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One of the few guitars I have ever purchased from another maker was made by William “Grit” Laskin. I had saved a soundboard of Appalachian red spruce, plus an extraordinarily figured set of Brazilian rosewood. Martin wouldn’t use the sapwood, but for me that’s what made it all the more special. I didn’t trust myself to do justice with such a precious set. I had always admired Grit’s instruments and I commissioned him in 1996 to make a special guitar with these woods. As Grit’s specialty is the use of the guitar as a canvas for his artistic inlay, when we started to discuss the possibilities, I decided that I wanted to poke fun at Martin. The headstock inlay features Grit, standing on the top rung of a ladder inside a music store window, painting over the Martin logo from the window. Grit suggested that since his last name shared three common letters with Martin, he would depict himself replacing the “M,” the “R,” and the “T” with his own name in Laskin Red paint. The resulting work of tone and art is dubbed “Laskin Red” as that’s the color on the side of the paint can. Complete with Grit’s beautifully beveled built-in armrest, this is one guitar that I truly cherish.
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