Source: Sounding Board Newsletter Vol 15 - Jul. 2003
“Style 50” represents the highest level of ornamentation and elegance in the Martin line. The first D-50 Deluxe was constructed with Brazilian rosewood back and sides and introduced in 2001. Following on the success of that project, Martin is proud to introduce a second iteration of this special style. The D-50 Koa Deluxe Limited Edition is constructed with Hawaiian koa back and sides, and like its predecessor, limited to no more than 50 special guitars, each individually numbered and personally signed by Martin Chairman and CEO, C. F. Martin IV.
The sides, back, headplate, end piece, and heel cap are crafted from highly flamed Hawaiian koa. The soundboard is bookmatched from premium grade Sitka spruce with heavy “bearclaw” figuring. Internal X-braces are crafted from Adirondack red spruce, forward shifted to a position one inch from the soundhole and carefully scalloped for optimum tone.
Building upon the original Martin Tree of Life inlay pattern, the D-50 Koa Deluxe Edition features a genuine African ebony fingerboard inlaid with an exquisite Tree of Life pattern. Every leaf, flower and stem of the Tree of Life is cut from highly colorful paua shell, then painstakingly bordered with a thin band of mother of pearl. The thin pearl bordering creates a shimmering effect that is almost jewel-like in appearance against the black ebony background.
The Tree of Life pattern continues under the nut and onto the headplate where it terminates with the Martin script logo, also inlaid in abalone with pearl bordering.
Like the original D-50 Deluxe model, the D-50K features special mother of pearl bordered paua shell inlay on the instrument’s sides and back. Two pairs of floral designs appear on both sides of the back inlay strip and on either side of the neck heel and endpiece.
The African ebony bridge and the polished black pickguard are inlaid with matching Tree of Life patterns, also cut from paua shell and bordered with pearl. A special endpiece is cut from Brazilian rosewood and inlaid with the leaves from the Tree of Life pattern, then precisely boxed with paua shell inlay bordering. The heelcap, also of Hawaiian koa, is inlaid with a Tree of Life flower and leaf motif.
The D-50 Koa Edition is bound with grained ivoroid throughout and is inlaid with highly colorful paua shell at virtually every possible seam including the rosette, the top and back edges of the side binding, the perimeter of the back, the back inlay strip, the end piece, the neck heel area on the body, the neck heel area of the neck, the side profile of the neck and headstock, and the front edging of the fingerboard and headplate.
Specific areas have been further enhanced with special herringbone pearl including the perimeter of the top, the area around the extension of the fingerboard, the inner ring of the rosette, and the center stripe of the back inlay strip.
Vintage style Waverly gold plated brass tuning machines with vintage style butterbean knobs are delicately and individually hand engraved. The nut, saddle. bridge pins and end pin are all crafted from genuine fossilized ivory. The bridge pins and end pin are further enhanced with star sapphire inlays and bordered in 14-karat gold settings.
In keeping with the premium elements of this special instrument, each D-50 Koa Deluxe Edition will be furnished with a very special genuine tophide leather 5-ply hardshell case, padded and lined with crushed burgundy velvet and equipped with an onboard humidity/temperature gauge.