The bespoke instruments will set you back a cool $19,999 each.

By Mike Pomranz
January 24, 2019
Courtesy of Sailor Jerry Spiced Rum

Hardcore rock ‘n’ rollers tend to like tattoos and booze almost as much as they like sex and drugs. (Hey, blame Ian Dury for popularizing the phrase, not me!) Now, in the latest collaboration between a guitar company and a booze brand, the acoustic guitar masters over at Martin have teamed up with the spiced rum brand Sailor Jerry to unleash two new axes paying tribute to pioneering tattoo artist and rum namesake Norman “Sailor Jerry” Collins.

Sailor Jerry Spiced Rum takes its name, image, and attitude from Norman Collins, a Navy veteran who went on to become a widely influential tattoo artist. (Even if you haven’t heard of Collins, you may be familiar with one of his protégés: Ed Hardy.) Collins was also a musician, and now, fans of rum and tattoos will have an instrument to strum all their own – assuming they have the $19,999 to shell out to get one of these limited-edition guitars.

Courtesy of Sailor Jerry Spiced Rum

“C.F. Martin & Co. used state-of-the-art techniques to craft the nautical and floral themed instruments, including a method known as inlay, the art of removing fragments of wood from the guitar base to replace them with a specified design,” the brands said in announcing the collaboration. “Never painted or drawn, the images on the guitars are made from different colored pearl and wood that has been reworked and reimagined to create the iconic designs of Norman Collins, shared by the Sailor Jerry Spiced Rum bottle. With the goal to mimic the visual of tattoos on skin, the added technique of sand shading the wood adds a three-dimensional quality by placing individual pieces in hot sand to burn it to just the right shade. This creates a gradient effect that adds depth and weight to the designs.”

Courtesy of Sailor Jerry Spiced Rum

Debuting today at the Winter NAMM, a music industry trade show in Anaheim, California, the guitars come in two designs – True Love and Homeward Bound – each of which will see a small production run for consumers of just 25 instruments each. Their unique craftsmanship and limited quantity help explain the nearly $20,000 price tag – expensive even by Martin standards.

Courtesy of Sailor Jerry Spiced Rum

“Norman ‘Sailor Jerry’ Collins and the rum brand he inspired has a story that’s both inspirational and unique,” C.F. Martin & Co. Custom Shop Director Scott Sasser explained. “His artistry transcends the tattoo world, and our work on the Ink & Wood series celebrates this.”

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