Black To White Eric Clapton And Hiroshi Fujiwara Create The Bellezza Bianca
Source: Sounding Board Newsletter Vol 20 - Jan. 2006
000-ECHF Bellezza Bianca
In the summer of 2004, C. F. Martin introduced the Bellezza Nera, a spectacular black 000 guitar with silver accents collaboratively designed by British guitar legend Eric Clapton and Japanese fashion and music trendsetter Hiroshi Fujiwara. It proved to be a huge hit: a total of 476 of these visually and sonically inspired guitars were produced, among the most popular limited editions in Martin history.
In the 18 months since their masterpiece debuted, these two creative forces have barely slowed down to savor its success. Fujiwara brought out new clothing and accessory designs for both Tabletop™ by Hiroshi Fujiwara and Unsqueaky,™ and released two albums: “Classic Dub Classics,” a very contemporary take on classical music, and “Untitled,” a selection of post-modern blues featuring Eric Clapton. Clapton continued his exploration of blues master Robert Johnson with his CD/DVD “Me And Mr. Johnson” (featuring the Bellezza Nera on the CD cover), released “Back Home,” a relaxed, upbeat album of rock and pop, and reunited with former Cream bandmates Ginger Baker and Jack Bruce for a triumphant series of reunion concerts in London (documented on DVD and CD) and New York.
Clapton and Fujiwara also finished work on their next guitar collaboration for Martin; a sister instrument to the Bellezza Nera, but in creamy white, with a touch of black and pearl for dramatic effect. As beautiful as its predecessor in appearance and tone, this stunning 000 guitar could only be called Bellezza Bianca (“White Beauty”).
The twosome opted for a unique combination of solid tonewoods to give the new model a sound as distinctive as its look. The Bellezza Bianca features a top crafted from bookmatched Engelmann spruce, treasured by players and guitar builders alike for its clear, full tone and outstanding balance. Scalloped 5/16" top braces enhance the top’s dynamic range. Bigleaf flamed maple back and sides contribute bright timbre and impressive projection. The 1-3/4" (at the nut) modified V-shape neck with diamond volute is carved from genuine mahogany.
Polished gloss white finish on the body and neck provide the perfect “canvas” for Bellezza Bianca’s striking appointments. The distinctive rosette of “slotted diamonds” inlaid on a black background first seen on Bellezza Nera looks even better on Bellezza Bianca. Fine pattern herringbone purfling encircles the top and divides the back. Creamcolored grained ivoroid binding trims the top, back and side edges, with fine black/white/black line purfling accenting the back and sides. The grained ivoroid endpiece is likewise accented with black/white/black inlay. A beveled and polished black pickguard continues the black and white theme.
Like the Bellezza Nera, Bellezza Bianca’s bound and polished black African ebony headplate showcases the “alternative torch” inlay – a design created for one of the first Martin 00-45s in 1902 – in vibrant abalone pearl and special sterling silver-plated mini tuners with sterling silver-plated buttons. The bound black African ebony fingerboard, highlighted by mitered black/white line inlay, bears Martin Style 45 snowflake position markers from the 1st to the 17th fret, and “Bellezza Bianca” in script between the 19th and 20th frets.
To assure superb tone, Bellezza Bianca is fitted with a bone nut and compensated bone saddle. Carved from black African ebony, the belly bridge comes equipped with black ebony bridge pins inlaid with abalone pearl dots; a matching pearlinlaid ebony endpin is also included.
Fitting for such a unique white guitar, each Bellezza Bianca is delivered in a distinctive white Geib style case with white plush lining and features a special white interior label signed by Eric Clapton, Hiroshi Fujiwara, Martin Artist Relations head Dick Boak and Martin Chairman C. F. Martin IV. C. F. Martin dealers and distributors will accept orders for the Eric Clapton/Hiroshi Fujiwara Bellezza Bianca Limited Edition until March 20, 2006.
After the ordering period concludes, the size of the edition and the names of participating Martin dealers will be listed on this website.