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Andy Griffith, one of America's most beloved actors, comedians and singers, has been a life-long Martin player and enthusiast. His treasured 1956 D-18, in fact, has appeared in several of his movie, stage and television performances, beginning with his film debut in Elia Kazan's A Face In The Crowd.

In that debut role, Andy played "Lonesome Rhodes," a guitar-playing Arkansas rascal who rises from hobo to corrupt media star and king maker. The prop department (who obviously knew and cared nothing about qualit y guitars) painted a new Martin D-18 completely black and glued sequins spelling out "Lonesome" and "Momma" on its face. After the film was completed, Andy "rescued" the guitar from the movie lot and set out to restore it, carefully removing the sequins and sanding off the black paint to the bare wood (it took him nine days and the loss of the scroll decal and the pickguard in the process). He then took the D-18 to a small guitar shop he'd stumbled upon on New York's lower east side and asked the shop's owner if he could refinish the instrument. The proprietor was none other than John D'Angelico, the legendary archtop builder who refinished the D-18 to its original beauty, but at Andy's request without a pickguard.

This guitar, Serial #148639, has remained Andy's favorite Martin ever since. In the early '80s, a side crack was repaired, the scroll logo was restored, and a pickguard was added to cover some playing wear. Otherwise, the guitar is just as John D'Angelico handed it back to Andy in 1958.

In honoring Andy Griffith and his contribution to acoustic, country, gospel and bluegrass music (as well as his classic performances on the Andy Griffith Show, Matlock and many other perennial favorites), Martin presents the Andy Griff ith D-18 Signature Edition Model.

Based on Andy's 1956 D-18, this 14-fret Dreadnought combines many of the original mid-'50s design features with rare tonewoods and modern sound/playing enhancements.

The back and sides are crafted of quilted mahogany, an extremely scarce and beautiful wood that occurs in only one out of 10,000 mahogany trees. The premium bookmatched top is made of heavily-figured bearclaw Sitka spruce and features the old style D-18 rosette. The forward shifted X-bracing pattern is scalloped to give the guitar a big, powerful Dreadnought voice, with distinct treble and resonant yet balanced bass -- the classic D-18 sound. The body is bound in the old style tortoise colored material with matching heelcap and endpiece.

The adjustable low-profile neck, designed for faster, more comfortable playing, is carved out of genuine mahogany. Rare C.I.T.E.S certified Brazilian rosewood is used for the fingerboard, headplate and bridge. In keeping with Martin features of the mid-'50s, the headstock has gently rounded corners, an old style decal logo, and is fitted with Kluson Deluxe style tuning machines. Genuine bone is used for the nut and long "through" saddle to provide sound enhancement. As with Andy's original D-18, his edition guitar has no teardrop pickguard but rather is fitted with a barely visible, clear guard to protect the finish.

Special features include Andy's signature inlaid in pearl between the 19th and 20th frets, and "Lonesome Rhodes" laser-etched on the front block to commemorate his film debut and the guitar's unique history. The body of the guitar is beautifully finished in polished gloss lacquer; aging toner is added to the top. The neck is satin finished, with a polished lacquer headplate. Each guitar will be numbered in sequence and will include the signatures of Andy Griffith and C.F. Martin IV. It is delivered in a deluxe Geib style vintage hardshell case.

Orders for the D-18 Andy Griffith Signature Edition will be accepted by Martin dealers and distributors for 60 days from the date of announcement. After the order period closes, the size of the edition and the names of participating dealers will be posted on the Marin web site.

List Price $3699.00.

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