This is as close to a veritable clone as an acoustic guitar has ever come. I’m awed at the level of detail Martin has risen to. It’s a work of art. It’s like someone painstakingly recreated the exact paint mixture used on the Mona Lisa and then put it in a time machine to simulate the effect of a few centuries in the Louvre. For those of us who always seem to be coveting those one-of-a-kind vintage instruments, a new option has emerged.
I’ve often found that the fundamental frequencies on rosewood dreads grow more intense with age. Despite having been scientifically matured, this guitar is a perfect example of that phoenomana. The gloriously straight-grained Madagascar lends it those characteristic fireworks in the upper overtones, but there’s this warm focus to all the notes, as well. They’ve sidled into just the right balance with each other, like the stones in an old farm wall.
The Adirondack Red Spruce top is extremely powerful, but like a real champion, it wears its strength gracefully. It can go from a sweet whisper to a roar. Beautiful grain structure and just the right amount of scars. They even got the shrink of the tortoise pickguard!
As with any great instrument, the insides count just as much, if not more, than the outsides. Back in 1937, the braces were forward-shifted and hand-carved, and Martin made sure to mirror the dimensions of each original brace to ensure that the sonic intentions of that golden-age luthier were honored.
However it may look the part, it’s awful nice to have a fresh, responsive set of tuners that glide to pitch, a perfectly dressed set of frets, and a setup that won’t have you icing your hands after a long session. In many ways, the golden age of guitar is right now. Martin just invented a way to eat your cake, and keep it, too.