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The Avett Brothers

Release Date: 01/16/97
Source: Press Release

Anaheim, CA - C. F. Martin & Co. is honored to introduce the 000-45JR Jimmie Rodgers Limited Edition Guitar. This historic instrument commemorates the 100th anniversary of the birth of Jimmie Rodgers, acknowledged to be the "Father of Country Music." C. F. Martin will offer 100 of these special Brazilian rosewood guitars for sale worldwide.

Jimmie Rodgers, widely known as "America's Blue Yodeler," was referred to as the "Singing Brakeman" during his railroad days. Born in Meridian, Mississippi on September 8, 1897, James Charles Rodgers traveled the country extensively by railroad in his early years and was exposed to many indigenous styles of music. Jimmie Rodgers combined diverse influences in his own songs and in 1927, at the age of 30, he auditioned for Ralph Peer, Sr., an RCA Victor talent scout. His first record was made at the now legendary "Bristol session," and the rest is history.

The original Jimmie Rodgers 000-45 Martin is possibly the most valuable (if not priceless) guitar ever made. Its worth is certainly affected by the fact that it was Jimmie Rodgers' favorite personal guitar. He made nearly all of his popular recordings with his Martin.

At his peak, the recordings of Jimmie Rodgers had the greatest worldwide sales of any artist of his era. Although his career lasted only a short five years, his music influenced several generations of folk, blues, and country stars. Rodgers died while recording in New York City on May 26, 1933, at age 35, a victim of tuberculosis. After his death, Rodgers' widow lent the guitar to Ernest Tubb who performed with it for four decades.

When Ernest Tubb died, the 000-45 was returned to Jimmie Rodgers' daughter, Anita, who made arrangements to donate the instrument to the Smithsonian Institution until she learned the Smithsonian would not have been able to display the guitar on a permanent basis. The guitar was then donated to the Jimmie Rodgers Museum in Meridian, Mississippi where it is featured in a vault behind a glass door as part of the permanent display. A sign states, "Presented to Jimmie Rodgers in Washington, D.C. by Mr. C. Frederick Martin, President of the Martin Guitar Co., July 27, 1927." In addition to this particular guitar's colorful history, the 000-45 model is sought after on the vintage guitar market, attracting buyers who pay from $50,000 to $100,000 for one of these very rare instruments.

Martin's Artist Relations Manager Dick Boak and Prototype Coordinator Dale Eckhart traveled to Meridian to visit the Jimmie Rodgers Museum in May of 1996. While there, they took extensive measurements and photographs of the Jimmie Rodgers guitar in order to develop the specific appointments necessary to replicate this special instrument.

The 000-45JR Jimmie Rodgers model is crafted with Martin's "Golden Era" features. The term "Golden Era" refers to vintage Martin instruments made prior to World War II. During the pre-war era, Martin's unique, almost magical blend of well chosen materials, optimized design, and hand-crafted construction created what many collectors and guitar experts believe to be the finest acoustic stringed instruments ever made. Over the past 20 years, Martin has reintroduced nearly all of the individual styles and features of those pre-war instruments. The return of the vintage attributes to production has been well received by the guitar playing community, including references to the 1990s as Martin's "Second Golden Era." The demand for a Golden Era Series has challenged Martin to recreate, as faithfully as possible, models that have long since become legendary.

The 000 12-fret model is a somewhat obscure but highly sought after pre-war Martin size and style. The graceful "000" 12-fret body shape is particularly suited for guitarists who favor more delicate fingerstyle techniques.

A solid spruce soundboard, bookmatched from rare Adirondack "red" spruce, is braced with the original pre-war Martin scalloped X-brace pattern, forward shifted to a position 1" from the soundhole. Linen reinforcement strips are glued in regular intervals along the interior surface of the Brazilian rosewood sides to further strengthen the body. The two-piece back, also fashioned from rare solid "pre-CITES" Brazilian rosewood, features the traditional "Style 45 multi-colored mosaic" back inlay strip. Highly colorful abalone is inlaid around the rosette, as well as the perimeter of the top, sides and back. Ivoroid binding with black/white wood fiber inlay compliments the abalone pearl inlay at all appropriate seams in the vintage 45 style.

The original genuine ebony fingerboard, bound in grained ivoroid, has been faithfully recreated with "JIMMIE RODGERS" inlaid with mother of pearl. In keeping with the original specification, a straight-line ebony bridge features wings inlaid with Maltese snowflakes. The bridge is fitted with a long or "through" fossilized ivory saddle. Fossilized ivory is also used for the nut and for the bridge pins, which are inlaid with vintage 4mm abalone pearl dots.

When he placed his original order in 1927, Jimmie Rodgers requested that the headstock be inlaid with his trademark "BLUE YODELER" in Martin Style 45 letters. It is interesting to note that Martin had a great difficulty fitting all of the "YODELER" letters on the narrow strip between the two peghead slots. As a result, Jimmie Rodgers amended the inlay design to read simply "YODEL." This legendary inlay has been faithfully replicated in mother-of-pearl to match the original guitar. A vintage styled square tapered slotted headstock with square slots is bound in grained ivoroid to match the fingerboard and body, and outfitted with premium quality Waverly-Sloane engraved sidemount tuning machines with ivoroid buttons.

A nitrocellulose lacquer finish is polished to high gloss on all surfaces of the body, neck and headplate. Vintage toner, developed to match the golden color of pre-war aged lacquer, is applied as the base coat on the face of the guitar.

One unique and legendary aspect of the original Jimmie Rodgers 000-45 is the hand painted "THANKS" on the back of the guitar. From photographs of the original hand painted letters, a color matched decal replica was created. This decal is offered as an option at no additional surcharge and is applied to the back prior to the application of finish.

A pickguard is not standard on this model, though it is believed that Ernest Tubb added the one that is currently on the original Jimmie Rodgers guitar. An optional tortoise colored pickguard may be ordered with each limited edition guitar. Each pickguard is delicately hand-beveled and polished to approximate the under-the-finish appearance of pre-war pickguards. The original "C. F. Martin hot stamp" that was used on pre-war guitars was retrieved from the Martin Museum in order to burn an authentic "Nazareth, PA" logo onto the back center brace. The current stamp bears the "Made in U.S.A." origin. A deluxe #533 Geib Style hardshell case is included with each instrument.

The original Jimmie Rodgers guitar bears a special interior label in C. F. Martin, III's handwriting that reads, "To Jimmie Rodgers, America's Blue Yodeler, with all good wishes, C. Frederick Martin, July 27, 1927." This original label has been carefully reproduced for the edition. A specially engraved brass plate, mounted just above the serial number inside the guitar body bears the inscription, "JIMMIE RODGERS, "Blue Yodel," 000-45JR, 100th Anniversary, 1897-1997."

Each instrument will be numbered in sequence (i.e. #1 of 100, #2 of 100, etc.) and each instrument will be personally signed by C. F. Martin, IV, Martin's chairman and CEO, who represents the sixth generation of Martin family members to manage the esteemed guitarmaking firm.

Signature D-35 Seth Avett


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