John Frusciante’s Martin D12-35

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John used this guitar to record parts of Ascension from his 2005 solo album Curtains.

On “Ascension” I also played a 1940’s Martin 12-string. I really love David Bowie’s Hunky Dory album, and there’s a few songs on there that have a 12-string in one speaker and a six-string in the other that basically play the same thing.

Guitar World Acoustic – May 2005

As far as the exact model, in another interview John, perhaps a bit confusingly, mentions using a E12-36 from the 40s. Now, if you read the quote, it sounds as if this E12 is separate from the Martin 12-string – sounds like he used both.

Yeah, and on Ascension I also played a Martin acoustic 12-string, and an E12-36, which was also from the 1940s.

Total Guitar – 2005

The problem with this is that there is no such thing as an “E12-36” guitar. Since this interview was likely recorded and then transcribed, John probably said “D12”, and whoever transcribed it, typed in “E” instead of “D”. And based on this, it’s also possible that John didn’t say “and”, or he said it wanting to move on to a different topic, and then come back to specify the model of the 12-string. He does say that this E12-36 is from the 40s, which matches what he said in the first interview, therefore he’s most likely talking about one guitar.

Martin D12-35 on the far right.

However, even if he said D12-36, such guitar still does not exist. There is a D12-20, D12-28, D12-35, D12-45 but not a 36. Looking at all these models, John’s guitar is most likely a D12-35, based on the fact that it has both the body and the neck binding in white, and it has standard dot inlays.

This also brings up the topic of the guitar being from the 1940s. The D-35 model was introduced in the mid 60s by Martin. So, either John falsely remembered the year of manufacture (which he often did in interviews), or he perhaps owned a different 12-string altogether, which is not the one seen on the photo shown above (unlikely).

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