Martin Projects

The D-Boak "Inside Out"

Special Edition 2018

Finalized digital artwork 

for the high resolution inkjet printer

at right.

d-boak "Inside Out” Special Edition

 

     Martin is proud to offer this special edition featuring imprinted original artwork by illustrator, luthier, musician and Martin archivist Dick Boak. In creating the artwork, Dick wanted to reveal and embellish the quintessential scalloped X-bracing of the Martin Dreadnought – the most beautiful and rarely seen internal structure of the company's flagship guitar. Personally signed and numbered in sequence, the d-boak Dreadnought is crafted with a Sitka spruce soundboard, genuine mahogany back and sides, a modified low oval neck, simple dovetail neck joint, bone nut and saddle, and an ebony fingerboard and bridge. Tonally, the guitar is clear, projective and glassine. Anyone who has had the pleasure of working with Dick Boak over the past 40 years knows the impact that his creativity and love of guitars has made upon the company and the industry. This edition celebrates and shares his long and storied tenure at C. F. Martin & Co.

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Chris Martin and Dick Boak

discuss the origins of the d-boak edition artwork and guitar.

Interior edition label.

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Guitar demo and review

by Teja Gerken

of PegHead Nation

The First Serial Numbered

Martin Custom Shop Guitar

Serial #410400

Custom 01 – Serial #410400

 

        The instruments that I was building personally in my home workshop were often more sculptural than practical, but valuable to me nonetheless. Experiencing the challenges and frustrations of building increased my respect for Martin’s underlying ability to garner an assembly line of hand craftsmanship. Rarely a year went by that I didn’t take advantage of my employee guitar purchase privilege and in 1979, after a year of arguably obnoxious prodding, Martin agreed to build me what in hindsight was a rather plain customization. It was a D-41 with a D-45 neck upgraded from utilitarian Grover tuners to the more prestigious gold Schallers with vintage-toned top lacquer and a Barcus Berry under-the-saddle pickup. The most significant aspect of the guitar was its serial number. It was Martin’s first official Custom guitar – a detail for which I am most proud. 

        Many more guitars followed through the Martin Custom Shop. Each was an attempt to stretch the boundaries of what a guitar could or should be. The process of conceptualizing instruments on paper and commissioning the experts to do the work set the stage for what would become my real value and contribution to Martin.

Limited Edition Martin “MC 2” 

Double Cutaway, 1988

 

Only 22 of these odd 

Boak-designed models were made.

MC Squared

 

        While making up a right-handed M-sized cutaway kit one day at Woodworker’s Dream, I discovered that the non-cutaway side was cracked, rendering the cutaway side mismatched and useless. I set it aside on the shelf. Several months later, I was working on a left-handed cutaway kit and the same crack occurred on the non-cutaway side. This coincidence left me with two opposing cutaway sides. As I stood holding those sides, it struck me. What a bold and elegant idea a double cutaway guitar would be! I trimmed a dovetail block and glued the sides into an odd body shape. “M” for the prefix or size, “C” for the cutaway... no, make that two cutaways C2 –MC2– Einsteinian and brilliant! 

        Completing the body in an M mold, I rushed over to the main plant to show the idea around, but no one really appreciated the elegance of the idea the way I did. A few weeks later, the sales staff called me into a high level pow-wow and I was put on the spot to explain and justify my double cutaway. Mustering my unbridled passion, I managed to  convince the skeptical group to proceed with plans for a limited edition model. Without me to cheer the project on, the reluctant prototype was shipped off to the trade show where a meager 22 orders were taken. Like the awkward Edsel, my MC2 was deemed a failure. Nonetheless, I cling to the contention that these odd ducks are exceptionally cool. Try to locate one of those 22 guitars, you’ll have a hard time prying them away from similarly afflicted guitar enthusiasts. That’s the paradox of success and failure. Succeed, make many and the market will rescind in saturation. Fail, make very few and you’ve got yourself a winner – a rare beast – one worth fighting for!

Martin/Schoenberg 

Custom 12-fret 000-42

Adirondack Spruce

African Ebony

Brazilian Rosewood

1993

 

Collection of Johnny Depp

000-42 12-fret Martin/Schoenberg Custom

 

        While archiving Martin’s drawer full of old bracing patterns, I discovered an obsolete design for a 000-12-fret model that was stamped “Merle Haggard Model.” I didn’t know much about these old guitars at the time, but with my curiosity piqued, I sought out and played several vintage examples. I was soon convinced that these 000 12-fret models possessed optimal tone. I had saved some unique Brazilian rosewood for a special project and attempted to place an order for a historically accurate 000-42 replica through the Custom Shop. The patterns had changed, however, and my order was declined. Fortunately for me, Eric Schoenberg was collaborating with Martin at the time. He agreed to orchestrate a Martin/Schoenberg Custom order for me with several handmade components. The finished guitar, complete with bar frets, is as good as any instrument can ever be.

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