A powerful grand jumbo guitar designed by Chris Martin.
by Teja Gerken
April 25, 2017
The Martin CEO 8.2 is the latest in a series of Martin models that are designed by Chairman and CEO Chris Martin IV. This time around, Martin has designed a grand jumbo guitar that harkens back to iconic vintage instruments, even while sporting relatively modern elements like a Fishman Blackstack pickup and FSC-certified woods.
Measuring a full 17 inches across the lower bout, the grand jumbo body is aptly named, but its tight waist makes it comfortable to hold, even when sitting down. Instead of the traditional Martin squared-off peghead, the CEO 8.2E has a larger design that the company has occasionally used on its archtops. Chris Martin’s commitment to sustainable materials is one reason the CEO 8.2E has FSC-certified mahogany back, sides, and neck, a European spruce top, and an ebony fingerboard and bridge. The guitar has a sunburst finish, pearl “Skeleton Diamond” fingerboard inlay, and “The Martin” inlay in the headstock, rather than the traditional “C.F. Martin & Co.” logo. Our demo guitar included the optional soundhole pickup: Fishman’s Blackstack, which has been customized with an ivoroid cover to match the CEO 8.2E’s binding.
The CEO 8.2E is a dynamic sounding guitar with lots of power, but it also offers a complex voice when picked softly. Digging in with a pick yielded great volume and a full, rich sound that would be especially at home when accompanying songs. It offered good definition when playing jazz chords, and also sounded great when played fingerstyle. We checked out the guitar’s pickup through a Fishman Loudbox Mini amp and it provided an easy way to amplify the instrument’s inherent acoustic sound. With a passive humbucking design, the Blackstack doesn’t require onboard batteries and there are no controls, but the pickup’s fat magnetic voice was a good match for the guitar’s character.
Overall, the Martin CEO 8.2E is a cool guitar with a strong personality, distinctive looks, and a sound that is sure to make heads turn.
SPECS: Grand jumbo body. Solid FSC-certified European spruce top. Solid FSC-certified mahogany back and sides. X-bracing. FSC-certified mahogany neck. FSC-certified ebony fingerboard and bridge. 25.4-inch scale. 1¾-inch nut width. Nickel enclosed tuning machines. Fishman Blackstack pickup. Made in the USA. $4,499 list ($3,999 without pickup). Martinguitar.com
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