Paul Simon Collaborates with Martin<br>in Development of OM-42<br>Limited Edition Signature Model
Source: Sounding Board Newsletter Vol 2 - January 1997
C. F. Martin & Co. is proud to announce a major collaboration with one of the most significant recording artists and songwriters of our time, Paul Simon. The OM-42 Paul Simon Limited Edition Guitar will be introduced at the Winter NAMM Show in Anaheim, CA, and will begin to appear in stores in mid-1997.
The OM-42PS guitar was designed to meet Paul Simon's exacting requirements for tone, size, and action. Paul personally participated in the development of the prototypes which led to the final OM-42PS specifications. He preferred the smaller "OM" body size combined with the long (25.4") scale length which proved to be particularly applicable to his fingerstyle technique and his desire for a strong yet balanced tone.
The OM-42PS is tastefully appointed with tortoise colored bindings throughout. Hand-crafted entirely with solid woods, the sides and back are constructed from select grade East Indian rosewood, and the top is bookmatched from quartersawn Sitka spruce.
The perimeter of the pearl rosetted soundboard has been painstakingly inlaid with highly colored Style 42 abalone pearl top inlay. At Paul Simon's specific request, the adjustable neck is sleek and low with a comfortable 1 11/16" neck width at the nut, but with the slightly wider "OM" neck width as you move up toward the 12th fret. A Style 45 pearl inlaid C. F. Martin headstock is bound in tortoise and fitted with the highest quality vintage style ivoroid button Waverly nickel-plated open-geared tuning machines. A genuine ebony tortoise bound fingerboard features the original Style 42 snowflake pattern in abalone pearl, with Paul Simon's signature delicately inlaid in mother of pearl between the 19th and 20th frets. A deluxe five-ply vintage series "Geib Style" hardshell case has been designed to house this special guitar.
The edition will be limited to 500 guitars for sale worldwide. The edition size of "500" was taken from "Suite 500" which is Simon's office address within the classic "Brill" building on Broadway in Manhattan. The interior label of each instrument will be numbered in sequence (i.e. 1 of 500, 2 of 500, etc.) and will be personally signed by Paul Simon and C. F. Martin IV, Martin's Chairman and CEO.
In general, both Paul Simon and C. F. Martin & Co. steer clear of product endorsements. As a result, both wished to develop a special guitar that would help fund a charity of particular interest to Paul Simon. Paul is the co-founder of The Children's Health Fund, the nation's largest health care program for homeless children, so choosing a charity was easy.
Paul Simon is acknowledged to be on of this century's finest singer/songwriters and performers. While other musicians crank out quantity, Paul Simon has labored with the highest standard of perfection in the details of his writings and recordings, which stretch from the late 1950's to the present. And it shows. His lyrics are nothing short of poetic, and his compositions are meticulously layered without the feeling of being over-produced. Of course, he is widely known for the legendary partnership of Simon & Garfunkel, but after their breakup in the early 1970's, it was Paul's talent that emerged in album after album of award winning and memorable material. From his first solo release in 1972 titled simply "Paul Simon" to his 1990 release of "Rhythm of the Saints," Simon's work has bridged the gaps between poetry, music, and art. Perhaps Paul's most interesting endeavor was his controversial Grammy award winning release "Graceland," a project that influenced and inspired the "World Music" movement, and set the stage for dozens of new musical genres.
After an initial New York meeting to discuss limited edition possibilities with Martin's artist relations manager Dick Boak, Paul Simon traveled to Nazareth with his son Harper (also a great guitarist) to try out the complete array of Martin guitar sizes, shapes, and styles. After several hours of playing, Paul zeroed in on two sizes: the "0000" (Grand Auditorium) and "OM" (Orchestra Model). Martin built four initial prototypes for Paul to try: two "OM" models and two "0000" models. For his particular playing style and touch, Paul loved the clarity and balance of the "OM" size. He paid particular attention to the feel of the neck, opting for a custom variation of the typically wider "OM" neck width. In respect to appointments, Paul felt that as a limited edition or collectable, the model should be ornate but tasteful, easy to amplify, and perfect for use on stage and in the studio. Two final OM-42PS prototypes were built for Paul's approval prior to unveiling at the NAMM show.
Paul has been writing the score for the Broadway musical entitled "The Capeman," due to open in New York in the fall of 1997. As with all of his projects, he has focused an intense creative energy on the score. The word around Broadway is that the music is extraordinary, setting a new standard by which musicals will be judged. It is interesting to note that the two acoustic guitars being used in the show are the initial prototypes from the limited edition.