Fingerstyle Magic in Rosewood: The New Laurence Juber Editions
Source: Sounding Board Newsletter Vol 16 - Jan. 2004
OMC-28B Laurence Juber
OMC-28 Laurence Juber
When C.F. Martin debuted the OMC-18VLJ Laurence Juber Signature Edition in January 2002, we knew LJ had designed a superb fingerstyle guitar. Juber himself called it his ultimate performance guitar. Still, the success of the OMC-18VLJ surpassed all expectations. A respectable 133 instruments were sold, but even more gratifying was the enthusiastic response of those who had the opportunity to try one. Players loved the unpretentious look, dynamic, yet balanced sound and playing ease of the OMC-18VLJ, as did critics: Guitar Player Magazine’s Art Thompson called it “a superb sounding acoustic that redefines the ideal of what an artist model should be” and awarded it an Editors’ Pick Award.
As expected from a man whose career (detailed in the January 2002 Sounding Board, at www.martinguitar.com) has spanned lead guitar duties for Paul McCartney’s band Wings, session work on movies (“Pocahontas”) and television (“7th Heaven”) and a steady string of fine albums, Laurence Juber has stayed busy since the OMC-18VLJ was introduced. In 2003 alone he released both “Guitarist,” a fine new solo album, and a small combo blues/jazz DVD titled “Guitar Noir,” wrote two new fingerstyle guitar tab books for Solid Air/Warner Brothers and maintained a full concert and session schedule. Nevertheless, when the idea of a second guitar collaboration with Martin presented itself, Laurence jumped at the opportunity.
The result is a pair of new editions. The OMC-28 Laurence Juber Limited Edition offers fingerstyle magic in an instrument with back and sides crafted from fine solid East Indian rosewood. The OMC-28B Laurence Juber Limited Edition combines the same magic with the beauty and character of rare C.IT.E.S. certified Brazilian rosewood.
Both the OMC-28 and OMC-28B Laurence Juber guitars retain the graceful Venetian cutaway, OM shape, neck width, string scale, and unadorned black ebony fingerboard of the OMC-18VLJ. Also unchanged is the rare Adirondack red spruce top with scalloped 1/4 inch Adirondack spruce top braces, a combination revered for clear, powerful tone.
In appointments, the OMC-28 and OMC-28B Juber editions take their cue from the original Martin OM-28 guitars from the early 1930s. At the soundhole, the Golden Era Style 28 rosette features wood fiber inlay. The top, tinted with aging toner, is bound in grained ivoroid and inlaid with fine herringbone purfling. The back features black/white wood fiber inlays inside ivoroid binding, as well as a zigzag back strip. Martin’s old style decal logo graces the headplate (East Indian rosewood for the OMC-28, Brazilian rosewood for the OMC-28B) on both instruments. Premium Waverly W-16 open geared nickel tuners with butterbean knobs add to the vintage appeal.
The guitars also showcase some very specific Juber preferences. The genuine mahogany neck is carved to a modified-V shape, but with the squared diamond volute and contoured heel of Martin’s 1930s necks. Both the nut and drop-in compensated saddle are fashioned from genuine bone, and the black ebony bridge is fitted with fossil ivory bridge pins inlaid with black dots, an element matched in the fossil ivory end pin. A polished nitrocellulose gloss lacquer finish protects the body and the neck on both models and – true to Juber’s fingerstyle roots – neither sports a pickguard. The OMC-28 and OMC-28B may be ordered with sunburst finish and factory-installed electronics for an additional fee. Left-hand versions of both are available at no additional cost. Each guitar comes in a Geib™ style hardshell case.
Production of the OMC-28B Laurence Juber Brazilian Signature Edition will not exceed 50 special guitars, while the OMC-28 is limited to dealer orders placed prior to the order cutoff date of March 15, 2004. Each of the Laurence Juber Limited Editions will bear an interior label personally signed by Laurence Juber and Martin Chairman and CEO C.F. Martin IV. Each edition will be numbered in sequence with its specific edition total. At Laurence Juber’s request, a portion of the proceeds from sales of these guitars will be donated to the The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, (www.leukemialymphoma. org) the world's largest voluntary health organization dedicated to funding blood cancer research, education and patient services. Orders for both guitars are now being accepted, and the names of participating Martin dealers will be posted on the Martin web site.