Source: Sounding Board Newsletter Vol 12 - Jan. 2002
M3SC (Shawn Colvin)
Few things rival the intensity of experiencing a Shawn Colvin live solo performance. She is the songwriter’s songwriter. Her compositions deftly articulate life, while her voice lends poignancy and drama. The impact is underscored by Shawn’s riveting guitar skills, which combine eclectic tunings with an infectious and unusual right hand technique.
Shawn Colvin realized her dreams through a combination of discipline, vision, and talent. She picked up her first guitar at age 10, and followed her muse over the years along a meandering itinerary that included Canada, the Midwest, Texas, California, Boston, and New York City. Burgeoning new forms of folk allowed her to explore different genres and hone her performing skills. She was also able to work with other musicians including singing back-up on Suzanne Vega’s 1987 hit, "Luka." Her work did not go unnoticed, and in 1989 she released her debut CD entitled "Steady On" on Columbia Records. Her debut earned her a Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Folk Recording.
Folk music occupies a special place in the heart and has always been identified with the sound of a Martin guitar. The authentic and personal nature of the genre has its finest moment in the duet between voice and acoustic guitar. Throughout her career, Shawn Colvin has played a vintage Martin D-28, which embodies the traditional and recognizable tone that only a Martin can deliver. Shawn wanted her signature model to be a guitar that was smaller and more comfortable than a Dreadnought, an ergonomic concern that has been addressed very successfully by C.F. Martin’s Women and Music Program over the past five years.
Shawn chose an M shape, also known as a 0000, a Martin guitar shape with a unique history of its own. First produced in the 1970s, the M models were inspired by the much lauded archtop guitars of the ‘30s, praised for their tone and delicate balance. Because of its tight-waisted profile, the M guitar produces a sound that is balanced and even between the treble and bass tones, making it less prone to feedback and more adaptable in the studio. Notes play and decay quickly, without the bass overtones often associated with a Dreadnought. The Martin M models were quickly embraced by the folk community because of their incredibly balanced sound.
Martin aficionados will recall the look and sound of the M36 and M38. Shawn’s M3SC, like the former M36, features a 3-piece back, but with an added striking visual and tonal feature — the center wedge is Indian rosewood, with solid mahogany wings, and solid mahogany sides. The rosewood center wedge in the back adds warmth to an already crystalline mahogany tone. This spectacular mix is highlighted by C.F. Martin’s renowned hand-polished, nitro-cellulose gloss lacquer finish. The Engelmann spruce top is tastefully finished with a vintage toner and sports a rosette of a single ring of highly colorful abalone pearl with wood fiber inlay hues. Aesthetic congruence is achieved with a gorgeous 3-piece headplate which parallels the back and crowns an ebony fingerboard.
Details such as large ebony buttons on the Schaller tuning gears and a tortoise color pickguard, add sophisticated elegance to this instrument’s startling beauty. The mahogany neck’s low profile shape ensures comfortable play and superior tone all the way up the fretboard. The unique and balanced tone of this instrument is augmented by a genuine bone nut and compensated saddle and includes a Fishman® GoldPlus Natural I transducer system. This is a state of the art, under the saddle pickup, which sends an active signal through the endpin, utilizing a piezo co-polymer technology developed by Fishman®, the industry’s foremost producer of sound transducers.
It is no coincidence that both Shawn Colvin and her M3SC Signature model deliver a uniquely individual voice coupled with a striking visual appearance. Martin is proud to honor Shawn’s determination, vision, and talent with this stunning instrument. In order to maintain purity of design, the fingerboard does not bear the artist’s signature, rather Shawn Colvin and Chairman and CEO C. F. Martin IV will personally sign the interior label. A portion of the proceeds from the sale of each Shawn Colvin Signature Edition guitar will benefit disaster victims in New York City.
Orders for the M3SC Shawn Colvin Signature Edition will be accepted by Martin until March 18, 2002. After the ordering period closes, the size of the edition and the names of participating Martin dealers will be posted on the Martin website at: www.martinguitar.com.