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John Mayer back in spotlight, strumming new guitar

Singer John Mayer performs during the 2011 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York
Singer John Mayer performs during the 2011 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - When Grammy-winning singer John Mayer returns to the musical spotlight in 2012, he's going to let his guitar do his talking. And not just any guitar, it will be a new limited edition, 12-fret acoustic made by C.F. Martin & Co.

Mayer and Martin & Co. will unveil the six-string guitar, of which only 25 will be made, on Wednesday at the National Association of Music Merchants annual gathering in Anaheim, California, south of Los Angeles.

"There's something about a smaller-bodied acoustic guitar that has always appealed to me," Mayer said in a statement. "I was inspired to return to a completely natural way of writing and recording music, and at the center of that vision were the Martin 00-sized guitars that defined an era of brilliant songwriting in the '60s and '70s."

Mayer, the soulful singer whose hits include "Your Body is a Wonderland" and "Daughters," is returning to the media spotlight from a hiatus that followed a high-profile relationship with Jennifer Aniston and a controversial interview with Playboy magazine in which he was criticized for comments that some considered racist. He later publicly apologized for those statements.

Since then, the singer has flown under the celebrity tabloid radar, but he has a new album, "Born and Raised," due later this year. His appearance at NAMM with the new Martin guitar brings Mayer back to his musician's roots.

The 00-45SC John Mayer Stagecoach Edition features a 12-fret range and will be made from premium rosewood and Adirondack spruce. Each guitar will feature an interior label personally signed by Mayer and numbered in sequence. The guitars have a suggested retail price of $13,999.

(Reporting By Piya Sinha-Roy; Editing by Bob Tourtellotte)

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