Source: Sounding Board Newsletter Vol 25 - Jun. 2008
On this, the 5th Anniversary of the highly acclaimed JDP Diane Ponzio Limited Edition model, and the 175th Anniversary of its mother ship, we celebrate by introducing the JDP II, an innovative Martin Jumbo design that truly speaks for itself.
“For over 20 years, I have had the privilege of representing The Martin Guitar Company at clinics, trade shows, in shops and on stages all over the world. What continues to astound me is the enduring quality of Martin craftsmanship and their instantly recognizable tone. I have NEVER met a Martin I didn't like, and more than many that I have loved.”
The JDP II, a seeming "plain Jane" in appearance, is anything but in its sonic portrait. Every decision in the construction of this instrument is an exponent of sound and every appointment is dedicated to yielding fabulous tone at maximum volume.
Diane chose the Martin Jumbo body shape – her perennial favorite – because of its tight-waisted profile, which provides even tonal balance, and its Dreadnought depth, which gives it blasting power.
“Recently, I learned firsthand that dwindling natural resources and increased demand from other industries has cast a threatening shadow over the future supply of genuine mahogany.”
“I am convinced that genuine mahogany will one day approximate the rarity of Brazil ian rosewood. Mahogany instruments sound much brighter than their rosewood counterparts, and the clarity is rich and distinct. It is for these reasons that I chose genuine mahogany for the back and sides.”
Another fascinating timber development Diane has witnessed is the emergence of different species of spruce used on the tops of Martin guitars.
“There is no doubt to my ears that they each contribute differently to a guitar's special voice.” For the JDP II, she chose premium Italian alpine spruce.
“When the Company of fered me another opportunity to conjure a dream guitar based on my experience as both a player and a clinician, I knew my choices would involve these two magical woods.”
Adding to the vibrant tone of the JDP II are the forward shifted hybrid top braces, the first of their kind. Martin has long incorporated forward shifted bracing (typically found on many pre-WWII Martins) to give the soundboard more freedom to move and project sound.
The body is finished with full gloss nitrocellulose lacquer, while the neck's satin sheen allows for fast movement and fretting.
“Two obvious visual features of this magnificent jumbo are the slotted headstock and large soundhole. Both of these features make the guitar louder; the strings traveling from a slotted headstock to the bridge exert more downward pressure on the nut due to the increased angle, hence, more resonance. The large soundhole is like having a big mouth!”
Inspired by the contrasting pearl “sun” rosette of the 0-28 Ian Anderson model, Diane appropriated a similar design using in-house laser cut wood inlays. This process utilizes small pieces of precious wood trim from the Martin factory that are too small to utilize elsewhere in the process. It is one small example of our collective commitment to use wood wisely and continually find new ways to embrace the future of green guitar building.
The handsome Waverly tuners, prized for their precision, add to its beauty, and the tortoise teardrop pickguard, previously used exclusively on Martin OM's, highlights this guitar's simple elegance. The JDP II is an obvious player’s choice. Drawing from Diane’s rich knowledge of tone woods and “global laps” of experience as a Martin clinician, she has shared her vision by blending classic and contemporary design features to create this unprecedented combination.
“The most wonderful aspects of this guitar, however, are the men and women who make each one by hand in Nazareth, Pennsylvania, with the dedication to quality we have revered for almost two centuries. Thanks for the BEST!” — Diane Ponzio