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Innovative Inlays Pay Tribute<br>to Don McLean "American Pie" Edition

Release Date: 07/01/98
Source: Sounding Board Newsletter Vol 5 - July 1998
D-40DM (Don McLean)

Don McLean's legendary "American Pie" is one of the most famous songs of all time. Recorded in 1971, "American Pie" was issued as a double-sided single. The song immediately hit #1 on the charts in both the United States and the United Kingdom, and Don McLean became an instant star whose popularity has continued throughout the years. In honor of Don McLean and "American Pie," Martin is proud to present the D-40DM Don McLean Limited Edition Signature Model. In commemoration of the year the song was written, the edition will be limited to no more than 71 instruments.

Don McLean has been a loyal player of Martin guitars throughout his career with more than 14 Martin guitars in his collection. When discussing the edition, McLean said that given a choice between a Grammy and the honor of being chosen for a Martin Limited Edition Signature model, he'd "take the Martin any day."

The D-40DM is a 14-fret Dreadnought with a solid Engelmann spruce top, the soundhole of which is inlaid with a highly colorful abalone pearl rosette. In order to yield optimum tone, the top braces have been carefully scalloped and sifted forward to a position 1" from the soundhole. The pickguard is tortoise color with beveled and polished edges to replicate the appearance of Martin's vintage under-the-finish guards. The top is tinted with aging toner, then lacquered and polished to a high gloss finish.

Apart from its powerful and resonant tone, the most unique aspects of the Don McLean Signature Model guitar are the delicate and innovative abalone pearl inlays. The genuine ebony fingerboard is inlaid with Martin's standard large hexagon pattern, but upon closer inspection, each of the hexagons has been routed with lettering, filled with crimson, and coated with a durable clear acrylic to reflect (literally) the images of the song, which include "King" (on the 1st fret), "Queen" (3rd fret), "Jester" (5th fret), "Father" (7th fret), "Son" (9th fret), "Holy Ghost" (12th fret), "Jack Flash" (15th fret), and "American Pie" (17th fret). Don McLean's signature will be inlaid between the 19th and 20th frets.

The genuine ebony headplate is bound in white and inlaid with the C. F. Martin & Co. decal logo in Mother of Pearl which sits atop a slightly modified version of the traditional Martin "torch" inlay pattern. The tuning machines are gold C. F. Martin/Schallers with pearloid buttons.

The sides and back are bookmatched from selected East Indian rosewood. The body is bound in white, and the back is separated with a Style 45 multi-colored mosaic inlay strip. The neck, with a standard playing width of 1 11/16" at the nut, is crafted of solid genuine mahogany with Martin's traditional carved diamond volute.

The interior label of each instrument includes Don McLean's hand-colored "thumbs up" logo. Each label will be personally signed by Don McLean and C. F. Martin IV, and each instrument will be individually numbered in sequence with the edition total (i.e., #1 of 71, #2 of 71, etc.). A portion of the proceeds from the sale of each D-40DM will be donated to the charity initiated by Don McLean himself, The Don McLean Foundation.

Though orders are being taken now for this special edition, the D-40DM will begin to appear in stores in the early months of 1999.

Thanks to You Too, Willie

Release Date: 01/01/98
Source: Sounding Board Newsletter Vol 4 - January 1998

Willie Nelson took the opportunity to sample one of the Limited Edition Jimmie Rodgers 000-45JR Brazilian rosewood models, which commemorates the 100th Birthday Anniversary of "The Singing Brakeman." This guitar, #2 in the edition, belongs to Jimmie Rodgers' cousin, Conrad "Sonny" Rodgers, who naturally takes tremendous pride in his guitar. He carries it with him just about everywhere he goes. This photo was taken at the Knights of Columbus Hall in Kerrville, Texas during the Jimmie Rodgers' festival last September. It is one of those rare moments when Willie is not holding his famous "Trigger" Martin guitar; the one with an "additional" soundhole. Recently, Willie joined a group of musicians who paid tribute to Jimmie Rodgers with a compendium album of Rodgers' tunes. Included are songs by Bob Dylan, Van Morrison, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Allison Kraus, Dwight Yokum, David Gristman, Jerry Garcia and many more. Ironically, this was Jerry Garcia's final recording.

Diane Ponzo - A Plug for Plugging In

Release Date: 02/07/00
Source: Sounding Board Newsletter Vol 8 - February 2000

by Diane Ponzio

We all agree that our Martin guitars sound the best in a tiled bathroom or in the kitchen late at night, with our ear glued to the upper bout as we play. The acoustic sound of a Martin, pure and simple, is the best. It’s also the reason that when recording your Martin, whether on a home 4-track or in a digital 48-track super studio, a microphone is the best method to reproduce that fantastic sound. However, that sound is dependent upon the quality of the mic, the mic pre-amp, the mixing board, compression, and mic placement, to name just a few parameters.

By far the greater need is in amplifying a Martin guitar rather than recording it. Martin players will often play with a bassist, a drummer, a keyboardist, or other guitarists, and the need to be heard above other instruments and vocals necessitates amplification. Using a microphone to amplify your Martin is one, albeit, archaic method. Remember that mic-ing your guitar is a delicate science in a live performance setting. First, you have to stand or sit in just the right spot. If you boogie to the groove and move, you may lose your sound. The other problem may be feedback from overtones, ambient room sounds, or other instruments. Pick-up technology in the past 15 years has been evolutionary and revolutionary. The Martin Company decided long ago to pair itself with a leader in the science of sound transduction, The Fishman Company. Larry Fishman, an accomplished bass player, started out with a musician’s perspective coupled with scientific prowess. The results are state-of-the-art choices offering you varied and far reaching options. Your Martin guitar can be factory installed, or retrofitted, with anything from an under-the-saddle piezo pick-up, active or passive, to a magnetic soundhole pick-up, or even pre-amp systems that are built into the side of your guitar. This has more impact than you think — you are not tied into any one particular model; any Martin can be an acoustic/electric.

Pick-ups have a tremendous list of advantages: they are consistent, easy to use and understand, almost impervious to feedback, affordable, relatively easy to install, allow you to move all over the stage or playing area, and do not compromise the structural integrity or mar the cosmetics of your guitar. If you want fingertip controls, you can opt to select from a number of onboard or outboard preamp systems as well. For those players who still swear by a mic sound, there are "blender" systems from Fishman available for your Martin that provide a stereo mix of a soundhole gooseneck microphone AND a pick-up.

Let’s demystify this whole pick-up science a little bit. The true story is that in the 1800s, Madame Curie noticed that a ceramic crystal, when struck, emitted a spark. That spark was dependent on the pressure struck to the crystal. Six of these "Piezo" crystals, ("piezo" means pressure) when imbedded in a very thin piece of graphite and put under the saddle, approximate the same scenario. You strike the string, and the crystal underneath emits an electronic charge. That charge goes through a wire, out of the end-pin and through a 1/4" guitar cable to an amp or PA.

This kind of pick-up, a Martin Thinline®, is very percussive, but the signal is a "passive" signal. It’s raw. And what’s more, it’s high impedance. Impedance refers to the flow of electricity. If you think of it like a water flow, a garden hose is high impedance (MUCH resistance to flow) whereas a city water main pipe is low impedance (LITTLE resistance to flow). Amps and PA systems accept LOW impedance signals. Therefore, the Thinline pick-up necessitates what’s called a pre-amp. This unit, whether outboard or inboard, takes the signal, boosts it, and converts it to low impedance. Think of it as a holding tank, where you let the garden hose run water in, so then you can attach it to the water main. That’s when the signal becomes "active". My favorite combination is the Thinline with an "Active Jack." The Active Jack® looks like a small metal cigar and is inside the guitar, attached to the wiring, right before the end-pin. The circuitry on this is tiny but does a giant job of taking the signal from the crystals and making them ready for a PA system or amp. My favorite acoustic guitar amp, in fact, is a PA system. This allows for a terrific blend with vocals and other instruments through the board. "Active" pick-ups require a power source to do their job, and that is why you will always find a 9V battery mount inside the guitar, generally on the end block. The battery for an Active Jack®, for example, lasts about two years.

Another option is the active Thinline Gold Plus® pick-up. This transducer utilizes a continuous strip of copolymer material that behaves like ceramic crystals. Because the Gold Plus® is active, you don’t need a separate pre-amp. There are two varieties of GoldPlus® Systems available. The Natural I is for smaller coffeehouse venues, while the Natural II is for larger concert venues where a sound board (mixing console) is utilized.

This only scratches the surface. There are several onboard slider controlled "Prefix" systems available for factory installation. There is also a new line of "Rare Earth®" magnetic pickups with several options that mount into the soundhole. Your Martin dealer can advise you about sound reinforcement options for your guitar. Take the advantage of having the best made transducers paired with the best made acoustic guitars. You’re guaranteed to sound the best!

Jimmy Driftwood

Release Date: 01/01/98
Source: Sounding Board Newsletter Vol 4 - January 1998

Country singer Jimmy Driftwood from Timbo, Arkansas, was a personal friend of Jimmie Rodgers, so he was equally thrilled when Sonny Rodgers (cousin of Jimmie Rodgers) let him have a go-round with the Limited Edition 000-45JR. Jimmy Driftwood, who made frequent appearances at the Grand Ole Opry, wrote more than 6,000 songs in his career, which has spanned more than a half-century.

Jim Croce Honored with pair of D-21 Commemorative Editions

Release Date: 02/07/00
Source: Sounding Board Newsletter Vol 8 - February 2000
D-21JC (Jim Croce)

Few singer/songwriters have had such a profound impact on popular folk and blues music as the late great Jim Croce. He enjoyed a string of memorable hit singles and albums in the early 1970s before a plane crash ended his life when he was only 30 years old. A veteran of the 1960s New York coffeehouse circuit, Croce’s timeless hits include such classics as "You Don’t Mess Around With Jim," "Operator," "Time In A Bottle," and "I Got A Name." Within months of Croce’s death in 1973, three of his albums, "Life and Times," "I Got A Name," and "You Don’t Mess Around With Jim," went to the top twenty on the best-selling charts. His music is revered by many great artists including Bob Dylan, Sheryl Crow, Bruce Springsteen, Willie Nelson, Arlo Guthrie, Merle Haggard, Elton John, Don McLean, and Sarah McLachlan.

In commemoration of Jim Croce’s lasting contribution to acoustic music, Martin is honored to present two limited edition guitar models. The D-21JC Jim Croce Limited Edition is crafted with back and sides of East Indian rosewood.

The D-21JCB Jim Croce Limited Edition has back and sides of genuine Brazilian rosewood. These commemorative editions will be limited to 73 instruments each in honor of the year (1973) in which Croce died.

The guitars are inspired by Martin’s original D-21 guitars, added to the company’s catalog in the 1950s. Style 21 features rosewood back and sides with very plain appointments. Because of their grass roots appeal, the D-21 was C. Frederick Martin III’s favorite model in the Martin line.

The last line of Jim Croce’s famous song "Operator" is "You can keep the dime." Inspired by that lyric, an uncirculated mint condition 1973 dime is inlaid at the 3rd fret fingerboard position and encased in clear resin, creating a striking visual effect against the black ebony background. (Of course, this adds a dime to the cost of each instrument.) Jim Croce’s signature is inlaid between the 17th and 20th frets. The remaining fingerboard position dots are mother of pearl, faithful to the 21 style.

Martin guitars made in the 1960s had headstocks that were slightly more rounded than the standard squared design due to the gradual wear of the fixturing that held the neck during the headstock shaping process. This subtle "over-rounding" has been replicated in keeping with the proportions of the Martin guitar that Jim Croce played. In addition, replicas of the original chrome Grover 102C tuning machines have been chosen for these models. As a tribute to Jim’s love of informality, each guitar comes equipped with a special denim Geib style case.

With the exception of the back and side tonewoods, both models share similar specifications. The soundboard is bookmatched from select solid Sitka spruce and lightly braced with Martin’s forward shifted scalloped "X" pattern for optimum tonal balance and response. The rosette is understated with simple Style 18 black and white inlay. Black bindings with black and white inlay lines around the perimeter of the top, sides and back combined with the checkered back inlay strip and a beveled and polished black pickguard all add to the simple elegance of this special edition.

Each of the Jim Croce Limited Edition guitars will bear an interior label personally signed by Jim Croce’s wife and musical partner, Ingrid Croce as well as Martin Chairman and CEO, C. F. Martin IV. A secondary interior label features a Paul Wilson color photograph of Jim Croce with Jim’s imprinted signature. Each guitar will be numbered in sequence with the edition total (i.e. 1 of 73, 2 of 73, etc.).

A portion of the proceeds from the sale of each guitar will be donated in support of the "Jim Croce Music Award," a charitable project initiated by Ingrid Croce which provides well needed scholarships for working musicians. Ingrid Croce owns and operates "Croce’s," which includes two restaurants and three bars offering live jazz and rhythm and blues nightly in San Diego’s Gaslamp District. Jim and Ingrid’s son A. J. Croce carries on the Croce family musical tradition as a singer songwriter with his own distinctive style.

Martin Guitar dealers will begin to take orders for the Jim Croce Limited Edition Martin guitars immediately, though the edition will not begin to appear in stores until the summer of 2000.

The Jim Croce Music Award
c/o Croce’s
802 5th Avenue
San Diego, CA 92101

A portion of the proceeds from the sale of each Jim Croce D-21JC and D-21JCB Limited Edition guitar will be donated in support of the "Jim Croce Music Award," a charitable project initiated by Ingrid Croce which provides well needed scholar-ships for working musicians.

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