Source: Sounding Board Newsletter Vol 22 - Jan. 2007
OMC Jacques Stotzem
With the dynamic range, subtle timing and harmonic complexity that distinguish his playing, Belgian guitarist Jacques Stotzem creates a fingerstyle landscape both intriguingly familiar and absolutely unique. A stylistic chameleon whose original compositions delve into blues, jazz, folk and even rock & roll, Stotzem transcends easy classification, but his polished and emotionally powerful playing has garnered fans in Europe, the United States and beyond.
In 25 years of recording and performing, Stotzem has owned his share of Martin guitars. As he recalled, “The first was an M-38. Later I got a 000-28. In 1993 I discovered the OM-21. That model offered me the long scale ideal for my style of playing, the right body size and my preferred combination of wood: rosewood body and Sitka spruce top.”
His fondness for the OM-21 – among the plainest guitars in Martin’s Standard Series - is so strong that when Martin asked him to design a guitar that would bear his name, Stotzem based it on that model. “I very much like simple guitars with good woods, but very few decorations,” he said. The Martin OMC Jacques Stotzem Custom Edition is such a guitar, but with custom details that will please many players.
The OMC Jacques Stotzem features Martin’s rounded cutaway for easy access to the upper frets. Instead of the standard 1-3/4” wide OM neck, this Custom has a 1-11/16” wide low profile neck, with a diamond volute at the base of the headstock. Special tall – but not jumbo - frets grace the plain black ebony fingerboard. Fishman Ellipse Blend electronics provide virtual “plug and play” amplification.
“The whole idea is to make playing easier,” Stotzem noted. “I really need a cutaway for some of my concert repertoire and I find the narrower neck width more comfortable at the upper frets. I like mediumhigh frets and have them on all my guitars. I’m a big fan of Fishman pickups and chose the Ellipse Blend because the combination of mic and bridge pickup produces a very powerful yet very natural sound, plus the controls are accessible through the soundhole, so there’s no need to put a big hole in the side of the guitar.”
Other appointments give the OMC Jacques Stotzem Custom Edition an understated beauty all its own. Richly colored solid East Indian rosewood is matched to a top of premium solid Sitka spruce with 1/4” width scalloped bracing. The top, back and sides feature tortoise-color binding: the top is accented by Style 18 five-ply black/white purfling and an Old Style 18 rosette, while the sides and back showcase black/white purfling. A white/black/white backstrip and tortoise-color end piece framed with black/white purfling complete the body appointments.
Carved from genuine mahogany, the neck is topped by an East Indian rosewood headplate, a rich backdrop for the familiar gold C. F. Martin & Co. old style decal. Gotoh nickel open-geared tuners with butterbean knobs provide smooth tuning and a bit of vintage flair. The tortoise-color heelcap is accented with black/white inlay to match the body purfling.
An African black ebony belly bridge, matching pearl dot-topped ebony bridge and end pins, bone nut and compensated bone saddle, and a polished and beveled OM teardrop tortoise-color pickguard complete the elegant look. Polished gloss finish on the body and neck allows the OMC Jacques Stotzem Custom Edition’s beauty to shine.
Like his namesake guitar, Jacques Stotzem expresses himself best in music. A native of Verviers, Belgium, Stotzem was inspired to learn guitar at age 16 when he saw a television appearance by American blues guitarist Stefan Grossman. Within two days he had acquired his first guitar and an instructional book by Grossman. Entirely self-taught, he soon moved beyond the basic books to learn harmony and composition, in order to play the melodic and lyrical fingerstyle music he was creating in his head.
He released his first album, “Last Thought before Sleeping,” in 1982, while still in his early 20s. A series of well-received solo albums – the total is now 12 – followed. In addition to composing and recording, he became a regular on the concert and festival circuit, showcasing his music from Europe and Great Britain to the United States, Japan and China.
Early in 2006, Stotzem released his latest album, “Colours of Turner,” a brilliantly adventuresome and very well-reviewed duet recording with bassist André Klenes. He also headed back on the road, with a concert schedule that includes appearances in France, Great Britain, Taiwan, Germany and Belgium.
Delivered in a molded hardshell case, each OMC Jacques Stotzem Custom Edition guitar bears an interior label personally signed by Jacques Stotzem and Martin Chairman C. F. Martin IV, and numbered in sequence. Authorized Martin dealers will begin accepting orders for this Custom Edition immediately and the names of participating authorized Martin dealers will be posted on the C. F. Martin & Co. website.