The Avett Brothers
Source: Sounding Board Newsletter Vol 19 - Jul. 2005
000C David Gray
David Gray showed grit as well as talent on his way to the top. Nearly a decade of hard work and hard knocks preceded his breakthrough album “White Ladder,” which has sold more than seven million copies since its release in 1999 and produced “Babylon,” one of the most popular singles of the last decade. Gray’s melodic, acoustic-based songs may have taken awhile to get noticed, but they clearly resonate with listeners of every generation.
In recent years, Martin has been David Gray’s guitar of choice for live performances. So, when C. F. Martin approached him regarding the possibility of a namesake guitar, Gray embraced the opportunity. The 000C David Gray Custom Edition is much like the man’s music: understated, sophisticated and impressively realized.
The Martin 000C David Gray Custom Edition guitar is a true 14-fret 000, with the traditional 15 3/16-inch wide, 4-1/16” deep body and short 24.9” scale that make this size both comfortable to hold and easy to play. Also conceived with comfort in mind is the rounded Venetian cutaway, which simplifies “up the neck” chords and notes.
A unique combination of superb tonewoods gives the 000C David Gray a truly signature sound. The top of select Italian alpine spruce, paired with 5/16” Hybrid scalloped bracing, produces full, complex tone. Back and sides of genuine mahogany contribute note-to-note clarity across the strings. The modified V-shape neck, a generous 1-3/4” at the nut, is carved from genuine mahogany.
Black, white and silver accents abound. The polished gloss black ebony headplate features the familiar C. F. Martin & Co. logo in distinctive silver foil as well as nickel Gotoh tuners with ivoroid butterbean knobs. The black ebony fingerboard is adorned with tasteful vintage 4mm abalone dots and matched with a black ebony bridge. The black bridge pins are topped with abalone pearl dots. A black polished and beveled pickguard protects the top, and a chrome strap button on the neck heel shows this guitar is ready for the stage. In keeping with David’s sense of humility and purity, his personalized signature is confined to the interior label.
In keeping with this guitar’s black appointments, the 000C is bound in black Boltaron. Fine pattern herringbone adorns the perimeter of the top with fine black/white purfling lines for the side and back inlays. Martin’s vintage zig-zag back strip embellishes the back. The rosette is unique: Old Style 18 black single inner and outer rings flanking two black/white/black fine line inlays on either side of a narrow inlay of vibrant blue paua shell. This rosette is especially intense against the vintage-toned golden hue of the top.
Like his guitar, David Gray embodies both the traditional and the cutting edge. Born in Manchester, England, and raised in Wales, Gray started his musical career as a member of a series of punk bands while still in his teens. As an art student at the University of Liverpool, he explored other styles of music and eventually found his own voice and songwriting style, one of passion, anger, love and loneliness.
He signed his first recording contract in the early 1990s and released his debut album, “A Century Ends,” in 1993, followed by “Flesh,” his second album in 1994. He also took his act on the road, touring as the opening act for Shawn Colvin, Maria McKee and Dave Matthews.
While remaining mostly undiscovered, David Gray began generating a quiet buzz in Ireland and with fellow musicians by the mid-1990s, though not enough to keep him in contract. His third album, the limited release “Sell, Sell, Sell” came out in 1996 on his new label EMI America. Gray continued to tour, opening for Radiohead and the Dave Matthews Band.
When dropped by his second record company, Gray decided to take his future into his own hands and founded his own label, IHT Records, in 1998. He recorded his fourth album in the bedroom of his London apartment. Released in 1999, “White Ladder” and its irresistible single, “Babylon,” took Great Britain and then the rest of the world by storm.
In 2001 he contributed music for the movie “Serendipity” and released “Lost Songs 95-98,” an album of music recorded when his career prospects looked bleakest. In 2002 he recorded and released “New Day at Midnight,” an album that quickly went gold in the US and multi-platinum in the UK. He also toured steadily as a headliner in both Europe and the United States through 2003. Expectations for new music from David Gray are running high in 2005 with a new album due for release in the fall.
The 000C David Gray Custom Artist Edition comes factory equipped with Martin’s Gold Plus Natural I active pickup. Delivered in a Geib style hardshell case, each guitar bears an interior label personally signed by David Gray and Martin Chairman C. F. Martin IV and is numbered in sequence. Martin dealers will accept orders for the 000C David Gray Custom Edition for a limited time. After the order period closes, the size of the edition and the names of participating dealers will be posted on the Martin website, www.martinguitar.com.