Heart Abalone and Red Heart Bubinga Enhance the<br>Nancy Wilson Signature Edition Martin HD-35
Source: Sounding Board Newsletter Vol 21 - Jul. 2006
HD-35 Nancy Wilson
After more than 30 years as guitarist, songwriter and singer for Heart, Nancy Wilson knows fine acoustic guitars. Yet she could barely contain her enthusiasm when she received her personal Martin HD-35 Nancy Wilson Signature Edition guitar. “YAAAY! It plays beautifully and sounds exactly like that classic Martin sound I’ve been chasing. It is way fancier than I had imagined with all the little extras and great inlays – really gorgeous! Thank you so much for putting this guitar together with my name on it.”
In truth, much of the credit for the beauty and tone of the Martin HD-35 Nancy Wilson Signature Edition guitar goes to Wilson herself, who collaborated closely with Martin on the appointments and tonewoods. A Pisces fish Yin Yang design inlaid in rare pink “Heart“ abalone, mother of pearl and red composite nestles beneath the Old Style “C. F. Martin” decal on the polished black ebony headplate. A winged heart insignia, derived from Nancy’s signature, is inlaid in red composite and mother of pearl at the 12th fret and honors her band connection; small abalone dot markers at the other positions lead to Nancy Wilson’s signature in mother of pearl between the 19th and 20th frets. The colorful headstock inlay is reinforced in the Style 45 rosette, which also features pink heart abalone.
A rare combination of premium solid tonewoods gives the HD-35 Nancy Wilson Signature Edition distinctive tonal character. The top of beautiful Engelmann spruce – a tree that grows in the Northwest, where Heart got its start – combines with 1/4" forward-shifted scalloped braces for full, powerful tone. The sides and the three-piece back’s wings are East Indian rosewood, while the center wedge is red “heart” bubinga, a beautiful and unusually hard African tonewood that provides outstanding projection.
The big sound of Nancy Wilson’s namesake Dreadnought comes from her being an acoustic player in a rock & roll world. Influenced by the Beatles, Paul Simon, Joni Mitchell and Bob Dylan, Nancy began playing in a series of folk-rock groups with her sister Ann while still in junior high. After a solo stint playing coffeehouses during college, she rejoined Ann as a member of Heart and helped create its signature electric/acoustic sound.
Heart’s 1976 debut album, “Dreamboat Annie,” yielded a hit single in the title song, and the band never looked back.
Over the next 20 years, Heart proved both a consistent hit maker and a role model for women in rock. Albums like “Little Queen,” “Dog and Butterfly,” “Bebe Le Strange,” “Heart,” “Brigade” and “The Road Home” allowed Nancy Wilson to shine, especially on singles like “Crazy on You,” “Barracuda,” “Magic Man,” “What about Love,” “These Dreams” and “Even it Up.” The group also toured frequently, regularly selling out stadium venues. When Heart went on hiatus in 1995, after 21 “top 40” hits and 30 million in album sales, she stepped out solo by recording “Live at McCabe’s Guitar Shop” and also wrote soundtrack music and songs for four movies directed by her husband, Cameron Crowe: “Jerry Maguire,” “Almost Famous,” “Vanilla Sky” and “Elizabethtown.”
Nancy reunited with Ann in the late 1990s to form the Lovemongers, an acoustic-based group that recorded three albums and took them back to the clubs of their early days. The twosome rebuilt Heart in the early 2000s and took it on the road. “Alive in Seattle” on CD and DVD was released in 2003, and “Jupiter’s Darling,” an album of new music, followed in 2004, both boasting some of the most potent and exciting music in the band’s – and Nancy’s - long career.
On top of the appointments already noted, the HD-35 Nancy Wilson Signature Edition upgrades several traditional HD-35 elements. Bold herringbone purfling around the top, black/white purfling around the back and black/white/black/white purfling on the sides are all protected by grained ivoroid binding. The grained ivoroid endpiece and heelcap are each bordered with black/white/black/white fine line inlays. Style HD zig-zag back strips highlight the three-piece back. The belly bridge and fingerboard are crafted from African black ebony, with the latter bound in grained ivoroid for playing comfort. The headstock, also of African ebony, sports gold Gotoh tuners with large ebony buttons. Ebony bridge pins and endpin are topped with abalone dot inlays. A polished and beveled tortoise color pickguard protects the top, which is untinted to showcase the beautiful grain and color of the Engelmann spruce. The guitar’s body is finished in polished gloss lacquer, while the neck receives a satin finish. Factory-installed electronics are available as an extra-cost option; left-hand instruments can be ordered at no additional cost.
Delivered in a vintage-inspired Geib style case, each Martin HD-35 Nancy Wilson Signature Edition guitar bears an interior label personally signed by Nancy Wilson and Martin Chairman C. F. Martin IV, and is numbered in sequence with the total number of guitars in the edition. Martin will accept orders from authorized C. F. Martin dealers for the HD-35 Nancy Wilson Signature Edition until the cutoff date of September 15, 2006.
After the order period ends, the size of this Signature Edition and the names of participating Martin dealers will be posted on the Martin website.