During the recent years my passion for the Martin Orchestra Model has increased a lot. The OM is known to be very suitable for playing fingerstyle. It's very nice to sit with, due to it's smaller depth, compared to the D models. With a nut width at 1-3/4", a string spacing at 2-3/8" and a fine setup it is really enjoying to play. I have played quite a few OMs with different tonewood constellations and I find that the balance between the bass, mids and treble is splendid in all of them.
In the video of April 2014 I play another C.F. Martin OM-45, a 2001 GE 1933 Golden Era Brazilian Rosewood/Adirondack Spruce. In the text about that guitar, I have also written about the Martin OM model in general. Here, I will concentrate on the specific 2007 C.F. Martin OM-45 (000-14 fret) Custom 1833 Restricted which I play in this video. But first a little about the 1833 Restricted Custom Shop models.
The Martin 1833 Restricted Custom Shop models was a small batch of very special guitars which were produced round 2006-2008.
In 2009, Rudi Bults at The Fellowship of Acoustics in Holland wrote about this batch: "1833 is the first year C.F. Martin the first, started his first luthier business in New York, where he moved to from Markneukirchen, Germany, where several Guilds of instrumentmakers made it almost impossible for him to do his work. The 1833 custom is made in honour of this great continuing legacy, and just a few configurations with no more than 14 editions are being made of any one model. 14 is a magical number at Martin, only 14 Martin OM-45 deluxe are ever made. The Martin OM-45 deluxe maybe considered the rarest of all Martins. So this limited number of 14 for the 1833 custom is a blink to the past. Most of these models are being made in editions of 7 or less."
According to a press release from US dealer Gryphon Stringed Instruments the 1833 Restricted Custom Shop models were made from wood you didn't usually see at the time on Martin guitars - and the appointments like binding, purfling and such, were exemplary as well.
Only 14 dealers in the world were offered the right by Martin to sell these guitars. In The Sounding Board, issue no. 23, July 2007, published by Martin, now to be read on www.martinguitar.com, you'll find this short announcement:
Indeed a very honorable gesture from Martin. However, that's all I have been able to find about the Martin 1833 Restricted Custom Shop models on Martin's website. It's a pity that it is so difficult to pick up knowledge about these great 1833 Restricted Custom Shop models. I really think that they deserve an article when one of the books about Martin Guitars is going to be published in a new edition.
But why did Martin produce and launch such Custom series?
Gryphon Stringed Instruments, one of the selected 14 1833 dealers, also wondered about this:
"The obvious question, beyond their wanting to sell more guitars, is why is Martin making these small batches of guitars? Although the company isn't making any bold announcements on that topic, our guess is that C. F. Martin has been acutely aware of the ever-widening range of materials and decorations that independent luthiers and small production companies have been utilizing. These 1833 models, which do not have specific model codes, allow Martin to tiptoe into this territory without confusing the faithful fans of all those time-honored guitar models from Nazareth."
The OM-45 I play in this video is one of an edition consisting of only 6 guitars. According to the original Custom Shop specifications, it is in fact more correct to name it as an 000-14 fret guitar with long 25,4" scale. Nevertheless, the appointments are just like a style 45. So I guess that I, with a fine conscience, can "model code" it: "OM-45". The back and sides are made of Madagascar Rosewood with an Adirondack Spruce sound board (top). You often read that "Madagascar Rosewood is the closest you get to Brazilian Rosewood". In my opinion it's difficult to discuss grades of variabilities between different rosewoods. But this OM-45 is constructed with details very similar to the OM-45 1933 GE model, meaning that it can be relevant to make a comparison between the sound of Madagascar Rosewood and Brazilian Rosewood by listening to the guitar on this video and the video of April.
I hope you'll enjoy "Tango in Heaven". Please don't hesitate to cruise through the other monthly videos.