Trey Anastasio Unplugs With Cutaway Signature Edition
Source: Sounding Board Newsletter Vol 19 - Jul. 2005
DC Trey Anastasio
DCE Trey Anastasio
Most people know Trey Anastasio as the electric guitar wizard of Phish, the jam band that garnered a huge and devoted audience during 20 years of music making. But those who have followed his solo career know him as an equally adept acoustic guitarist. Both in concert and on record, Anastasio has used an acoustic to create rich musical landscapes. Now he has joined forces with C.F. Martin to create an acoustic guitar worthy of his name: the Martin DC Trey Anastasio Signature Edition.
The DC Trey Anastasio Signature Edition blends form and function in a style as original as the man himself. A Dreadnought body with a smoothly curved Venetian cutaway allows for easy access to the upper frets. Solid tonewoods yield an exceptionally clear, full tone, enhanced with a top of rare Italian alpine spruce, East Indian rosewood sides and a three-piece back with “wings” of East Indian rosewood and a center wedge of beautifully flamed Hawaiian koa. A 1-11/16” (at the nut) low profile genuine mahogany neck provides playing comfort. Distinctive appointments include a flamed Hawaiian koa headplate with eye-catching headstock and fingerboard inlays. It’s a practical guitar that looks and plays as good as it sounds, and it is offered in two configurations: either with Fishman’s acclaimed onboard Ellipse™ Blend System that delivers superb live and recorded sound, or for the more traditional player, without the onboard electronics package.
Trey Anastasio’s musical odyssey shows a similar integrity. He played drums as a child growing up in New Jersey and wrote music while still in junior high school. He started playing guitar in high school and soon founded his first band.
He headed off to the University of Vermont in 1983, where he joined forces with bassist Mike Gordon, drummer Jon Fishman and fellow guitarist Jeff Holdsworth (later replaced by Page McConnell) to form Phish, which got its start playing campus parties. In 1986 he transferred to nearby Goddard College, where he studied with composer Ernie Stires. Meanwhile Phish continued to play live and build a following for its improvisational music, first in Vermont and later throughout New England.
Phish recorded its first album, “Junta,” in 1988 to sell at shows, the same year Anastasio finished college and began devoting himself to music full time. By 1991, Phish had gone national, playing 150 shows a year, establishing an internet presence (when the web was something of a novelty) and inking a major label recording contract. Fueled by Anastasio’s ever-evolving creativity and guitar alchemy, Phish recorded nearly a dozen albums, played innumerable shows and became the most popular jam band on the planet. In 2004, after the release of “Undermind,” an album considered by many to be a classic, the group brought down the curtain, but not before playing two farewell shows in Vermont for its fans.
Independent of Phish, Anastasio has been making music since 1996 when his first solo project, the free jazz “Surrender to the Air” was released. Oysterhead, a side project with Primus bassist Les Claypool and former Police drummer Stewart Copeland, showed his experimental side. A self-titled solo album in 2002, followed by “Plasma” in 2003 and “Seis de Mayo” in 2004, allowed him to create more structured, layered music and develop his acoustic voice. He also collaborated with a range of other top musicians, from Herbie Hancock and Alison Krauss to Neil Young and Carlos Santana. He introduced his new quintet in April of 2005 and is playing concerts across the United States this summer.
Martin’s mortise and tenon construction and 5/16” “Hybrid” scalloped bracing give the DC Trey Anastasio Signature Edition solid feel and tone. Fine herringbone encircles the top, an understated complement to the Style 45 rosette with its center ring of colorful paua shell. Multicolored Style 45 mosaic back strips add to the drama of the back tonewoods, while the grained ivoroid binding, end piece and heel cap are accented with black/white line inlays.
Both the headstock and the fingerboard are similarly bound in grained ivoroid and accented with back/white inlays. The koa headplate provides the backdrop for a unique Style 45 C.F. Martin block letter inlay in black micarta. The black ebony fingerboard features the distinctive diamonds and squares abalone pearl inlay first seen on a 1922 00-42 Martin made for the Wurlitzer Company: a Maltese cross at the 3rd fret, two diamonds at the 5th fret, a square at the 7th fret, two diamonds at the 9th fret, a square with cat’s eyes at the 12th fret and a cat’s eye at the 15th fret. Trey Anastasio’s signature is inlaid in mother of pearl between the 18th and 20th frets. The belly bridge is also crafted from black ebony, as are the buttons on the Schaller gold mini tuners.
Martin’s traditional attention to detail shows in the bone nut, compensated Tusq drop-in saddle, vintage hue top, polished gloss body and headplate finish, polished and beveled tortoise color pickguard, and white bridge and end pins with abalone dots (gold end pin jack on Ellipse model).
Packed in a vintage-inspired Geib style hardshell case, each DC Trey Anastasio Signature Edition guitar bears an interior label personally signed by Trey Anastasio and Martin Chairman C. F. Martin IV, and numbered in sequence with the edition total. Authorized C. F. Martin dealers will take orders for the DC Trey Anastasio Signature Edition until September 23, 2005. The edition total and the names of participating dealers then will be posted on the Martin website, www.martinguitar.com.