Source: Sounding Board Newsletter Vol 18 - Jan. 2005
HD-7 Roger McGuinn
For a musician with a deep appreciation of the traditional, Roger McGuinn has built his 45-year career on the cutting edge. From putting folk-rock and country-rock on the map as leader of the Byrds to harnessing technology to support his craft, he has been a pioneer, even while creating some of the most memorable music of his generation. So when McGuinn came to Martin with an idea for a custom guitar, we expected something radical and we got it: a unique seven-string instrument. The finished guitar proved so exceptional we decided with his okay to offer it as the HD7 Roger McGuinn Signature Edition.
This is Roger McGuinn's second Signature Edition. Back in 1999, Martin produced the D12-42RM, an exquisite 12-string with a solid headstock for easy string changing. The new HD7 Roger McGuinn Signature Edition represents one of the most unusual instruments in Signature Series history.
Featuring a doubled G-string, with the second string tuned an octave higher, the HD7 Roger McGuinn Signature Edition captures McGuinn's signature "jingle-jangle" 12-string sound, but also offers the versatility to handle single-string runs, leads and bends. McGuinn has been playing his custom version on the road for nearly a year and clearly loves it. "It's truly three guitars in one; the Swiss army knife of guitars!" The extra power that the double-G lends to the mid-range sound is startling to both the player and the listener, and playing the 7-string is intuitive without requiring any special fingering.
Both headstock and bridge on this unique Dreadnought Signature Edition are modified to handle the extra string. Seven gold Schaller tuners with ebony buttons installed asymmetrically on the solid, squared headstock three on the bass side and four on the treble side provide smooth, easy tuning. The belly bridge features a distinctive point under the seventh string, a "dropped" seventh string anchor and special 2.225" string spacing. A 1-3/4" neck width at the nut provides plenty of room for the extra string and playing comfort similar to a standard six-string guitar.
The HD7 Roger McGuinn Signature Edition features classic Martin quality throughout. The solid Sitka spruce top, solid East Indian rosewood back and sides, and forward-shifted scalloped top braces assure rich, powerful tone. A Style 45 abalone pearl rosette surrounds the soundhole, and a Style 45 multicolored strip accents the bookmatched back. Bold herringbone purfling encircles the top, black/white fine line purfling embellishes the sides and back, and all three are bound in grained ivoroid.
The genuine mahogany modified V neck features a polished East Indian rosewood headplate on which "C. F. Martin" is inlaid in Style 45 block letters. The black African ebony fingerboard showcases Style 45 abalone hexagon position markers, with a subtle number "7" inlaid into the first hexagonal fret marker in mother of pearl. Roger McGuinn's signature is inlaid between the 19th and 20th frets. Both headplate and fingerboard are bound in grained ivoroid inset with mitered black/white line inlays. The grained ivoroid heelcap and endpiece likewise are accented with mitered back/white inlays.
The Roger McGuinn Signature Edition reflects nearly a lifetime of playing experience by its creator. A sideman for the Limelighters and a member of the Chad Mitchell Trio while still in his teens, and a songwriter, session guitarist and arranger in New York in the early 1960s, Roger McGuinn was a seasoned professional when he founded the Byrds in 1964. The group's first single, "Mr. Tambourine Man," was a huge hit in 1965 and the Byrds went on to release 13 albums and a string of top selling singles, including "I'll Feel a Whole Lot Better," "Turn, Turn, Turn," "Eight Miles High," "My Back Pages" and "You Ain't Going Nowhere." Driven by McGuinn's 12-string guitars, the band transitioned from folk-rock to country-rock in the late 1960s, aided by new band members like guitarist Clarence White.
After disbanding the Byrds in 1973, McGuinn embarked on a solo career, recording a series of fine albums, often with other Byrds alumni. In the early 1980s, he began touring solo acoustic. In 1991 he recorded his critically acclaimed "Back From Rio" album.
Always interested in technology, he established one of music's first websites in 1995. One element of his website is the Folk Den, a downloadable song library dedicated to preserving traditional folk music. Expanding on the Folk Den concept, he worked with many of his heroes, including Jean Ritchie, Joan Baez and Pete Seeger, to make the CD "Treasures of the Folk Den" which received a Grammy nomination for "Best Traditional Folk Album" in 2002. His most recent CD, "Limited Edition," an eclectic mix of rock, electrified blues and folk, is available at his concerts and from his website, www.mcguinn.com and at www.amazon.com.
The HD7 Roger McGuinn Signature Edition's top is tinted with vintage toner and protected by a polished tortoise-colored pickguard. Both the special nut and compensated saddle are fashioned from genuine bone. The body showcases a beautiful polished gloss finish, while the neck receives a satin finish. The HD7 Roger McGuinn Signature Edition can be ordered with factory-installed electronics at additional cost: left-handed instruments can be ordered at no additional charge.
Delivered in a Geib style hardshell case, each HD7 Roger McGuinn Signature Edition bears an interior numbered label signed by Roger McGuinn and Martin Chairman C.F. Martin IV. After an initial ordering period, a list of Martin dealers that have ordered the HD7 model will be posted on this site.