5 New Things I Learnt @ Modern Deluxe Martin Experience


I rsvp-ed for the Modern Deluxe Martin Experience.


Just like I rsvp-ed for the slew of guitar talks/ gatherings. But life always catches up and render me MIA.


But this time, thanks to the missus, I made a rare attendance.


I caught the Reimagine Martin Experience last year on Facebook live. And to put it in the words of youngsters these days, it was meh.


This year's is like a major, major upgrade. In Martin terms, a D Jr to a D28.


There was an exuberance of charisma, passion and soul oozing from the stellar performances by local musicians.



And the candid presentation by Mike Zehner and Ric Forero, who between them have worked over 40 years at Martin and own 18 acoustic guitars.



With the volume of specialized knowledge spewed in technical lingo, it was like attending an academic lecture for guitar nerds.


So in typical nerd fashion, I took mental notes. And here's 5 new things I learnt from the session.


#1 | Martin is the only major guitar brand who produces their own strings.


While I have always known Martin strings, this little fun fact just never occurred to me.


While other brands slap on Elixirs or D 'Addarios, Martin have been working on 'string theory research' for the past 51 years to produce strings that accentuate their guitars.


The different types of strings are differentiated by colour: (Red) Lifespan treated strings for corrosion-resistance c.f. coated strings; (Green) Marquis silk-wrapped ball ends for bridge protection; (Orange) Flexible core for ease of pressing/ fretting (Purple?); Vintage tone strings that are small-body compatible.


#2 | The D Jr is constructed with a comfort edge.


The rounded back edge affords playing comfort by eliminating the ache when the angular edge protrudes into your belly or (in the words of Mike) your 'dad bod’.


D Jr also boasts of a full solid construct (Sitka or Sapele top with Sapale back and sides)


#3 | Siris, an Indian walnut species, makes its way to the back and sides of the Road series.


With CITES breathing down the neck of guitar makers, the search for alternate tonewoods has gained prominence.


Not sure if I heard correctly, Mike mentioned that Siris is similar to Ovangkol but from what I could gather from the internet, Siris is similar to Koa.1


#4 | Martin has come on board the torrefaction wagon in the Modern Deluxe series.


Torrefaction is the process of heating harvested wood under controlled conditions leading to modifications in the cellular structure. The result is a stiffer and lighter wood which yields a more resonant and mature tone found on aged guitars.2


One of the performers Victor was passed a D18 Modern Deluxe. He gave it a cursory strum and the roar of the strings sent several members of the audience nodding in approval.


Having prior owned a Yamaha LJ16 with a torrefied Engelmann Spruce top, that roar was familiar, leading me to connect it to the torrefaction process.


#5 | Liquidmetal bridge pins can increase the volume of guitars by 3 decibels.3


In the Modern Deluxe series which marries traditional and contemporary elements, the latter manifests in a titanium truss rod (lighter neck), carbon fibre bridge plate (resists bridge wear) and the sexiest of them all, liquidmetal bridge pins.


Liquidmetal is a special form of metal where the atoms are frozen in a disordered arrangement (amorphous) yielding a material that’s harder. When used as bridge pins, the material deflects the energy without absorbing it, giving rise to better transfer of vibration from strings to guitar top.



At one point, Ric commented that on seeing the full-house audience, he felt compelled to say: “Hi, I'm Ric. I have 8 guitars..” to which Mike playfully responded in group therapy style: “Hi Ric!”


Kudos to the good people from City Music for bringing us guitar addicts together for a passionate, eye-opening, albeit counter-therapeutic evening.


  1. maurysmusic.com/martin_by_tonewood
  2. pre-warguitars.com/torrefied-wood1
  3. liquidmetal.com/industrial/

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