What do you think of when you hear acoustic/electric mentioned in guitar specifications? Years ago, you may have thought of that slightly quacky sound that is often associated with older piezo pickups or maybe that feedback that you may have ran into when standing in front of a microphone on stage.
Up until just a few years ago you probably would have been spot on with those thoughts, but today that way of thinking couldn’t be farther from the truth! In fact, today's electronic systems offer a very natural sound while giving the volume you need to be heard amongst the banjo players and drummers of the world without that annoying feedback of a microphone.
I have been fortunate enough to be included in many electronic system sound tests and have been able to play almost every electronic system we have offered over the past twelve years. With that in mind, I want to delve into a few of the most popular electronic systems we get requests for in the Custom Shop.
Our most requested system is the Fishman Matrix Infinity system. This system is one of our least invasive options that offers a very natural sound with the added convenience of volume/tone control on the inside edge of the sound hole for easy adjustment during your performance.
We also have a version of the Fishman Matrix with an added bridge plate transducer that will help bring out some more of the body warmth and percussive sounds that some players may want. This system is called the Fishman Matrix VT Enhance. This has an added enhance knob in the soundhole which will adjust the level of the bridge plate transducer signal.
We also receive a lot of requests for the Martin Thinline Gold Plus which is another non-invasive system that has a very natural sound but doesn’t have the volume/tone knob; this is a great option for someone who prefers to adjust volume & tone from the amplifier/board they are plugged into.
Sticking with the lesser invasive options we offer; for the player that uses a preamp to adjust their tone and drive their signal to the PA, we offer the passive Martin Thinline 332. This system is very similar tonally to the Thinline Gold Plus but isn’t powered so it requires the use of an out board preamp.
This is just a sample of the electronic systems we offer in the Martin Custom Shop. If you are interested in adding electronics to an existing Martin Guitar model or building a completely custom guitar, please contact your favorite Martin Guitar dealer and they will help you order the guitar of your dreams!
As a twelve year employee of Martin Guitar, Jimmie has had a love for what he does since day 1. He started his career working on X-series instruments. Because of his enthusiasm, he moved on to final inspection and learned everything from polishing, to running the Plek machines, to all other aspects of final setup. Jimmie spent a few years in customer service because he’s so gosh-darn friendly! Now-a-days, Jimmie spends his time as a custom shop administrator where he helps people build their dream guitars. He’s a guitar nerd but also a true music fan and listens to everything from the Beatles to Black Label Society to Brad Paisley.
Gear Gods visited the Charvel booth at the 2017 NAMM show to learn more about the brand new models in the lineup.
In the clip below, Charvel Product Manager Peter Wichers gives a detailed look at the Joe Duplantier Signature Pro-Mod San Dimas® Style 2 HH, the Guthrie Govan Signature HSH Flame Maple, the Guthrie Govan Signature HSH Caramelized Ash and the all-new Pro-Mod Style 2’s.
Check out the video below to discover more.
The big event that the 2017 Oscars did right was asking Sting to perform!
The singer, songwriter, and Martin player took the stage at the award show to perform "Empty Chair" from JIM: THE JAMES FOLEY STORY. The song was one of the nominees in the Music (Original Song) category. This was Sting's fourth Oscar nomination. His heartfelt, acoustic performance was definitely a favorite of the night.
You can watch a clip of the performance of "Empty Chair" here.
Sting performed at the Oscars with his beloved Custom Martin guitar. You can learn more about creating your own custom Martin guitar and the new Platinum Experience here. You can also find an authorized Martin dealer in your area here.
The world-renowned Martin Guitar Custom Shop is able to make your guitar dreams a reality.
Martin invites guitar enthusiasts purchasing a custom shop or limited edition model priced over $15,000 to our factory in Nazareth, Pennsylvania for the unforgettable Platinum Experience.
Your journey begins with transportation provided by Martin Guitar to our factory. Upon arrival, you will be treated to a private behind-the-scenes tour after which our Custom Shop team will present you with your instrument. You will be introduced to the skilled Custom Shop craftspeople who built your instrument and speak with a professional tech who will answer all of your questions.
Your visit will include lunch and, if scheduling permits, a meet and greet with Chairman and CEO, Chris Martin IV. You will also be sent home with a Platinum Experience gift bag!
Let’s talk about Walnut for a second. Let’s talk about how poor Walnut is often overlooked. Everyone has seen English Walnut, Claro Walnut, all the beautiful looking Walnuts. But what about boring old Black Walnut? A little lack luster in appearance, it’s often passed by as a mediocre tonewood. And it isn’t harvested in some exotic location like Central America. It’s from Eastern USA, right in Martin’s backyard. Don’t be fooled though, Black Walnut kicks some serious butt and will surprise you.
Every year, we take some of our favorite in-house builds to the NAMM Show. In 2017, my favorite was a Black Walnut Dreadnought that we’ve been calling the “Clarence Walnut." Inspired by the humongous sound of the Clarence White model from years ago, this thing is a boomer! The Adirondack top paired with forward shifted Golden Era braces, a large soundhole, and Black Walnut all add up to an amazing, huge sounding guitar.
What I like so much about this guitar is that its a cannon but its balanced. That can be hard to find! Sometimes huge sounding guitars quickly lose balance and complexity in the search for sheer volume and power. If you’re strictly buying with your ears, this might be your new favorite.
Emily has worked at Martin Guitar for 10 years. She has been cross-trained in every aspect of guitar building and currently serves as the Martin Guitar Custom Shop Administrator. Dear Emily is an advice column that will appear bi-monthly on the Martin Guitar Blog.
Experience the six pack of sound in this video demo featuring guitarist Jordan Ziff on the NEW Charvel Pro-Mod San Dimas Style 2 HH FR M in Transparent Red. Firstly, Ziff runs through pickup positions 1, 2 and 3 with the volume knob in standard position. He then splits the coils by pulling the volume knob and again runs through all three pickup positions.
Watch below …
Nothings makes a Monday quite as great as the announcement of the eXceptional sales event!
You can instantly save up to $100 instantly on the D Jr., LX, and X Series models at participating U.S. dealers. But you may want to hurry! This sales event will end on March 31st.
You can find your nearest participating U.S. dealer here.
We are delighted to share with you Volume 7 of the beloved Martin | The Journal Of Acoustic Guitars.
The publications is written exclusively for acoustic guitar enthusiasts, players, dealers, and owners. This volume includes: a new Take It From The Top from CEO and Chairman Chris Martin IV, a special feature on the Two Millionth Martin guitar, new models, an article featuring Martin Ambassador Megan Rapinoe, and more.
Download and enjoy Volume 7 of Martin | The Journal of Acoustic Guitars here.
Looking for an acoustic-electric guitar at a great price with robust sound? Meet the 000X1AE.
The guitar features a solid Sitka spruce top with mahogany-grained high pressure laminate (HPL) back and sides. The 000X1AE includes sustainable wood certified parts. It comes equipped with Fishman electronics which helps the guitar belt out rich clarity and tons of projection. The traditional Dreadnought design is strung with SP Lifespan Martin Strings.
You can learn more about the 000X1AE here.
French metallers Gojira recently appeared on Quotidien, the most viewed television show in France.
While we couldn’t make heads or tails of the conversation leading into the performance, we sure did enjoy watching the band forcefully power through “Stranded” and “The Shooting Star.”
Check out both clips below, featuring singer/guitarist Joe Duplantier on his signature Charvel models.
In 2016, Charvel introduced an upgraded collection of amped up Pro-Mod Style 1 guitars that shook up the lineup with all-new features. This year, Charvel continues to wreak havoc with a new lineup of all-new Pro-Mod San Dimas Style 2 guitars featuring a variety of finishes with options including ash, alder or okoume bodies, hardtail or Floyd Rose® bridges, 6-or 7-strings, rosewood or maple fingerboards and a left-handed version.
Here’s a quick breakdown of all 10 variations:
Showing off the beauty of the ash wood in a Natural finish, this guitar features a two-piece bolt-on maple neck with graphite reinforcement rods, a 12”-16” compound radius maple fingerboard with 22 jumbo frets and offset dot inlays, a convenient thumbwheel truss rod butt-adjust, Seymour Duncan humbucking pickups, a push/pull coil split volume control, No-Load tone control, a Charvel® HT6 string-through-body hardtail bridge and a licensed Fender® Stratocaster® headstock.
This Style 2 stands out with gorgeous quilt maple top on an alder body that emphasizes the complementary turquoise to deep ocean gradient Chlorine Burst finish. Other features include a two-piece bolt-on maple neck with graphite reinforcement, a 12”-16” compound radius maple fingerboard with 22 jumbo frets and offset dot inlays, as well as a convenient thumbwheel truss rod butt-adjust. It’s also equipped with a pair of high-output Seymour Duncan® humbucking pickups, a push/pull coil split volume control, No-Load tone control, a Charvel® HT6 string-through-body hardtail bridge, and a licensed Fender® Stratocaster® headstock.
This 7-string model is a unique creature fit for modern players looking to expand their sonic palette. The Charcoal Gray stain over the natural ash body looks meticulously charred to perfection, accentuating the grain of the wood with highlights of a light gray/nearly white crackling throughout.
Features include a two-piece bolt-on maple neck with graphite reinforcement rods, a 12”-16” compound radius rosewood fingerboard with 24 jumbo frets and offset dot inlays, and a convenient thumbwheel truss rod butt-adjust for easy access. It’s also equipped with a high-output Seymour Duncan® Nazgûl humbucking bridge pickup and a Seymour Duncan Sentient humbucking neck pickup, controlled with a three-way blade switch. The Charvel® HT7 string-through-body hardtail bridge provides endless sustain with laser intonation.
For players that prefer a more raw look, this 7-string offers a gorgeous okoume body with a Natural finish and a maple fingerboard with 24 jumbo frets and offset dot inlays. Like its darker ash counterpart, it includes high-output Seymour Duncan® Nazgûl and Sentient humbucking pickups, a push/pull coil split volume control, No-Load tone control and a Charvel® HT7 string-through-body hardtail bridge.
The Style 2’s are also available with a Floyd Rose® double-locking recessed tremolo. This Metallic Black beauty is constructed with an alder body and a two-piece bolt-on maple neck with graphite reinforcement rods for rock-solid stability. It also features a 12”-16” compound radius dark rosewood fingerboard with 22 jumbo frets and white dot inlays, as well as a convenient thumbwheel truss rod butt-adjust. It’s powered by high-output Seymour Duncan® JB TB-4 and ’59 SH-1N humbucking pickups, which are controlled by a three-way blade switch. A push/pull coil split volume control and No-Load tone control contribute to its “Six Pack of Sound” capabilities.
With the same great features as the Style 2 HH FR, this model stands apart with a maple fingerboard with black dot inlays. The Style 2 HH FR M is also equipped with a Floyd Rose® double-locking tremolo bridge, high-output Seymour Duncan® humbucking pickups, a push/pull coil split volume control and No-Load tone control.
Available in Satin Red with black hardware or Satin Silver with chrome hardware.
So nice, we made it twice. The Natural Ash finish is such a stunner, it was also created with a Floyd Rose® double-locking tremolo bridge to complement the hardtail version. The Style 2 HH FR Ash includes a 12”-16” compound radius dark rosewood fingerboard with 22 jumbo frets and white dot inlays, a convenient thumbwheel truss rod butt-adjust, high-output Seymour Duncan® JB™ TB-4 and ‘59™ SH-1N humbucking pickups, a push/pull coil split volume control and No-Load tone control. Black hardware adds a bold contrast for a classic finishing touch.
For fans that clamor for quilt maple tops, this Floyd Rose model delivers in a striking Transparent Red Burst or Transparent Blue Burst finish. Premium features include a 12”-16” compound radius maple fingerboard with 22 jumbo frets and black dot inlays, a convenient thumbwheel truss rod butt-adjust, high-output Seymour Duncan® JB™ TB-4 and ‘59™ SH-1N humbucking pickups, a push/pull coil split volume control and No-Load tone control.
The Style 2 HH FR QM includes the same great features as the Style 2 HH FR M QM, with the exception of a dark rosewood fingerboard with white dot inlays in a classic Transparent Black finish. This sleek and slightly more subtle addition offers an alder body with a quilt maple top, two-piece bolt-on maple neck with graphite reinforcement rods, high-output Seymour Duncan® JB™ TB-4 and ‘59™ SH-1N humbucking pickups, a push/pull coil split volume control, No-Load tone control and a Floyd Rose® double-locking recessed tremolo bridge.
Southpaws, rejoice! This left-handed Pro-Mod Style 2 is available in a classic Black finish will all-black hardware. Features include an alder body, two-piece bolt-on maple neck with graphite reinforcement rods, 12”-16” compound radius maple fingerboard with 22 jumbo frets and black dot inlays, and a convenient thumbwheel truss rod butt-adjust. It’s also equipped with Seymour Duncan® JB™ TB-4 and ‘59™ SH-1N humbucking pickups, a push/pull coil split volume control and a Floyd Rose® double-locking recessed tremolo bridge.
Martin Ambassador Sam Hunt is putting the pedal to the metal with a new single and headlining tour.
"Body Like A Back Road" is the first single off the Martin Ambassador's much anticipated sophomore album. The new single gives a lightened up feel to an album that is expected to be heavy. You can listen to Sam Hunt's new single here.
The Martin Ambassador will also be headlining an upcoming tour. The "15 In 30" tour will kick off on June 1st and also include Maren Morris, Chris Janson, and Ryan Follese. You can find a full list of tour dates here.
Martin Ambassador Sam Hunt's guitar of choice is the OMJM John Mayer.
Every year, Martin Guitar introduces a guitar that was designed by our very own CEO and Chairman Chris Martin IV. This year, the guitar comes to us in the form of the CEO 8.2 and the CEO 8.2E.
The CEO 8.2 is an FSC certified grand jumbo 14-fret acoustic guitar. The CEO 8.2E is also available and comes equipped with Fishman Blackstack electronics. The top of the guitar is crafted of European Spruce with the Vintage Tone System and a Bourbon Sunset Burst finish with genuine mahogany back and sides. Other features of the CEO 8.2 and CEO 8.2E include a Martin archtop headstock shape, bone nut and saddle, an ebony fingerboard, and mother-of-pearl skeleton diamond pattern inlay. The guitar will come with a TKL Alumin-X case that has patented technology for a strong, lightweight case with great protection. The guitar will be strung with LJ's Choice Martin Strings.
You can learn more about the CEO 8.2 and CEO 8.2E here.
Check out the Charvel booth from the 2017 NAMM show in Anaheim, Calif., offering a glimpse of the latest and greatest products for the year, including new Pro-Mod Style 2′s and signature models from Joe Duplantier and Guthrie Govan. Charvel artist and Stone Sour guitarist Christian Martucci and Revocation’s Dave Davidson also stopped by the showroom for an up-close look at what Charvel has to offer.
I wish I still had it! My very first guitar was a laminate Mahogany 00-14 fret that set me back $53! As a 14 year old I walked into the Wood Worker's Dream and spoke with a ‘guy’ by the name of Dick Boak. With a big smile he pointed me in the right direction and helped me pick out a great little guitar. As I had mentioned, I wish I still had it!
If we take the time to remember our very first guitar, we all will have stories as to what exact guitar it was and why we chose it. It may have been a Classical or a Steel String, it could have been a Dreadnought or the smaller OM size body. For some of us, our first guitar purchase may have been completely visual ala a Sunburst , but for others it was pure sound or playability, and for others still it was the overall size or how well it fit our body type. Back then if we could find something we liked in a music store that was a huge plus and of course if we could actually afford what we liked that made it even better!
Let’s fast forward to today. There is a lot of information out there and a lot of different guitars have now been played and talked about and guess what? We found some things that we like in these old beauties. Some of them really are pretty special. The Custom Shop allows customers to explore other options. Sometimes the requests are very simple and resemble that old favorite and other times it is more involved. Some of the most popular or common options we see requested by customers are body size, neck shape, and top species.
As for the body size, our list is pretty big. We offer the Dreadnought and other smaller OM/000 size bodies. Most are available in both 12 and 14 fret versions and most can be ordered as a Cutaway. There is also a newer Grand Jumbo body which is really big! Body size is an important factor so if nothing else, be comfortable! Dreadnoughts top the list of most popular but OM’s are chasing them closely every year!
The Neck Shape options offered include both the contour & width. While the Modified V is very popular it is not on every custom guitar. There have been many different neck shapes through our history, with the introduction of the Performing Artist Neck shape being most current. The new PA Neck taper has a nice blend of both current & traditional shape and width. It feels very smooth and playable up the neck. That being said, each individual neck shape will have slightly different feel as you wrap your hand around it and begin to play. Neck shapes such as Low Profile, Modified Low Oval or Full Thickness are all acceptable and sometimes becomes a very personal decision. A players style can sometimes be easily changed or adapted to playing a new neck shape. Other times, a different neck shape can be road block. Face it, when we play that new guitar, our hand is wrapped around the neck 98% of the time…it’s got to feel just right!
I saved the best for last! I was always told…to really change the overall tone of a guitar, change the top species and top bracing. That change in the ‘soundboard’ and how it is put together will give you the biggest bang for your buck! Top species options in the Custom Shop include Sitka Spruce, Adirondack Spruce, Italian Alpine Spruce, Carpathian Spruce, Engelmann Spruce, and Swiss Spruce. Each species comes from a different part of the world and each species of spruce has it’s own character both visually and sonically. Adding an Adirondack Spruce top is still a very popular upgrade in the Custom Shop. That top change will usually make the guitar a little bigger sounding & provide much richer tones. Visually Adirondack Spruce may be less attractive than the other spruces but most opinions will all agree that it makes a great sounding guitar top as well as the previously mentioned materials. And let’s not forget Red Cedar! That top species feels much softer than any of the spruces and there is a visual warmth and tone that Red Cedar provides. In the right hands, an instrument with a Red Cedar top may sound more mature right out of the box! As a guitar player you gotta love that!
Today, in the Martin Custom Shop we offer many different custom options, the important thing is to find the right options that help embellish your own playing style!
Custom Shop Administrative Manager
C.F. Martin & CO., Inc.
The Charvel Custom Shop unveiled some magnificent beauties during the 2017 NAMM Show in Anaheim, Calif. Here’s a look at 7 by Master Builder “Red” Dave Nichols.
So-Cal Scallop Relic Black
Pulling from the more classic and conservative side of Charvel, this custom So-Cal Scallop axe looks like it’s been slung around for the last 25 years with its black finish, white pickguard and excellent relic job on both the finish and hardware.
The guitar features an alder body with a bolt-on quartersawn maple neck, scallop maple fingerboard with 24 jumbo frets, a reverse headstock, Seymour Duncan pickups, Original Floyd Rose® and Gotoh tuners.
Surfcaster Dart Swinger Brown
This offset gem features an alder body with a bolt-on maple neck, a rosewood fingerboard with 22 jumbo frets and bass sidebar inlay. Powered by Seymour Duncan P-90 Soapbar pickups, this axe also has a Tonepros Tune-O-Matic bridge and Gotoh tuners.
Its Dart Swinger Brown finish is set off nicely with vintage white binding around the body, neck and headstock, which features the Charvel script logo.
San Dimas Sandblast
A pair of San Dimas Style 1 ash bodies were sandblasted for a raw and edgy-vibe.
The San Dimas HSH Sandblast model features a black body with neon green satin grainfill finish. A bolt-on quartersawn maple neck features an ebony fingerboard, while the DiMarzio pickups are finished with matching neon green covers for a truly spectacular combo. Also offers a Floyd Rose Lo Pro Bridge.
The San Dimas Sandblast sticks with a basic monochromatic color palette, and yet is equally remarkable in looks, complete with a pair of Bare Knuckle Holy Driver pickups and a Hipshot hard tail bridge.
Sometimes you just need the bare essentials. The Custom Dinky Poplar is as natural as it gets, featuring a poplar body and a bolt-on quartersawn maple neck with a scallop fingerboard and reverse headstock. Powered by a Bill Lawrence L-500XL bridge pickup and a Seymour Duncan SH1 pickup, this high-performance axe also offers a spokewheel truss rod adjust at the butt-end of the neck, an Original Floyd Rose bridge, Gotoh tuners and chrome hardware.
San Dimas Big Mouth
For those who like to run their mouth, this San Dimas alder body got a sick and vivid custom graphic paint job featuring some sharp canines with tongue hanging out Miley Cyrus style. Its bolt-on quartersawn maple neck features a maple fingerboard with black dot inlays and 22 jumbo frets.
Also features Seymour Duncan pickups, a Charvel brass trem hardtail bridge and Gotoh Tuners.
Style 2 Cherry Burst
Simple yet stunning. That’s what comes to mind when taking a close look at this Style 2 guitar featuring an ash body with a Cherry Burst finish, a bolt-on caramelized flame maple neck and black six in line reverse headstock with a script Charvel logo.
Also features a pair of DiMarzio DP-184 Chopper pickups, a Hipshot USA Tele bridge in black and a convenient thumbwheel truss rod adjustment at the butt-end of the neck.