Vintage Guitar - March 2018 - open - 54

COLUMN The (Way) Back Beat
$168.75 for the guitar
because Martin never
gave instruments to
performers! At that time, a
000-45 was the biggest and best
Martin, and Rodgers' featured
the fanciest pearl decoration,
his name on the fingerboard in
block letters, and the headstock
inlaid "Blue Yodel." Legend
suggests it was intended to read
"Yodeler," but Martin ran out of
space! The back of the guitar had
"Thanks" emblazoned in huge
letters that Rodgers would flash
to the audience.
An amusing moment in his
fantastic (and sole) recorded
film performance (the short The
Singing Brakeman) has Jimmie
casually asking for "...that old
guitar over there" and being
handed the shiny new personalized pear-bordered Martin. He
proceeds to deliver a devastat-

Jimmie Rodgers with his
000-45 in 1929 (left) and
"In The Jailhouse Now"
with his Weymann.

Merle Haggard closes
the circle with Jimmie
Rodgers, 1970.

The mysterious Tex Robbins
ES-300.

mainly jazz-based clientele John came to enjoy
mostly eschewed such fripperies.
By this time, another (even flashier) personalization had become even more popular
- inlaying the performer's name in pearl
on the fingerboard; early country superstar
Jimmie Rodgers was almost certainly the first
and most visible exponent. Never shy about
self-promotion, Rodgers' aw-shucks persona
and gregarious ways disguised a tragic, deeply
rooted need to succeed. Mustered out of railroading for health reasons, he was stricken
with terminal tuberculosis before beginning
his professional music career.
By 1928, Rodgers was performing with

the best and flashiest flat-top guitars,
proc u red f rom
Martin and Weymann w it h his
name inlaid on
the fingerboard.
In June of '28, his
000-45 was personally delivered by C.
F. Martin, III, indicating the company
realized the value of the
promotional opportunity.
Nonetheless, Rodgers paid

VINTAGE GUITAR

54

March 2018


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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Vintage Guitar - March 2018 - open

Contents
Vintage Guitar - March 2018 - open - Cover
Vintage Guitar - March 2018 - open - IFC
Vintage Guitar - March 2018 - open - 3
Vintage Guitar - March 2018 - open - 4
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Vintage Guitar - March 2018 - open - Contents
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