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Jimmy Buffett Navigates Musical Waters With Seaworthy "Pollywog" And "Shellback" Editions

Release Date: 01/16/03
Source: Sounding Board Newsletter Vol 14 - Jan. 2003
000-JBS (Jimmy Buffett-Shellback)
000-JBP (Jimmy Buffett-Pollywog)

Back in 1998 when C.F. Martin produced the HD-18JB Jimmy Buffett Signature Edition guitar, the number of guitars in the Edition - 424 - honored the legendary original Margaritaville Store and Café at 424 Fleming Street in Key West. Despite the sizable production, the huge demand from Buffett’s legions of devoted fans (affectionately known as Parrotheads) and just plain folks resulted in the guitars selling out instantly. If only Margaritaville had been a couple of dozen blocks farther out on Fleming... In the years since, Jimmy Buffett has been awfully busy for a guy who personifies carefree living on a Caribbean beach. In 1999, he released a new studio album, "Beach House on the Moon," and followed it up with perhaps his finest live album ever, Buffett Live: Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays." He also authored the best selling book, "A Pirate Looks at Fifty." In 2002, he released the reflective and evocative "Far Side of the World" on his own Mailboat Records label and - HD-18JB in hand - headed back out on tour, playing to packed houses throughout the United States.

For good measure, Jimmy also began to envision a new and very special Martin guitar. His idea was an "offshore" guitar, one that would stow easily and could handle some of the punishment of sailing on the high seas. The guitar would feature a body of genuine mahogany for durability and because he loves the tone. The appointments would be nautically inspired to capture the seafaring tradition. After lots of brainstorming and lots of dialog, C. F. Martin is pleased to introduce two spectacular new Jimmy Buffett Signature Editions: the 000-JBP Pollywog and the 000-JBS Shellback.

"Pollywog" and "Shellback" are time-honored names for the two classes of ocean sailors. A Pollywog is a sailor who has never crossed the equator, while a Shellback is a sailor who has. When a sailor reaches the equator for the first time, he or she pays allegiance to King Neptune in a shipboard ceremony of initiation as a Shellback. The Jimmy Buffett Pollywog matches a premium Sitka spruce to the solid genuine mahogany body: the light top representative of the pale skin of a Pollywog. In contrast, the Jimmy Buffett Shellback features a solid genuine mahogany top - as brown and tough as a Shellback - with the mahogany body.

In design and appointments, the Pollywog and Shellback rank among the most uniquely beautiful guitars in the entire Signature Edition series. The body design is Martin’s revered 000 12-fret, considered by many to be the most graceful and articulate of all steel-string shapes. The long 25.4" scale, "hybrid" scalloped top bracing, and bone nut and compensated bone saddle add power and richness to the voice. The genuine mahogany neck features 1 13/16" width at the nut, low profile shape and satin finish for playing comfort, and a solid tapered, squared headstock equipped with open geared gold-plated Gotoh® tuners with butterbean knobs for easy restringing.

The impressive tone on these guitars is equaled by their stellar looks. The polished black ebony headstock overlay showcases a gold foil ship’s porthole framing a sea and island scene - including the windswept palm featured on the original Jimmy Buffett signature guitar - inlaid in turquoise composite and various shades of pearl. The back of the headstock bears Martin’s historic logo, pressed into the wood. The black African ebony fingerboard sets sail with a ship’s wheel position marker inlaid at the 5th fret in pearl; small abalone dot position markers lead to Jimmy Buffett’s signature, inlaid between the 19th and 20th frets. A straight bridge in black ebony and abalone pearl-topped black bridge and end pins match the elegance of the fingerboard and headstock.

The Pollywog and Shellback’s nautical imagery continues with unique "rope" wood marquetry that encircles the top. Tortoisecolored binding on the top and back contrast with black/white back and side purfling and complement the beveled and polished tortoisecolored pickguard. The rosette features a single ring of brilliant blue paua shell, bordered by fine black/white/black inlay. Vintage toner graces the Pollywog’s spruce top, and the bodies of both instruments showcase beautifully polished gloss lacquer finishes. Each 000-JBP and 000-JBS Jimmy Buffett Signature Edition will bear a "nautical chart" interior label, personally signed by Jimmy Buffett and Martin Chairman and CEO C.F. Martin IV, and numbered in sequence with notation of that model’s production total. The guitars will be shipped in special Geib™ style cases with honey leatherette covering.

A portion of the proceeds from the sale of each Jimmy Buffett Signature Edition guitar will be donated to one of Jimmy’s favorite charities; the Wings Performing Arts Center at the Lynn Meadows Discovery Center, the first children’s interactive museum in the state of Mississippi. Orders for the 000-JBP Pollywog and 000-JBS Shellback Jimmy Buffett Signature Editions will be accepted up until the cutoff date of April 16, 2003. After completion of the order period, the size of the editions and the names of participating dealers will be posted on the Martin Web site.

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