This is one of our favorite modern Martin 000-sized instruments. It is uniquely built having the full fourteen-fret 000-body shape with the wide upper bouts (11 7/16” in width) but yielding only 12-frets before the fingerboard runs head first into the body. Normally 000-12 fret bodies are morphed into a tighter silhouette, with the sloped upper bout transformed into a shapely urn. A result of the change in body shape is that the bridge is positioned lower on the face than it is on a standard 12-fret 000, and this change affects the sound – for the better, we feel. This is the rosewood back and sides version of the illustrious “NB” series with a wide-grained spruce top showing a small amount of bear claw in the grain. This example is incredibly clean. The fingerboard width is 1 13/16th” at the nut, and the string spacing at the bridge is a buxom 2 3/8”. It features herringbone top purfling, grained ivoroid side biding, an East Indian rosewood headplate with the old style Martin black-bordered gold script logo. The tuners are extremely high-end and fancy Waverly brass-plate with unusual grained ivoroid onions with flavorful floral etching on the sides. The back stripe is a repeating pattern of four black parallelograms facing first left and then right, to form a mosaic. This guitar plays angelically, it is beautiful beyond description, and it sounds just great.
The following is the description of the guitar from The Sounding Board, the C F Martin Guitar Company’s house organ: "The Norman Blake Signature Models combine Martin 14-fret 000 body style and 24.9 scale length with a 12-fret (to the body) neck. This unique combination allows the top braces to be shifted forward to cross just below the soundhole and places the bridge lower on the top for greater soundboard vibration. A 00 size soundhole (1/8" smaller than 000) and 1/4" width scalloped braces enhance both bass response and dynamic range. The 000-28 Norman Blake Signature Models are handcrafted from premium solid tonewoods. The top and top braces are fashioned from Adirondack red spruce, highly prized for brilliant timbre. The neck is carved from genuine mahogany. The satin finished neck is a substantial 1 13/16 width at the nut. Carved with a pointed heel but without the traditional diamond volute, it has a special Norman Blake modified-V contour for player comfort. Custom tall, wide frets on the black African ebony fingerboard provide a similar feel to the bar frets that Norman Blake prefers. The unusual modified snowflake abalone fingerboard inlay pattern comes from a unique 00-42 produced by Martin for the Wurlitzer Company in 1922: a Maltese cross at the 3rd fret, two diamonds at the 5th fret, a square at the 7th fret, two diamonds at the 9th fret, a square with cats eyes at the 12th fret and a cats eye at the 15th fret. In keeping with Norman Blake's request for design purity, no inlaid signature appears on the fingerboard. Presented in a Geib style vintage case, each 000-28 Norman Blake Signature Model guitar bears an internal label personally signed by Norman Blake and Martin Chairman and CEO C.F. Martin IV. In addition, the labels are numbered in sequence."