During last week’s World of Bluegrass convention, the Martin guitar company introduced a new and improved line of guitar strings which they have branded as Authentic Acoustic. Martin had a major presence in the trade show exhibit hall, the first booth you see when coming down the escalator, and opened a second booth out on the street during the weekend festival environment.
Authentic has been a big word for Martin this last few years, especially within the bluegrass market. It is the word they append to a special, limited edition series of instruments built explicitly to the prewar standards, as determined by forensic analysis of the originals. These Authentic models are exact replicas of historic guitars, built using pre war methods of assembly, and in many cases using wood that has been processed to simulate the effect of many years of playing. Of course, the Authentic series come with a premium price, which are a fraction of what the originals sell for in the secondary market.
Martin calls these Authentic Acoustic strings “our best strings ever.” Design engineers looked at every aspect of manufacture to find ways to improve the tone and durability of their signature strings. There was also a good bit of beta testing with guitarists during this development stage.
Initially, they have three lines in this new series. The SP line (for Superior Performance) are the primary set, offered in multiple gauges with either an 80/20 or phosphor bronze wrap. These sets start with high tensile core wire, which is then tin-plated before being wrapped. Even the unwrapped strings get this plating, which Martin finds offers greater corrosion resistance.
The Marquis strings now go by Authentic Acoustic Marquis Silked, and are given a silk wrap on the ends to add protection for the bridge on fine, older guitars. These are likewise offered in either 80/20 or phosphor bronze, and also in a Silk and Steel set for less stress on the fingers.
For those who prefer coated strings, Martin has the Lifespan 2.0 series within the Authentic Acoustics line, using new technology developed for this use, and not available from any other manufacturer. Both the core and wrap wire are treated prior to winding, offering the longest-lasting string Martin has ever made.
The company produced this video to explain a little more about what has gone into these new strings.
Authentic Acoustics are available from Martin dealers worldwide, in a number of different gauges and a 12-string sets. You can learn more about all these variables on the company web site.