Of all the cool guitars we spotted at NAMM 2019, nothing captured our attention quite like the new Martin Slope-Shouldered Dreadnoughts. While the slope-shoulder dreadnought design may be common for some builders, it is relatively uncommon for Martin. Unlike traditional square shoulders, the rounded shoulders diffuse the dreadnought's sometimes overwhelming bass response, which adds clarity and balance and subtly increases the dynamic range.
The newest member of Martin's 17-Series, the DSS-17 Black Smoke boasts a classy black finish that is the perfect match for the classic tone it produces. The DSS-17 features a solid Sitka Spruce top and solid Mahogany back and sides. Like the rest of the 17-Series it has light, scalloped braces under the hood, so it responds quickly and packs a strong, powerful voice. It also features a modified low oval neck with a high-performance taper to ensure it plays effortlessly up the neck. While its precise construction and attention to detail are typical of 21st Century C.F. Martin, its satin finish, antique white top finish, old-style Martin decal, and Golden Era Restoration tuners capture the aesthetic and vibe of a Dust-Bowl-era guitar. In many ways, it feels like a reissue of a time-tested Martin classic, but in this case, that original issue never existed. Plus, everybody needs a Tuxedo guitar!