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Martin Salutes Martin Carthy

Release Date: 01/16/03
Source: Sounding Board Newsletter Vol 14 - Jan. 2003
000-18MC (Martin Carthy)

Beloved by his fans and revered by his peers, Martin Carthy is likely the most influential folk musician in Britain. His forty years of music making have spanned traditional and contemporary genres, solo, duo and group efforts, live performances and innumerable recordings, and the man himself continues to break new musical ground. A Martin guitar has been Carthy’s musical partner for most of his remarkable career, and C.F. Martin salutes both the man and his music with the new 000-18MC Martin Carthy Signature Edition.

Carthy’s well-worn Martin 000-18 has received some unusual modifications to accommodate his groundbreaking "dropped" tunings, and C.F. Martin incorporates both of those modifications and his personal preferences into the 000-18MC. A zero fret on the fingerboard below the nut and solid brass bridge pins on the three treble strings duplicate those on Carthy’s guitar, as does the OM style, tortoise-colored beveled and polished pickguard. Unscalloped 1/4" width top braces and a small maple bridge plate enhance tonal clarity, balance and dynamics, while a "drop-in" compensated bone saddle assures impressive treble response and accurate intonation. To reproduce the original’s modifications exactly, close-up photographs and detailed measurements were taken by Vince Hockey, a luthier friend of Martin Carthy whose assistance proved invaluable.

Built with premium solid tonewoods – genuine mahogany back, sides and neck, and Sitka spruce top – this distinctive guitar also showcases many 000-18 features from the mid-1930s. Among these classic appointments are the 24.9" scale, a modified V-shape neck, 1 3/4" (width at the nut) ebony fingerboard and matching ebony bridge, old Style 18 rosette, black/white purfling and tortoise-colored body binding, pearl dot fingerboard inlays, old style decal logo, nickel-plated Waverly tuners with butterbean knobs, dark mahogany stain and polished gloss lacquer body finish. Aging toner on the top and satin finish on the neck enhance the 000-18MC’s vintage aura and playing comfort.

Like many of his generation in the late 1950s, Martin Carthy discovered folk music through hearing Lonnie Donegan’s skiffle hits. He learned to play his father’s guitar and soon immersed himself in the traditional music of the British Isles. By the early 1960s, his passionate singing and innovative guitar sound were drawing crowds at London’s Troubadour Folk Club. Among those who came and paid close attention were Paul Simon and Bob Dylan, both of whom integrated his music into songs of their own.

After releasing his self-titled debut album in the mid-1960s, he joined forces with fiddler Dave Swarbrick in a five-year partnership that produced five albums and revitalized the fiddle/guitar folk genre. In 1970 he joined Steeleye Span to explore folk rock, and three years later became a member of the Albion Country Band to take the blend of folk and modern in yet another direction. He also married Norma Waterson during the decade, a union that resulted in his joining the Watersons acappella folk group.

In the 1980s he and John Kirkpatrick formed Brass Monkey, an innovative band that combined traditional music and brass. In the 1990s he both reconnected with Dave Swarbrick to record and tour, and also formed Waterson:Carthy with his wife and daughter Eliza Carthy, a group now considered at the forefront of modern British folk music. Through it all, Carthy also has performed solo and with several shortlived groups. His prodigious recording output reflects both his sustained creativity and impeccable musicianship: the recent "Signs of Life" shows Carthy in top form, while the "Carthy Chronicles" four-CD box set is the most recent and most complete overview of his remarkable career. Martin Carthy was recently named a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) for his services to British folk music.

Each Martin 000-18MC Martin Carthy Signature Edition guitar bears an interior label personally signed by Martin Carthy and Martin Chairman and CEO C.F. Martin IV, and is numbered in sequence with the edition total. Each guitar is delivered in a Vintage Series Geib™-style hardshell case. Electronic sound reinforcement options are available for an additional fee, though left-handed instruments may be ordered without additional cost.

Orders for the Martin Carthy 000-18MC Signature Edition will be accepted up until April 16, 2003, after which the size of the editions and the names of participating dealers will be posted on the Martin Web site at:

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