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Press Release Archive

Flamed Hawaiian Tonewood Graces D-50 Koa Deluxe Limited Edition

d-50kdxSource: 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.

C. F. Martin and American Archtop Guitars Unveil A True Player's Archtop Collaboration

Source: Sounding Board Newsletter Vol 16 - Jan. 2004

by Dale Unger

archtopAs a teen living in Nazareth, I became fiercely inspired by meeting many of Martin’s finest craftsmen. My desire to learn how to make guitars became a reality after my introduction to Dick Boak. In the ensuing years Dick and I renovated the ”Church of Art” in the center of Nazareth, and we built many unique experimental instruments. In addition to being Dick’s residence, the “Church of Art” was a guitar studio, concert hall and art gallery. It was a great inspiration to me while I was perfecting my craft as a luthier. This is where I constructed my first guitar in the mid ‘70s. Though he doesn’t reside there any more, Dick still owns the “Church,” and I presently teach my archtop design and construction classes there.

Dick introduced me to Chris Martin in the late ‘70s. Our mutual passion for the guitar helped us establish a strong and lasting friendship. In 1993 I was introduced to another great influence in my life, Robert Benedetto. After several years of close and intensive work with Bob, my passion and understanding for archtop guitars matured.

As fate would have it, I decided in 1995 that the time was right to venture out on my own. My desire was to create a “guitar for the player.” This was the beginning of American Archtop Guitars of which I am the sole proprietor.

I approached Chris Martin in 2001 with my vision for blending Martin’s extraordinary craftsmanship and process with my particular archtop guitar designs. Chris embraced the notion of our collaboration and after great deliberation we ventured forward. With the support of Chris and the cooperative efforts of Dick Boak, Tim Teel and all of the employees at Martin, I was able to reach what I consider to be a major pinnacle in my career – the introduction of the Martin American Archtop Guitar. It’s fair and honest to say that Martin’s past offerings in the archtop arena were not very well received. While the company’s ability to craft great flattop guitars has always been unmatched, the archtop guitar is a distinctly different entity. My thorough understanding of the instrument and its tradition is what I have brought to the table, and, of course, what better company could there possibly be to execute such a design than Martin.

Accordingly, Martin and I are very proud to introduce two unprecedented Fhole archtop guitars. Both models are offered with either a natural or complete sunburst finish in the following options: The CF-1 model is a full 3” thickness body with a Kent Armstrong floating humbucking neck pickup, featuring an X-braced 3-ply top of spruce, obeche, and spruce, with solid flamed maple sides and a veneered flamed maple arched back.

The CF-2 incorporates a thinner 2 1/2” thickness body utilizing parallel top bracing to accept two built-in Seymour Duncan humbucking pickups with volume and tone controls and a pickup selecting switch. Please take the time to try these special guitars. You won’t be sorry!

D-100 Deluxe Commemorative Edition

d100Source: Sounding Board Newsletter Vol 16 - Jan. 2004

Bearing the first 50 sequential serial numbers following the millionth Martin guitar (1,000,001 to 1,000,050) the D-100 Deluxe – also a Dreadnought – draws inspiration from Larry Robinson’s unprecedented inlay work on the Martin 1,000,000th guitar. This guitar features many of that instrument’s Victorian and Baroque embellishments lavishly inlaid in select pearl on its back, pickguard, headplate, fingerboard and bridge. Herringbone pearl inlay encircles the top, and the rosette features the same herringbone pearl inlay, flanked by two pearl rings in select abalone. Even the neck and headstock feature borders inlaid in select pearl.

The D-100 Deluxe is crafted with Adirondack spruce and C.I.T.E.S. certified Brazilian rosewood, hand-selected specifically for this edition. Golden Era® appointments like scalloped 5/16" Adirondack spruce top braces, a 1 3/4" modified V neck with square, tapered headstock and diamond volute share the spotlight with unique touches like Waverly gold hand-engraved tuners with butterbean knobs, gold color frets and fossilized ivory bridge and end pins topped with green tourmaline dots in 14-karat gold settings. The nut and saddle are fashioned from fossilized ivory.

Each D-100 Deluxe guitar in the edition of 50 bears a custom printed interior label personally signed by Martin Chairman C.F. Martin IV and is numbered in sequence. In keeping with the instrument’s exalted place as the fanciest Martin model ever, the D-100 Deluxe will be presented in a special black five-ply case covered in genuine leather and fitted with a black crushed velour interior.

C.F. Martin will take orders for the D-45 Celtic Knot and the D-100 Deluxe Commemorative Editions at the 2004 NAMM show in Anaheim until each edition is fully subscribed. Participating C.F. Martin dealers then will be announced on the Martin web site.

Celtic Knot Commemorative Edition

celticSource: Sounding Board Newsletter Vol 16 - Jan. 2004

Bearing the 50 consecutive serial numbers prior to the millionth Martin guitar (999,950 to 999,999) the D-45 Celtic Knot draws on designs master inlay artist Larry Robinson created in 1997 for Martin’s second milestone guitar, serial number 600,000. Based on Martin’s flagship Dreadnought shape, the D-45 Celtic Knot combines D-45 inlays along the top, sides and back of the body in select abalone pearl with unique Celtic Knot inlays on the fingerboard, headplate, bridge and pickguard. In addition, the signature of Martin Chairman C.F. Martin IV is inlaid into the back of the guitar in select pearl.

The D-45 Celtic Knot features a top of premium Adirondack spruce and back, sides and headplate of premium C.I.T.E.S. certified Brazilian rosewood. The instrument’s Golden Era appointments include scalloped 5/16" Adirondack spruce top braces, cloth side strips and a 1 3/4" modified V neck with square, tapered headstock and diamond volute. Gotoh gold tuners with specially embossed Celtic buttons grace the headstock, and the nut, saddle, bridge pins and endpin are crafted from fossilized ivory.

Each of the 50 D-45 Celtic Knot guitars bears an interior label personally signed by Martin Chairman and CEO C.F. Martin IV and is numbered in sequence. The D-45 Celtic Knot will be delivered in an extremely light and durable Accord carbon fiber flight case.

The Millionth Martin Guitar

millionSource: Sounding Board Newsletter Vol 16 - Jan. 2004

Such a simple number: a one followed by six zeros. Yet C.F. Martin & Company’s millionth guitar represents so much: a family’s dedication to an ideal that has endured for six generations, an incredible 171 years of musical history, more than 700 craftspeople whose talents and attention to detail can be appreciated in every Martin guitar, and countless guitar players for whom the Martin sound is their sound.

So it’s only natural that the millionth C.F. Martin & Company guitar be a spectacular celebration of the Company’s history and art.

Crafted from C.I.T.E.S. certified Brazilian rosewood, Adirondack red spruce, black African ebony and genuine mahogany, Serial #1,000,000 – fittingly, a Dreadnought, one of Martin’s most influential designs – is the most elaborate instrument in the company’s history, surpassing even the D-45 China Dragon (#700,000) and the D-45 Peacock (#750,000). Intricate inlays of abalone, mother of pearl, sea snail, 18-karat gold, white gold and precious gems, including diamonds, emeralds, rubies, sapphires and aquamarines, cover the back, fingerboard, headstock, rosette, pickguard and inset soundhole “rose.” Similar inlays accent the sides and neck.

The inlays feature Victorian and Baroque imagery as well as some uniquely Martin elements. Tendrils of vines and leaves frame the top, back, sides and neck, and more elaborate inlays in the same style are set into the back of the neck and the sides. A grand trellis rises from an urn at the base of the fingerboard. A golden eagle peers from a flourish of leaves on the headstock. The pickguard features a guitar top with Martin’s innovative X-bracing as well as tools of the luthier’s trade.

Most spectacular of all is the guitar’s back. An urn near the center supports an arbor of vines and leaves on which four angels play guitars, a mandolin and a ukulele, while near the top, two more angels place a wreath on the neck of an early Martin of the sort the founder C. F. Martin, Sr. made in his early years in the United States. Framed by cascading tendrils, “#1,000,000” is followed by the familiar “C.F. Martin & Co., Est. 1833” logo in abalone. Near the bottom, an engraved portrait of C.F. Martin himself completes the inlay.

Work on the millionth Martin began in early 2002, when master inlay artist Larry Robinson submitted drawings for the various inlay elements. After selection and parts preparation in Nazareth, the various pieces were shipped to Robinson’s shop in Sonoma County, California. Nearly two years of cutting the inlay pieces (by hand, with a jeweler’s saw), fabricating the designs, gluing them into carefully incised wood and flat-sanding followed. Robinson was assisted by world-class engraver Dave Guilietti, who engraved all the gold elements as well as the angels, cherubs and portrait of C. F. Martin, Sr. on the back. The jewels were tube set by Jeweler's Warehouse. The various elements were returned to Martin in late 2003. The jewels were placed in their settings by Larry Robinson in mid-December 2003 – just in time for extensive photography in anticipation of the guitar’s unveiling on January 15, 2004 at the NAMM Show in Anaheim, California. Even a special display module has been custom fabricated to house the instrument at the show, as well as the incredible Genuine Ostritch Skin Custom Case custom made for the one millionth guitar by TKL Case Company.

Is “#1,000,000” the ultimate C.F. Martin guitar? Certainly it is an unprecedented museum piece and a pristine example of the guitarmaking craft. But as C. F. Martin & Co. continues to add to its guitarmaking legacy, the urge to create an even more fantastic guitar will almost certainly arise. After all, #2,000,000 may be less than 20 years away!

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