Martin Custom 000C-21 TSP – Spoon’s Custom Artist Guitar

So Many Features!

The T Spoon Phillips Custom Artist Martin Guitar – Designed by Spoon for Spoon But Available to the Wider World

“I am proud as punch on Christmas Eve” to have the honor and privilege to design a Martin guitar made available for sale to the general public at Maury’s Music (

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If you like this video, I made it myself. If you don’t, I had no help.

I stole that line from a friend’s home studio CD. But the same sentiment applies to this video, and especially to this guitar, as I designed it entirely on my own.

And while it represents where I am musically in 2018, and the kind of guitar required of the diverse modes and genres of music I am expected to perform these days, it’s design contains decades of my experience with some of the world’s finest acoustic guitars.

I am especially indebted to Maury’s Music for their longtime friendship, and their confidence in my ability to put together a guitar that they would be almost as proud to offer for sale as I am for having designed it.

I believe this finely-crafted, professional-level musical instrument will be of practical use for players of Jazz and Rock, due to its sleek, fast neck, and expressive dynamic range, while the quintessential Martin tone will appeal to those who play music more-typically associated with flattop acoustic guitars. It is as well-suited for cowboy songs as it is New Age or Celtic fingerstyle tunes, and was designed and constructed with versatility as its primary virtue.

It is an instrument geared to be the do-all workhorse for many kinds of musicians, while built with the precision and delicacy to make the most out of precise, delicate musical artistry, and with a list of special features both luxurious and exclusive, yet all chosen carefully for the creation and enhancement of tone and the music made with it.

As Dick Boak says, “It is all about tone, Tone, TONE!”

There truly isn’t another high-end, short-scale, rosewood 000 on the market remotely like it.

Just about everyone among Martin’s main Custom Shop team did something to help me realize this long-and-thought-out project. I do not know if I am lucky or liked, but if I had been turned loose in the wood acclimation warehouse at Martin, I could not have picked out a soundboard more to my liking. And whoever found a Guatemalan rosewood back with that much straight grain in the center deserves a much bigger box of pastry than I could fit in a mailbox. And the way it takes on a 3D effect where the back meets the neck, like a waterfall plunging into a deep abyss, is far out!


T Spoon Phillips Martin 000C-21 TSP shoulders

           click to enlarge

And the time and effort that obviously went into the smallest details in the creation of this instrument, e. g. picking out a perfectly matched set of colorful abalone position markers of equal and balanced iridescence, made me choke up like an Oscar winner when I took it from its case for the first time, and then sat down on the morning of December 21st, and my new amazing Martin guitar told me what to play. And it was love.



Forty Years in the Making

It has been over 40 years since the Jackson Browne album, For Everyman, made its initial impact upon my young, impressionable ears. More to the point, it was the never flashy but always evocative guitar work provided by David Lindley on that record that schooled me in how a sideman can so enhance a song without overdoing it with superfluous fireworks. And it has been less than 40 years since I read the interview where Lindley mentioned that his favorite recording acoustic guitar was a 000-21 from the early ’40s.

If I wasn’t already drawn to Martin’s Style 21 instruments because of their esoteric status and utilitarian yet beautiful aesthetics, with rosewood a bit too wild and woolly in its looks for the staid Martin Company’s ship-of-the-line 28s, Mr. Dave’s endorsement sealed the deal.

Long have I had the dream of creating an instrument that would prove genuinely versatile for a musician who played as much Jazz or Rock on their acoustic guitar as Folk or Fingerstyle, while having a tonal heart that would have been right at home at the Martin Guitar Company of the 1930s and ’40s.

And this instrument has exceeded my every expectation.

tsp, nyc