Bluegrass/jazz flatpicker Grant Gordy discusses and demonstrates his vintage Martin.
by Teja Gerken
May 30, 2016
As he is equally versed in playing jazz and bluegrass, Grant Gordy puts considerable demands on his instrument. A member of Mr Sun, which includes Darol Anger (fiddle), Ethan Jodziewicz (bass), and Peghead Nation instructor Joe K. Walsh (mandolin), Grant is also a past member of the David Grisman Quintet/Sextet, and his self-titled solo album has received widespread acclaim.
Like most flatpickers, Grant had been playing dreadnoughts (including vintage Martins and a Collings), but he’d already started thinking about exploring smaller guitars when he came across this 1944 Martin 000-18 at the Chicago Music Exchange. “I was looking for something that could, if not entirely replace playing dreadnoughts, augment with some qualities that are important to me,” Grant says. “As opposed to a really bright, punchy sound, I’m always going for warmer and darker.” Grant first got to play a vintage 000 when David Grisman lent him a 1934 000-28 for a gig, and the impression stuck with him until he found his own 000. Featuring standard Martin style-18 specs, the guitar is is built with a spruce top and mahogany back and sides. It has a short scale, and a nut width of 1¹¹/₁₆ inches. Grant keeps the guitar’s action fairly high and strings it with medium-gauge D’Addario phosphor-bronze strings. He demonstrates the instrument on a chord-melody version of “All the Things You Are” and the fiddle tune “Texas Gales.”
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