Source: Sounding Board Newsletter Vol 19 - Jul. 2005
M3H Cathy Fink
Cathy Fink and Marcy Marxer have been musical partners for more than 20 years. Over those years, they released a slew of albums for both children and their parents, won two Grammy Awards, produced records for artists ranging from Tom Paxton to Patsy Montana, penned more than 200 songs and played thousands of concerts. In short, Cathy and Marcy have done it all and done it extraordinarily well.
To celebrate this remarkable partnership, C. F. Martin has created a pair of equally remarkable guitars: the M3H Cathy Fink Custom Edition and MC3H Marcy Marxer Custom Edition. These impressive instruments showcase Martin's highly regarded M body size (jumbo width and 000 depth) together with a unique mix of tonewoods and appointments.
From the beginning, Cathy Fink and Marcy Marxer seemed destined to work together. Cathy hails from Maryland, but began her musical career in Canada in the early 1970s, playing folk music in coffeehouses and the subway. A fine singer, guitarist, banjo player and yodeler, she made her recording debut in 1975 with fellow musician Duck Donald, with whom she toured for five years and recorded three albums.
Marcy grew up in Michigan. Her gift for bluegrass and old time music was obvious early, and she learned to play guitar, mandolin, hammered dulcimer and button accordion while still in high school. She went to work for General Motors but continued to play at every opportunity. In 1978, after receiving theatre training at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts and the Ringling Brothers Clown School, she devoted herself to music full time.
The two met in 1980 at the Toronto Folk Festival and the connection was instantaneous. By 1983 they had begun writing songs together and appearing on each other's albums. Soon after, they began performing together, often in children's concerts that enabled their instrumental chops, wonderful harmonies and sense of fun to shine. In 1989, they released a self-titled album, and the partnership became complete.
In the years since, the duo has released a number of notable albums, including “Nobody Else Like Me,” “A Voice in the Wind” and “Changing Channels.” Their CD “Postcards” won a Grammy nomination in 2003 for “Best Traditional Folk Album.” After several Grammy nominations, they captured their first Grammy Award in 2004 for their children's album “Bon Appetit” and nabbed their second in 2005 as producers and artists for “cELLAbration: A Tribute to Ella Jenkins.” Individually and together, they've produced more than a dozen albums for other artists, served as studio musicians, and created a series of instructional materials and videos ranging from guitar and ukulele for kids to how to sing harmony. They've performed at the White House Easter Egg Roll, appeared on National Public Radio, won several songwriting awards and have been acknowledged for their work with children in the Congressional Record. Cathy Fink and Marcy Marxer clearly love what they do and show no signs of slowing down.
Befitting musicians so closely connected, the M3H Cathy Fink Custom Edition and MC3H Marcy Marxer Custom Edition sport identical specifications with one major exception: Cathy's guitar is a non-cutaway, while Marcy's has a rounded cutaway. The M size, mortise and tenon construction and “Hybrid” scalloped bracing give these guitars impressive volume, outstanding string-to-string balance and - important for musicians like Cathy and Marcy who play in a variety of styles - uncommon versatility.
Premium solid tonewoods add to the instruments' outstanding performance. The tops are Adirondack red spruce (highly coveted and particularly rare in this size); the sides East Indian rosewood; the three-piece backs East Indian Rosewood on the wings and a center wedge of flamed Hawaiian koa. The combination offers the best of all worlds: tight bass, crisp trebles and full midrange.
Body appointments on both guitars include fine pattern herringbone around the top, Style 45 rosette with a center ring of select green abalone pearl and Style 45 multicolored mosaic back strips bordered with black fiber. Grained ivoroid binding is accented on the sides and back with fine black/white line inlays, and the matching grained ivoroid endpiece is framed by the same elegant fine black/white line inlays.
The low profile neck, a comfortable 1-11/16-inch at the nut, is carved from genuine mahogany. The polished African black ebony headplate provides an ideal “canvas” for Martin's abalone “Torch” inlay, a design that originated with the classic Style 45 Martins of the 1920s and 1930s. The headstock also is equipped with gold Schaller tuners with ebony buttons. The matching African black ebony fingerboard features a unique “two hands” inlay at the 12th fret to celebrate Cathy Fink and Marcy Marxer's partnership, along with Style 42 snowflake inlays on the 3rd, 5th, 7th, 15th and 17th frets. Both the headplate and fingerboard are bound in grained ivoroid and trimmed with mitered black/white fine line inlays. The nut and compensated saddle are genuine bone.
Polished gloss lacquer body finish, vintage toner on the top, a polished and beveled tortoise color pickguard, and white bridge pins and endpin with abalone pearl dots give these guitars timeless style. The neck is satin finished for player comfort. To match Cathy and Marcy's casual, comfortable fashion sense, these guitars are delivered in black denim-covered Geib style hardshell cases.
Both the M3H Cathy Fink Custom Edition and MC3H Marcy Marxer Custom Edition bear interior labels personally signed by Cathy Fink, Marcy Marxer and Martin Chairman C. F. Martin IV, and are numbered in sequence for that specific Custom Edition. Authorized C. F. Martin dealers are now accepting orders for the M3H Cathy Fink and MC3H Marcy Marxer Custom Editions. Customers may specify left-hand instruments at no additional cost or factory-installed electronics as an extra-cost option. The names of participating Martin dealers will be posted on the Martin website, www.martinguitar.com.