How does it feel to hold a $100,000 acoustic guitar?
Vistors to the Martin booth at the National Assn. of Music Merchants' trade show in Anaheim got to find out, as the lauded guitar maker showed off new additions to its Authentic Series -- guitars built to look and sound like instruments from the 1930s and early 1940s.
The lineup, based on pieces from Martin's museum in Nazareth, Penn., includes the new OM-45 De Luxe Authentic 1930.
The guitar, a reproduction of a 1930 model, features rare Brazilian rosewood sides and back, and a headstock and pickguard decorated with floral inlays. Only 11 are available, for a suggested price of $99,999. Another new addition, the OM-28 Authentic 1931, goes for a comparably low $8,500.
No doubt, these are guitars for high-end customers. But while they are based on historical instruments and aim for retro tones, they are meant to be played, said Martin artist relations coordinator Scott Follweiler.
"It's a piece of history you've got in your hands. You could treat it as an investment right out of the box," he said. "It's got a great old sound, but you don't have to wait years for it to open up. For the people who know, it's a very reasonable price for what they're getting."
The 180-year-old company is also celebrating an anniversary with another choice item on display that taps into its past.
Its popular D-35 Dreadnought turns 50 years old this year, and the guitar's anniversary edition (list price: $6,999) boasts Madagascar rosewood sides and back wings, with a Brazilian rosewood center.
It's hard to tell how any of the instruments sound amid the noise of the NAMM Show, which is expected to draw roughly 95,000 visitors through Sunday. However, Follweiler is willing to vouch for the Dreadnought's signature volume: "It's a huge, booming sound."