The DCPA1 Madagascar Rosewood model is the flagship of the Performing Artist Series. This outstanding instrument ensures that legendary Martin tone reaches your audience in the highest style. With solid Madagascar rosewood back and sides and an Adirondack spruce top, this instrument integrates state-of-the art electronics with striking aesthetic features, player comfort and exceptional tone.
Stan says: This is one of the finest sounding new Martin models I have ever in my life played. It has everything I want in a guitar - a cutaway, a pickup, and a sound that is so bold, so clean, so full of life and sonic complexity that, hearing it, one can only blink and wonder if they have transcended this earthly veil and proceeded directly to the happy place. The sound is stunning and eye-opening. Like when you open the blinds in the morning and it's 69 degrees and sunny and the relative humidity is 40%. As Randy Newman says, "It gives me reason to live." Although he says that 3 times in a row in "You Can Leave Your Hat On." Yes, it's that good. This guitar will reawaken in you the desire to pursue your plectral proclivities nightly. And that can only be good.
The construction of the Martin DCPA1 Madagascar Rosewood is, unlike any other guitar in the Martin Performing Artist Series, made with mahogany blocks and applied dovetail neck joint. To this we say “YAY” at the highest possible level of volume. And speaking of volume, you get a stronger and more massive density of tone, volume and projection with Dovetail Joint than with any other form of neck-to-body connection. This guitar is nothing short of fantastic sounding – playing it in a room full of people will (I vouchsafe you) make all the conversation in the room cease. It sounds like guitar that cost twice and three times its price. In addition, it is beautiful.
As you know, its body size is D-14 fret cutaway; it has that “finest top wood known to mankind) solid Adirondack spruce, a Style -45 soundhole rosette. The top bracing is scalloped in the Golden Era style, and also forward shifted like that guy over there’s pelvic bones – (“yes, but the suit fits perfectly”). In addition to the two-piece top the underlying braces are also Adirondack spruce and measure 5/16th” in width; the back is solid Madagascar rosewood (from Madagascar) which is considered by many to be the second finest wood in the woild for beauty and tone after it’s ostracized sister, Ms. Brazilian.
Here’s what another manufacturer says about Madagascar (this is from a direct competitor of C F Martin so for goodness sake don’t tell them I quoted this in my Martin description). Bob Taylor writes: “Madagascar rosewood tonally is considered a kindred spirit to venerable Brazilian rosewood, boasting zesty, articulate highs, deep lows, ample dynamic range, and rewarding players with rich sustain and complex overtones. Its comparison to Brazilian is reinforced by its often striking visual appeal and limited availability. The tonal distinctions between Maddie and East Indian rosewood tend to be subtle; if anything, Maddie may yield a bit more midrange bloom than East Indian . . . . . Like East Indian, if you favor a guitar with full low end and sparkling treble, Maddie will deliver, and its moderate midrange overtones will give you a broad swath along the frequency spectrum to get the tone you want. It'll yield a wonderful traditional acoustic sound, and players with ‘dark’ hands will find the brightness of the treble to be a nice complement.” We can’t disagree with any of that – we love the sound and the beauty of this wood. We do feel that calling it “Maddie” shows far too much familiarity and not enough respect for its phylum (taxonomic rank). We prefer “Mrs. Gascar.” I also like the use of the word “zesty” which, outside of the young waiter who really wants to be an actor, at a fancy restaurant, reading you the Specials List doesn’t come up enough.
But – back to the details: Its back purfling is Style 45 Golden Era, its sides and back are solid Madagascar rosewood, it has no endpiece or endpiece inlay; it’s binding is grained ivoroid with a top inlay of Style -41 meaning that just the border of the face and soundhole are inlaid. Its back inlay (purfling) is black and maple fiber, which sounds a little like breakfast. The nut is bone, the neck shape is “Performing Artist Profile.” Its headstock is solid/long diamond/square taper with a solid Madagascar rosewood overlay; the heel cap is grained ivoroid; the fingerboard is solid black ebony and so is the bridge. The scale length is, of course, 25.4”, it has 14 frets clear of the body and 20 frets total; the fingerboard measures 1 ¾” at the nut, 2 1/8” at the 12th fret and the string spacing at the bridge is, for a change, dissimilar to the 12th fret measurement by coming in at 2 3/16th”.
The fingerboard is inlaid with “alternative torch inspired” designs (I have no idea what that is but I want one). The finish on the body and neck is all polished gloss, much like my hairless cranium. The bridge style is “Performing Artist Belly” even though we were told not to stare at people’s physical idiosyncrasies. Its bone saddle has a 16'' radius/compensated and made from white Tusq (so no elephants were harmed). The tuners are gold-plated and enclosed with large buttons just like Emmett Kelly. The guitar comes from the factory with Martin Studio Performance Lifespan Phosphor Bronze light gauge (MSP7100). Its bridge and end pins are bone with select pearl dots, her pickguard is Delmar (Martin’s finest) with beveled edges and in a color that might confuse even a mama turtle. It comes housed in a special Slate Gray 600 series thermoplastic carrying case and is equipped from the factory with the Fishman F-1 Aura Plus which does just about everything except wash the dishes. The Martin List Price is $6499