Day 3: Winter NAMM 2016

Meet Martin’s Custom Shop-OM True North-16

CS-OM True North-16Limited to only 50 instruments, this orchestra model, seen to the left, features an ebony fingerboard, bridge and headplate, a solid Adirondack spruce top and exceptionally figured Koa back and sides, which produces a beautiful, well-balanced tone. The back features a spectacular compass design inlaid with flamed jarrah, Claro walnut, waterfall bubinga and Paua pearl. The ebony headplate also has a True North design inlaid with mother of pearl. While this limited-edition custom shop model is not a dreadnought style, it demonstrates how a manufacturer with 183 years of tradition and premiere craftsmanship can continue to introduce innovative design elements while remaining authentic to its storied history. ($12,999 MSRP)

Cozy Up to a Kala Mahogany Guitarlele

Kala Brand Music Co. has added a new model to its Guitarlele series with the introduction of a mahogany model, the KA-GL. The mahogany model is a more affordable version of Kala’s Koa Guitarlele that is a hybrid instrument that fills a niche for guitar players looking for the perfect travel guitar as well as ukulele players exploring guitar for the first time. The six-stringed instrument is tuned to A-D-G-C-E-A and projects a bright full tone, similar to capoing up on the 5th fret of a regular guitar. The KA-GL is constructed of mahogany back and sides and projects a full rich sound that makes the guitarlele the perfect choice for all players seeking to add a new voice to their sound repertoire. Features include rosewood fingerboard and bridge, chrome Grover tuners, bone nut and saddle, black and white dual rosette, Aquila strings, and a satin finish. $224.99 MSRP.


Bedell Guitars Launches the Bahia Series of Brazilian Rosewood

Bedell_2Bedell Guitars has introduced the new Bahia series of acoustic guitars. Over a half-century ago, several Brazilian rosewood logs shipped from northeast Brazil to a small company producing church ornaments just outside of Madrid, Spain, where the logs rested peacefully in a warehouse.

As the generations passed and the business focus changed, the logs were cut into tonewood sets for guitars and the company became known as Madinter, one of the premier tonewood suppliers to the world’s exclusive guitar builders.

Year-by-year, over more than five decades, the tonewood sets aged, cured by the ideal Spanish climate. The sap crystallized, the stress in the wood relaxed, the cellulose matured between the annual growth fiber, nature took its natural course of turning tone wood into incredible music wood. Just as pre-war guitars are known for their extraordinary sound as the tonewoods age, the Brazilian rosewood of Madinter cured naturally.


The new Bedell Bahia dreadnought, orchestra, and parlor models are paired with Sitka spruce that was salvaged from the forest floor near Craig, Alaska (Bedell Guitars never uses wood from clear-cut trees). The soundboards are over 400 years old, growing slowly as they compete for sun, water, and freedom. The result is tight growth rings that give the tops of our instruments previously unheard power and clarity.

Marrying nature cured Brazilian rosewood with multi-century old Alaskan Sitka spruce to create the most responsive and beautiful sounding acoustic guitars requires more than luck. There are thousands of miles between Brazil and Alaska. The tops and backs of each Bahia guitar are hand-tuned to maximize the sound, feel, and power. This is done by carving away wood on each of the tone bars of each Bedell Bahia to a selected frequency. This results in efficient energy transfer of the music to the back wood, which is also hand tuned to maximize its efficiency in responding.

  • Model: Bahia dreadnought, orchestra, and parlor
  • Top: Solid salvaged Sitka spruce
  • Back & Sides: Solid Brazilian rosewood back and sides
  • Neck: Honduran Mahogany
  • Fretboard/bridge: Ebony
  • Binding: Koa
  • Nut/Saddle: Bone
  • Nut Width: 1 11/16-inches
  • Tuners: Waverly
  • Finish: Gloss
  • Case: Hardshell
  • Price $4,990 (MAP)
  • Limited Lifetime Warranty
  • Handcrafted in Bend, OR, U.S.A.

Framus Bolsters Its Acoustic Guitar Lines

Framus maple jumboFramus doesn’t always get credit for its role in popular music, but John Lennon owned a 12-string model of a Framus 5/024 Hootenanny. He can be seen playing it in the 1964 movie Help!, during the performance of “You’ve Got to Hide Your Love Away,” and he may have used it to record the hit theme song to that Beatles movie. Other music icons who strummed a Framus—the name is an acronym for Franconian Musical Instruments—during their careers include George Harrison, Josh White, Dolly Parton, and Doc Williams. These days, Framus acoustics are getting renewed interest: In November, the company—since 1995, a division of the German firm Warwick GmbH & Co.—announced the release of several new acoustic-guitar models.

The Framus Legacy Acoustic Series has introduced all-solid dreadnoughts with spruce top, and back and sides of East Indian Rosewood. The Legacy dreadnoughts are available with or without cutaway, with or without Fishman pickup system, and in vintage satin-natural tinted and vintage high-polish natural tinted finishes. A case is included.

The Framus Legacy Acoustic Jumbo family now includes maple jumbos (with solid spruce top, and back and sides of laminated maple) as well as the Framus Legacy Mahogany Jumbos (solid mahogany top, and laminated mahogany back and sides). Each model is available with or without cutaway, with or without Fishman pickup system and in various finishes.

The Legacy Series also has added 12-string dreadnoughts with solid spruce top and back and sides made of laminated mahogany), available with or without cutaway, with or without Fishman pickup system, and in various finishes.

“Framus Legacy Acoustics have already satisfied many customers and received countless positive reviews from around the world,” the company wrote in a press statement. “We are sure that all new models will also convince and inspire.”

Greg Cahill
Greg Cahill