Six New Martin Guitars For 2011

Videos by American Songwriter

Videos by American Songwriter

Clockwise from top left: CEO-6 Sunburst, D-45 Authentic 1942, GPC-42E Amazon Rosewood, OMCPA4, JSO Sing Out 60th Pete Seeger, J12SO Sing Out 60th Pete Seeger

At the Winter NAMM show last week, we had the pleasure of walking around the Martin booth with Dick Boak, who heads up the company’s artist relations, limited editions and archives. Here are a few of the guitars that Martin was showing off at the show (click each image above to view a larger version).

CEO-6, List Price: $4,199
For “Special Edition” guitars, which include guitars like the D-35 Johnny Cash and D-7 Roger McGuinn as well as the new CEO for company man Chris Martin IV, the Nazareth, Pennsylvania guitar maker builds specially designed guitars for specific playing styles. At the NAMM show, Boak joked that the cheeky Gibson-style logo on the CEO-6 was a nudge at their rival, who “borrowed” the dreadnought-style shape, originally invented by Martin.

D-45 Authentic 1942, List Price: $59,999
Martin pulled out all the stops on this recreation of the 1942 D-45, which taps into the company’s dwindling stash of Brazilian rosewood. The guitar is built entirely to spec based on what the company would have done in 1942. At 60 grand, not a guitar for everyone, but what a beaut!

GPC-42E Amazon Rosewood
This limited edition run guitar from Martin’s new Performing Artist Series features lovely neck and head inlays and Amazon rosewood back and sides. While the recently introduced Performing Artist group of guitars has several new models close to a $1,000 price point, the GPC-42E was clearly designed for the collector in mind. The guitar comes equipped with Fishman’s new F1 Aura system, featuring sound images, digital tuner, and tone-shaping features.

OMCPA4, List Price: $1,599
The OMCPA4 also falls in with Martin’s Performing Artist Series, but the OM-Orchestra style guitar features sapele back and sides and a more manageable price. The guitar actually features Fishman’s F1 Analog onboard electronics, a simplified version of the F1 Aura.

JSO! Sing Out 60th Pete Seeger and J12SO! Sing Out 60th Pete Seeger
While in past years much ado has been made of Martin’s Custom Artist series at NAMM – booth appearances at Summer NAMM by Steve Earle in 2008 for his OM-21; last year’s Chris Hillman model; Eric Clapton, the perennial best seller – one of this year’s artist guitars was perhaps the most striking of all, with its triangular soundhole and unusual pickguard. Martin has worked with Pete Seeger on two very special guitars – a six-string and 12-string – based on the original custom-built 12-string guitar that Seeger acquired from Liverpool, England, the handiwork of luthier G. Stanley Francis. At NAMM, Dick Boak discussed the importance of the later work done on Seeger’s 12-string in Connecticut, by the luthier Bruce Taylor. The JSO! guitars also mark the 60th anniversary of the Sing Out! magazine that Seeger helped found in 1950. Seeger’s quirky banjo sketch adorns the guitar’s headplate, along with a likeness of his signature, inlaid in mother of pearl. The guitar, based on Martin’s Jumbo body style, is in fact a baritone, and Boak illustrated that he’d most likely be inclined to tune the guitar’s lowest string to C, a major third lower from standard tuning. 120 guitars are being built and each will be signed by Seeger and Chris Martin IV.

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