Marty Stuart Teams Up With C. F. Martin in Design of HD-40MS Country Bluegrass Flatpicker's Limited Edition

This appeared in the Sounding Board Newsletter - August 1996

C. F. Martin & Co. is proud to announce an exciting design collaboration with country music legend Marty Stuart. Prototypes of the Marty Stuart HD-40MS signature model were unveiled at the NAMM (National Association of Music Merchandisers) summer trade show in Nashville, Tennessee. Marty's goal in working with Martin on this project was to create an instrument that would capture the essence of what a country bluegrass flatpicker's guitar should be.

Among the many Martin guitars that Marty Stuart owns are the original Dreadnought models owned by Lester Flatt and Hank Williams, Sr. In designing his own specific signature model, Marty wished to combine the tonal and playability aspects of these famous and priceless vintage instruments with his own unique ornamentation ideas. The neck shape is borrowed from Marty's "Hank Williams, Sr." D-45. This unique neck incorporates an extremely fast and sleek extra low profile at the 1st fret, blended with a more traditional rounded shape as you approach the 12th fret.

Fingerboard inlays were derived from an original drawing by Marty Stuart which incorporates five country logotypes that he has personalized through the years: steer horns, horseshoes, dice, hearts and flowers. These inlays are beautifully executed with 103 individual pieces of mother of pearl, gold pearl, black pearl, abalone shell, and recomposite stone. Marty Stuart's distinctive signature is inlaid at the final fret in abalone pearl.

One of the most interesting design elements of the HD-40MS is the "herringbone pearl" rosette. Marty Stuart challened Martin to create this unique rosette in abalone to compliment the fine pattern of Marty's pre-war herringbone wood marquetry which trims the perimeter of the top on this model.

A solid Silka spruce top is lightly braced with Marty's pre-war forward shifted scalloped X-brace pattern. East Indian rosewood is selected for the sides and the two-piece back, which is demarcated with a fine patterned herrington back inlay strip. The fingerboard, headstock and body are bound in grained ivoroid with matching end piece and heel cap. A tasteful "C. F. Martin & Co." gold foil logo is lacquered under a highly polished headplate. Tuning machines are gold plated vintage style with open gears and "butterbean" knobs.

Each Marty Stuart HD-40MS is offered with a Geib-Style Deluxe Vingate Hardshell Case. In addition, one of Marty Stuart's favorite thin black leather guitar straps has been replicated faithfully, complete with a tastefully tooled three-piece sterling silver buckle set.

The HD-40MS will be limited in number to a total of 250 onstruments, each individually numbered with its sequence in the edition. An interior label bears the authentic signature of Marty Stuart and C. F. Martin, IV, Martin's Chairman and CEO, who represents the sixth generation of Martin family members to manage the instrument-making firm.

A portion of the proceeds from the sale of the Marty Stuart HD-40MS Limited Edition guitar will benefit one of the charities close to Marty's heart, specifically the Oglala Lakota College District Learning Center Fund.

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