The Avett Brothers
Source: Sounding Board Newsletter Vol 21 - Jul. 2006
000-40S Mark Knopfler
When C. F. Martin introduced the HD-40MK Mark Knopfler Signature Edition back in 2001, we knew it was a special instrument. Mark had taken inordinate care in researching and designing “his” guitar, even traveling to Nazareth to check over the prototypes and finalize certain appointment and finish details (check the July 2001 “Sounding Board,” available online at www.martinguitar.com, for more information). Fortunately, the public saw it the same way; a total of 251 HD-40MK Mark Knopfler Signature guitars were sold.
Most musicians who participate in Martin's Signature Edition program consider their personal Signature Edition guitar a prized possession. For Mark Knopfler, with Dire Straits history and his solo career well underway, it became much more: his muse. The sound of the instrument he took home inspired a burst of songwriting. All the songs on “The Ragpicker’s Dream,” his well-received, mostly acoustic 2002 album, were written on that guitar, as were several songs on 2004’s “Shangri-La” and his brand new album with singer Emmylou Harris, “All the Roadrunning.”
Seeking fresh inspiration (songwriters need all the muses they can get), Mark asked C. F. Martin to undertake a second collaboration: a guitar with many of the same appointments as his original Signature Edition, but one designed for his incredible fingerst yle playing. The fruit of this new collaboration is the 000-40S Mark Knopfler “Ragpicker’s Dream” Signature Edition, a fingerstyle dream that even strummers will love.
For this new Signature Edition, Mark selected Martin's traditional 000 12-fret body style with the long 25.4" scale, considered by many to be among the most beautiful and best sounding designs Martin ever made. Many of the elements that make the Martin 000 12-fret guitars from the late 1920s so prized are here: the 1-13/16" wide (at the nut) modified V-shape neck, the slotted tapered headstock with squared slots and diamond volute, the Old Style pointed heel, the forwardshifted 1/4" scalloped top bracing, the pyramid bridge with 2-5/16" string spacing and the absence of a pickguard. The nut, saddle, bridge pins and endpin, the latter two topped with black dots, are all crafted from fossilized ivory. Aging toner on the top is reminiscent of vintage patina, and handsome Waverly/Sloane side-mounted tuners with engraved plates and ivoroid buttons show similar vintage style.
In tonewoods and ornamentation, the new Mark Knopfler Signature Edition 000 bears a striking resemblance to his Signature Edition Dreadnought. Premium solid tonewoods are featured throughout. The body combines a top of rare Italian alpine spruce (the same wood used by Antonio Stradivari) with back and sides of beautiful East Indian rosewood. The neck is carved from genuine mahogany, while the fingerboard and bridge are crafted from African black ebony. Both body and neck are protected by Martin's beautiful polished gloss lacquer finish.
Like the HD-40MK, the eye-catching rosette on the 000 showcases a center ring of “pearl diamond” inlays, a feature inspired by a unique rosette seen on some Martins from the 1840s. Bold herringbone inlay encircles the top, and herringbone inlay bisects the back, which is bound with fine black/white inlay. Top, sides and back are bound in grained ivoroid; matching grained ivoroid also highlights the endpiece and heelcap.
On the neck, both the headstock and fingerboard feature grained ivoroid binding against mitered black/white fine line inlays. The polished East Indian headplate showcases the familiar “C. F. Martin” logo inlaid in brilliant mother of pearl. Fretted with jumbo frets, the fingerboard is inlaid with original Style 42 position markers in abalone pearl. Mark Knopfler's unique signature is inlaid in mother of pearl between the 18th and 20th frets.
The 000-40S Mark Knopfler “Ragpicker’s Dream” Signature Edition is delivered in a Geib style Vintage Series hardshell case with plush Cabernet (dark red, for those who don’t know wine) interior. Left-hand instruments may be ordered without additional charge; factory-installed electronics also are available.
Each 000-40S Mark Knopfler “Ragpicker’s Dream” Signature Edition bears an interior label personally signed by Mark Knopfler and Martin Chairman C. F. Martin IV and is numbered in sequence with the edition total, as well as a special “Ragpicker’s Dream” designation laser etched on the neck block. Martin will accept orders from authorized C. F. Martin dealers for the 000-40S Mark Knopfler “Ragpicker’s Dream” Signature Edition until the cutoff date of September 15, 2006. After the order period, the size of the edition and the names of participating Martin dealers will be posted on the Martin website.