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Two Stunning Koa Editions Affirm Steve Miller's Passion for the Guitar

Release Date: 08/01/00
Source: Sounding Board Newsletter Vol 9 - July 2000
00-37K (Steve Miller)
00-37K2 (Steve Miller)

Steve Miller has been a powerhouse on the American music scene since the 1960s and continues to amaze his fans, both on stage and on disc. Whether inhabiting The Joker, Gangster of Love, Space Cowboy or Maurice personas in his unique brand of rock and roll, or expressing his love for the blues, he is a musician whose playing, singing and songwriting demand attention.

Like most guitarists, Miller is very particular about his instruments. Martin has been his acoustic guitar of choice for years, and he has had several instruments built to his specifications by the Martin Custom Shop. Now C. F. Martin is returning the favor, paying tribute to Steve Miller with two Steve Miller Signature Edition models. Created to Miller’s exacting specifications, the 00-37K SM and the koa top 00-37K2 SM are instruments as original as the person they honor.

In a succession of rock and roll and blues bands during his teens and early twenties, Miller hit the big time after moving to San Francisco at the dawn of the Summer of Love. The Steve Miller Band released its first album in 1968 and had its first hit single, "Living in the U.S.A.," less than a year later. Other hit singles including three number one records followed, including "Dance, Dance, Dance," "Keep On Rockin’ Me Baby," "Take the Money and Run," "The Joker," "Big Old Jet Airliner," "Fly Like an Eagle," and "Abracadabra." In and out of the band context, he collaborated musically with a host of notables, among them John Lee Hooker, Buddy Guy, Chuck Berry and Paul McCartney.

Beginning in the 1980s and continuing today, Steve Miller has increasingly focused on the blues. The Steve Miller Band tours every year and remains a major concert draw, with shows that mix old favorites and classic Chicago blues. His albums continue to sell well, and his music has caught the attention of many contemporary artists: K. D. Lang, Seal, Run DMC, and Sugar Ray have featured Miller’s songs in recent releases.

Only 68 00-37K SM and 68 00-37K2 SM Steve Miller Signature Edition model guitars will be produced, to commemorate the year Steve Miller first gained national prominence. Both guitars showcase the traditional 00 12-fret design, widely considered among the most beautiful looking and sounding body styles Martin ever produced.

These guitars will be handcrafted entirely from the finest solid tonewoods. Both models will feature backs and sides of rare flamed Hawaiian koa, chosen for its exceptional beauty and bright, clear tone. The two-piece back is joined with a Style 45 multi-colored mosaic back strip.

The primary difference between the two Steve Miller Signature Edition models is the topwood. The 00-37K SM will have a top of prime, bookmatched Engelmann spruce, appreciated for its rich, vintage voice. The spruce will be tinted with vintage toner to approximate the color of a classic pre-war Martin. A top of flamed Hawaiian koa will distinguish the 00-37K2 SM, providing distinctive mid-range timbre. Regardless of topwood, both models will feature hand-scalloped 1/4-inch bracing for full, powerful sound.

Fine pattern herringbone trim around the perimeter and a beautiful "heart" abalone rosette decorate the top. Both the top and back are bound with grained ivoroid, with contrasting black/white/black purfling on the back and sides. Both models will be made without pickguards, in the tradition of 12-fret Martins from the 1920s.

Crafted from genuine mahogany, the low-profile neck will feature a diamond volute and an ivoroid-bound, square tapered, slotted headstock with square slots in the vintage style. The black African ebony headplate will be decorated with Martin’s "alternate torch" inlay. This unusual and rare design originated on a custom 00-45 in 1902 but was abandoned for nearly a century before its rediscovery. The back of the headstock will bear the "C.F. Martin & Co." antique stamp. Premium Waverly/Sloane side mount tuners with grained ivoroid buttons complete the vintage look.

The 1 3/4" fingerboard will be crafted from black African ebony and - at Steve Miller’s request - will be unadorned; no position markers of any kind. However, the ivoroid fingerboard binding will have side position markers made of dark New Zealand paua shell. Both the fingerboard binding and the ivoroid endpiece will be complemented by delicate black/white mitered inlay. The black African ebony belly bridge will be matched by black ebony bridge pins inlaid with abalone pearl dots. Both the nut and compensated saddle will be made from genuine bone. The body and neck of both models will be finished with nitrocellulose lacquer and polished to a high gloss.

Both Steve Miller Signature Edition models will feature interior labels numbered in sequence with the edition total (i.e., 1 of 68, 2 of 68, etc.), and personally signed by Steve Miller and Martin Chairman and CEO, C.F. Martin IV. A vintage Geib® style case is included with each guitar.

A portion of the proceeds from the sale of the Steve Miller Signature Edition models will be donated to support the work of Bread & Roses, a non-profit organization established by Joan Baez’s sister Mimi Farina, that brings free entertainment into hospitals, convalescent homes, prisons and other places that are less likely to experience live entertainment opportunities.

Martin dealers will begin to take orders for the 00-37K SM and 00-37K2 SM Steve Miller Signature Edition models immediately. The instruments should begin arriving in stores early in 2001.

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