Source: Sounding Board Newsletter Vol 19 - Jul. 2005
Sting has stayed very busy in the six years since C. F. Martin introduced the Sting SWC Signature Edition classical guitar and SWB Signature Edition acoustic bass. Since 1999 he’s released three albums, three DVDs, earned his seventh solo Grammy Award and published his memoir, “Broken Music,” which reached #6 on the New York Times Best Sellers List. He’s also toured extensively during this time and recently completed the Broken Music Tour, a stripped down and raw rock show.
He also discovered a small acoustic treasure: the Mini Martin Size 5 “terz” guitar. Just when he first encountered one of these little wonders is unknown, but he was among the first to order a Mini-Martin, similar to a 5-28, when it was introduced as a Special Edition in 1999. He clearly loves the instrument’s 12-fret (to the body) design and bright, chime-like “terz” tuning and tone, which is a minor third above standard pitch. In 2003 he purchased a second Size 5 that he used to record the beautiful song “Dead Man’s Rope” on “Sacred Love.” He also acquired a rare Baby Ditson built by Martin in 1916 and played it on stage and on television appearances during the “Sacred Love” tour. He enthusiastically suggested a Size 5 when approached regarding a new namesake Martin and played an integral role in creating the Size 5 that now bears his name: the Sting: Mini Signature Edition.
An ardent conservationist and cofounder of The Rainforest Foundation, which works to preserve the world’s threatened rainforests and to protect the rights of the indigenous peoples, Sting asked that the guitar be built with tonewoods managed and harvested with forest preservation in mind. In keeping with Sting’s commitment to ecology and rainforest protection, 77% of the wood utilized in the construction of the Sting: Mini Signature Edition guitar originated in forests managed in a sustainable and ecologically responsible manner. In addition, the guitar utilizes spruce braces from reclaimed sources constituting 8.4% of the utilized wood. While some of the tonewoods are non-traditional, they blend together to form a beautiful looking and sounding instrument with tremendous professional integrity.
The Sting: Mini features a top of western red cedar, highly regarded among guitar builders for warm tone and superb responsiveness. Scalloped 1/4” top bracing assures impressive volume. The back and sides are Soloman padauk, a beautiful red-orange tonewood similar in sound to mahogany. The neck of genuine mahogany is harvested from sustainable sources, and the fingerboard and straight line (non-belly) bridge are crafted from katalox, a beautiful wood with a density and color similar to rosewood.
A generous 1-3/4” at the nut, the neck features a very comfortable semi-V profile, diamond volute and solid squared, tapered headstock. The headplate, also of Soloman padauk, provides a handsome backdrop to the old style C. F. Martin & Co. gold logo and Gotoh nickel vintage-style tuners. Longpattern abalone pearl diamonds and squares position markers on the fingerboard lead to Sting’s signature in pearl between the 17th and 18th frets.
The body of the guitar features a distinctive mix of appointments that show off the tonewoods to advantage. Fine herringbone purfling around the top and a Style 45 rosette with a center ring of “Ablam” abalone pearl accentuate the handsome color of the red cedar. A Style HD zig-zag back strip divides the Soloman padauk back. Tortoise-colored binding on the top and back are matched by a tortoise-colored end piece and tortoise colored dot inlays on the white bridge pins and endpin. In the tradition of parlor guitars, the Sting: Mini does not come with a pickguard. Finishing touches include a lustrous polished gloss finish on the guitar body and headplate, satin finish on the neck, and bone nut and compensated bone saddle. Per Sting’s request, each instrument is set up with ultra-low action and equipped with custom gauge “terz” strings with highoctave basses to facilitate “Nashville-style” tuning that is often used in recording studios to add high treble brilliance to the mix.
Only 100 of the Martin Sting: Mini Signature Edition guitars will be produced. Each bears two interior labels: a Signature Edition label personally signed by Sting and Martin Chairman C. F. Martin IV and is numbered in sequence with the edition total, plus a Sustainable Wood Series label that explains the wood content percentage.
A fitted vintage Geib-style hardshell case protects each guitar: factory-installed electronics may be specified when ordering at an additional cost. Martin will accept orders for the Sting: Mini Signature Edition until it is fully subscribed, with the names of participating dealers to be posted on the Martin website at www.martinguitar.com. For further information on Sting, visit his website at www.Sting.com.