Vintage Guitar - March 2018 - open - 55
Arkie "The Arkansas
Woodchopper" with his
early Custom D-2.
(FROM LEFT) Jack Foy and his L-5, Webb Pierce with his guitar made in Canada by Frank
Gay, Joe Maphis and his Mosrite doubleneck, and Elvis with his self-personalized D-18.
ingly casual performance that encapsulates
the essence of his art.
Rodgers died in 1933, but the 000-45 is
preserved in the Jimmie Rodgers Museum,
in Meridian, Mississippi, after years in the
possession of Rodgers acolyte Ernest Tubb.
The history of Rodgers' Weymann is lessdocumented, and there may have been more
than one, as different photos show a slotted
and solid peghead! The guitar(s) were part
of a deal where Rodgers lent the company
his name for a production model called the
Jimmie Rodgers Special while he received a
higher-grade (and hand-made) guitar. With
"Jimmie Rodgers" in pearl script in the fingerboard (and a prominent "Weymann" on the
headstock) this is somewhat less flashy than
the Martin, but unique nonetheless. Luthier
John Arnold built several reproductions, one
memorably played by Doc Watson.
At the time, Martin was not interested in
artist endorsement deals, referring inquiries
back to their dealers. The company, would,
however, do inlays. There would shortly be
more. Following Rodgers' example, the personalized fingerboard became a trademark
in the country/western field (particularly the
western branch). Singing cowboys, mostly of
the Hollywood variety, discovered that, on a big screen,
a logo on a guitar was even
more effective than when it
was seen live.
For ambitious entertainers,
such a guitar announced to the
world they were an artist in Jimmie's class - or working toward
that goal. The young Gene Autry
accumulated several Martins
with custom fingerboards,
including the historic first
D-45, in 1933. Others
who bought early-'30s
had f ingerboards
pers ona l i z e d i n
pea rl, including
Arkie "The Aransas Woodchopper,"
w it h one of t he
first D-28s (then labeled as a "D-2") and
12-year-old Jackie "The
Eddie Wilson's "The
Vagabond Drifter" D'Angelico.