Source: Sounding Board Newsletter Vol 19 - Jul. 2005
Claire Frances Martin may be the seventh generation in a guitar building dynasty, but as a cute-as-a-button baby, she isn’t thinking about the future yet. Still, birthright is birthright, and C. F. Martin & Co. has decided to get its prospective leader off to a good start by building her a first guitar. Little and exquisite like its inspiration, Claire’s Guitar celebrates her arrival in spectacular style.
Like the Mini Martin the Company currently offers, Claire’s Guitar is a diminutive Size 5 guitar, with gracefully rounded upper bouts, 12 frets to the body and a 21.4” scale ideal for its traditional tuning: a minor 3rd (three steps) above standard. However, Claire’s Guitar is the fanciest Size 5 C. F. Martin has produced in more than 80 years, one destined to capture a young girl’s – or a guitar connoisseur’s – heart.
Choice solid tonewoods give Claire’s Guitar impressive tone and volume for a small instrument. Back and sides of rare CITES-certified Brazilian rosewood are paired with a top of premium Sitka spruce for warm, full resonance, while unscalloped 1/4” top braces contribute clarity and focus. The low oval neck with diamond volute is carved from genuine mahogany, while both fingerboard and bridge are crafted from black ebony.
These choice tonewoods are matched by equally choice appointments. Both the Style 45 rosette and Style 41 top purfling feature beautiful inlays of Korean Awabi, a fine textured abalone with shimmering turquoise, pink and silver highlights, flanked by mitered black/white/black line accents. Both the top and back are bound in grained ivoroid, while a colorful Style 45 backstrip bisects the bookmatched back.
The traditional C. F. Martin & Co. logo is inlaid in Korean Awabi pearl on the Brazilian rosewood headplate, but underneath, the “Est. 1833” has been replaced by Claire’s 9/13/04 birth date inlaid in matching pearl. Adding to its beauty, the solid headstock is fitted with gold Waverly tuners with ivoroid butterbean knobs.
Created especially for this guitar, the fingerboard inlay of diamonds, squares and snowflakes culminates in a tiny footprint (think birth certificate) between the 17th and 18th frets. In keeping with the guitar’s pearl accents, its genuine bone bridge pins and endpin are topped with Korean Awabi pearl dots. Both the nut and long saddle are crafted from genuine bone.
Aging toner on the top adds to Claire’s Guitar’s timeless beauty, while polished gloss finish on the body accentuates the beautiful tonewoods and pearl inlays. The neck, featuring Martin’s new two-way adjustable rod, receives a satin finish for playing comfort. In another bow to tradition, this special guitar is available only as a pure acoustic (without a factory-installed pickup system).
Only 100 of Claire’s Guitar will be produced. Delivered in a fitted Geib style case, each will bear an interior label personally signed by Claire’s dad (and Martin Chairman) C. F. Martin IV and Claire’s mom Diane S. Repyneck, and numbered in sequence. Beginning immediately, authorized C. F. Martin dealers will take orders for Claire’s Guitar. After the edition has been fully committed, the names of participating dealers will be available on the Martin website.