Judy Collins Inspires Two Martin Signature Edition Guitars

Judy Collins
January 17, 2002

The voice of Judy Collins has been a musical touchstone for an entire generation. Now this singular artist has inspired two extraordinary Martin guitars -- the HD-35SJC and HD12-35SJC Judy Collins Signature Editions.

These matching 6-string and 12-string guitars feature Martin's original 12-fret Dreadnought design, considered by many to be the most powerful and resonant Dreadnought of them all. But it is the unusual combination of solid tonewoods that gives these instruments their unique sound. A center wedge of flamed figured Pacific bigleaf maple in the traditional Style 35 three-piece back stands out against adjacent wings and sides of East Indian rosewood. Visually striking, the maple center wedge also adds crisp definition to the rich tone. The beauty of the back and sides is matched by the top, bookmatched Sitka spruce, supported by 5/16" X-bracing (scalloped on the HD-35SJC, contoured on the HD12-35SJC) for full, open timbre.

A promising classical pianist as a child, Judy Collins found her voice as a teenager in the traditional songs of the folk revival. Switching from piano to guitar, she soon was singing in folk clubs and released her first album in 1961. In the mid-1960s, she became among the first to perform and record songs by several exciting young songwriters, among them Bob Dylan, Phil Ochs, Joni Mitchell, Leonard Cohen and Randy Newman, providing them widespread public exposure, in some cases for the first time.

From the mid-1960s into the early 1970s, she embraced the broad musical palette that continues to define her work, performing and recording songs outside the folk genre. She began accompanying herself on piano as well as guitar on her "In My Life" album, and recorded her "Wildflowers" album with a full orchestra. Some of Collins' most popular singles, including "Both Sides Now," "Chelsea Morning" and "Send in the Clowns," were recorded during this period, and "Colors of the Day," a collection of these works, continues to sell well more than 20 years after its release. It is one of six Judy Collins albums to be certified gold by the RIAA.

Collins emerged as a songwriter in her own right in the 1980s and 1990s, a gift captured on her 1990 "Fires of Eden" album. She also took time out to write a best selling memoir, Singing Lessons, published in 1998. For the new millennium, she established her own record label, Wildflower Records, which debuted with "Live at Wolf Trap" and more recently released "All on a Wintry Night." After a lifetime on stage, she still performs frequently and continues to be a major draw in concert.

Judy Collins has played Martin guitars throughout her career (she tours with a D12-35), but true to her trailblazing style, the HD-35SJC and HD12-35SJC Signature Edition models have a unique mix of appointments to go with the unique mix of woods. Those appointments begin at the solid headstock's bound and polished black African ebony overlay, where the silver foil "C.F. Martin" logo shelters Judy Collins' personal wildflower (a columbine) logo, inlaid in brilliant green heart abalone and bordered with mother of pearl. Collins' signature is inlaid between the tuners that are Schaller chrome minis, with ebony knobs. The bound black African ebony fingerboard is inlaid with Style 45 abalone snowflakes from the 1st to the 17th fret.

The top of these guitars is bordered with a purfling of fine pattern herringbone, and strips of the same herringbone separate the three pieces of wood that comprise the back. The sides and back are accented with two-and four-layer black/white purfling, and both top and back are bound with grained ivoroid.

The soundhole rosette of select green abalone shines brilliantly against the vintage toner-tinted top. A black African ebony bridge and beveled and polished black pickguard complete the distinctive look. The entire body is finished in polished gloss, while the wide (1 3/4" at the nut on the 6-string, 1 7/8" on the 12-string), low profile genuine mahogany neck has a satin finish for playing comfort. Each HD-35SJC and HD12-35SJC Judy Collins Signature Edition guitar bears an interior label personally signed by Judy Collins and Martin Chairman and CEO C.F. Martin IV, with instruments individually numbered with the edition total. A Geib style case is included with each guitar. In accordance with Judy Collins' wishes, a portion of the proceeds from the sale of these guitars will be donated to UNICEF, the United Nations Children's Fund.

Martin will accept orders for the HD-35SJC and HD12-35SJC Judy Collins Signature Editions until March 18, 2002. The edition will begin to appear in stores in the summer of 2002. The size of the editions and the names of participating Martin dealers will then be posted on the Martin web site.