The OMC-LJ Pro Laurence Juber Custom Artist Edition Exploring The Dynamic Parameters Of Optimum Tonewood And Playability
Of all the artists for whom C.F. Martin & Co. has built Signature or Custom Artist Edition guitars, perhaps none plays such a range of settings as guitarist extraordinaire Laurence Juber. In just the past two years, he wrote and recorded (using his various "LJ" Martins) his new, all solo album Wooden Horses, played scores of television, movie and album sessions that ranged from solo guitar and small combos to big bands and full orchestras, and performed dozens of concerts.
Such a variety of experience spurred Juber - whose career path has evolved from lead guitarist for Paul McCartney and Wings to composer, arranger and world-class fingerstyle guitar virtuoso - in the development of his previous Martin guitars (for information on them and on Juber himself, see Volumes 12, 16, 18 and 24 of The Sounding Board at www.martinguitar.com), so it is no surprise that it would inspire his new OMC-LJ Pro Laurence Juber Custom Artist Edition guitar, which features big leaf maple as its primary tonewood.
"The initial inspiration came when I was playing a movie scoring session and contemplating the dozens of maple-bodied instruments in the orchestra string section," Juber recalled. "I became curious as to why maple is so fundamental to that family and yet less common in the flat-top guitar world. With its clarity and projection, maple creates a quite different sonic palette than rosewood and mahogany.
"For my new Custom Artist Edition, I chose flamed big leaf maple to provide 'presence' rather than 'brightness.' It also looks great. The Adirondack spruce top provides the full bottom I associate with vintage Martin tone, but paired with maple, the bass is much more defined and the midrange more prominent and complex. Plus there is a smooth, almost burnished quality to the high end. I also opted for a two-piece maple neck, like that on many archtop guitars, which contributes generous sustain."
Impressive tone and understated elegance have exemplified previous Laurence Juber Signature and Custom Artist Editions, and the OMC-LJ Pro continues that tradition. The traditional OM body - like previous LJ OMs - features a graceful rounded cutaway, and scalloped 1/4" Adirondack spruce top braces combine with the 25.4" OM scale to assure impressive resonance and dynamic range. The Adirondack spruce top and flamed big leaf maple back and sides are deftly accented by a Style 28 wood fiber rosette, fine herringbone top inlay, fine black/white wood fiber back inlay, HD-style zigzag center strip purfling, and grained ivoroid binding. The grained ivoroid endpiece is framed by fine black/white wood fiber inlay. The ebony belly bridge is fitted with a compensated saddle
The maple neck features a "Modified V" profile, generous 1 3/4" width at the bone nut and a diamond volute at the base of the headstock. The handsome black ebony headplate bears the classic Old Style gold "C. F. Martin & Co." decal and nickel Waverly tuners with butterbean knobs. The ebony fingerboard is unadorned - with no position markers. A grained ivoroid heelcap and chrome strap button complete the neck.
The belly bridge is fitted with a compensated bone saddle. The bridge pins are crafted from genuine ebony. In the fingerstyle guitar tradition, this Custom Artist Edition doesn't have a pickguard. Aging toner on the body and neck, and Martin's polished lacquer finish give this guitar unique, vintage-style patina.
The OMC-LJ Pro Laurence Juber Custom Artist Edition comes factory-equipped with D-TAR Wavelength electronics. "It provides all the dynamic headroom I need and captures the natural sound of the guitar really well," he commented. As for the guitar itself, "I didn't set out to design a killer stage guitar, but the OMC-LJ Pro has turned out to be exactly that. The sound doesn't embrace the player, but rather projects to the audience and offers a clean palette for the artist to shape his or her sound. Its transparent tone also makes it an easy guitar to record."
One would think Juber's recording and touring schedule should have taken all of his time during the last two years, but apparently not so. In addition to the previously mentioned accomplishments, he wrote music for the up-coming video game "Diablo III," served as producer and musical director for two stage productions, including "It's the Housewives," a musical he co-wrote with his wife Hope, and produced Al Stewart's latest album.
Delivered in a hardshell case, each Martin OMC-LJ Pro Laurence Juber Custom Artist Edition guitar bears an interior label personally signed by Laurence Juber and numbered in sequence. Authorized C. F. Martin & Co. dealers will take orders for the currently open-ended OMC-LJ Pro Laurence Juber Custom Artist Edition beginning immediately and participating dealers will be listed at our Martin website.