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Crosby, Stills, Nash (and Young)Honor Gerry Tolman’s Memory With Unique CSN Dreadnought

Release Date: 01/18/07
Source: Sounding Board Newsletter Vol 22 - Jan. 2007
CSN (Gerry Tolman Tribute)

For 20 years, Gerry Tolman was the behind-the-scenes heart and soul of Crosby, Stills & Nash. He took over management of the group during a very difficult time and enabled it to reclaim its reputation and re-emerge as a major force in popular music. Under his gentle encouragement, CSN reunited with former bandmate Neil Young from time to time to create additional magic as only those four can. He also managed the solo careers of Stephen Stills and Graham Nash, helping both showcase their musical identities independent of the band. He worked very hard for those whose careers he guided: facilitating a variety of projects, seeing that everything went smoothly, and keeping everyone relaxed and professional. He was a very special guy and a true gentleman, and he died much too soon, killed in a car accident in California on New Year’s Eve, 2005.

Tolman had always been very supportive of Martin’s relationship with David Crosby, Stephen Stills and Graham Nash, and we were stunned by his passing. We wanted to honor this gentle man in some tangible way and so the idea of a Crosby, Stills & Nash Martin guitar in tribute to Gerry Tolman, with a portion of the proceeds going to the Tolman estate to fund college for his two children, was hatched. Graham Nash loved the idea and brought Crosby and Stills onboard, the threesome agreeing to allow Martin to use the intertwined “CSN” logo – designed by the late Phil Hartman, whose talent as a graphic designer equaled his talent as an actor and comedian – on the headstock. The personal symbols from their individual Signature Edition guitars – Crosby’s “schooner,” Still’s “Southern Cross” and Nash’s “winged heart,” would be used as position markers on the fingerboard.

Two prototypes were built, one of which was brought backstage at a Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young concert last summer for the threesome’s approval. Neil Young saw the guitar, heard the plan and decided he also wanted to be involved. Young has a long-standing policy of not licensing his name to or endorsing commercial endeavors of any kind, but for the CSN Gerry Tolman guitar, he opted to allow Martin to use his iconic “broken arrow” symbol as a position marker, to show solidarity with his bandmates in tribute to their associate and friend.

The CSN Gerry Tolman Special Edition Tribute is a classic Martin Dreadnought – as functional as it is beautiful. Premium solid tonewoods throughout – East Indian rosewood back and sides, Engelmann spruce top and genuine mahogany neck – combine with forward-shifted 5/16” scalloped top bracing for rich, powerful tone. Bold herringbone purfling around the top, Style 45 rosette with a center ring of select abalone, fine black/white purfling around the sides, back and end piece, Style 45 multicolored mosaic back strip and grained ivoroid binding project graceful, timeless elegance.

The 1-3/4” low profile neck features a diamond volute, solid, square tapered headstock and nickel Gotoh tuners with butterbean knobs. But it is the polished African black ebony headplate and African black ebony fingerboard, both framed with ivoroid binding inset with fine black/white inlay, that provide the canvas for this guitar’s most spectacular craftsmanship. The headstock displays the familiar arched C. F. Martin & Co. logo in luminous mother of pearl and the CSN logo beneath in vibrant abalone pearl, bordered with mother of pearl. Inlays of Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young’s personal logos comprise the position markers: David Crosby’s “schooner” at the 5th fret, Stephen Still’s “Southern Cross” at the 7th through 9th frets, Graham Nash’s “winged heart” at the 12th fret and Neil Young’s “broken arrow” at the 15th fret. A cat’s eye inlay at the 17th fret completes the fingerboard markers.

Adding to this Special Edition Dreadnought guitar’s unique look is the African black ebony belly bridge with a single point at the bottom and pyramid wings. This rarely offered bridge, its matching black ebony bridge pins topped with abalone dots, and the vintage-style beveled and polished tortoisecolor pickguard complement the “old Martin” amber of the top. The flawless polished gloss lacquer body finish, satin neck finish, and bone nut and compensated saddle keep the focus on beauty, function and great sound.

Each Martin CSN Gerry Tolman Special Edition Tribute features a special “CSN” commemorative laseretched neck block, an interior label plus a second tribute photo label of Gerry Tolman. Guitars in this Special Edition are delivered in a Geib style hardshell case; lefthanded instruments may be ordered at no additional charge, while factory-installed electronics are an extra-cost option. Authorized Martin dealers will begin taking orders for the CSN Gerry Tolman Special Edition Tribute guitar immediately and participating dealers will be posted on the C. F. Martin & Co. website.







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