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Gear: April 2012

| March 30, 2012

If Joe Strummer, Thurston Moore, and Kurt Cobain can have their have their own signature guitars, why not Jeff Tweedy?

After its disastrous choice of awarding the mostly deceased Mama’s And The Papa’s with their own model, C. F. Martin & Co. has redeemed itself in our eyes by introducing a Custom Artist Edition, 00-DB Jeff Tweedy designed guitar in collaboration with Wilco‘s Grammy Award-winning Chicagoan/frontman. The piece was unveiled at Musikmesse in Frankfurt, Germany in March. The limited-edition Martin will be built for only two years and will be available from participating, officially sanctioned Martin dealerships (including Tobias Music, Naperville Music, Guitar Center, and Guitar Works).

The 00-DB Jeff Tweedy Edition was inspired by one of the guitarist’s many Martins. It’s a traditional 14-fret “00 size” with a deeper body for fuller tone and a modified V-shape neck with long scale (25.4 inches). The top, back, and sides are all constructed from 100-percent environmentally friendly, FSC-certified mahogany and it features a unique mahogany sunburst top vintage style that Tweedy has long admired. The interior label of each instrument is personally signed and numbered in sequence. The guitar is Martin’s first Custom Artist model that is completely FSC Certified (with wood harvested from licensed, managed forests), an important distinction for both Tweedy and Martin.

Tweedy acquired his first Martin in 1998 while tracking (the recently reissued) Mermaid Avenue sessions, a collaboration with with Billy Bragg that supplied original music to song lyrics and unfinished songs by folk icon Woody Guthrie. For those recording sessions, Tweedy wanted an instrument that captured the dustbowl and WWII-era sound in which Guthrie was writing and recording music — hence he purchased a 1930s Martin 018. Since then, Tweedy’s collection has grown to include dozens of Martins, including his own 00-DB Jeff Tweedy.

“It has been such a privilege to work with Martin to design this guitar,” said Tweedy. “The shape and the aesthetic are based largely on my favorite go-to Martins that I have been using for years to write and record music. It is a huge honor to have my name associated with an instrument of this caliber.”

As you can imagine, the folks at Martin are as equally thrilled with his participation. “Jeff Tweedy has carried the torch of acoustic songwriting to an exciting place in contemporary music. He is a remarkable ambassador for Martin and has bridged generations of fans,” said Chris Martin, Chairman and CEO. “It is a pleasure to work with such a talented artist and to see this partnership reach a new level with the 00-DB Jeff Tweedy model.”

The fact that Tweedy got involved with this guitar project adds a little more collectability of the guitar, because you rarely see him involved with any commercial endorsements. MSRP is $2,999, a relatively reasonable price for a custom Martin. More info and interviews with Tweedy are at

While Jeff Tweedy has his endorsement deals near zero, Richie Sambora has no such filter. Let’s just say he’s given more than a few endorsements over the years .

This week, I mean . . . this year, five-year-old German-based Blackstar Amplification has announced that the Bon Jovi guitarist is now using its Series One 1046L6 and Artisan 100 amplifiers. Sambora states it short and sweet in his press materials: “From studios to stadiums, these are the amps I use.”

The folks at Blackstar — through their interpreters — have praised Sambora for his blessing. “We’re extremely proud to have such a high-caliber artist as Richie joining the Blackstar family. With 2012 marking our fifth anniversary, it’s great to see such a diverse range of guitarists choosing Blackstar. It shows how Blackstar amps cater for up-and-coming bands all the way through to legends such as Richie.” For information about the Series One 1046L6 and matching 4×12 cabinet, visit List prices for the amps start at $319. Blackstar is also offering 18 months zero-percent financing through retailers on their amps.

News & Notes

Our friends at Niles based Shure, Inc are doing a test run of Shure-sponsored Open Mic Nights across the country, and are holding two Chicago-based Open Mics on April 23rd and 24th at Lincoln Tap Room and Uncommon Ground. Because we have limited information at press time about this event we’ll direct you to its ad on page 5 of the digital issue. If this event is sucessful, Shure will add more dates to their Open Mic Nights later at a later date, so bring your instrument and be sure to participate. For more info visit

Speaking of Shure, Hix Music in Aurora is holding a In-Ear Earphone Monitor clinic on Tuesday, April 17th at their Aurora location.

Warwick Bass is holding a bass-guitar clinic with acclaimed bassist (and Jake Peavy look-alike) Andy Irvine at Naperville Music on Monday, May 7th.

— David Gedge

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