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