Great-sounding cutaway OM includes Fishman’s latest electronics package.
by Teja Gerken
February 22, 2016
At this year’s Winter NAMM show, Martin Guitars introduced new versions of several models in its Standard line. Among these is the OMC-28E, which fuses classic Orchestra Model (OM) specs with contemporary features, including a new Fishman pickup system. The OMC-28E has a Sitka spruce top and East Indian rosewood back and sides, both of which are finished naturally, and the black-and-white multistripe binding and rosette that has been used on style-28s since the late 1940s. Two design choices ensure that the OMC-28E feels much more contemporary than the vintage-style OMs in Martin’s catalog: the neck has Martin’s Modified Low Oval shape and High Performance taper, and, perhaps to assist with the upper-register playability this neck offers, the guitar has a cutaway.
The OMC-28E includes a new and exclusive Fishman electronics system. Called the Aura VT Enhance, this setup adds a soundboard transducer to the Acoustic Matrix undersaddle pickup, which is run through a single Fishman Aura image. Instead of a preamp mounted into the side of the guitar, the system uses an unobtrusive preamp mounted to the endpin jack inside the instrument. Controls for volume and tone, as well as an “Enhance” control for adding the soundboard transducer to the Acoustic Matrix, are mounted in the inside edge of the soundhole.
The OMC-28E was a joy to play. Acoustically, it had the rich, balanced, and dynamic voice that OMs are known for, and these qualities remained when played through a Fishman Loudbox Mini amp. The Aura-processed undersaddle pickup alone delivered a great sound that successfully reproduced the guitar’s natural voice, and adding the soundboard transducer via the Enhance control provides further tone-shaping options.
SPECS: 14-fret 000-size body. Sitka spruce top with scalloped X-bracing. East Indian rosewood back and sides. Select hardwood neck with dovetail joint. Ebony fretboard and bridge. 25.4-inch scale. 1¾-inch nut width. 2³/₃₂-inch string-spacing at saddle. Chrome Grover tuning machines. Fishman Aura VT Enhance electronics. Made in the USA. $4,199 (list). martinguitar.com
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