been heralded with much fanfare, and in the Cherry Hill Customs after their modest, almost shy debut at the picking parlor, in Martin’s welcome center lobby.

The Factory Special concept – where these Cherry Hill Customs reside – will be present in one form or another going forward at the Martin factory. Enhancing a guitarist’s trip to the visitor’s center without distracting from its other treasures, they will for some provide the ultimate souvenir from a trip within the walls at C. F. Martin & Co., est. 1833.

And that is one man’s word on…

Martin Cherry Hill Customs

(click photos to enlarge)


Martin D-45 Modern Deluxe and Others Debut for 2022

Seven New Martin Guitars in the Modern Deluxe Series


Martin Modern Deluxe 2022 New Models

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.

Martin D-45MD and 0012-28MD Onemanz.comThe 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.

Martin Modern Deluxe 2022 42 details

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.

Martin 000-18 Modern Deluxe price

0012-28 Modern Deluxe price One

Martin D-45MD demo One

Martin Modern Deluxe Lineup

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”

OM-28 vs OM-21 – Reader Question

A reader asks about the possible companion for his much loved OM-21 and if the OM-28 might be too similar.

Eric from New York City asks:

Is the new OM-28 essentially the same as the OM-21 but for the binding and inlays?

I ask because I have the OM-21 (2012) and love it, and I’m looking for another guitar that is similar (in tone) but also a little different. Maybe the new 000-18 or the CEO-7?

Thanks, Eric

Spoon writes:

Thank you for your question, Eric.

I have not seen the new OM-28 yet in person, but yes, you are basically correct.

The major differences include:

Higher grade rosewood and spruce for Style 28.

28 gets herringbone purfling around the edge of the top, 21 has no top inlay around the edge.

28 gets “diamonds and squares” fingerboard markers (short pattern circa 1930,) 21 gets small dots (long pattern)

28 gets grained ivoroid binding, 21 gets black tortoise shell binding.

28 gets a bridge that looks more like the vintage Martin bridges, the 21 does not.

The 28 gets a vintage zig-zag back strip and Style 28 trim around the edge of the back, the 21 gets the similar Style 18 back strip.

Until recently, the OM-21 was made with a rosewood fingerboard and bridge, and that gave it a different sort of sound compared to today’s OM-21.

The new OM-28 is essentially identical to the now retired OM-28V from the Vintage Series, only it has lost its modified V neck with the traditional taper and 2-5/16″ string spacing, for the new High Performance neck that Martin was put on the 000-18, D-18, OM-21, OM-28. The important differences between the necks are found in the shallow modified low profile on the back of the HP neck, and the “taper” (the traditional Martin OM neck was 2-1/4″ at the 12th fret, the HP neck is only 2-1/8″,) and the HP string spacing is 2-3/16.

The new OM-21, like yours, has a fuller body down in the voice and a darker, thicker bottom end compared to the old OM-21, so it is much more like the OM-28V and the old OM-28 (retired in 1994.) And other than cosmetically better looking wood, there will likely not be much difference in the tone of the new OM-28 compared to your current OM-21.

So if you want something in the same size that differs more from your OM-21 the CEO-7 and 000-18 are both good choices. The CEO-7 has a different body shape, that is a little longer and a little narrower, but has the same depth to the sides. The neck is fuller in the hand as well, but it is has the short-scale neck.

The 000-18 also has a short-scale neck, but it is the same shape and has the same taper as your OM-21, so it widens to a lesser extent as you go up the neck compared to the CEO-7.

The 000-18 comes with a Sitka spruce top, so it will sound more like your OM-21 compared to the CEO-7 which has Adirondack spruce. Adirondack has a drier tone with a pronounced ring. The fundamental notes are not as thick, but they have great projection and clarity.

Neither will have the same thick warmth in the undertone or as complex harmonics as your OM-21, as mahogany sounds more open and less somber than rosewood guitars.

The 000-18 will sound most similar in terms of balance and dynamics, the CEO-7 will have greater bass response and thinner trebles but with a deeper basement under them, as it were.

And that is one man’s word on…

Martin OM-28 vs OM-21

Find more Reader’s Questions in Spoon’s Mailbag

Standard OM-28, Aura Models Among New Martins for Spring

The Standard OM-28 is resurrected by C. F. Martin, alongside an upgraded, updated 000-18, and new Aura models

I was traveling sans internet yesterday, when Martin announced the lineup of new models, which will debut at the 2014 Spring show in Frankfurt, Germany.


As expected, Standard Style 28 has received a makeover, following in the footsteps of the one that appeared with the fabulous D-18 and the upgraded OM-21. Gone are the much loved OM-28V of the Vintage Series and the pricier OM-28  Marquis. In their stead is the first Standard OM-28 since 1994, melding vintage appointments like herringbone top trim and the classic short pattern diamonds and squares on the fingerboard, with modern design features like Martin’s High Performance neck and a short drop-in saddle in a 30’s style bridge.

The High Performance neck combines a modified low oval profile with the Performing Artist Taper, which first appeared on the guitars in the Performing Artist Series. It features a 1-3/4″ width at the nut but tapers to 2-1/1/8″ at the 12th fret, adding up to a sleeker faster and thoroughly modern neck. But unlike the PA models, the profile of the neck used on the revamped guitars in the Standard and Retro Series is not as shallow and flat in the back, providing a bit more traditional feeling in the palm of the hand.

Basically this new model replicates the look and feel of the OM-28 Retro model, only without the on-board electronics, and with a bone saddle rather than the Tusq used for the acoustic-electric Martins.

Martin OM-28 000-18 30's b

30’s Style Bridge with drop-in saddle


The new 000-18 likewise sports the High Performance neck and 30s bridge, having already traded in its rosewood bridge and fingerboard for ebony some months before. But this latest edition also gets scalloped braces to go along with its more-vintagey appointments. And about time too, I say. As with the OM-28, this new 000-18 is basically identical to the 000-18 Retro, which appeared at Winter NAMM, minus the electronics.

New Aura Models

The DC-Aura GT and GPC-Aura GT are made of Indian rosewood and Sitka spruce, with the full Aura F1 Plus pickup system, and African blackwood bridges.

You can see all the new Martins HERE

But you will have to wait for Summer NAMM for the even more exciting rosewood model! Will the snow never melt!?