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Maury's Blog

Friday, October 21 2022
Martin Guitar & Ebony in 2022

Martin Guitars & Ebony in 2022. Martin is constantly reviewing their specifications, and revising as necessary while maintaining the sound, structural integrity, and high-quality standards of their fine instruments. Many models with ebony fretboards & bridges are now showing streaks & natural cosmetic irregularities.

NEW for fall 2022, to accommodate the best use of available resources of African ebony, Martin Guitar will utilize their fingerboard and bridge inventory more effectively. On Nazareth made product, they will use ebony fingerboards and bridges in their natural state on most instruments going forward. This will mean that fingerboards and bridges may vary in appearance, and could show streaks in the wood or be brownish in color.

On select Mexico made instruments, Martin Guitar will use alternative materials/species as needed with African Ebony remaining the preferred choice as inventory allows. Alternative materials include Katalox, Richlite®, and Granadillo. Note that fingerboard and bridge material must match.

Which Martin Guitar models are affected? 

Note that individual serial numbers will not be associated with specific materials or models. Available inventory at the time of production will dictate the material being utilized.

If you have any questions about the appearance of your next Martin Guitar's fingerboard & bridge - please click the IMAGES tab on that product's page, or contact us today. What do YOU think of naturally-streaky ebony? Share your comment below.

Posted by: Maury- Maury's Music AT 10:11 am   |  Permalink   |  13 Comments  |  Email
I applaud Martin for doing this. I prefer variegated Ebony. I like the aesthetics. For the last four Martin guitars of the ten I purchased this year, I sought out ones with variegated Ebony. In the Unofficial Martin Guitar Forum, some of the old boys do not the new Martin approach and say they will not buy any more Martins. I suspect Martin realizes this. C'est la vie. Martin will gain more than they lose. This is the right thing to do. Bravo, Martin.
Posted by Thomas E Shea on 10/21/2022 - 07:25 PM
Thanks for the feedback!
Posted by Maury on 10/21/2022 - 07:30 PM
Does this affect the OMJM?
Posted by Chris P. on 10/22/2022 - 02:44 AM
Custom shop will still have the ability of jet black A grade Ebony?
Posted by Theodore on 10/25/2022 - 07:20 PM
Theodore, yes for now.
Posted by Maury on 10/25/2022 - 07:45 PM
It's probably the right thing to do, but streaked ebony sure looks like .... Has Martin considered staining the fretboards and bridges uniformly black? All I was told over the phone by a Martin rep is that the more a board and/or bridge is striped, the more difficult it is to make that wood take the dye.
Posted by JOHN G GALYEAN on 10/27/2022 - 01:39 AM
I personally think it looks terrible. I will go out of my way to find guitars that do not have the variegated look as it's an eyesore.
Posted by Gino on 11/08/2022 - 10:36 AM
Desirable woods reach a point where they are not available in commercial quantities. Cuban mahogany 100 years ago, Brazilian rosewood 60 yers ago, jet-black ebony more recently. Taylor guitars realized that only 10% of ebony trees were jet black. The rest were cut down, split open and left to rot. Taylor started "The Ebony Project" over 10 years ago. You can look up their efforts on line. I like jet- black ebony but, like Brazen rosewood, we will reach a point that if you want jet-black, you will pay a premium.
Posted by Billy Lindros on 11/10/2022 - 12:12 PM
I purchased an HD-28 from Maury with a mildly streaked Ebony fretboard and bridge when this change was first appearing. Maury sent me numerous photos of the actual guitar before I committed to the purchase. I thought it looked beautiful. More importantly, I asked Maury to play it and let me know what he thought about. He thought it was a winner. After receiving it, I totally agreed. Maury is the best!
Posted by John H on 11/10/2022 - 06:49 PM
I can't stand the high contrast ebony fingerboards and bridges. I like a little variation, and I love jet black. I'd pay for a style 18 or 28 with richlite before I'd buy one with high contrast ebony.
Posted by David Barwick on 12/08/2022 - 11:02 AM
Folks, we are running out of much of the typical instrument wood/s. The difference between a pure black ebony fretboard and one with lighter streaks has NO difference in tonal quality. Quite frankly, I don't see the fretboard when I'm playing the guitar... so, no big deal!
Posted by Craig Rantz on 12/11/2022 - 05:44 PM
Hi, My Hd-28 and D-18 looks beautiful with the black fingerboard and bridge. I'm a bit of an old fashion man and like the traditional look of a Martin guitar. But I'm agree with the change of colored ebony.I ordered a 000-18 a month ago and I'm curious how it will look with different coloured fingerboard. The problem is that I'm lefthanded, so I can't go to a shop and take any guitar I want.
Posted by Cor on 09/21/2023 - 06:31 AM
My D-18 Satin Amberburst has a jet black fretboard, but IMHO either the jet black or variegated is O.K. with me but, I am kind of picky about the pattern in the fretboard. To me some look better than others and some make seeing the fretboard inlays difficult.
Posted by Jim Comeaux on 05/06/2024 - 08:56 PM

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