In 2001 Daniels started playing a 1934 Martin C-2 archtop whose broken top had been replaced with a soundboard of Adirondack spruce, in effect converting it into an Orchestra Model (OM). That guitar became Daniels’ constant companion in the studio and on stage and it became the template for the Martin OM Jeff Daniels Custom Artist Edition. The model draws inspiration from the tonewoods and appointments of Daniels’ original guitar but with some unique accents suggested by the man himself. The back and sides are rare Madagascar rosewood, the top is Adirondack spruce reinforced with 1/4-inch scalloped Adirondack spruce bracing, the modified V neck with long diamond volute is carved from genuine mahogany, and the fingerboard and belly bridge are crafted from black ebony. Instead of the usual “natural” finish, the top of the OM Jeff Daniels Custom Artist sports a rare and extraordinarily beautiful 1932 shaded finish. Also extraordinary are the neck and fingerboard inlays. A Madagascar rosewood headplate provides the backdrop for a Golden Era style “C. F. Martin” block letter inlay in abalone pearl that replicates the original version on the Martin C-2. Special long pattern diamond and square abalone pearl position markers on the fingerboard lead to happy/sad theatrical mask inlays in mother of pearl at the 12th fret, which Daniels says fits an actor’s guitar.
“My new OM looks great and it has terrific balance all the way up the fretboard,” said Daniels. “I’m noticing a solid low end that my original 1934 C-2 seems to lack. I remember striving for that element when we were specing it out, so mission accomplished! I’ve passed it around among several guitar playing crew members on set and everyone is impressed with the sound right out of the box – acoustic guitar heaven.”
The acclaimed actor has always had a passion for music and over the past decade, Daniels has taken his passion public with five albums of impressive, mostly self-penned songs and occasional tours that demonstrate that he is every bit as talented behind a microphone as he is in front of a camera.
“We all know that Jeff Daniels is a talented actor, but I was unaware of what a tremendous musician, songwriter and guitarist Jeff Daniels is,” said Chris Martin IV, CEO of Martin Guitar. “It is obvious that playing guitar is a very important part of his life. We are greatly honored at the opportunity to collaborate with him on this special project.”
Each Martin OM Jeff Daniels Custom Artist Edition guitar is delivered in a vintage-inspired Geib style case and bears a distinctive interior label personally signed by Jeff Daniels and numbered in sequence.
“I am the lucky soul that got to work directly with Jeff Daniels over the past few years on this great little Orchestra Model guitar,” said Dick Boak, Director of Museum and Archives, Special Projects for Martin Guitar. “Like a Pegasus, it was reborn from an old 1934 Martin C-2 archtop into a stunning fingerstyle instrument. There are so many songs and stories buried inside this model, but the best part for me is getting to know this amazing person. Thank you Jeff!”