Small-Bodied 0-45S Stephen Stills Signature Edition<br>Revives A 12-fret Martin Masterpiece
Source: Sounding Board Newsletter Vol 23 - July 2007
0-45S Stephen Stills
Martin has been Stephen Stills’ acoustic guitar of choice for more than 40 years of music making, both in concert and in the recording studio. But perhaps the fullest measure of Stills’ passion for Martins is the guitars the public doesn’t see or hear – the dozen or so Martins in his collection that he plays for personal enjoyment and inspiration.
One of those guitars is a vintage Martin 0-45. Produced between 1904 and 1939, it is a very rare instrument; only 158 were made. This exquisite jewel may rank as a “forgotten” masterpiece, as Martin has revisited this model only once since the originals were built, in 1999 when it made 59 0-45JB Signature Edition guitars to honor Joan Baez. Unlike the guitars that inspired the Martin D-45SS and 000-45S Stephen Stills Signature Editions in 1998 and 2005 respectively, his vintage 0-45 has been a private pleasure, so we were surprised when he suggested Martin base his third Signature Edition on it.
That he had time to devote to a new guitar project was another surprise, as Stills has been incredibly busy since the debut of the 000-45S Stephen Stills Signature Edition. (For additional information on Stills, see the January 2005 edition of Sounding Board online at the Martin website, www.martinguitar.com). During 2005, he, David Crosby and Graham Nash (Crosby, Stills & Nash) toured Europe and the United States, during which he also put the finishing touches on “Man Alive!,” his first solo recording in 14 years which was released in August to strong positive reviews. He tackled a brief solo tour in early 2006 before joining forces with Crosby, Nash and Neil Young for Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young’s Freedom of Speech 2006 Tour, performing 35 concerts in three months. An early 2007 CS&N tour of Australia and New Zealand had to be postponed, but Stills spent some of the down time doing postproduction on CSNY’s Freedom of Speech 2006 Tour documentary film and live album.
As with his previous Signature Editions, Stills worked closely with Martin to refine the details of “his” 0-45 to accurately capture the character of the original. The new Martin 0-45S Stephen Stills Signature Edition is a truly spectacular instrument, both in looks and in sound.
The beauty of the 0-45S Stephen Stills Signature Edition begins with its body style and tonewoods. The classic 12-fret “0” design – featuring long, rounded upper bouts, deep body and advantageous bridge placement – produces exceptionally powerful, rich tone for a guitar of this modest, comfortable size. Superb solid tonewoods throughout enhance that impressive sound. The back and sides are crafted from beautiful Madagascar rosewood, a wood that closely approximates the Brazilian rosewood of the original 0-45 both in appearance and timbre. A top and scalloped 1/4” braces of Adirondack spruce, just like the original, contribute impressive tonal clarity and dynamic range. The 1 7/8” (at the nut) modified V neck with elongated diamond volute and slotted square, tapered headstock is carved from genuine mahogany.
The appointments closely approximate the original 0-45s. The Style 45 rosette features colorful abalone pearl, flanked by wood fiber inlays. The top (including the fingerboard extension), sides and back perimeters also showcase abalone pearl inlay, accented by wood fiber inlays and protected by vintage-correct 5/32” grained ivoroid binding. Also vintage-correct are the colorful Style 45 mosaic backstrip, the grained ivoroid endpiece framed by mitered abalone pearl and wood fiber inlays, the genuine ebony pyramid bridge and the absence of a pickguard.
The short scale (24.9”) neck shows the same meticulous attention to detail. The headstock features a Madagascar rosewood headplate, bound in thin grained ivoroid with wood fiber insets and inlaid with “C. F. Martin” in Golden Era® Style 45 block abalone pearl letters. Handsome Waverly Irving Sloane side-mounted tuners with open gears, engraved mounting plates and ivoroid buttons enhance the headstock’s vintage look. The grained ivoroid-bound and mitered genuine ebony fingerboard showcases Style 45 snowflake position markers inlaid in abalone, culminating in Stephen Stills’ signature in mother of pearl between the 17th fret and the end of the fingerboard.
The nut, uncompensated saddle, bridge and end pins are all crafted from fossilized ivory, with the latter two accented by inlaid black pearl dots. A flawless polished gloss lacquer finish throughout, complemented by vintage toner on the top and dark mahogany stain on the neck, gives this guitar timeless elegance. Although the 0-45S is timeless in its acoustic configuration, factory-installed electronics available as an option.
In keeping with the tradition established by the Martin D-45SS and 000-45S Stephen Stills Signature Editions, the 0-45S Stephen Stills Signature Edition is limited to no more than 91 special guitars.
Protected in a heavy-duty Geib style vintage series hardshell case, each 0-45S Stephen Stills Signature Edition guitar bears an interior label personally signed by Stephen Stills and C. F. Martin IV, and numbered in sequence with the total in the edition. Authorized Martin dealers will begin taking orders for the 0-45S Stephen Stills Signature Edition immediately. As the edition begins to be subscribed, Martin will post the names of participating authorized Martin dealers on this website.