Skip to navigation

Artists

C. F. Martin & Co. Honors<br>Legendary Willie Nelson with N-20 "Trigger" Replica

Release Date: 07/01/98
Source: Sounding Board Newsletter Vol 5 - July 1998

The Martin Guitar Company is honored to announce the N-20WN Limited Edition Signature Model guitar, a collaboration with Willie Nelson, one of the world's most renowned performers and songwriters. The N-20WN is a replica of Willie Nelson's beloved guitar, one of the most famous and recognizable instruments in existence. Available from authorized Martin dealers and distributors worldwide, C. F. Martin & Co. will make up to but not exceeding 100 Willie Nelson N-20WN Limited Edition Signature Models. No more than 30 of these 100 instruments will be offered with Brazilian rosewood back and sides.

Willie Nelson, a country music hero and an American legend whose career spans nearly half a century, is one of the most distinctive and popular musicians in the world. Nelson bought his first Martin sight unseen in 1969. He remembers the unusual circumstances:

"The Baldwin Company gave me a Baldwin amp and classical electric guitar with a special three-cord stereo pickup. I busted that guitar up pretty badly so I sent it up to Shot Jackson in Hansville to get it fixed. He called back and said, 'I can't fix it. It's broke too bad.'

I said, 'Well what else have you got around?' He said he had a Martin up on the shelf for $750. I asked if he could put the same Baldwin pickup in the Martin. And, that's how I got it, right off the shelf, unseen from a thousand miles away. When I got it I knew that I had picked up something special. I like to just sit around in a room and play it. I like to write on it. I just like the sound of it."

Photographs taken throughout Willie Nelson's career show the gradual evolution of his famous guitar (nicknamed Trigger) from its pristine new condition to its current weathered look. Much like Willie, his famous guitar has come a long way. Trigger has been played so much, there is a rather sizable hole worn right through the top, one that Willie considers so sentimental, he won't have it repaired. In addition, Nelson estimates that he has 100 signatures on his Martin including those of Leon Russell, Roger Miller, Kris Kristofferson, Gene Autry, Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, lawyers, football coaches, and other friends and associates. When asked why his guitar is named Trigger, Willie explains, "Roy Rogers had a horse named Trigger. I figured: This is my horse!"

And what's so special about this guitar? Willie says, "It has great tone!" Most recently on his widely acclaimed album "Spirit" and on several soon to be released new songs, he has been recording with Trigger and nothing but a single microphone. The guitar simply embodies that Willie Nelson trademark sound.

During his well publicized perils with the Internal Revenue Service, Willie was so worried that they might try to take Trigger away from him that he hid his guitar at his manager's house for safe keeping.

1999 is the 30th anniversary of the original Trigger guitar. Martin will offer the edition in two configurations. No more than 30 instruments in the edition of 100 will be offered in rare Brazilian rosewood, the wood used to construct the original Trigger guitar. The remainder of the edition will be offered in East Indian rosewood.

Martin N-20 models have gone through many incarnations. The scale of this unusual model is 25.4", a length which was replaced with the longer 26.44" scale within a year of its introduction. Willie's specific guitar bears Martin's square non-tapered headstock shape with rounded slots which preceded the more traditional classic headstock shape. The neck is fitted with the highest quality Waverly Sloane side mount classical tuning machines.

The soundboard is bookmatched from solid Sitka spruce, tinted with the original "mellow yellow" toner and polished to a high gloss. The rosette is the traditional N-style wooden classical mosaic in black, white, red and green.

The fingerboard is crafted of solid genuine ebony with Willie Nelson's signature inlaid between the 17th and 18th frets. The fifth fret bears a Mother of Pearl inlay depicting the silhouette of the state of Texas with a single "lone star" in the middle. The name "TRIGGER" is inlaid at the 12th fret in western style poster lettering.

Each guitar will be offered with a state-of-the-art pickup system custom fabricated by Fishman Transducers, Inc. to closely replicate the tonal nuances of the original Baldwin pickup, which is no longer available.

In addition, every instrument will include a customized Deluxe Geib Style 5-Ply Hardshell Vintage Case with special "hemp" covered exterior.

Each guitar in this special edition will bear an interior label individually numbered in sequence and personally signed by Willie Nelson and C. F. Martin IV, Martin's Chairman and CEO. A portion of the proceeds from the sale of the Willie Nelson Limited Edition N-20WN will be donated to Farm Aid, Nelson's charity formed in 1985 to draw attention to the plight of America's farmers.

Martin Guitar dealers are taking orders for the Willie Nelson Limited Edition Signature Model now, though due to heavy demand for Martin instruments, this edition will not begin to appear in stores until the early months of 1999.

Travis Tritt's Custom D-45 Deluxe

Release Date: 07/01/98
Source: Sounding Board Newsletter Vol 5 - July 1998

During his 1996 visit to the Martin factory with fellow "Double Trouble" touring partner Marty Stuart, country music legend Travis Tritt stopped in to take a tour and discuss the specifications for a very special Martin Custom guitar. His one-of-a-kind D-45 Deluxe guitar, which was finally completed in the Fall of 1997, is constructed with Brazilian rosewood back and sides and a red spruce soundboard.

The inspiration for the unique inlay came from Marty Stuart's unique signature model HD-40MS, which was the first guitar to utilize a herringbone pearl rosette. Travis' custom has herringbone pearl around the entire perimeter of the body, plus Dick Boak's unusual "Vine of Harmonics" fingerboard design inlaid in various shades of pearl, coral, azurite, and turquoise.

After receiving the special guitar, Travis called us to say how thrilled he was with every aspect of the instrument: beauty, tone, playability, and plugability. It is equipped with a state-of-the-art Martin Gold Plus pickup, internal condenser microphone, and Fishman Pocket Blender system so it is certainly stage ready. In spite of the fact that this is one of the most precious guitars ever produced by Martin's Custom Shop, Travis isn't keeping it under the bed. We're glad to see that he's been out on the road (and appearing on TV at the Grand Ole Opry) with his Martin. Keep up the good work Travis!

Martin Commemorates Lester Flatt<br>with D-28LF Brazilian Edition of 50

Release Date: 07/01/98
Source: Sounding Board Newsletter Vol 5 - July 1998
D-28LF (Lester Flatt)

The Martin Guitar Company is honored to announce the Limited Edition Lester Flatt D-28LF Commemorative Dreadnought acoustic guitar. Years ago, Lester Flatt, one of America's greatest bluegrass stars, gave his priceless and legendary Martin D-28 to a 14-year-old mandolin prodigy named Marty Stuart. The Limited Edition D-28LF Commemorative is a replica of Lester Flatt's original and unique Brazilian rosewood Martin guitar (Serial #114855) made in 1950. A maximum of 50 limited edition instruments will be offered for sale worldwide.

Lester Flatt and his wife invited the very young and talented Marty Stuart to live in their home in Nashville when Stuart was launching his career as a teenager. Stuart found the guitar in a spare room of the Flatt's house and he immediately recognized it as the Martin that Lester Flatt had played throughout his long and illustrious career. Flatt gave Stuart permission to play it. The D-28, which is now owned by Stuart, had been uniquely customized over the years with special fingerboard inlays and an enlarged custom pickguard.

Lester Flatt, a native of Sparta, Tennessee, was born in 1914. An innovator and composer, he was one of the first bluegrass artists to play in Carnegie Hall. A frequent performer at the Grand Ole Opry, Flatt was a star of television, radio and motion pictures. He and his partner, Earl Scruggs, are known for a number of bluegrass favorites including "Foggy Mountain Breakdown" and "The Ballad of Jed Clampett" (the theme from the Beverly Hillbillies and the first bluegrass song ever to hit number one on the charts). Flatt, a member of the Grand Ole Opry, died in 1979.

The unique inlays on the original Lester Flatt D-28 were done by historian, author and inlay artist Mike Longworth prior to his long and illustrious career with the Martin Guitar Company. Mike began doing inlay work in 1955 while he was still in high school, and most of his early jobs included the inlaid letter "L" (for Longworth) and a number designating the sequence of his work.

It is interesting to note that Longworth's third inlay job was done for Buck "Josh" Graves (the dobro player for Flatt & Scruggs), and his fourth inlay job was done for Curly Seckler (the mandolin player and tenor singer for Flatt & Scruggs).

Longworth's fifth inlay job was the famous Lester Flatt guitar, hence the "L-5" inlay at the 17th fret which indicates "Longworth Professional Inlay Job #5." Flatt's first name, Lester, is engraved in block letters into a Mother-of-Pearl panel between the 14th and 15th frets, and larger than standard Mother-of-Pearl notched diamond inlays appear at the 5th and 9th frets, with double diamonds at the 7th and 12th frets.

In addition to the unique Longworth inlay pattern, the Lester Flatt D-28LF Commemorative model includes the special oversized tortoise colored pickguard, a pattern that appeared on virtually all of Lester Flatt's wide assortment of Martin guitars. As an option at the point of ordering, dealers may request the more traditional D-28 tortoise pickguard instead of the original Lester Flatt oversized version.

Other specifications for the edition are matched closely to the original 1950 D-28 guitar, which include Brazilian rosewood two-piece back and sides, genuine ebony fingerboard and bridge, Martin 5/16" height standard X-bracing, a small maple bridge plate, grained ivoroid bindings, and a black and white checkered back inlay strip. A 5-ply Geib Vintage Style Deluxe hardshell case is included with each instrument.

Each guitar in the edition will bear an interior label numbered in sequence and personally signed by C. F. Martin IV. A portion of the proceeds from each Limited Edition D-28LF model will be donated to the estate of Lester Flatt.

Martin Guitar dealers are taking orders for the D-28LF now, though the edition will not begin to appear in stores until the early months of 1999.

McCartney

Release Date: 07/01/98
Source: Sounding Board Newsletter Vol 5 - July 1998

In working on photographs for the new Rodale book Martin Guitars: A Celebration of America's Premier Guitarmaker by Jim Washburn and Richard Johnston, we came across a great Rolling Stone cover of Paul McCartney with his left-handed D-28. Paul McCartney and John Lennon both took their D-28 Martin guitars to India during their visit with the Maharishi where they co-wrote many of the songs that appeared on the now legendary Beatles' White Album. Those D-28s showed up many times back at Abbey Road Studios and were probably used to record several of the White Album's acoustic tracks like Mother Nature's Son, I Will, It's Been A Long Time, Blackbird, and Rocky Raccoon. John Lennon used his D-28 during the filming of a video for the song Hello Goodbye which appeared on the Magical Mystery Tour album and film.

Of course, throughout their career, the Beatles performed with many brands of instruments and rarely endorsed any products. Martin guitars did however continue to be seen in the hands of all of the Beatles (excluding non-guitarist Ringo) and throughout their various solo careers, especially Paul McCartney's. Naturally, we are thrilled to have played a part in the incredible history of this influential band.

We are saddened by the recent passing of Linda Eastman McCartney. She was a committed mother and dedicated wife, a first class photographer, a passionate advocate for animal rights, and a successful marketer of vegetarian foods. Her talents and enthusiasm will be greatly missed.

In Memory of Linda Eastman McCartney, 1941-1998

Vintage Styling and Southern Cross<br>Adorn Stephen Stills D-45SS

Release Date: 07/01/98
Source: Sounding Board Newsletter Vol 5 - July 1998
D-45SS (Stephen Stills)

In honor of his stellar career and his passion for Martin guitars, C. F. Martin & Company is pleased to announce the D-45SS Stephen Stills Signature Edition. As one of rock music's pre-eminent singer/songwriter/guitar players, Stephen Stills has been one of the most loyal fans of Martin guitars throughout his extraordinary career. In 1997, Stills became the only artist ever inducted twice into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on the same day (once with Buffalo Springfield and again as a member of Crosby, Stills & Nash). Whether performing with Buffalo Springfield ("For What It's Worth") with Crosby and Nash ("Suite: Judy Blue Eyes"), or as a solo artist ("Love The One You're With"), Stills played his Martins.

Just 91 of the D-45SS Signature Edition Martin guitars will be offered for sale. "Ninety-one" is the number of original D-45 guitars produced in the pre-WW2 era between 1933 and 1942.

Stills, who owns a dozen vintage Martins, bought his first Martin, a vintage herringbone D-28, with money he earned as a coffee house performer. The guitar, used on most of the Buffalo Springfield and early CS&N recordings, was joined by a 1939 D-45, purchased as soon as CS&N signed their first record deal. The Limited Edition D-45SS Stephen Stills Signature Model Martin guitar is a replica of Stills' now priceless D-45.

"They're works of art," stated Stills about his Martins. "They're the Stradivarius of American musical instruments. The best Martins that I've heard - with dense Brazilian rosewood and cross grain ripple to the top, lightly braced - sound better than anything else ever made. There's an artisanship in them that just can't be replaced...The craftsmanship, and the handmade-ness of things, you can tell the love and care the workers put into those things...You can really feel someone's spirit in them."

(The preceding statement is a quotation taken from the award winning new book Martin Guitars: A Celebration of America's Premier Guitarmaker, by Jim Washburn and Richard Johnston. Stephen Stills wrote the forward to this book and is also featured with a full page tribute."

A 14-fret Dreadnought, the top of the D-45SS Signature Model is bookmatched from European Alpine spruce. Selected strips of highly colored abalone pearl adorn the perimeter of the top, the soundhole rosette, the tongue of the fingerboard, back, sides, end piece, and neck joint. Stephen Stills' artistic signature is inlaid in the last frets of the fingerboard. The sides and back are crafted from rare pre-CITES Brazilian rosewood. The top bracing pattern is 5/16" forward shifted scalloped X-bracing, and the sides are reinforced with antique linen cloth strips, one of the many features derived from vintage Martin instruments of the pre-WW2 era.

One striking aspect of this guitar is the pickguard, which is shaped from tortoise colored material and inlaid in abalone with the five stars of the Southern Cross. The Southern Cross is a constellation well known to the sailors of the southern seas of Australia and New Zealand and the title of one of Crosby, Stills and Nash's more recent hit songs.

An interior label inside each of the instruments in the edition will be personally signed by Stephen Stills and C. F. Martin IV, and individually numbered in sequence with the total (i.e., #1 of 91, #2 of 91, etc.). A portion of the proceeds from the sale of each of the D-45SS Signature models will be donated to the Stephen Stills Project of The Tides Center Foundation, a San Francisco based charity that focuses on environmental and social justice issues.

Martin Guitar dealers are taking orders for the D-45SS Stephen Stills Signature Model immediately, though due to heavy demand for Martin instruments, this edition will not begin to appear in stores until the early months of 1999.

 
 
 
 
 
Back to top

Email to Friend

From:
To:
Subject: