Source: Sounding Board Newsletter Vol 11 - Jul. 2001
For nearly a decade, Beck Hansen has been breaking traditions with his edgy, audacious music. Drawing on hip-hop, folk, punk, rock, rap, psychedelia, pop and blues, Beck has written, performed and recorded an eclectic, post-modern mix of music both uniquely powerful and impossible to categorize. Challenging the norm has always been at the heart of his persona, and he has done it again in the Martin D-16BH Beck Signature Edition guitar, an instrument unlike any in C. F. Martin & Company’s 168-year history.
While true to Martin’s traditional Dreadnought shape, the D-16BH features a shallow, approximately 000-depth body. The thinner body combines powerful Martin Dreadnought tone with distinctive balance and clarity. In addition to being an exceptional guitar for recording, the D-16BH offers playing comfort to guitarists for whom a standard Dreadnought is simply too deep. In suggesting this innovative design, Beck again shows his talent for thinking differently.
The D-16BH shows Beck’s appreciation for a true working musician’s instrument, with the emphasis on tone, playability and understated decoration. The top is premium solid bookmatched Sitka spruce, selected for strong, full tone. Back and sides of solid East Indian Rosewood add depth and projection. Comfortable for a variety of playing styles, the modified low oval neck is crafted from Spanish cedar. Martin’s hybrid A-frame scalloped X-bracing and patented mortise and tenon neck joint provide an ideal blend of stability and responsiveness.
Top, back and side edges combine black/white purfling " three layers on the top, and one layer on the back and sides " with tortoise colored binding for subtle elegance. In contrast, both the Style 45 abalone pearl inlaid rosette and Style 45 multi-colored mosaic back strip add a subtle touch of flash.
Other D-16BH appointments include a polished East Indian rosewood headstock overlay with the gold foil "C.F. Martin & Co." logo, chrome enclosed tuners with small ebony buttons, an ebony fingerboard and belly bridge, black bridge and end pins inlaid with abalone dots, vintage toner on the top, and a polished and beveled tortoise colored pickguard. The fingerboard features vintage style abalone dot position markers inlaid at the 5th, 7th, 9th, 12th and 15th frets, and the "Beck" signature inlaid between the 19th and 20th frets. Every D-16BH Beck Signature Edition guitar comes equipped with Martin Gold Plus® Natural II sound reinforce-ment electronics.
Whether creating a guitar or creating music, for Beck, the blend of radical and traditional comes naturally. Growing up living between Missouri and New York, Beck became drawn to acoustic blues and hardcore punk. In 1989, after learning guitar and dropping out of school, he joined the underground anti-folk scene in New York City, playing clubs, writing songs and making his first recordings.
Beck moved to Los Angeles in 1991, where he created multi-track demos that soon caught the attention of the recording industry. Released as a 12-inch single in 1993, "Loser" soon became a club and underground radio favorite and led to Beck’s first Grammy nomination in 1994. On the strength of the single, the album "Mellow Gold" was released in 1994, becoming a critical and popular success. In the summer of 1995, Beck took his show on the road, performing across the United States as part of the Lollapalooza tour. Released in 1996, Beck’s second album, "Odelay," earned two Grammy Awards and was named Best Album of the Year by Rolling Stone magazine. Beck himself was named Artist of the Year both by Rolling Stone and Spin magazines, and received an MTV™ Video Award. His acoustic-based "Mutations" album, released in 1998, netted Beck a third Grammy Award. Released in 1999, "Midnite Vultures" continued Beck’s winning streak, with a powerful set of genre-bending dance tracks that are a central element of his 2001 tour.
Delivered in a faux alligator skin case, each Martin D-16BH Beck Signature Edition guitar bears an interior label signed by Beck and Martin Chairman and CEO C.F. Martin IV. A portion of the proceeds from each guitar will be donated to The World Literacy Campaign, which addresses the problems of poverty, ignorance, disease and substance abuse in the world’s children through literacy programs.
Orders for the D-16BH Beck Signature Edition will be accepted by Martin dealers and distributors for 60 days from the date of announcement, with the size of the edition and the names of participating Martin dealers to be posted on the Martin website at www.martinguitar.com.