12-Fret 000 Model
Many of my designs are aimed at modern finger-style players but I build three models that are more traditional instruments; my smallest standard model the 14-fret 00, a classic OM size and this, one of my personal favourites from the early days of American steel-string guitar design; the 12-fret 000. The lines of this guitar are my own but the proportions are based quite closely on the original. The relatively long but narrow body tends to put all the struts further apart than most 14-fret neck joint guitars which leads to a more flexible sound and an almost classical-guitar like response; particularly on the bass strings. This 12-fret model is the only Benjamin that comes with a slot-head but I can do a solid-head version if that appeals. I usually use my take on classic 'scalloped' bracing for these more traditional models.
A rosewood and 'Bearclaw' Alpine spruce 000 from a few years ago. The Benjamin 'Scoop' is a less common feature on this trad model but can still fit in well for a modern twist!
My favourite wood combinations for this guitar are:
Cocobolo or Indian rosewood with Alpine or Adirondack spruce
Cocobolo gives a deep, sustaining tone with a smoother, bouncier quality than many dense woods and loads of rich, colourful reverberant overtones. This is balanced out well by Alpine spruce for a clear but full tone, great for gentler players. Go for Indian rosewood for a slightly calmer sounding guitar or Adirondack for a sweeter less airy response.
Indian Rosewood and Cedar
Western Red Cedar is very non-traditional for Martin style steel-string guitars but it works wonderfully well and gives a particularly beautiful tone combined with Indian rosewood; very responsive with lots of swirling overtones and great for DADGAD. You can hear this combination in a similar Benjamin guitar (OM) on Eric Roche's 'With These Hands' album. Comes as standard with old-school (but a unique Benjamin design) multi-coloured 'rope' purflings in Rosewood/Box/Mahogany which look great with cedar. Maybe the 'prettiest' Benjamin!!