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Chapter 8: Approaching 2000 & Beyond

Now, as the company approaches the next century, after nearly 70 years of constant production, the Martin Dreadnought guitar is available in the standard production models, in an assortment of vintage inspired recreations, in the newly patented, economically priced "X Series" and "16 Series" models, in the occasional "Limited Edition," or even as a customized "dream guitar."

The Limited Edition Dreadnoughts have taken a variety of forms. Martin has released historically accurate reproductions of mid–’30s D–28s– complete with "high X–braces," Brazilian rosewood, V–shaped neck, tortoiseshell colored pickguard, "ivoroid" binding, and all the other features found on a normal HD–28. The company also has experimented with materials new to them, like maple, as in the Limited Edition D–62.

Other one–time offerings have included a relatively inexpensive koa Dreadnought, followed soon after by a string of the fanciest Martin Dreadnoughts ever seen. The 1987 D–45LE with a price tag of $7,500 was designed by C. F. Martin IV, current Chairman and CEO of the company. This model set the stage for future D–45 Deluxe models, including two C. F. Martin, Sr. Commemorative 1996 editions which featured pearl borders nearly everywhere, specially selected rosewood, period inlays, and gold tuning machines. In 1994, Martin issued a recreation of Gene Autry’s famous 12–fret D–45 which bore a retail price of $23,000. A 1996 collaboration with "MTV Unplugged" yielded a highly unusual Dreadnought that mixed both rosewood and mahogany tonewoods with MTV conceived inlay patterns.

One drawback of some Limited Edition instruments is that at times they are available on such a limited basis that potential customers aren’t even aware of their existence until it’s too late.

At the same time, a customer has the ultimate freedom of designing his or her own "limited edition" guitar. Martin’s customized Dreadnoughts are not really a new option–in 1934, singer Tex Fletcher special–ordered the only D–42 ever made, a left–handed instrument. But since 1983, Martin has solicited custom work on a regular basis.

With all these options, and the quickly changing Martin offerings, this is an exciting and occasionally confusing time for Martin fans. But like quality automobiles and fine pianos, Martin Dreadnoughts, new and old, continue to command considerable respect, and likely will for many years to come.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1: The Dreadnought Story
Chapter 2: From the Beginning
Chapter 3: The First D-45
Chapter 4: Mid-`40s to the Mid-`60s
Chapter 5: The Tumultuous Mid-`60s
Chapter 6: The Big Guitar Boom
Chapter 7: Other Models
Chapter 8: Approaching 2000 & Beyond

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