Source: Sounding Board Newsletter Vol 21 - Jul. 2006
M-42 David Bromberg
After several years away, David Bromberg is back making American music to the delight of both those who have loved him since the 1970s and those who are just discovering his unique brand of magic. Famed for his inimitable mix of blues, jazz, western swing, dixieland, cajun, bluegrass, and genres in between and beyond, Bromberg’s singular playing and witty stage presence remain as brilliant as ever.
To guitar aficionados, David Bromberg also is known for his unusually modified Martin guitar, an instrument that became so famous that Martin created a new size of flattop guitar – the M (or 0000) – in its image in 1977. Tonally powerful, balanced and well-defined, the Martin M went on to become a favorite among folk and studio musicians. To honor David Bromberg’s musical contributions and his influential guitar, C. F. Martin is proud to introduce the M-42 David Bromberg Signature Edition.
David Bromberg began playing guitar while growing up in Tarrytown, New York. After graduation from high school, he enrolled at Columbia University with thoughts of becoming a musicologist, but the combination of his growing reputation as a player and the thriving Greenwich Village folk scene caused him to drop out of school to tackle music full time. His extraordinary talent and impressive stylistic range quickly gained the attention of other musicians, including Bob Dylan, Tom Paxton, Ringo Starr, Reverend Gary Davis and Chubby Checker, all of whom brought him in as a backup musician on their recordings.
It was during this period that Bromberg got his unusual Martin. Around 1964, Marc Silber at Fretted Instruments in Greenwich Village took in trade a Martin F-9 archtop on which the original top had been broken and replaced with one made of plywood. With advice from Jon Lundberg, one of the most knowledgeable guitar dealers of the era, he ordered a spruce top from Martin and had it braced (as a flattop) and installed by repairman Mario Martello and French polish finished by Eugene Clark. The guitar turned out beautifully and sounded great. Soon after, repairman Matt Umanov made a similar conversion for Bromberg but with a long-scale neck and inlays reminiscent of the Style 42 Martins Bromberg already owned.
In 1970 Bromberg launched his own career with a spectacular performance at the Isle of Wight Festival and quickly landed a recording contract. Over the next ten years, he released a series of albums, most recorded with his band, including his self-titled debut, “Demon in Disguise,” “Wanted Dead or Alive,” “Midnight on the Water,” “How Late’ll Ya Play ‘Til,” “Reckless Abandon,” “My Own House” and “You Should See the Rest of the Band.” He also toured almost constantly, putting on shows now legendary for their excitement and spontaneity.
In the fall of 1980, Bromberg stepped away from the life of a musician. He dissolved the band, stopped performing and enrolled in violin-making school. After graduation, he devoted himself almost exclusively to being a violin dealer and raising a family. Only after moving his violin business to Wilmington, Delaware, in 2001 did Bromberg ease back into performing, first at local jam sessions and more recently at concert appearances with his David Bromberg Quartet, the David Bromberg Big Band and the vocal group Angel Band.
The modified Martin Bromberg played for several years was damaged in an onstage mishap and eventually “retired” in favor of a prototype Martin M-38 he received from the Company for consulting on development of the M body st yle. “The prototype M-38 is the guitar that I have used for 20 to 30 years onstage,” he noted. “I’ve played it so much for so long that it feels like a part of me. The virtue of the design is that although it has a warm bass and rich treble, there is much less equalization necessary when the guitar is recorded or played through a sound system.” The Martin M-42 David Bromberg Signature Edition takes the M body style full circle, back to the instruments that started it all.
The M-42 David Bromberg Signature Edition features solid premium tonewoods throughout: a top of rare – especially in this width – Italian alpine spruce, back and sides of East Indian rosewood, a lowprofile neck of genuine mahogany and fingerboard and bridge of African black ebony. Forward-shifted and scalloped 5/16" top braces provide impressive clarity and dynamic range.
Style 45 appointments abound on this handsome instrument. Style 45 abalone pearl inlay around the top and fingerboard extension are matched by the abalone pearl Style 45 rosette. A Style 45 multicolored mosaic backstrip divides the two-piece back. Bridge pins and endpin both also are Style 45, with abalone dot inlays.
In keeping with the archtop features on Bromberg’s original guitar, the M-42 David Bromberg Signature Edition’s East Indian rosewood headplate bears a 1930s style “C. F. Martin” block letter inlay in abalone pearl and goldplated enclosed tuners with large gold knobs. Style 45 snowflake position markers are centered between F-9 Style white/black/white “racing stripe” inlays that run the length of the fingerboard. David Bromberg’s signature is inlaid between the 19th and 20th frets.
Classic grained ivoroid binding and elegantly mitered black/white purfling are everywhere on this guitar: top, sides, back, headstock and fingerboard. The grained ivoroid end piece and heelcap display matching fine line inlays. The guitar is finished in polished gloss lacquer, with aging toner on the top to enhance the vintage vibe. A polished and beveled tortoise-color pickguard protects the top.
Delivered in a vintage-inspired Geib style case, each M-42 David Bromberg Signature Edition guitar bears an interior label personally signed by David Bromberg and Martin Chairman C. F. Martin IV and is numbered in sequence together with the edition total.
Martin will accept orders from authorized C. F. Martin dealers for the M-42 David Bromberg Signature Edition until September 15, 2006, after which the number of guitars in this Signature Edition and the names of participating Martin dealers will be posted on the Martin website.