Summer fun? You bet! And being able to play for your friends and play along with them, while you’re relaxing, on vacation, or at the beach (yes, at the beach), out in the back yard or just sitting on the front steps, attracting attention? The small stuff, all those great great BEST travel guitars from Taylor, and ukuleles from Kamaka, and Gretsch, and Martin, and Kala, how can you go wrong? All the finest stuff, all so portable, and all so much fun. And the best part is that even if you already have a regular-size guitar, a spare smaller one or a cool cool uke is a great way to broaden what you can do with music. Which is a LOT. And it’s FUN!
We’re just back from Jimmy Wallace’s Dallas Vintage Guitar show and, as ever, it’s one of the best. We're always very selective at these shows, as we are when buying vintage instruments anywhere. You can see them all on our JUST IN page of our website. We've gotten some wonderful pieces, all in marvelous, extra-solid condition and all at very affordable prices. Among them are the loveliest Martin 1953 00-18 and 1972 0-16NY, a huge-sounding 1957 Gibson J-45 and a knockout 1965 J-50, a rare 1970s Gurian JR, a way-cool 1979 Gibson ES-175D and a WAY cool 1946 Gibson ES-150, a 1972 Gibson ES-335 in Stunning Red, a couple of 1970s Fender basses, and more. And more. We’re getting them all prepped for you in our world-renowned in-house shop, and will be putting them up on our JUST IN page as they get readied.
Jazz...The great composers: George Gershwin, Cole Porter, Harry Warren, Ellington, Monk, Davis, Parker, Mingus, Peterson, Rollins, Brubeck, Young, Coleman, Adderly, Bechet, we could go on. The great guitar players: Russel Malone, Bill Frisell, Wes Montgomery, Joe Beck, Joe Pass, Jim Hall, Herb Ellis, John Scofield, Grant Green, Charlie Byrd, Mike Stern, Peter Bernstein, Jim Hall, Kenny Burrell, Gene Bertoncini, Bucky Pizzarelli, Howard Alden, Frank Vignola, Johnny Smith, John Pizzarelli, Eddie Lang, Kurt Rosenwinkel, Lenny Breau, we could go on some more. These are just some of the people we’ve been listening to for years and we’ll bet that you have too. We’ve had all kinds and all levels of jazz aficionados walk in our doors, from excited kids to excited adults through some of the exciting pros mentioned above, and they all just love to play. We like to think that we’ve got a great selection of jazz guitars here, a lot of them the traditional archtop F-hole kind, but as you know, you can play any kind of music you like on any kind of instrument you like and the music police wiill not come and arrest you. Look through our website, come in to our store and sit and play, find a guitar that makes you want to play more. We welcome you.
Making a Taylor Guitar More Accessible
One of the biggest reasons why new guitar players give up is the lack of a quality instrument. High action, bad intonation or cruddy sound will quickly derail the playing experience. That’s why we poured our guitar design expertise into developing our new Academy Series guitars. The goal was to remove all the barriers that get in the way, from feel to sound to cost. The result is a guitar that’s easy on the hands and helps you sound great from your first strum. Taylor's Academy Series guitars will inspire everyone from beginners to seasoned players looking for a great guitar at a great price.
Visit our TAYLOR INVENTORY HERE.
Enhanced Playability- Taylor"s sleek, hand-friendly necks feature light-gauge strings and optimized dimensions for a slinky feel.
A Comfortable Armrest- This ergonomic feature is built into the guitar body to offer a more relaxed and rewarding playing experience.
Killer Sound- Besides clear tone and impeccable intonation, these guitars are voiced to respond easily to a player’s touch.
Quaility Construction- Taylor's guitars are engineered to last a lifetime. Taylor's patented neck and durable body design make these guitars easy to maintain.
Affordability- An emphasis on design simplicity enabled Taylor to produce a fully engineered guitar at an entry-level price.
Broad Musical Appeal- Choose from a Dreadnought for strumming or flatpicking, a Grand Concert for fingerpicking, or a nylon-string Grand Concert.
STOCK CLEARANCE! We’ve just got too much stuff here, need to make room for all sorts of incoming new and vintage guitars, all that, so we’re having a CLEARANCE SALE, got a whole buncha new Fender guitars and basses, older Gibson acoustics and even older Gibson acoustics, and older Martin acoustics and even older Martin acoustics, ON SALE. All are at savings of from a few hundred $$ to a thousand $$$. Prolly got about fifty fabulous instruments up, and every single one of them 100% up to our world-famous standards for solidness, action, and TONE! Check ‘em all out RIGHT HERE
The new Fender American Professional Series has arrived at Matt Umanov Guitars. Fender has pushed craftsmanship to its limits with design, testing and endless experimentation to create the best instruments on the planet. Built in Corona, CA, the American Professional Series is for players who are constantly pushing their artistic boundaries.
Fender’s American-made instruments are the standards by which all others are judged. As musical styles evolve, driven by visionary artists, Fender is, and has always been, at the heart of it—crafting premium instruments to unlock every player’s creative potential.
The best of yeasterday and today, the American Professional Series is the latest form of electric inspiration from Fender. Step up and stake your claim to a legend.
ADDITIONAL FENDER AMERICAN PROFESSIONAL GUITARS COMING IN SOON!
Simply put, pickups are the heart and soul of an electric instrument’s voice. The American Professional series features Fender's newest pickup offering: V-Mod single-coil pickups. Updated versions of classic designs, modified for modern performance, V-Mod pickups are packed with authentic Fender tone. V-Mod pickups, and the newly redesigned ShawBuckerTM humbucking pickups are voiced specifically for each position, bringing out the nuances of your playing.
Fender has added three new models to the American Professional Series: the Tele® Deluxe, Jazzmaster® and Jaguar® guitars. The left-of-center Jazzmaster and Jaguar models are particularly prized for their unique style, feel and flexible control schemes.
Three new colors—Sonic Gray, Mystic Seafoam, Antique Olive—are joined by the revival of a true classic, our instantly recognizable Butterscotch Blonde (available only on Tele models).
•New modern “Deep C” neck profile
•Includes Elite Molded hardshell case
•Redesigned bridge with modified posts, brass Mustang saddles and screw-in arm (Jazzmaster and Jaguar models)
•New nickel-silver pickup claw (Jaguar model)
• Four-way pickup switch/pickup phase switch (Jaguar model)
•Pop-in tremolo arm (Stratocaster models)
•New bridge with compensated brass barrel saddles and redesigned bridge cover (Telecaster models)
•Fluted-shaft tuning machines
•PosiflexTM graphite rods
•’63 P Bass neck profile (PrecisionBass models)
•New “Thin C”-shaped neck profile (Jazz Bass models)
The Guild Newark St. Collection marks the return of classic Guild electric guitars and basses from the 1950s and ’60s—once again putting the distinctive Guild styling and voice that helped shape popular music into the hands of today’s musicians. The Newark St. Collection celebrates some of Guild’s most iconic models, including the hard-rocking solid-body S-200 T-Bird, the semi-hollow and hollow Starfire guitars and basses, and elegant archtop jazz guitars like the A-150 Savoy and X-175 Manhattan. Features include Guild’s famed Vibrato Tailpiece, stoptail pieces, pinned bridges, authentically voiced vintage-style pickups, and classic hardware designs. With a wide selection of models, Guild has always been the first choice for musicians in need of an instrument that’s made to be played.
On Tuesday evening, September 27, we had the Taylor Road Show here in our store and it was a smashing success, with a full house. Fine refreshments were provided, as we do at all of our special in-house events, and a most excellent time was had by all. Taylor’s own District Sales Manager Mike Venezia was here to talk about yow Taylors are built, their special designs, bracing, and the differences between the wide selection of Taylor models and their specs, as well as available rare woods for both standard guitars and custom orders. Taylor also arranged to be here, playing for the crowd and demonstrating all fine Taylor instruments, Kenny Echizen, a super-talented funk-loving player based out of Los Angeles, whose artist study on James Brown is legendary. They provided for our guests over thirty very special Taylor guitars to check out, many of which will be available here for sale here in our store shortly.
Brand new models of Gretsch Electromatic are now available at Matt Umanov Guitars. These new models have premium features like dual “Black Top” Filter’tron humbucking pickups, upgraded controls including master volume treble-bleed circuit, smaller late-’50s bound headstock, oversized bound F holes & aged multi-ply body binding and a Gretsch “G-cutout” tailpiece.
Also, click HERE for remaining Gretsch Clearance.
We are SO happy to have George Lowden’s guitars back here, first having sold them over thirty years ago and a few times since, according to limited availability. George is one of the very few guitar makers ever with something truly new and different, and of astoundingly high quality, to say with his instruments. They’re not copies of any guitar you’ve ever seen, are just pure brilliance, and they’re anything but different just for the sake of being different. Built with extremely well-thought out design they are light, have timeless strength, and are so beautifully balanced as to make one get lost in the playing of them. They are made in Jumbo, mid-size, and Lowden’s famous “Wee” sizes, of various tonewood backs and sides, some with cedar tops, some with spruce. After playing one (or more), you’ll never look at acoustic guitar tonalities and performance in quite the same way again.
View current Lowden inventory HERE.
A LEGACY TO CELEBRATE
The early ‘50s marked the beginning of a golden age for the Gretsch company. Inspired and humbled by these pivotal and prolific years, the all new GOLDEN ERA Edition is designed for the player who appreciates the finest in musical instrument heritage. Standard features include ...
• TV Jones® Pickups
• Aged Binding and Inlays
• Pinned Bridges (where applicable)
• Bone Nuts
• “Squeezebox” Capacitors w/ Treble Bleed Circuit
• Vintage Thick Pickguard
Click for current GRETSCH GOLDEN ERA EDITION inventory.
Also, see our new GRETSCH STREAMLINER inventory.
The OME lines of open-back, bluegrass, and jazz banjos have evolved since 1960 and are the result of many years of dedicated effort towards creating exceptional banjos that meet the needs of the most demanding and sophisticated musicians. They embody superior tone, superb playability, unfailing quality, and flawless beauty.
OME banjos combine time-proven features of vintage instruments with modern refinements in technology and design using the finest materials and custom-made metal and wood components, taking the time necessary to do the job right.
See our selection of OME banjos.
We’re just back from the Dallas International Guitar Festival, and have got some pretty darn cool instruments coming our way. They’ll arrive here in a few days, and we’ll be getting them prepared over the next few weeks. Among them are a 1953 Martin 000-21 with sunburst finish, a 1967 Gibson ES-175D, a 1973 Fender fretless P-Bass, a 1957 Fender Champ lap steel, a 1937 Gibson HG-00, and more. Keep your eye on the “Just In” list that’s accessible from every page on our website; we’ll be adding the new arrivals daily as we get them perfectly set up for your playing enjoyment.
This year marks the 50th anniversary of the release of D.A. Pennebaker’s iconic move, DONT LOOK BACK, following Bob Dylan’s London tour of 1965. In conjunction with this event, Paul Stuart, the exclusive menswear fashion store that has been on Madison Avenue here in New York City for over seventy-five years, has displayed in their store, and in all of their windows at Madison and 45th Street, stills from the movie, Dylan album covers, photographs, memorabilia, special Limited Edition Hohner harmonicas, and several guitars. We were asked to provide those guitars for display and were happy to give them a stunning, black, custom-made steel-string acoustic by master builder Danny J. Brown, a beautiful Fender American Vintage Series ’65 Stratocaster, and several vintage steel-string acoustics. And for those of you who are deep Dylan fans, you might like to know that the late-1920s Gibson Nick Lucas model that Bob plays throughout the movie was brought to me by him, in 1971, to be rebuilt, which I personally restored for him.
You are all invited to a signing by D.A. Pennebaker of copies of the DVD and Blu-Ray boxed set at Paul Stuart on Thursday, November 5th, from 6PM-8PM. We also encourage all of you who can’t make it to the signing to look in at the store windows, of which there are eleven wrapping around the corner of Madison and 45th, just blocks from Grand Central Station. The exhibit will be up through Friday, November 16th.
Here they are, thirteen special Limited Edition Martin guitars from about fifteen years ago, delivered here as new and put away in their original cases, untouched, until now, some still in their original shipping cartons and with original paperwork. Among them are all five Martin “Cowboy” guitars (Cowboy X through Cowboy V) with wonderfully cool graphics by Robert Armstrong, one of them with CF Martin IV’s face cleverly put on one of the characters. There are also three “Felix The Cat” guitars, all with labels signed by Don Oriolo, Felix’s original artist, some of which have been signed by CF Martin IV as well. There is a Martin 175th Anniversary model, and so many more. Even Elvis, who, as we know is everywhere, is in there. You can look at all of them right here, and also see their labels, with edition numbers hand-lettered right in them. Offered as an entire collection only, for $6995.
Click HERE to buy.
In 1982 Robert Godin produced the first Seagull guitars in the Village of LaPatrie, Quebec. The concept for the Seagull guitar was to take the essential components of the best hand-crafted guitars (such as solid tops and beautiful finishes) and build these features into guitars that could be priced within the reach of working musicians.
See our complete Godin inventory HERE.
Our world-famous repair department, known since the 1960s as the very best in New York, is now accepting all quality fretted instruments for repair, restoration and setup work with a new, expedited turnaround schedule. To find out what we can do for you and your acoustic or electric guitar (or bass, or mandolin or banjo), please bring it in between Noon and 6PM Monday through Saturday.
On Thursday, June 18, from 2PM till 7PM, we’ll be celebrating the unique, superb custom instruments of noted Woodstock, NY luthier Joe Veillette, with an in-store display, demonstration, and meet-and-greet with Joe himself, Joe's lovely wife and talented model Kimberly Kay, and Veillette sales manager Harvey Sorgen. We’ll have many of their fine Veillette instruments here for you to inquire about and test-drive and play for yourself, including the hot new Avante Gryphon, acoustics, electrics, basses, and baritone models. Please stop by to say hello and get to check out these terrific custom instruments, and to ask all the questions you like of the man himself, master innovative guitar-maker Joe Veillette.
Many thanks to all our guests who came out to make our Taylor Road Show on March 19th such a great and successful event. A very informative talk and demonstration of the new 600 Series, as well as all the attributes of the entire wonderful Taylor line, was presented by Taylor's own top expert Nate Shivers. We were brought up to speed on all the new 2015 specs while the incomparable Wayne Johnson, world-renowned guitarist for many years with Manhattan Transfer, demonstrated the various models with his brilliant playing. This fine duo showed us the huge range of what all those lovliest of Taylor guitars can really do, in real time. We’ve got over forty different models of Taylors on display here in our store right now, so come on down if you can, have one of our pleasant and informative staff show you around, help you to find the Taylor that’s right for you. And if you can’t make it in, are perhaps stationed in Irkutsk, please feel free to call us (212 675 2157) or write to us at email@example.com We’ll be happy to make you happy.
We just got back from another buying trip to the vintage guitar show in Arlington, Texas, and have turned up a whole bunch of true earlier beauties, along with many fine pieces of a more utilitarian, modestly priced and 100% fabulous, gig-ready nature. They'll all show up at the top of the "Just In" list right here on our homepage as they're carefully prepped in our own world-renowned workshop. Just a few to keep an eye out for are: a 1927 "Robert Johnson" Gibson L-1; a 1944 Martin 00-18; a 1924 Loar-era Gibson A-Jr. mandolin; a 1953 ES-125; a drop-dead clean 1960 Martin D-28; a 1978 Fender P-Bass; a cool 1977 black Gibson Dove Custom; a 1959 Gibson LG-1; a 1979 Strat; a 1917 Martin 1-28; and a heck of a lot more. Keep your eye on that "Just In" list.................stay tuned and don't touch that dial.
Jay Pilzer was born in Virgina in 1946. He has a PhD in History from Duke University and taught History at Norfolk State University, Vanderbilt University (visiting lecturer), and retired from Motlow State Community College in Tennessee. He was also the Executive Director of The Jewish Federation of Nashville for ten years.
He is a long time guitar player, and has, since 1992, been a guitar dealer. He has published in the field of Modern Jewish History. For the last two decades he has written articles about guitars for several publications and was featured on the PBS show, History Detectives in a segment about a Josh White model Guild guitar.
He lives in Nashville, Tennessee where he continues to write, play music and record.
Jay will be at Matt Umanov Guitars on Tuesday, November 18 from 4:00pm until 7:00pm to sign and read from his book, A Six String History of America, which combines his curiosity, training, and passion for guitars and the music made on them.
Bob Margolin, aka "Steady Rollin'" Bob Margolin, is an icon in the world of electric blues guitar and has been for well over forty years. In 1973, he joined the Muddy Waters Band and was the mainstay of that band, with Muddy, throughout the entire decade. Right around the time he joined the band, Bob was given a 1956 Strat by a friend, and he has used it as his main guitar right up to this day. Over the years, it has been played on gigs by George Harrison, Keith Richards, Muddy his own self and more, played on stage with Eric Clapton too. It has been modified over the years (finish, pickups, etc.) to suit the needs of both Margolin and his predecessors; this is not to be considered a Strat that's original to the Fender company; it is a Strat that's original to Bob Margolin, a much revered musician, one of the great blues players of the great generation.
We are currently represented with pieces from our personal collection at the Metropolitan Museum of Art here in New York, proudly, not for the first time. There is a fabulous exhibit in their Musical Instrument Department now titled "Early American Guitars: The Instruments of C.F. Martin". The exhibit features thirty-five instruments, mostly made by C.F. Martin between 1834 and 1859, showing how his original designs grew from the Viennese instruments in the region he came from, through Spanish influences, and into the basics of the guitars that the Martin family still makes today in Nazareth, PA. In the 1960s and 70s, we occasionally would come across guitars made in New York by Louis Schmidt and George Maul, which had features and a style remarkably similar to Martin's work, considerably more so than guitars of any other makers of the period. It turned out that both of these men had worked with or for Martin in the 1840s and later went off on their own. The Museum has asked us to loan them some finer examples of Schmidt and Maul's work to complement their show, along with instruments of a few others who worked with Martin in those years. The exhibit will be up through December 2014 and we highly recommend your going to see it if and when you might be in our fair city. It is quite the beautiful display, big enough to intrigue you alluringly but not so big as to prevent you from seeing other parts of the Museum. And while you're in town, please come and visit us as well. We'd love to see you here.
The Met's last exhibit of stringed instruments by American makers, a few years ago, featured exclusively the work of John D'Angelico and the two men who most notably carried on his tradition, Jimmy D'Aquisto and John Monteleone. We have in our private collection many of the original patterns, templates, drawings, and ephemera (such unused mother-of-pear logo peghead inlay, etc. etc.) from John D'Angelico's shop, as well as the only known example of a D'Angelico violin extant. We were honored to have The Met ask us to loan them these items for that exhibit.
CF Martin & Co. designed the basics for the world's best steel-string guitars over 180 years ago and no one has been able to make substantial improvements since. Today, their Custom Shop takes this a step further, with every instrument they build having its own individual, special set of specifications, and with the entire guitar being assembled by their very best builders in a special area of the factory.
"Having been a guitar maker, both privately and in factories, a restorer, and a repair person at different times over the past fifty years, as well as a dealer of vintage instruments, I love to think about what makes great guitars great. When I order a special instrument from Martin's Custom Shop, I personally specify every minute detail, not only cosmetically so that there'll be visual harmony, but structurally and materially, including all the internal and external components, so that the result will be a superior, beautifully balanced instrument." -Matt Umanov
Every Custom Shop Martin we offer in our store has had the same detailed personal thought put into it, and we sincerely hope you'll agree when you play them.
Click for Martin Custom Shop Inventory.
Over the weekend of October 26, 2013, the fifth annual Woodstock Luthier's Showcase was held in, well, Woodstock NY, titular home of everything that one would expect. The show is put on by Baker Rorick, with 50-100 instrument makers showing their creations to the general public and of course, to each other. Some are local, some from way across the country, some from as far as Japan. This is an extremely nice, comfortable and homey event, with discussions and forums as well, and great live music in the evenings by wonderful, professional players showcasing many of the guitars on display. We go to this show every year to see who's doing what in the world of individual guitar makers, talk to them, see what's new and different. We also get to interact with the attendees, many of whom are luthiers who've gotten to a more public place in our world of great guitars, such as Bill Collings of Collings guitars, Michael Gurian (who makes the herringbone inlay and other purfling for all the major companies), Dick Boak and Mike Dickinson of the Martin Guitar Company. And many more. At the risk of sounding corny, I will say that this event really is a sort of love-fest (in Woodstock??!!?? Holy Cow!!) for all of us, as we get to hang out, talk, and share in a wonderfully relaxed atmosphere for three whole days, totally without the business pressures that are always lurking at trade shows. Thank you Baker Rorick, from every single one of us.
In the photo, L to R.........
Matt Umanov; Happy Traum, long-time performer and teacher and Woodstock resident; Dick Boak of CF Martin & Co.; Baker Rorick, the show promoter; Michael Gurian, Gurian Guitars; Bill Collings, Collings Guitars.
We have just come into possession of quite a number of guitars that had belonged to a man who had passed away some time ago and who had amassed an amazing collection, consisting solely of top-notch Fender and Gibson solidbody electrics, all of them very special Custom Shop instruments; many had been autographed by Jeff Beck and/or Johnny Winter. We were asked to help re-distribute these fabulous pieces within the guitar-loving world and were also told that during the lifetime of the original owner, he had mentioned many times that if it ever came to these being sold, he wanted it to be done only through our store; quite an honor for us I think. Every single one of these very special instruments is 100% dead-mint, in literally unplayed condition, bought or specially ordered, autographed (though some are not), and put away before a single note was ever played on them. Each one has all of its original papers, accessories, etc., intact in its case, untouched. This collector was literally that, a collector, and did not play at all. He apparently had some workings in the music business with personal connections to Mr Beck and Mr Winter, as both were obviously happy to sign so many instruments for him. All of these guitars were made between approximately 1993 and 2001 and have been in storage since. All have just been carefully gone over by us, in our own shop, to ensure proper playability. Every single one is a perfect gem and we sincerely hope to find good appreciative homes for all of them. They are all very fairly priced, especially considering their rarity and uniqueness so please, no trades, no lowball offers; just enjoy and respect them for what they are and have one (or more) to treasure as your own.
1996 Gibson Les Paul R9 *SOLD*
1999 Gibson Les Paul R7 *SOLD*
1998 Gibson Les Paul Custom B7 *SOLD*
1999 Fender "Leo" Broadcaster *SOLD*
1997 Fender '53 Telecaster Masterbuilt *SOLD*
2001 Fender '63 Telecaster Masterbuilt *SOLD*
1993 Fender Harley-Davidson Anniversary Strat *SOLD*
1993 Fender '60 Stratocaster *SOLD*
1997 Fender Strat Custom Shop Relic *SOLD*
1989 Gibson '59 ES-335 *SOLD*
2000 Fender Korina Strat & Tele *SOLD*
1998 Gibson Korina Flying V & Explorer *SOLD*
FADED SATIN LACQUER FINISHES THAT MAKE A STATEMENT
Elegant wood grain patterns that add a touch of class and character to your setup. Brown anodized aluminum pickguards that are guaranteed to turn heads in the studio or onstage. With their weathered exteriors and a look that’s bona fide Americana, U.S.-made Fender special edition Rustic Ash Telecaster® and Stratocaster® guitars prove that some things do look better with time.
From the bent steel saddles and stamped brass plates on the bridges of the Rustic Ash Telecasters to the aged white plastic parts on the Rustic Ash Stratocasters, these guitars are true testaments to the Fender philosophy of blending eye-catching aesthetics with time-honored design—down to the nitty-gritty details.
TEXAS SPECIAL PICKUPS
But behind each classic look and contour, Fender has offset these ash-bodied beauts with Texas Special™ pickups for soaring sky-high output that’s anything but subtle. It’s the perfect counterbalance of weather-beaten look and sonic clarity—a visually stunning instrument with bark and bite.
The PRS S2 Series offers the fit, finish, feel, and attention to detail of PRS craftsmanship in a straightforward design. Standing for “Stevensville 2,” S2 Series instruments are made at PRS's Maryland shop blending new design elements and manufacturing techniques with practiced quality control and workmanship to create reimagined, fresh guitars that reach a more affordable price for players.
The S2 Series is comprised of three models: the S2 Mira, S2 Starla, and S2 Custom 24. These models share several key features, including PRS S2 locking tuners, custom-wound pickups, PRS neck shapes, PRS S2 bridges as well as PRS fretwire, nuts, and double-action truss rods. The new asymmetrical, beveled body shape offers a vintage vibe, and the flatness of the top gives these guitars a big, resonant voice.
Whether the S2 Series means your first PRS or an addition to your arsenal, one thing is certain: each model in the PRS S2 Series is a solid American-made guitar that makes no sacrifice in playability or tone.
John Sebastian’s contributions – both as the leader of the Lovin’ Spoonful and as a solo artist – loom large on the American musical landscape. The unique fusion of rock, folk and jug band he created with the Lovin’ Spoonful helped return American popular music to relevance at the height of the 1960’s “British Invasion” and his influence continues to resonate across musical genres.
For all his success in the popular realm, Sebastian’s abiding passion remains roots music; an amalgam of folk, blues, country, old time, jug band and more. So when John took a serious and intense interest in Chris Martin's most recent "CEO's Choice" model – the CEO-6 – Martin's Dick Boak (a long time friend of Sebastian's) initiated the collaboration with John to design his namesake guitar. Sebastian opted for a 14-fret (to the body) "Dreadnought Sloped Shoulder" (hence "DSS") that pays homage to the heroes of his musical roots.
Limited to just 44 instruments (for his birth year, 1944), the Martin DSS John Sebastian Custom Signature Edition offers a unique combination of premium tonewoods and appointments personally selected by John Sebastian. In every way, the Martin DSS John Sebastian Custom Signature Edition is sure to impress: it sounds, plays and looks great.
The solid tonewoods he selected for the DSS John Sebastian Custom Signature Edition are superb. The top is Adirondack spruce, revered for strong fundamentals, subtle richness and extraordinary power from bass to treble. Scalloped 5/16-inch Adirondack spruce top braces enhance tonal clarity and focus. The back and sides are rare, highly figured koa. Koa blends pleasing bass, strong midrange and crisp trebles, and this honey colored, flame figured koa looks as spectacular as it sounds. The 1930s style belly bridge is black ebony.
As for the appointments, Sebastian’s choices are inspired: this is one handsome, sweet playing guitar. A Style 45 blue paua pearl rosette combines with fine herringbone top purfling, rosewood bindings, and a special amber sunburst top to complement the koa back and sides. Fine black/white purfling encircle the back, which is bisected by a fine herringbone center strip.
The genuine mahogany 13⁄4-inch (at the nut) Performing Artist neck, tight 12-inch radius on the black ebony fingerboard and jumbo frets provide exceptional playing comfort. The mother-of-pearl fingerboard position markers are unique: star, crescent moon and slotted concave diamond markers at the 5th, 7th and 9th frets. These pay homage to the inlays on one of blues icon Mississippi John Hurt’s old guitars. Two stars and a slotted concave diamond mark the 12th and 15th frets, leading to a mother-of-pearl spoon accented by a red heart between the 19th the 20th frets, symbolizing the importance of the Lovin’ Spoonful on Sebastian's musical career. The son of a noted classical harmonica player who frequently hosted many folk musicians of the day, among them Woody Guthrie and Burl Ives, at the family home in Greenwich Village, John Sebastian discovered his love for music early. After making his debut as a member of the Even Dozen Jug Band - a group that also included Stefan Grossman, David Grisman, Steve Katz, Maria D’Amato (later Muldaur) and Josh Rifkin - in the early 1960s, he became a sought-after guitar, harmonica and autoharp accompanist in the Village folk scene. In late 1964, he joined forces with guitarist Zal Yanovsky, bassist Steve Boone and drummer Joe Butler to form the Lovin’ Spoonful, which took its name from the lyrics of a Mississippi John Hurt song.
Driven by Sebastian’s singing and songwriting, the group’s innovative blend of rock and folk was an immediate hit. Beginning with “Do You Believe in Magic” in 1965, the Lovin’ Spoonful put an unprecedented seven consecutive singles into the Hot 100 chart’s Top 10, including “Daydream,” “Did You Ever Have to Make Up Your Mind,” “Nashville Cats” and “Summer in the City,” which quickly reached No. 1 on the charts and defined the summer of 1966. In addition, the group’s music appeared in Woody Allen’s first feature film, What’s Up, Tiger Lily and in Francis Ford Coppola’s second film, You’re a Big Boy Now. Soon after leaving the Lovin’ Spoonful in 1968, Sebastian wrote music and lyrics for the Broadway musical Johnny Shine and gave a legendary performance at the Woodstock festival. He released his first solo album, John B. Sebastian, in 1970 to outstanding reviews: it went on to reach the Top 20 on the album chart. Seven more solo albums followed. In 1976, he had a No. 1 hit as a solo artist with “Welcome Back,” the memorable theme song to the sitcom Welcome Back, Kotter. In the 1990s, he formed John Sebastian and the J-Band to get back to his first love: jug band music. In addition to touring, the group released two albums: I Want My Roots and Chasin’ Gus’ Ghost. In 2000, Sebastian was inducted as a member of the Lovin’ Spoonful into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and in 2008 he was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame. Recently, he joined forces with mandolinist extraordinaire David Grisman to record Satisfied, an album that mixed blues, jazz and a bit of the Lovin’ Spoonful, and reunited with many of his Greenwich Village musical cohorts for a concert in San Francisco, a recording of which was released in 2010 as Jug Band Extravaganza. In addition, he made several Homespun instructional DVDs for guitar, blues harmonica and autoharp. In late 2012, he toured with former J-Band member Jimmy Vivino and plans to tour with David Grisman in 2013.
The Martin DSS John Sebastian Custom Signature Edition comes equipped with Waverly® nickel tuners with snakewood knobs, bone nut and drop-in compensated bone saddle, and pearl dot-inlaid bone bridge pins and endpin. The guitar’s body showcases Martin’s classic gloss lacquer finish, while the neck receives a satin lacquer finish for playing comfort.
Each Martin DSS John Sebastian Custom Signature Edition guitar bears two interior labels: one personally signed by John Sebastian and numbered in sequence with the edition total (44) and a second label depicting Henry Diltz’s iconic photograph of Sebastian performing at Woodstock, back to the camera , wearing his now-famous tie die jacket that is on display at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Takamine's P6JC jumbo cutaway model is loud and forceful, with a resonant solid spruce top with scalloped "X" top bracing for maximum volume, a solid flame maple back and flame maple sides, a convenient Venetian cutaway for easy access to the upper reaches of the fingerboard, and elegant body binding with black and white purfling and mother-of-pearl rosette.
Built with the performer in mind, the P6JC features Takamine’s proprietary CT4-DX preamp system and unique Palathetic™ under-saddle pickup for superior amplified response. The dual-channel CT4-DX provides a four-band EQ, two feedback-reducing notch-filter controls, a flexible dual-pickup mix control (for use when a second pickup is added), volume control and an onboard tuner.
Other performance-enhancing features include Takamine's asymmetrical neck profile – which is slightly thinner on the bass side so that it fits the natural shape of your hand, resulting in a comfortable feel and improved playability. The split bone saddle provides more accurate intonation, while bridge pin positioning optimizes break angle to improve sustain and presence.
Premium design appointments include an ebony fingerboard with white binding and mother-of-pearl "dot-in-dot" inlays, a black headcap, gold tuners with pearl buttons, a natural bone nut and gloss natural finish. he P6JC comes complete with a premium archtop hardshell case.
The M, or 0000-size Martin guitars of today are outgrowths of a guitar I built back in 1967 for David Bromberg, noted performer, player, sideman, personal friend to this day, and a lot more. The idea came to me from Marc Silber, who in the earlier 1960s, via his guitar stores in Berkeley and New York, had the thought to take a 1930s Martin F-9, a top-of-the-line archtop F-hole guitar that he found (with a smashed top), and convert it to a flattop guitar. The F-model Martins from the 1930s were the same shape as 14-fret 000s but larger, a full 16" across the body. They had rosewood backs and sides, just like the better flattop 000s, but with a slightly more arched back, and a 24.9" (short) scale length. The F-9 in particular had 45-grade rosewood, Brazilian of course. I believe that Marc originally had a man in California named Mario Martelli start the job; I know for a fact that Eugene Clark, a marvellous classical guitar builder, finished it here in New York sometime around 1964-5.
So........... Cut to 1967, by which time I was a pretty well-known and respected guitar repair and restoration person here in NYC (this was before I had a store), and my friend David Bromberg came to me with an F-7 (same size as an F-9 but just a wee bit less fancy) and asked me to convert it for him, which I did, and which he still has and plays. Rather than use a factory-stock D-28 top like Marc had done, I made a top from scratch, with modified bracing and other special features. I also decided to use the longer 25.4" scale length. The entire job was done in 42-style abalone trim and binding, and I used some original, 1930s unused Martin snowflake fingerboard inlays that I had, the acquisition of which is a story for another time.
After seeing David's guitar, the people at Martin toyed with the idea of putting something like that into production, but it took them another twelve years to finally get around to doing it; they were and still are quite conservative. On the other hand, when they finally did come out with their very first production 0000 in 1979, which they called the M-38 (they decided to use a letter rather than a bunch of 0s to avoid confusion, though why they chose the letter M I can't recall), they gave me credit for it in their catalog, for which I am still grateful. In the ensuing years, there have been a few other M-size guitars:M-18, MC-28, M-36, and a host of Js, which are M's in all respects but with a deeper body. This I believe was an idea that came directly from Chris Martin himself sometime in the 1980s. Today, there are only the M-36, the J-40, and the J12-16GT in their standard lineup. There was the M-21 Steve Earle Artist Signature model that Steve and I co-designed a few years ago which was a particularly successful project, but it is now out of production by Martin as they only make any of the Artist Signature guitars for a limited time.
The Dallas Vintage Guitar Show, held every year sometime in April or so, is one of the biggest (Texas, of course) and most exciting vintage shows anywhere, and one of our favorites. We get to see so many of our dealer friends from around the country and around the world and eat big (Texas, of course), in places like our friend Dean Fearing's fabulous restaurant downtown, and Sonny Bryan's Original Barbecue shack from 1958. And of course we get to see scads of great instruments too. It's a buying show for us, using the skills we've honed over the years to ferret out the better stuff, plenty of gems, and the occasional diamond in the rough. This year's haul is one of the best in quite a while, with soulful pieces like a 1949 Gibson J-45 (not to mention three other J-45s), a 1942 Martin 0-15, a 1964 Gibson SG Jr. and a 1966 Fender Jazzmaster. Then there's the '70s Jazz Bass, the '48 BR-9 lap steel, the 1930 Gibson L-0, the 1961 Martin 0-16NY and 1959 00-18, and the list does go on. Might be a pre-war National Duolian in there as well. We have all of these great guitars shipped to us here in New York by our friend Eric Sykes from Plano, Texas, and they just started arriving. If you'd like to catch them as they're readied for sale by our world-famous repair shop, keep your eye on the "Just In" list clickable on our homepage, as each one of these great pieces will be put at the top of that list as it is put on display in the store. "He who pauses is lost".
We're just back from another buying trip, looking for the best in older guitars; some call them "vintage" and you can too if you like. This is just one of the ways that we acquire more fine instruments for our store and when we do, and after we've gotten each one of them prepped in our own world-famous in-house shop, they'll go right to the top of the "Just In" list on our homepage with a full descriptive link, with photos, for each and every one of them. These trips are kinda like fishing, you never know what's going to be out there for you but one thing's for sure: we only bring home the very best pieces, and we're known to be pretty sharp judges of that. Each and every guitar, bass, uke, mandolin, etc. etc. goes straight upstairs to the shop when it arrives here to be thoroughly gone over by our top experts and set up, and tightened up, and spruced up so that when it finally goes on display in our store and on our website it's "gig ready". No ifs ands or buts about this; we make sure that every instrument we offer for sale is just as reliable and fine as if we were going to play it out ourselves.
So............ Latest haul includes, in part and in no particular order: 1972 Martin D-18; 1971 Fender Jazz Bass; 1954 Gibson LG-2; 1965 Gibson SG Junior; 1926 Martin 00-18; 1974 Guild F-112; 1967 Gibson ES-330TDC; 1920's Hawaiian koa taropatch;1916 Gibson F-2 mandolin; and more. And more. You'll be able to see them as they appear on the Just In list, one or two or several at a time over the coming days and weeks, so keep an eye there, bookmark the page and check it out every so often and if you have any questions about a particular instrument please give us a call at 212 675 2157 or drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks.................Matt Umanov and Staff
Congratulations to New York's own Kim Lofgren. Kim is the winner of Matt Umanov Guitar's Martin Month raffle and the proud owner of a new Martin 000-15M!
Power and subway service are back to Lower Manhattan, so Matt Umanov Guitars is back to business. Come down and share your Hurricane Sandy story.
Just got back from a great guitar-buying trip to Texas, and boy, did we eat! Literally, at the world-renowned Fearing's restaurant, owned and run by our pal the acknowledged master chef and guitar nut Dean Fearing, and also of course at the feast of guitars at the annual Arlington Guitar Show, held every October. We brought back some fabulous gems in lots of the major food groups, so here's what............ Acoustics: a coupla outstanding pre-war Martins and some perfect 60's Gibsons; Hollowbody electrics: 50's and 60's ES models, both full and thin-bodied; 1930's National resonator guitars; tenor guitars, SG guitars, Guild 12-string, Martin ukes, and more. They'll all be listed and fully described at the top of the "JUST IN" section of our homepage as they get ready and readier to go out into the world, so keep your eyes open!
Matt Umanov Guitars is pleased to announce the winners of the 2012 Fender & Gretsch Day guitar raffle. Tom Stern of Tel Aviv, Israel won the drawing for a brand new Gretsch Corvette and our very own Alex Stoler of NYC won the drawing for a Fender American Special Stratocaster! Congrats guys, and thank you to everyone who came out to make the 2012 Fender & Gretsch Day such a blast!
Fender’s American Vintage Series introduces an all-new lineup of original-era model year guitars that bring Fender history and heritage to authentic and exciting new life. With key features and pivotal design elements spanning the mid-1950s to the mid-1960s, new American Vintage series instruments delve deep into Fender’s roots—expertly preserving an innovative U.S. guitar-making legacy and vividly demonstrating like never before that Fender not only knows where it’s going, but also remembers where it came from.
The American Vintage Series has long presented some of Fender’s best-selling guitars (their early-’80s introduction, in fact, was one of the first signs that Fender was “back” as the CBS era ended). Today, Fender has boldly cleared the slate to make way for a fresh American Vintage series with new features, new specs and the most meticulous level of vintage accuracy yet. Rather than just replacing the previous models with different ones, the entire vintage-reissue concept has been completely and comprehensively re-imagined—restoring original tooling dies, voicing new pickups, reformulating vintage colors and more—based on actual vintage guitars designers tracked down to ensure even greater accuracy.
All the new American Vintage Series guitars feature thick and slim necks with profiles and edges carefully re-sculpted to reflect even greater period-correct authenticity, with both maple and rosewood fingerboards, vintage-style frets and bone nuts; all-new vintage-style pickups wound to period-correct specs and sound to accurately reflect specific model years, and even specific periods within specific model years; retooled pickguards, parts and hardware designed to accurately reflect specific model years (and again, even specific periods within specific model years), and standard and custom-color finishes re-formulated for even greater period-correct authenticity.
The new guitars are the American Vintage '56, '59. and '65 Stratocaster® models ('56 model also in left-handed version), American Vintage '58 and '64 Telecaster® models ('64 model also in left-handed version), American Vintage '65 Jazzmaster® and '66 Jaguar®. Also, the American Vintage '52 Telecaster returns to the fold (in right- and left-handed versions) with body, neck and pickups refined with the best features—tones, curves, perimeters, radii and more—from a handful of extraordinary ’52 Telecaster specimens examined by Fender craftsmen.
Rare, iconic '70s guitar. Formerly owned by a member of The Blues Magoos.
Perhaps the rarest and most iconic of all the 1970s boutique electric guitars, the Sardonyx, of which there were at most fifteen or twenty ever made, is closely associated with John Lennon, who was photographed playing one in 1980. As far as I know, none have come up on the market in many years though I have often been asked about them, having worked with their builder during the time period that they were made. This rare example came to me from the guitars of an equally iconic 1970s band, The Blues Magoos; he has owned it for many years and used it extensively with another band he led, Balance. Condition is original and appears to be unaltered; one of the small stainless-steel outrigger brackets has an almost unnoticeable bend in it and the overall black lacquer has fine checking, all of which we feel should be left alone as small "battle scars" of its history. Not only is the original deluxe hard shell road case with armored edges and corners included, but it also has its paperwork and operating instructions, which are serial numbered to the guitar. Offered here exclusively at $15,000 with original case and papers and a DVD of its owner playing it in concert.
Price: $15,000 w/ohsc