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Few singer songwriters have had such a profound impact on popular folk and blues music as the late great Jim Croce. He enjoyed a string of memorable hit singles and albums in the early 1970s before a plane crash ended his life when he was only 30 years old. A veteran of the 1960s New York coffeehouse circuit, Croce's timeless hits include such classics as "You Don't Mess Around With Jim," "Operator," "Time In A Bottle," and "I Got A Name." Within months of Croce's death in 1973, three of his albums "Life and Times," "I Got A Name," and "You Don't Mess Around With Jim," went to the top twenty on best-selling charts. His music is revered by many great artists including Bob Dylan, Sheryl Crow, Bruce Springsteen, Willie Nelson, Arlo Guthrie, Merle Haggard, Elton John, Don McLean, and Sarah McLachlan.
In commemoration of Jim Croce's lasting contribution to acoustic music, Martin is honored to present two limited edition guitar models. The D-21 JC Jim Croce Limited Edition is crafted with back and sides of East Indian Rosewood. The D-21 JCB Jim Croce Limited Edition has back and sides of Genuine Brazilian Rosewood. These commemorative editions will be limited to 73 instruments each in honor of the year (1973) in which Croce died.
The guitars are inspired by Martin's original D-21 guitars, added to the company's catalogue in the 1950s. Style 21 features rosewood back and sides with very plain appointments. Because of their grass roots appeal, the D-21 was C. Frederick Martin III's favorite model in the Martin line.
The last line of Jim Croce's famous song "Operator," is "You can keep the dime." Inspired by that lyric, an uncirculated mint condition 1973 dime is inlaid at the third fret fingerboard position and encased in clear resin creating a striking visual effect against the black ebony, background. (Of course, this adds a dime to the suggested retail price of the each instrument.) Jim Croce's signature is inlaid between the 18th and 20th frets. The remaining fingerboard position dots are mother of pearl, faithful to the 21 style.
Martin guitars made in the 1960s had headstocks that were slightly more rounded than the standard squared design due to the gradual wear of the fixture that held the neck during the headstock shaping process. This subtle "over-rounding" has been replicated in keeping with the proportions of the Martin guitar that Jim Croce played. In addition, replicas of the original chrome Grover 102C tuning machines have been chosen for these models. As a tribute to Jim's love of informality, each guitar comes equipped with a special black denim Geib style case.
With the exception of the back and side tonewoods, both models share similar specifications. The soundboard is bookmatched from select solid Sitka spruce and lightly braced. with Martin's forward shifted scalloped "X" pattern for optimum tonal balance and response. The rosette is understated with simple Style 18 black and white inlay. Black bindings with black and white inlay lines around the perimeter of the top, sides and back combined with the checkered back inlay strip and a beveled and polished black pickguard all add to the simple elegance of this special edition. more...
Each of the Jim Croce Limited Edition guitars will bear an interior label personally signed by Jim Croce's wife and musical partner, Ingrid Croce as well as Martin Chairman and CEO C. F. Martin, IV. A secondary interior label features a Paul Wilson color photograph of Jim Croce with Jim's imprinted signature. Each guitar will be numbered in sequence with the edition total (i.e. 1 of 73, 2 of 73, etc.).
A portion of the proceeds from the sale of each guitar will be donated in support of the "Jim Croce Music Award," a charitable project initiated by Ingrid Croce which provides well needed scholarships for working musicians. Ingrid Croce owns and operates "Croce's," which includes two restaurants, three bars offering live jazz and rhythm and blues nightly in San Diego's Gaslarnp District. Jim and Ingrid's son A. J. Croce carries on the Croce family musical tradition as a singer songwriter with his own distinctive style.
Martin Guitar dealers will begin to take orders for the Jim Croce Limited Edition Martin guitars immediately, though the edition will not begin to appear in stores until the summer of 2000.