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2006 Humphrey Steel String Millennium "Prototype #1/For C.F. Martin"

2006 Humphrey Steel String Millennium "Prototype #1/For C.F. Martin"

Regular price $18,000.00 USD
Regular price Sale price $18,000.00 USD
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Thomas Humphrey Millenium Steel String Guitar, 2006, For C. F. Martin & Co.
Towards the end of his all too brief life, Thomas Humphrey built a prototype Millenium steel string guitar for C. F. Martin & Co. The label is signed and dated along with an inscription “For: C. F. Martin. Similarly, the underside of the bass side treble bout of the top is inscribed: “built for C. F. Martin prototype 2006,” along with his signature. A stamp is in a similar position on the underside of the treble upper bout.

Humphrey’s relationship with Martin dates back to the previous decade, when they collaborated to create Millenium classical guitars designed by Humphrey and built by C. F. Martin. These guitars were well received, though they were apparently discontinued due to low sales. This guitar was created as part of an effort to rekindle the partnership and take it in a new direction.  Sadly, this was not to be due to Humphrey’s death in 2008.

The instrument itself is an unusually innovative and successful steel string guitar. It mixes Martin and Millenium features. The bolt-on neck is forward pitched, granting easy access to the upper frets. The top is supported by a pair of x-braces on either side of the sound hole with a matrix of finely crafted braces replacing the tone bars normally found on steel string guitars.

The soundboard is French polished sitka spruce, while the Indian Rosewood back and sides and mahogany neck are spray lacquered, perhaps in a nod to Martin’s mass production techniques. The soundhole rosette will be familiar to Martin fans as a three ring ‘style 21’ pattern with a central ring of herringbone. The binding is white plastic with a purfling of ‘style 28’ herringbone. It all adds up to a great deal of herringbone. Somebody call the department of redundancy department! The top is finished off with an Indian rosewood bridge and a Martinstyle pepperoni pickguard. The white binding continues around the back which features a colorful ‘zipper’ center strip.

The heel, carved in the Martin style, meets the body at the 14th fret. The nut is 1 3⁄4” wide and the neck profile is a comfortable “C” profile, with a 25.4" scale. The neck, like Martin guitars from decades past, has a hand-carved feel. The fingerboard has a shallow 20” radius and abalone markers at position 5, 7, 9, 12 and 15. A one way truss rod is accessed from a plate at the base of the headplate. The tuners are gold plated C. F. Martin & Company branded Schaller’s with ebony buttons.

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