While I’m generally not a fan of uber expensive acoustics, especially parlor guitar ones, I have to make an exception with the Martin 00-42SC. This latest John Mayer Stage Coach signature guitar is hands down impressive both in looks and tones, and to my eyes, the price point is justified. Still, it doesn’t stop me from wishing that they’d make a mid-priced version that’s priced around 1K.
This parlor guitar is born out of the success of the limited edition (25 pieces) 00-45SC, which were quickly sold out after being launched. Martin and John Mayer decided to work together once again to design and produce a more accessible and non-limited version, and the result is the 00-42SC.
As expected from a high-end Martin, this parlor guitar comes with extravagant appointments and impressive handcrafted quality. The most notable of which is the style 42 style abalone purfling that wraps around the entire top, the fingerboard and the rosette. The rosette design even goes through the edge of the fretboard, which adds further cosmetic value to the instrument. Grained ivoroid binding are also used throughout the guitar to give it the same look as the original parlor guitars that Martin built from 1898 to 1942.
Underneath the fancy aesthetics are equally fancy tonewoods, which starts off with premium grade solid sitka spruce top supported by scalloped x quarter inch bracing. The back and sides are crafted from Cocobolo, a popular exotic tonewood from Central America and Mexico that has expressive grains and a distinct voice that’s similar to Brazilian rosewood. The resulting body results in impressive clarity and surprisingly good low end.
The neck is crafted from solid mahogany, carved into Martin’s modified V-shaped neck that gives it improved playability when compared to actual vintage specimens. The fingerboard is made of ebony and features an elegant looking diamond volute. Martin employed a shorter scale length of 24.9″ and a nutwidth of 1 7/8″, making this instrument as easy on your fingers as it is on your eyes.
My favorite parlor guitar specs are present, including the 12 fret neck connection and the slotted headstock, which also comes plated with cocobolo. Other traditional features include the straight-pyramid bridge, and Waverly sloane brass tuning machines. Complementing the guitar’s classic looks are modern construction techniques and improved bracing, to ensure that this guitar is more than capable of handling gigs outside of its display case.
The Martin 00-42SC John Mayer Stage Coach Signature is currently retailing for $8,099. Visit Martin Guitar for more information.