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John Mayer Says New Album Will Have 'Organic, Cowboy Guitar Sounds'

Singer introduces limited-edition custom guitar at NAMM Conference

January 19, 2012 11:15 AM ET
John Mayer
John Mayer performs during Tiger Jam at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas.
Ethan Miller/Getty Images

John Mayer has been understandably silent since his diagnosis with vocal problems last September. The vocal issues forced him to cancel concert dates and delay his new album, Born And Raised. But the singer/songwriter/guitarist appeared yesterday at the National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) Conference in Anaheim, Calif., to introduce his new custom guitar with Martin, the 00-45SC John Mayer Edition.

Very few people will ever get to play the instrument. Only 25 were made – 23 of which will be sold exclusively to dealers. Mayer gets to keep two – "One to play, one to store" – he said at a press conference. The guitars retail for $14,000, according to a Martin rep. Mayer referred to the appeal of the very limited edition guitar, which he designed the concept for, as being "about a collector mindset."

Millions, however, will get to hear the influence of the custom creation, as Mayer said the guitar's sound creates the musical foundation for his new record, which he described as "organic cowboy guitar sounds." Mayer says that he wondered, "What would it sound like if I wrote an album of cowboy songs on this guitar under the stars ?"

Mayer also described how the new sound and new guitar go hand-in-hand. "Every new record I start, a new aesthetic comes in," he says. "I can't help it."

He then gave the industry and press gathered inside the Anaheim Convention Center a taste of that sound and the guitar with a short demonstration. Short and sweet, the acoustic playing is where he hopes his music is going. "I think it's gonna be more oganic, more natural lyrics and chords and artful simplicity," he said.

Fans may have to wait a little while longer to hear the new music. As Mayer said his voice is not 100 percent yet. A Martin rep on stage with Mayer quipped, "Are you gonna yodel?"

Mayer replied, "I will figure that out once my voice completely heals up."

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