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C.F. Martin IV (left) and Martin Carthy

Martin Carthy likely is the most influential folk musician in Britain. His forty years of music making have spanned traditional and contemporary genres, solo, duo and group efforts, live performances and innumerable recordings, and the man himself continues to break new musical ground. A Martin guitar has been Carthy's musical partner for most of his remarkable career, and C.F. Martin salutes both the man and his music with the new 000-18MC Martin Carthy Signature Edition.

Carthy's well-worn Martin 000-18 has received some unusual modifications to accommodate his groundbreaking "dropped" tunings, and C.F. Martin incorporates both those modifications and his personal preferences into the 000-18MC. A zero fret on the fingerboard below the nut and solid brass bridge pins on the three treble strings duplicate those on Carthy's guitar, as does the OM style, tortoise-colored beveled and polished pickguard. Unscalloped 1/4" top braces and a small maple bridge plate enhance tonal clarity, balance and dynamics, while a "drop-in" compensated bone saddle assures impressive treble response and accurate intonation. To reproduce the original's modifications exactly, close-up photographs and detailed measurements were taken by Vice Hockey, a luthier friend of Martin Carthy whose assistance proved invaluable.

The traditional 000 size is the 24.9" scale and is built with premium solid tonewoods -- genuine mahogany back, sides and neck, and Sitka spruce top -- this distinctive guitar also showcases many 000-18 features from the mid-1930s including a modified V-shape neck, 1_-inch ebony fingerboard and matching ebony bridge, dark mahogany stain and polished gloss lacquer body finish. Aging toner on the top and satin finish on the neck enhance the 000-18MC's vintage vibe and playing comfort.

Like many of his generation in the late 1950s, Martin Carthy discovered folk music hearing Lonnie Donegan's skiffle hits. He learned to play his father's guitar and soon immersed himself in the traditional music of the British Isles. By the early 1960s, his passionate singing and innovative guitar sound were drawing crowds at London's Troubadour Folk Club. Among those who came were Paul Simon and Bob Dylan, both of whom integrated his music into songs of their own.

After releasing his self-titled debut album in the mid-1960s, he joined forces with fiddler Dave Swarbrick in a five-year partnership that produced five albums and revitalized the fiddle/guitar folk genre. In 1970 he joined Steeleye Span to explore folk rock, and later became a member of the Albion Band to take the blend of folk and modern in yet another direction. He also married Norma Waterson during the decade, a union that resulted in his joining the Watersons acappella folk group.

In the 1980s he formed Brass Monkey, an innovative band that combined traditional music and brass. In the 1990s he both reconnected with Dave Swarbrick to record and tour, and also formed Waterson:Carthy with his wife and daughter Eliza Carthy, a group now considered at the forefront of modern British folk music. His prodigious recording output reflects both his sustained creativity and impeccable musicianship: the recent "Signs of Life" shows Carthy in top form, while the "Carthy Chronicles" four-CD box set is the most complete overview of his remarkable career.

Each Martin 000-18MC Martin Carthy Signature Edition guitar bears an interior label personally signed by Martin Carthy and Martin Chairman and CEO C.F. Martin IV, and numbered in sequence with the edition total. Each guitar is delivered in a Vintage Series Geib-style hardshell case. Left-handed instruments may be ordered without additional cost: electronic sound reinforcement options are available for an additional fee.

The edition size is limited to a specific ordering period to close on April 16, 2003. After the order period closes, the size of the editions and the names of participating dealers will be posted on the Martin website.

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