When Martin first pulled back the curtains on its offset SC design at NAMM two years ago, the company wanted guitarists to re-think what was possible on an acoustic guitar.
Featuring a striking cutaway that grants unprecedented upper fret access for an acoustic, the SC line – which was expanded with the unveiling of the SC-10E, SC-13E Special and SC-13E Special Burst in January – was a bold new step for the legendary company.
With that in mind, Martin has announced – in partnership with Guitar World, Guitar Player and MusicRadar – the No Limits Challenge, an exciting competition where eight up-and-coming guitarists will face off against one another, covering tunes one wouldn't normally associate with an acoustic using a Martin SC model.
For the quarterfinal round, the eight competitors have been split into four genres – funk/R&B, '80s rock, '90s rock and classic rock. The winners in all four categories will advance to a semifinal round, where they'll be divided into two genre-based face-offs. The winners of those, of course, will advance to the finals.
So, who decides the winner? That distinction belongs to you, the reader! Take a look at the two performance videos below, and cast your ballot for your favorite in the box at the bottom of the article. It's that simple!
On tap this week are two truly stellar covers, from Ruben Wan and Helen Ibe.
Above, Wan takes on the Destiny's Child classic, "Say My Name," while below, Ibe puts her spin on David Bowie's immortal chart-topper, "Fame." Both guitarists are armed with Martin SC models, and put them to very good use, we might add.
So, which is the better, more exciting cover? That's for you to decide. Be sure to check back next week, too, for the next quarterfinal matchup.
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Jackson is an Associate Editor at GuitarWorld.com and GuitarPlayer.com. He’s been writing and editing stories about new gear, technique and guitar-driven music both old and new since 2014, and has also written extensively on the same topics for Guitar Player. Elsewhere, his album reviews and essays have appeared in Louder and Unrecorded. Though open to music of all kinds, his greatest love has always been indie, and everything that falls under its massive umbrella. To that end, you can find him on Twitter crowing about whatever great new guitar band you need to drop everything to hear right now.
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