Category Archives: CF Martin Guitars

CF Martin & Tasmanian blackwood

OM45TBc

CF Martin is possibly the name in steel string acoustic guitars in the world.

https://www.martinguitar.com/

As a tree grower, to have your product associated with the CF Martin brand is as good as it gets.

But the Tasmanian farmers who grew this wood never got that recognition and support. If they had, they might now be growing more quality tonewood.

Unfortunately the tonewood market and the guitar industry don’t work that way.

Not yet!!

Martin admits their customer base is conservative and fickle; they have a hard time introducing new tonewoods into their product range. Tasmanian blackwood has been a disappointment for them in terms of market acceptance.

Nevertheless here’s a not-so-complete summary of CF Martin’s use of Tasmanian blackwood.

For those unfamiliar with Martin’s product codes, the OM is an Orchestra Model body shape/size and D is for Dreadnought body shape; the 42/45 designates the amount of bling (abalone and other exotica) on the guitar with “45” being bling-max!

Eight months after Taylor Guitars first introduced Tasmanian blackwood into their Limited Editions, CF Martin also introduced blackwood into their Limited Edition models at the 2005 Summer NAMM Show. And whilst Taylor went for a more affordable market, Martin went for the top shelf market.

These are rare premium guitars from a premium builder!

https://blackwoodgrowers.com.au/2017/02/17/2004-fall-limited-editions-when-taylor-guitars-first-introduced-tasmanian-blackwood/

2005 OM-45 Tasmanian Blackwood (The Sounding Board Vol. 19 p. 8)

The OM-45 Tasmanian Blackwood NAMM Show Special is tonally enhanced with an extremely rare flamed Engelmann spruce soundboard, and bookmatched back, sides and headplate of highly flamed Tasmanian blackwood. Special appointments include fossilized ivory bridge pins and endpin, Style 45 abalone trim with a boxed endpiece, Style 45 snowflake fingerboard inlays, gold plated Waverly hand-engraved tuning machines, a modified torch headstock inlay nested beneath the C. F. Martin & Co. logo inlaid in abalone, and a premium Accord case. This NAMM Show Special will be limited to no more than thirty instruments. Dealers may only place orders in person during the 2005 Indianapolis NAMM Show.

Here’s a link with some images of the OM-45 TB:

http://acousticguitarforum.com/forums/showthread.php?t=287129

OM45TB

2010 D-42 Tasmanian Blackwood (The Sounding Board Vol. 29 p. 11)

Once again, Martin has produced a NAMM Show Special guitar which truly lives up to its “special” designation – the D-42 Blackwood. Backs and sides of this exquisite instrument are crafted of flamed Tasmanian Blackwood, a close relative of Hawaiian Koa both in looks and tone, and which grows primarily on the island of Tasmania off the southeast coast of Australia. Its tone is clear and bright and highly reflective, a perfect match for the D-42’s Adirondack (Red Spruce) top, prized for its resonance and big, open bass voice. Top braces, also Adirondack, are carefully scalloped and tapered. The small maple bridgeplate is typical of Golden Era 30s Martins. As a special touch, European flamed maple is used for the top binding, fingerboard binding, heelcap and endpiece. The entire top perimeter and fingerboard extension are inlaid with colorful heart abalone pearl as is the style 45 rosette. A polished and beveled Delmar tortoise pickguard accents the pearl binding. Ebony fingerboard (inlaid with Golden Era snowflake, cats eye & concave squares) and bridge (with long bone saddle). “Alternative” flower pot headplate inlay. Only 10 of these unique guitars will be offered. Orders will be taken only at the Summer NAMM Show.

Here’s a link with some images of the D-42 TB:

http://theunofficialmartinguitarforum.yuku.com/topic/103988#.WOHlJtKGNdg

 

2011 OM-42 Tasmanian Blackwood (The Sounding Board Vol. 31 p. 27)

We should have called OM-42 Tasmanian Blackwood NAMM Show Special the “Show Stopper!” This magnificent 14-fret, longscale (25.4″), Orchestra Model exemplifies the very best that Martin has to offer the discriminating collector and player. For starters, back and sides are crafted of rare flamed Tasmanian blackwood from Eastern Australia. Visually, it’s similar to premium figured Hawaiian koa. Tonally, it shares the brightness of koa but with the rich overtones of rosewood, giving it a unique and very balanced voice. With its solid Adirondack spruce top and 1/4″ scalloped “Golden Era” braces, it’s also got a big voice, with plenty of volume when you need it. Finger-picking or rhythm, this is your guitar. In the 42-style, the top, rosette and fingerboard extension are inlaid with colorful Paua pearl. Martin’s early (and rarer) “alternate” pearl torch design is inlaid into a polished ebony headplate. The ebony fingerboard is likewise inlaid with “Golden Era” snowflakes. A vintage 1930s ebony “belly” bridge features long bone saddle, bone bridge pins (and end pin) with pearl dots. European flame maple top binding, heelcap and endpiece. Gold engraved Gotoh tuners. Modified V neck, of course. Only 15 of these beautiful instruments will be offered, each personally signed by C. F. Martin IV and numbered in sequence. Exquisite. Resonant. And oh-so-limited.

Here’s a link with some images of the OM-42 TB:

https://artisanguitars.com/2011-martin-om-42-limited-edition-adirondack-and-tasmanian-blackwood-5-8-id-6647

2011 was the last time Tasmanian blackwood featured on a Martin Limited Edition guitar. Perhaps aiming at the top shelf market wasn’t best way to introduce a new tonewood into the market.

In addition to these limited release NAMM Show Specials Martin continues to produce the occasional custom model featuring Tasmanian blackwood, some of which have featured on this website over the years, including the Martin Custom Shop 018-T-Tasmanian Blackwood and the Martin Custom CEO7 Tasmanian Blackwood.

https://blackwoodgrowers.com.au/category/cf-martin-guitars/

With CF Martin’s focus on FSC as their lifeline to a sustainable future, Tasmanian blackwood will have a hard time staying in Martin’s tonewood catalogue. There is currently no FSC certified Tasmanian blackwood available anywhere, and this is unlikely to change in the foreseeable future. The best chance of FSC Blackwood will come from New Zealand as farmers there ramp up production over the coming years.

https://blackwoodgrowers.com.au/2017/03/28/c-f-martin-guitars-sustainable-tonewoods/

Tasmanian blackwood needs lots of market support to reach the stage where it may be possible to achieve FSC certification. It’s up to the market to build a sustainable future for Tasmanian blackwood. The FSC won’t achieve that by itself.

C F Martin Guitars & Sustainable Tonewoods

CFMFTF

Martin The Journal of Acoustic Guitars is a glossy magazine published by CF Martin Guitars every 6 months.

The latest edition (Vol. 7, p. 64 – 69) contains a great article about what CF Martin are doing about promoting sustainable tonewoods.

https://issuu.com/cfmartin/docs/mag808_martin_journal_vol7-final_li?e=23350636/43337570

CF Martin has a problem, a problem called success.

Most of the world’s premium guitars are built from a combination of mahogany, rosewood, and ebony. However, these traditional tonewoods often come from areas of the world that are under severe pressure from logging and development.

“We’ve done such a good job of convincing the customer that these traditional, rare and exotic timbers make the best guitars, that it’s difficult to move customers away from those materials,” said CEO Chris Martin.

Being an old company can have its advantages and its disadvantages. In the case of CF Martin tradition and heritage can prevent change, even if that change is desperately needed. And in the international tonewood market change is definitely needed; change away from using rainforest and old growth timbers to a more sustainable future.

The customers of CF Martin are becoming a problem.

They are addicted to rosewood, mahogany and ebony!

So Martin Guitars approach to sustainable tonewoods is to establish a close working relationship with a third party forest certifier, in this case the Rainforest Alliance and the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC).

But…

one of the biggest challenges the FSC® and the Rainforest Alliance have had over the years is consumer awareness. “One of the goals has been to make the consumer more aware of these brands and, in turn, for these brands to become more relevant to the consumer.”

Hence the Rainforest Alliance has created the Follow the Frog program, which Martin Guitars has signed up to support.

https://www.martinguitar.com/FollowtheFrog

http://www.rainforest-alliance.org/followthefrog

www.fsc.org

Here’s a great video with Martin CEO Chris Martin explaining the history of the company’s relationship with the FSC and the Rainforest Alliance. Well worth watching:

In the mean time Martin Guitars are caught between an inflexible customer base and a rapidly changing tonewood market.

In the coming years, Martin will introduce a new line of guitars using temperate hardwoods from North America that relies on both historical and new shapes and designs.

I have absolutely no doubt about CF Martin’s commitment to sustainability, but I do have a few suggestions for them:

  • Can the FSC logo be displayed on the front page of the Martin website?
  • Under the “Guitars” section of the website, why can’t I select and view FSC guitars?
  • Even when I find an FSC guitar using the Search facility, the FSC logo isn’t prominently displayed.
  • And if I go to this page under Custom Shop (https://www.martinguitar.com/custom-shop/tonewoods/) the message is all about rare and exotic tonewoods.  Nothing about a sustainable future at all.

So whilst the commitment to sustainable tonewoods is there I think the marketing and promotion at CF Martin still needs extra work, whilst at the same time the focus on traditional, rare and exotic timbers needs to be ramped down.

I wish CF Martin all the luck in the world in their endeavours to change the acoustic guitar market.

Martin Custom Shop 00-14 Fret Tasmanian Blackwood

martin-custom-shop-0014fdb-tazblkwood_2018002_angle-left__80417-1478028819-1280-1280

Here’s another one-off custom guitar from CF Martin featuring Tasmanian blackwood currently for sale from Moore Music in Indiana, USA.

http://www.mooremusicguitars.com/martin-custom-shop-00-14-fret-tasmanian-blackwood-8002/

This little beauty is very much in the traditional CF Martin style. Nothing flash. Just good old honest Martin quality.

 

Body Size: 00-14

Top: Sitka Spruce-Vintage Tone System

Rosette: Style 28

Back: Tasmanian Blackwood

Purfling: HD Zig Zag

Back Binding: 5/32” Grained Ivoroid

Back Inlay: .0325” B/W Boltaron

Sides: Tasmanian Blackwood

Neck: Genuine Mahogany

Neck Shape: Mod Low Oval

Headplate: Tasmanian Blackwood

Tuning: Machines: Gotoh Nickel Open Geared w/ Butterbean Knobs

Fingerboard: Black Ebony (Stain-Yes, Oil-Yes)

Radius: 16”

Width At Nut: 1 ¾” (1.750)

Width At 12th Fret: 2 1/8” (2.125)

Fingerboard Bind: None

Bridge: Black Ebony

 

Nice guitar!

Martin Custom CE07 Australian Blackwood

MartinCEO7TB_double.jpg

Is a single custom made Tasmanian blackwood guitar worth promoting on this website?

I guess it qualifies if it comes from CF Martin in Nazareth, Pennsylvania, the world’s most renowned guitar company.

And positive blackwood stories are rare enough that even small stories have value.

The fact that I’m a guitar-centric person may also have some influence…

The classical, restrained elegance of Martin’s design ethos is clearly evident in this guitar. I love that colourful edge binding and back strip.

This guitar has a huge, powerful voice that barks twice as loud as you’d imagine.

http://themusicemporium.com/guitars/martin-custom-ce07-australian-blackwood

CF Martin seems to enjoy producing these limited edition models for the collectors market.

This one has already sold so I guess the marketing strategy is working.

Nice work Mr Martin!

Further web searching tells me this guitar is from 2 years ago. Still a good old news story!

For my previous reviews of Martin blackwood guitars see here:

https://blackwoodgrowers.com.au/?s=Martin

A new super-limited edition Martin J-14f featuring Tasmanian blackwood

Martin J14F

More like super rare than “limited” with only 3 of these J-14fs made.

http://www.guitarworks.ca/martin-custom-j-14f-torrefied-premium-adirondack-tasmanian-blackwood-ser-1855802/

This one is available right now from Guitarworks in Calgary, Alberta, Canada for only $CAD6,200. That’s about $AUD6,310.

It’s nice to see Martin still pumping out a few quality guitars featuring Tasmanian blackwood, if only occasionally.

https://www.martinguitar.com/

It’s amazing what you find just meandering around the internet!

For Sale – Martin OM-42 AND OM45 Tasmanian Blackwood Limited Edition

Martin OM42

http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/Martin-OM-42-Tasmanian-Blackwood-Limited-Edition-Prototype-482/231537909882?_trksid=p2045573.c100033.m2042&_trkparms=aid%3D111001%26algo%3DREC.SEED%26ao%3D1%26asc%3D20131017132637%26meid%3D56d8e873a8044dbdbbd4d9451b8adf05%26pid%3D100033%26rk%3D1%26rkt%3D4%26sd%3D231537909882

I wouldn’t normally put something like this on the website but this is a Tasmanian blackwood icon. This is currently for sale on Ebay. A very rare, prized guitar!

Or direct from the seller Willcutt Guitars, Lexington Kentucky, USA:

http://willcuttguitars.com/CatalogueRetrieve.aspx?ProductID=9561514&A=SearchResult&SearchID=8743311&ObjectID=9561514&ObjectType=27

Somewhere between 8 and 15 of these were built by CF Martin in 2011 depending upon which website you believe. This is how one respected website describes this guitar:

A fine sounding clear guitar, balanced, and the nice figured Tasmanian blackwood, heavier than Koa provides the best projection ever.

An absolute Tasmanian treasure!

I wish CF Martin would consider using Tasmanian blackwood again!

http://www.martinguitar.com/

And now I find this other Tasmanian blackwood Martin guitar currently for sale:

A Martin OM-45 Tasmanian Blackwood from 2005. A stunning creation with highly figured Tasmanian blackwood (a relative of Hawaiian koa) and extensive abalone pearl trim; tasteful torch inlay on the headstock; engraved gold-plated tuner buttons; label signed by C.F. Martin IV.

This is essentially the same model as the above but with more bling for your buck.

Again another super premium guitar from CF Martin. Only 29 of these were made.

http://www.cartervintage.com/acguitar/martins/martinguitars.html#om45tas

Two incredible rare Tasmanian icons currently on the market.

om42_45tas-h

OM42 Tasmanian blackwood headstock (L) compared to OM45 Tasmanian blackwood headstock (R)

Apart from the odd custom order (such as this Martin O-18 https://blackwoodgrowers.com.au/2013/07/27/a-stunning-new-martin-blackwood-guitar-please-mr-santa/) the only other Martin guitars that feature Tasmanian blackwood that I’m aware of were 10 D-42’s built in 2010, as shown on this website:

http://www.elderly.com/new_instruments/items/D42TB.htm

I’m not sure why Martin guitars don’t use Tasmanian blackwood more often. These guitars seem to get a lot of praise and attention in the marketplace.

A stunning new Martin blackwood guitar (please Mr Santa!)

I just stumbled across this today on the internet. Santa can drop one of these off at my place this Christmas if he’s feeling generous (I really do promise to be good….). There’s no way as a forest industry volunteer that I’m ever going to be able to buy one.

Martin 018_Custom_14_Fret_Tasmanian

C.F.Martin is the prestige acoustic guitar company in America. This is Tasmanian blackwood appearing at Carnegie Hall; the very pinnacle of the timber value adding mountain. Martin has used Tasmanian blackwood occasionally in the past but it has been a while. The last examples that I’m aware of were beautiful OM-45 and D-42 models produced about 10 years ago.

And then today I found this absolute beauty. It is a Martin Custom Shop 018-T-Tasmanian Blackwood. Size “0” is the baby in the Martin family, while the “18” denotes a moderate degree of decoration (compared to the above “OM-45” that is literally dripping with bling). This custom baby model is only available at Music Zoo in Roslyn, New York. Check it out!

http://www.themusiczoo.com/product/13778/Martin-Custom-Shop-5-14-Fret-018-T-Tasmanian-Blackwood-Acoustic-Guitar-/

Baby Martin size “0” guitars are relative rare these days. They were common years ago, being introduced during the Great Depression to help boost sales at Martin Guitars. Martin also makes a custom order “0” in all solid mahogany including soundboard, which is another beautiful guitar. But I would happily sit this blackwood baby on my lap for a strum.

But all that Tasmanian promotion and marketing potential is being wasted. Tasmania is not internationally renowned as a reliable producer of sustainable profitable quality tonewood. To date most of the international commercial relationships have been short lived, difficult affairs, not to mention the local politics and conflict. We have the potential to once again walk the stage at Carnegie Hall with our quality profitable sustainable blackwood tonewood. To date there appears to be little interest here in Tasmania. Such a wasted opportunity.