Guitar Innovator Andy Summers Honored With Unique 000 Signature Edition
Source: Sounding Board Newsletter Vol 20 - Jan. 2006
000C-28 Andy Summers
From the sonic textures of the Police to the jazzy contemporary sound of his solo work, Andy Summers is a guitar innovator. Rock, classical, jazz, Brazilian, and just about everything in between. If it can be played on an acoustic or electric guitar, Summers has played it and in doing so has expanded its horizons.
In recent years, and particularly after many acoustic guitar tours in Brazil, an acoustic guitar with the capability of “plugging in” became one of his primary instruments. With considerable experience of the problems and nuances of getting an acoustic guitar to come across in live performances, the proposal by C. F. Martin to create an Andy Summers Signature Edition was welcome. To build a guitar that plays well, overcomes the classic problems of getting an acoustic guitar amplified and has an appearance that is singular in design, Andy worked closely with Martin’s Dick Boak. The Martin 000C-28 Andy Summers Signature Edition shows how he and Martin met this challenge. It is an extraordinary guitar in every way.
The 000C-28 Andy Summers Signature Edition features a top with a unique black/white “chevron checkered” binding, while the back showcases a Style 45 multicolored back strip with distinctive black fiber borders. Accenting the soundhole is a triple-ring rosette with a central ring of fine herringbone. The back and sides are bound in ivoroid, the latter with mitered black/white fine line purfling. In a salute to Martin history – and because the combination looks so elegant – a black African ebony pyramid bridge graces the top, but a pickguard does not.
Up the neck, the solid, square tapered headstock combines Martin’s antique pressure stamp on the back with an ivoroid-bound, black/white mitered black African ebony headplate inlaid with the Lotus flower, the Buddhist symbol of purity, on the front. The matching ivoroid-bound and mitered black African ebony fingerboard is inlaid in mother of pearl with Buddhist “Mudra” (hand gesture) position markers at the 5th, 7th, 9th, 12th and 15th frets, the yin/yang symbol at the 17th fret and Andy Summer’s signature between the 19th and 20th frets.
Exquisite premium solid tonewoods add to the beauty of this guitar and contribute to its superb tone. The top is crafted from Italian alpine spruce, renowned for warmth, balance and impressive dynamic range, and matched to 5/16” scalloped bracing for clear definition. East Indian rosewood back and sides add outstanding projection. A one-piece neck of genuine mahogany contributes structural strength and stability.
Several design elements make the 000C-28 Andy Summers Signature Edition a player’s delight. The short 24.9” scale, 1-3/4” (at the nut) neck with modified low oval profile and low action allow for easy fretting, even on difficult chords. The 000 cutaway body insures full fingerboard access and playing comfort both sitting and standing (a chrome strap button is installed at the neck heel). Waverly open-geared nickel tuners with butterbean knobs contribute smooth, precise tuning. The factoryinstalled Fishman Ellipse™ Blend electronics with a mic/under-saddle pickup combination and on-board controls allows effortless amplification.
The crowning touch to the 000C-28 Andy Summers Signature Edition is the finish. Polished gloss lacquer finish on the guitar’s body highlights both the elegant appointments and the golden agingtoned top. The headplate likewise features a gloss finish, while the neck receives a satin finish.
Moving to London in his late teens, Andy Summers spent the late ‘60s honing his guitar skills with a variety of London-based groups including Zoot Moneys Big Roll Band, Dantalions Chariot, the Soft Machine and Eric Burdon’s New Animals. His love and relationship with the guitar after this period continued with four years of classical guitar study at Northridge University in California.
Subsequent to this period, Andy returned to London and within three years joined up with Stewart Copeland and Sting to form “The Police.” With this classic and legendary group, Andy achieved worldwide prominence and became one of the most copied guitarists of all time. The group enjoyed countless number one records around the world, several Grammys and numerous awards, eventually selling upward of eighty million records. Andy won the number one spot in Guitar Player Magazine for five years in a row and eventually was inducted into the Guitar Player Hall of Fame. In March 2003 the group was also inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Even before the Police ended, Summers began taking his guitar in new directions, recording two jazz/world music albums with King Crimson guitarist Robert Fripp. He spent a brief period scoring soundtracks for motion pictures like “Down and Out in Beverly Hills” and “Weekend at Bernie’s” before embarking on a solo career with “XYZ,” an album released in 1987. Successive albums (13 in all) allowed him to combine jazz and world music in his own signature style. These also include tributes to Thelonious Monk and Charles Mingus, and collaborations with Victor Biglione of Brazil, John Etheridge of the UK and Ben Verdery, the New York classical guitarist with whom he performed at Carnegie Hall in March of this year. Touring consistently on a worldwide basis, Summers keeps an active profile. His most recent release is “The X Tracks,” a compendium of the best tracks from the past few years. In addition to his musical endeavors, Summers is a fine photographer and published author. His most recent book, “Light Strings: Impressions of the Guitar,” written with Ralph Gibson, was published in 2004. St. Martins press will release his autobiography “One Train Later” in October of 2006.
Delivered in a Geib-style hardshell case, each Martin 000C-28 Andy Summers Signature Edition guitar bears an interior label personally signed by Andy Summers and Martin Chairman C. F. Martin IV and is numbered in sequence with the edition total. Authorized C. F. Martin dealers will be accepting orders for this guitar until March 20, 2006. After the order period, Martin will post the names of participating Martin dealers on this website.