Martin Commemorates Lester Flatt<br>with D-28LF Brazilian Edition of 50
Source: Sounding Board Newsletter Vol 5 - July 1998
D-28LF (Lester Flatt)
The Martin Guitar Company is honored to announce the Limited Edition Lester Flatt D-28LF Commemorative Dreadnought acoustic guitar. Years ago, Lester Flatt, one of America's greatest bluegrass stars, gave his priceless and legendary Martin D-28 to a 14-year-old mandolin prodigy named Marty Stuart. The Limited Edition D-28LF Commemorative is a replica of Lester Flatt's original and unique Brazilian rosewood Martin guitar (Serial #114855) made in 1950. A maximum of 50 limited edition instruments will be offered for sale worldwide.
Lester Flatt and his wife invited the very young and talented Marty Stuart to live in their home in Nashville when Stuart was launching his career as a teenager. Stuart found the guitar in a spare room of the Flatt's house and he immediately recognized it as the Martin that Lester Flatt had played throughout his long and illustrious career. Flatt gave Stuart permission to play it. The D-28, which is now owned by Stuart, had been uniquely customized over the years with special fingerboard inlays and an enlarged custom pickguard.
Lester Flatt, a native of Sparta, Tennessee, was born in 1914. An innovator and composer, he was one of the first bluegrass artists to play in Carnegie Hall. A frequent performer at the Grand Ole Opry, Flatt was a star of television, radio and motion pictures. He and his partner, Earl Scruggs, are known for a number of bluegrass favorites including "Foggy Mountain Breakdown" and "The Ballad of Jed Clampett" (the theme from the Beverly Hillbillies and the first bluegrass song ever to hit number one on the charts). Flatt, a member of the Grand Ole Opry, died in 1979.
The unique inlays on the original Lester Flatt D-28 were done by historian, author and inlay artist Mike Longworth prior to his long and illustrious career with the Martin Guitar Company. Mike began doing inlay work in 1955 while he was still in high school, and most of his early jobs included the inlaid letter "L" (for Longworth) and a number designating the sequence of his work.
It is interesting to note that Longworth's third inlay job was done for Buck "Josh" Graves (the dobro player for Flatt & Scruggs), and his fourth inlay job was done for Curly Seckler (the mandolin player and tenor singer for Flatt & Scruggs).
Longworth's fifth inlay job was the famous Lester Flatt guitar, hence the "L-5" inlay at the 17th fret which indicates "Longworth Professional Inlay Job #5." Flatt's first name, Lester, is engraved in block letters into a Mother-of-Pearl panel between the 14th and 15th frets, and larger than standard Mother-of-Pearl notched diamond inlays appear at the 5th and 9th frets, with double diamonds at the 7th and 12th frets.
In addition to the unique Longworth inlay pattern, the Lester Flatt D-28LF Commemorative model includes the special oversized tortoise colored pickguard, a pattern that appeared on virtually all of Lester Flatt's wide assortment of Martin guitars. As an option at the point of ordering, dealers may request the more traditional D-28 tortoise pickguard instead of the original Lester Flatt oversized version.
Other specifications for the edition are matched closely to the original 1950 D-28 guitar, which include Brazilian rosewood two-piece back and sides, genuine ebony fingerboard and bridge, Martin 5/16" height standard X-bracing, a small maple bridge plate, grained ivoroid bindings, and a black and white checkered back inlay strip. A 5-ply Geib Vintage Style Deluxe hardshell case is included with each instrument.
Each guitar in the edition will bear an interior label numbered in sequence and personally signed by C. F. Martin IV. A portion of the proceeds from each Limited Edition D-28LF model will be donated to the estate of Lester Flatt.
Martin Guitar dealers are taking orders for the D-28LF now, though the edition will not begin to appear in stores until the early months of 1999.