Source: Sounding Board Newsletter Vol 15 - Jul. 2003
OM-28 John Mayer
"Welcome to the real world/she said to me/condescendingly" Anyone who has listened to the radio in the past year has heard John Mayer’s voice and rhythmic guitar signal the arrival of one of the hottest musical talents in recent memory. Involving yet accessible tunes, smooth vocals, catchy acoustic guitar hooks, photogenic good looks and years of hard work have pushed him to the top of the charts. With three hit singles, a hit album and a Grammy Award under his belt, and a new album in the works, he promises to make his stay in the limelight a long one.
For much of his career, Mayer has depended on Martin guitars both on stage and in the studio. His personal arsenal includes an OM-42, a 000-28EC, an HD-35 and an OM-28V. Yet when given the opportunity to design a Martin guitar all his own, he came up with an instrument sure to stand out in a crowd: the OM-28 John Mayer Signature Model.
Based on Martin’s classic OM design, with the long 25.4-inch scale, 000 body size and 1/4" scalloped bracing for powerful, balanced tone, the OM-28 John Mayer Signature Model showcases a mix of unusual elements. Both the polished Indian rosewood headplate and the African black ebony belly bridge feature inset fine-line border inlays of aluminum for a look that shows there is (as Mayer’s album title points out) "Room for Squares." To match these fine line aluminum borders, the headplate showcases the classic "C.F. Martin & Co. Est. 1833" decal logo in silver. The African black ebony fingerboard is embellished with the "Triangle and Dots" international pilots’ symbol for 1200 hours (high noon), replicated from Mayer’s wristwatch, in colorful abalone pearl and mother-of-pearl at the 12th fret and at the 20th fret by his signature in mother-of-pearl.
On the practical side, this is clearly a player’s instrument. The OM-28JM John Mayer Signature Model is handcrafted entirely from solid premium tonewoods: a top of responsive Engelmann spruce matched to back and sides of rich, resonant Indian rosewood. The genuine mahogany neck combines slim 1 11/16" width at the nut with low profile shape and satin finish for playing comfort. Gotoh open-geared nickel tuners with 8 butterbean knobs contribute smooth, precise tuning. A bone nut and compensated bone saddle provide superb string-to-string separation. This signature model comes factory equipped with Fishman/Martin Gold Plus Natural electronics for warm, natural amplified sound.
Of course, traditional Martin mojo is everywhere in evidence. Bold-pattern herringbone encircles the top, with fine black/white/black purfling bordering the side and back edges. The top and back are bound in grained ivoroid, which is also used in the heelcap and end piece. A Style 45 rosette inlaid with a center ring of select abalone pearl shines against the vintage toner on the top. A traditional tortoise-color polished and beveled OM pickguard protects the top, and the body is finished with traditional polished gloss nitrocellulose lacquer.
John Mayer knows plenty about musical traditions: traditional blues provided epiphany that launched his own career. As a teenager growing up in Connecticut, he discovered the music of Stevie Ray Vaughan. By age 16, only two years after getting his first electric guitar, he was performing at local blues bars. After graduating high school, he entered Boston’s Berklee School of Music, but soon dropped out and moved to Atlanta to develop his musical style from a range of electric and acoustic influences, including blues, pop, and folk.
Performing his original songs solo in clubs, Mayer quickly gained a local following. In 1999, he made his debut album, the mostly acoustic Inside Wants Out, to sell at his shows. Buzz quickly spread across the South; and after playing a showcase set at Austin’s South by Southwest Music Conference in March of 2000, he signed a recording contract with Aware/Columbia Records.
Recorded with a full band, the Room for Squares album came out in the spring of 2001 but was re-released four months later with new packaging and additional tracks. Great album reviews, a cross-country tour and a genial approach towards fans taping shows and sharing them on the internet turned Mayer into a national grass-roots phenomenon by the end of the year. In 2002, he broke big: "No Such Thing" became a hit, quickly followed by "Your Body is a Wonderland," which earned a Grammy for "Best Male Vocal Performance." Mayer stayed on the road much of the year, including tours of Europe, Australia and New Zealand. The recent release of a live performance DVD titled Any Given Thursday, yet another hit single, "Why Georgia," and an upcoming American tour with the Counting Crows should keep him in the public eye - and ear - in 2003, even as he begins work on his third album.
The OM-28 John Mayer Signature Model comes with an interior label personally signed by John Mayer and Martin Chairman and CEO C.F. Martin IV and will be delivered in a Geib style hardshell case. Mayer has suggested an edition of 404 instruments, saying "It’s the Atlanta area code made famous by many rap artists and it’s a beautiful looking palindrome!" Martin will begin to take orders for this signature model immediately following its announcement until the edition sells out, with the names of participating Martin dealers to be posted on the Martin website at www.martinguitar.com.