So today is just one amazing gift after another: it began by sleeping in - one of my favorite experiences - and then sipping pumpkin chai with Di (from my favorite tea shop: David's Tea in Montreal.) After a funky period of trying to get a prescription renewed (we'll see) we took a walk in a beautiful part of the Ashuwillticook Rail Trail (see pictures below.) It was stunning and relaxing and filled with gentle beauty and lots of quiet.
So before doing some errands I said, "Maybe we can stop by Wood Brothers today and I'll start to play a few guitars. We have most of the insurance money so while I won't make any commitments, let's give it a go: I think I'm ready to start this process." Thinking this was like a first date after the death of a loved one, I went to the shop while Di did a few errands.
And I played three lovely new C.F. Martin guitars. They were comparable to my stolen Taylor, but nothing to write home about, too. Then the young clerk said, "Well, maybe you want to try this: we just put it out on consignment." He handed me a 1969 Martin D-35 constructed with Brazilian rosewood - now an endangered hardwood - but back in the day the finest wood with the richest and sweetest sound around. And when I played that bad boy it was like the scales fell off my eyes and everything else faded into the background. OMG! And when I added a dropped D and started to play my favorite country blues... I was floating among the angels.
So I said, "Well, I'm not really ready to make a commitment..." only to find Di had entered the store and was standing behind me. Two or three others had gathered as I explored this guitar over and over - comparing it to the new Martins - and then playing the old master. I still wasn't going to make a commitment when Dianne said, "You will regret not doing this forever if you don't act now." The store owner said, "I could hold it for you for a few days if that would help..."
And then it hit me: gifts this sweet don't come along everyday;when I get all the insurance money it will be almost exactly what was being asked, too. (And as I discovered doing some on-line research once we got home, this baby comes in about $3K less than the regular asking price!) How did Elvis put it? It's now or never... so I said softly: "Ok, let me put a deposit on this so I can make sure it becomes mine." So I did - and in about two week I will be playing the sweetest guitar I have ever owned - one with as much depth and resonance as my old jumbo body Guild. We're going to add a pick-up too so that it will be even better than the Taylor. Here is how Artisan Guitars describe my new buddy:
It is said that at times during the 50's and 60's, Martin had a 3 year backlog in instrument orders! Nothing else sounded like a Martin and nothing else would do, it was the prestigious guitar to own. This backlog would lead Martin to build their new factory in Nazareth in 1964 where they continue to build today.
Introduced in 1965, the Martin D-35 featured a unique, 3-piece back. Brazilian rosewood was becoming harder to acquire and the three piece backs allowed the use of smaller pieces with no noticeable tone loss. Bob Johnson, who was hired in 1962 as a computer expert, later becoming a vice president of the company, came up with the idea of a three piece back, since Martin had a surplus of 6 inch sections. After a new bracing pattern was worked out, the D-35 was born! A favorite of Elvis, the D-35 was outselling the popular D-28 model within a few years of it's release.
The Martin 1969 D-35 was one of the last Martin's to use Brazilian Rosewood, resulting in a significant price drop in all models featuring Brazilian Rosewood. Brazilian Rosewood was, and is the most highly regarded wood for back and sides and was primarily used on the early pre-war guitars that we all love. Known for rich basses and crystal clear highs, as well as it's gorgeous figuring. This particular guitar has a wonderful crisp, dry tone. Very reminiscent of a 50's D28. Lots of definition and clarity with this one! With a sitka spruce top, it still remains highly responsive, perfect for fingerstyle players, or flatpicking lead lines.
I am still in shock - I had NO idea I was going to find this blessing - and now it will be coming home with me. I remember the first time I heard Joni Mitchell - and then Steven Stills - playing a Martin: pure heaven. Today was just one incredible gift after another - and I am blown away!