News from NAMM

Gibson limited edition Style 1 Custom banjoA number of prominent bluegrass instrument manufacturers are exhibiting this weekend at the annual convention and trade show of the National Association of Music Merchandisers, known as The NAMM Show. Held in January of each year in Anaheim, CA, it is where new products are unveiled to the retail market, and by extension, to consumers via the media.

Gibson’s bluegrass division has introduced a new banjo, a limited edition Style 1 Custom model. Unlike the vintage 1s – which were “budget” instruments with simple inlays and a rolled hoop ring – this new banjo will have a Mastertone tone ring and a new inlay pattern completing the seagull pattern all the way down the neck. This will be a mahogany and nickel banjo.

The new Style 1 Custom will also be made with the more common one piece flange, again in contrast with the originals. Only 15 of these banjos will be made and carry a suggested retail price of $5110. They are available to dealers now.

Martin 75th Anniversary D-28C.F. Martin has a number of new models being introduced at NAMM. Not all will be of immediate interest to bluegrass guitarists, but several most certainly will.

Martin is celebrating 2009 as the 75th anniversary of the dreadnaught body style with a pair of limited edition guitars. Both the D-18 and D-28 will have 75th Anniversary models, limited to orders placed during 2009.

The 28 is made of Madagascar rosewood, while the 18 uses mahogany. They both have an Adirondack spruce top with scalloped, Golden Era style bracing, and an ebony fingerboard and bridge. The headstocks have a special 75th anniversary decal. The paper soundhole labels likewise denote the anniversary, and are signed by C.F. Martin IV.

The D-18 75th retails for $5199, and the D-28 for $7599.

Martin 1941 D-28 Museum EditionMartin is also debuting a D-28 Museum Edition 1941 guitar with a number of special vintage construction specs. These guitars are assembled using hide glue and have the same barrel and heel neck dimensions as the ’41 D-28s. The body is Madagascar rosewood with a Adirondack spruce top. The top bracing is scalloped, using the 1941 placement. The neck uses the narrow nut width (1 11/16”) and the top features herringbone binding.

This Museum Edition 1941 D-28 retails for $14,999.

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About the Author

John Lawless

John had served as primary author and editor for The Bluegrass Blog from its launch in 2006 until being folded into Bluegrass Today in September of 2011. He continues in that capacity here, managing a strong team of columnists and correspondents.