Martin Makes Mellencamp Signature Guitar

The Martin Guitar Company has partnered with John Mellencamp in creating a special John Mellencamp Signature Edition Martin Guitar.

The Martin 00-18S John Mellencamp Signature Edition is inspired by Mellencamp’s beloved small, plain acoustic 12-fret parlor guitar he simply calls Maybell, believed to be one of the May Bell (or May-Bell) guitars built in the 1920s and 1930s. Understated and handsome, the new Mellencamp instrument is made of solid tonewoods, its back and sides a rare quilted mahogany for bright, clear tone, and a top of Carpathian spruce--a tonewood from the mountains surrounding the Black Sea that combines the rich timbre of European spruce and the dynamic range of Adirondack spruce. The guitar’s neck is genuine mahogany, with scalloped quarter-inch top braces providing superb responsiveness and balance.

Guitar aficionados will also note other aspects of the instrument, such as an Old Style 18 rosette matched by five layers of alternating black and white purfling around the top. Tortoise-color binding protects the top and back edges, and is matched by a tortoise-color end piece. In keeping with its vintage inspiration, the instrument does not have a pickguard.

Additionally, the 1¾-inch (at the nut) low-profile neck sports a tapered slotted headstock with square slots. Waverly™ brass three-on-a-plate tuners with small ivoroid buttons provide smooth, accurate tuning. The Madagascar rosewood headplate bears the traditional (for a slotted headstock) small Old Style Martin decal. The black ebony fingerboard has Doppler (decreasing in size) abalone pearl dots at the 5th, 7th and 9th frets, leading to John Mellencamp’s signature inlaid in mother of pearl between the 19th and 20th frets.

A black ebony pyramid bridge, black ebony bridge pins and endpin, a black ebony heel cap, bone nut and saddle, and aging toner on the top complete the 00-18S John Mellencamp Signature Edition’s vintage-inspired elements. Mellencamp has requested a satin finish, which combined with the handsome tonewoods contributes a soft, almost glowing appearance (Martin’s polished gloss finish is available as an extra-cost option, as are factory-installed electronics).

Each John Mellencamp Signature Edition guitar bears an interior label personally signed by John Mellencamp and numbered in sequence, and is delivered in a fitted Geib™-style hardshell case.

Authorized Martin guitar dealers have begun taking orders—though the Mellencamp model will not be introduced until January at the Anaheim NAMM music instrument trade show. It will take at least a month or two for orders to be delivered.

Also at Mellencamp’s request, Martin will donate a portion of the proceeds from sales of the guitar to Farm Aid. Visit Martin Guitar to learn more.