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.