The place where craft, science and art meet and dreams are built.
The starting point is the choice of wood, Brazilian mahogany from sustainable sources forms the base of most Martyn Booth guitars. Mahogany can vary dramatically in weight and colour, according to the age of the tree and growing conditions, but with careful selection, it is favoured by guitar makers for its resonance. When used on its own, its characteristic tone is warm and soft, but well balanced with good grind and bite. There is good depth to the sound, with full but not especially tight lows, and appealing if unpronounced highs.
Maple is generally used for the body cap. Hard maple is a dense, hard, and heavy wood, lightly-coloured with a tightly packed grain that doesn’t always carry dramatic figuring, but some examples can be spectacularly beautiful. Heavily figured curly and quilted maples are often caregorised as soft maple and can be lighter in weight. As in all things woody, the boundaries can be very blurred!
Rosewood and Ebony are perfect partners when used to create stunning fingerboards and headstock fascias.
Martyn has collected a number of blanks (pieces of wood), which are stored in his workshop maturing as each year passes.
Martyn hand shapes the neck from a one piece mahogany neck blank thus allowing each neck to be made to the exact shape and dimension the customer demands. Each fingerboard is also hand radiused and fretted to your requirements.
Headstocks are either vintage in style, or take on a more contemporary look for the instruments with a tremolo.
Martyn is skilled at perfecting an almost seamless fit when conjoining the neck with the body. The geometry and snugness negates the need for fillers and establishes a bond that makes neck and body one – from both a visual and resonance point of view. Necks are usually finished with an Ebony fascia on the headstock and a choice of Rosewood or Ebony for the fingerboard
Cut to the instantly recognisable Martyn Booth shape, the body of a Martyn Booth guitar is a triumph of proportion, size, shape and weight; whether the slab body of a Special, the carved top of the Standard and Deluxe, or the Maple capped Classics and Signatures, the sustain and resonance is clear in all models. The book-matched pairs of the cap are glued to the mahogany base before shaping and carving.
Before you even play a note, the quality of a Martyn Booth guitar is evident in the lacquered finishing. Many coats are applied and allowed to dry, and it is this curing process, sanding down and re-application of lacquer that takes much of the manufacturing time. But the depth of the finish and the tones and figuring that this process brings out of the wood is worth waiting for.
All Martyn Booth guitars are available with personalised inlays on the headstock and a choice of fingerboard inlays. These, along with the Martyn Booth logo are precision cut. Bindings and edgings can also be applied to neck, headstock and body.
When Martyn is happy with the lacquer finish and polishing, he is then able to assemble the guitar to become a complete instrument. The tuners, pickups, bridge, tremolo and other hardware are the choice of the customer, dependent on the desired sound and look, with help and advice from Martyn, of course.
Once assembled each guitar is rigorously tested, and any fine tunings and tweaks are made before being delivered complete with a custom leather strap, in a liveried Martyn Booth Hiscox case.