A special dreadnought to celebrate Martin Guitar’s Dick Boak.
by Teja Gerken
August 14, 2017
In Martin Guitar’s 184-year history, there have been many important contributors to the company’s success, and for the last 40 years, one indispensable member of the Martin team has been Dick Boak. Originally hired as a design draftsman in the mid-1970s, during Dick’s career at the company he has designed and built guitar prototypes, started the 1833 shop, run the advertising department, coordinated artist relations, and most recently, been Martin’s archivist. In addition, Dick has authored and co-authored several books on Martin guitars and released two CDs of original music, and he continues to hone his skills as a graphic artist. It’s no exaggeration to say that when Dick retires in 2018, it will be the end of an era. Accordingly, Martin is honoring him with a special guitar, the D-BOAK, offered as a Custom Signature Edition and introduced at this year’s Summer NAMM show.
Built with a dreadnought body, the D-BOAK has a Sitka spruce top, genuine mahogany back and sides, scalloped, forward-shifted X-bracing, and Martin’s Modified Low Oval neck. The guitar is incredibly lightweight, which most likely contributes to its quick tonal response and powerful sound.
While great construction, sound, and playability are, of course, important, the star of the D-BOAK is Dick’s own design, printed directly onto the guitar’s top using special ink-jet technology. At the heart of the design is what Dick calls an “inside-out view of a Martin dreadnought top,” which features a detailed drawing of the X-bracing pattern, tone bars, kerfing, etc. But Dick didn’t limit his design to the technical drawing. On the guitar’s lower bout, he included a rendering of Martin’s old North Street factory (complete with Dick himself looking out of one of the windows), and, taking inspiration from a poster he drew of a Martin D-28 in 1977, he included waves on both sides of the soundhole and a pair of eagles in front of the bridge.
Overall, the D-BOAK is a great tribute to an important member of the Martin family. The guitar looks like no other, sounds great, and unmistakably carries Dick Boak’s personal touch.
SPECS: 14-fret dreadnought body. Solid Sitka spruce top with scalloped, forward-shifted X-bracing. Solid genuine mahogany back and sides. Mahogany neck with simple dovetail joint. Ebony fingerboard and bridge. 25.4-inch scale. 1¾-inch nut width. 2⁵/₃₂-inch string spacing at the saddle. Enclosed chrome tuning machines. Made in the USA. $2,999 (list). Martinguitar.com
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