Elvis Presley was, is and always will be the King of rock & roll. Influenced by the pop, country, rhythm & blues and gospel music of the early 1950s, he took rock & roll from novelty to mainstream in a brilliant career that included 150 gold, platinum or multi-platinum singles and albums, 149 songs on the Billboard “Hot 100 Pop Chart,” 1,100 concert appearances, 3 television specials, 33 movies and record sales that now surpass one billion worldwide. His death in 1977 at age 42 stunned the world, but so enduring is his popularity that the 1992 United States postage stamp bearing his likeness is the top selling commemorative stamp of all time and Graceland, his home in Memphis, welcomes more than 600,000 visitors each year.
While best known for his singing, Elvis’ guitar playing served him well, especially in the early years of his career. His pulsing, rhythmic strumming was featured on many of his early recordings and on stage in the mid-1950s, when Martin was his guitar. He began with a used 000-18 in 1954, but within months had traded it in for a 1942 Martin D-18. The next year he got a 1955 D-28; fitted with a custom-tooled leather cover with his name across the lower bout, it became perhaps his most recognized acoustic due to the many Elvis concert photos in which it appears.
A Martin also was Elvis’ main acoustic at the end of his career. He played a mid-1970s D-28 during his last concert tour and it was the last guitar he played on stage in June of 1977. The instrument was packed and ready to go back out on the road with Elvis when he died on August 16, 1977; it now resides in the collection at Graceland.
In tribute to Elvis Presley on the 30th anniversary of his passing – also, coincidentally, the 175th anniversary of the Martin Guitar Company – Martin is excited to offer two exceptional commemorative edition guitars fit for the King and his legion of fans. Sporting exclusive appointments throughout, the Martin D-28M and D-28 Elvis Presley Commemorative Editions capture Elvis’ unique charisma.
Limited to just 175 guitars to mark C. F. Martin’s 175th anniversary, the D-28M Elvis Presley Commemorative Limited Edition features rare Madagascar rosewood back and sides (which closely resembles Brazilian rosewood), and an Adirondack spruce top with 5/16” scalloped Adirondack spruce braces for brilliant, powerful tone. Fine black and white inlay lines highlight the Style 28 soundhole rosette and purfling, the latter accented by elegant grained ivoroid binding.
The D-28 Elvis Presley Commemorative Special Edition features back and sides of East Indian rosewood and a top of Carpathian spruce. The combination of these fine tonewoods and 5/16” scalloped top bracing produces a responsive guitar with impressive volume, punch and sustain. The Style 28 rosette is matched by Style 28 purfling around the top and back. The body is bound in grained ivoroid.
The Elvis motif of these Dreadnoughts begins on the polished black ebony headstock just above the nut, where the silhouette of the King and his Martin – modeled after a famous 1956 photograph – are inlaid in mother of pearl and black pearl. Small pearl-bordered abalone star position marker inlays at the 5th, 7th (two), 9th, 15th, and 17th frets on the fingerboard flank Elvis’ signature at the 12th fret. The black Micarta heelcap features his “TCB Lightning Bolt” logo – a design that originated with the “Taking Care of Business” pendants Elvis gave to friends – inlaid in mother of pearl.
Classic 1950s-inspired Martin appointments common to these beautiful guitars include a 1 11/16” neck with diamond volute carved from genuine mahogany and satin finished, Grover deluxe nickel Kluson™ tuners with small oval metal buttons, the old style Martin decal logo on the headstock, black ebony fingerboard and belly bridge, genuine bone nut and saddle, and a flawless polished gloss lacquer finish with vintage-appropriate light amber aging toner on the top. In keeping with their black and white palette, these Limited Editions come with white bridge and end pins topped with black dots, and a polished and beveled black pickguard.
The unique tooled leather guitar cover originally created by Charles Underwood made Elvis’ D-28 instantly recognizable. Therefore, the D-28M Elvis Presley Commemorative Limited Edition is outfitted with a tooled leather guitar cover based upon Charles’ design and is delivered in a special oversized vintage Geib style hardshell case to accommodate the guitar and cover. The D-28 Elvis Presley Commemorative Special Edition may be ordered without the leather guitar cover in a vintage Geib style hardshell case, or with the cover at an extra cost, an upgrade that also includes the oversized case. Factory-installed electronics (those Martin offers without side controls) can be ordered as an extra-cost option. Left-handed instruments may be ordered at no additional cost, though tooling on the leather guitar cover cannot be reversed.
Each D-28M and D-28 Elvis Presley Commemorative Edition guitar bears two interior labels specially designed for these models. The primary interior label for the D-28M Elvis Presley is numbered in sequence with the total number of guitars in the edition, while the primary label for the D-28 Elvis Presley is numbered in sequence without total: both include a holographic, official “Elvis Presley Signature” sticker of authenticity. Authorized C. F. Martin dealers will begin taking orders for the Martin D-28M and D-28 Elvis Presley Commemorative Edition guitars immediately and participating dealers will be listed on the Martin Guitar website.