Andy Griffith, America’s best loved sheriff, is also one of America’s favorite actors, comedians and musicians. A former minister of music, Andy brought music into many of his projects. Andy’s Martin guitar became an integral part of Mayberry, and later appeared frequently on “Matlock.” Griffith even won a Gospel Grammy for his music in 1996. At his January 2003 performance on The Grand Ole Opry at Nashville’s historic Ryman auditorium it was announced that Martin Guitars was making a special limited edition guitar in his honor.
Andy’s personal Martin 1956 D-18 has appeared in several of his movie, theater and television performances. In Elia Kazan’s A Face In The Crowd, Griffith played “Lonesome Rhodes,” a sociopathic guitar-player from Arkansas who rises from homeless drifter to powerful media star, and an appropriate guitar was needed for the film. A new Martin D-18 was painted black and sequins were applied to spell out “Lonesome” and “Momma” on its face for Griffith’s character.
After the film was completed, Andy took the guitar home and began to restore it. Griffith removed the black paint and then took his new Martin to a small guitar in New York and asked the owner if he could refinish the guitar. The shop owner was John D’Angelico, legendary archtop builder, and he refinished the D-18 to its original beauty, but at Andy’s request left off the pickguard Andy had removed.
Photo 2003 Copyright Grand Ole Opry Photo By: Chris Hollo, Hollo Photographics.
Now Martin has announced the Andy Griffith D-18 Signature Edition Model to honor Andy Griffith for his contributions to gospel, bluegrass, country, and acoustic guitar music, as well as his many guitar performances on “The Andy Griffith Show” and “Matlock.” This guitar features many elements of the original Martin D-18 as well as a few modern enhancements and bears Andy’s signature on each guitar along with that of C.F. Martin IV. Andy’s signature is also inlaid in pearl between the 19th and 20th frets, and “Lonesome Rhodes” is laser-etched on the front block to commemorate his film debut and the guitar’s unique history. In addition, the guitar sports a clear pickguard in honor of the one Griffith removed from his personal guitar while sanding off the black paint.
This special limited edition tribute guitar is being produced from orders place over the next 60 days. It can be yours for an impressive $3,600 plus some pocket change. For more information, visit Martin Guitars: Andy Griffith
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