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Author Topic:   Custom space shuttle-inlay C.F. Martin guitar
Shuttleman
Member

Posts: 114
From: Huntsville, Al. USA
Registered: Mar 2007

posted 02-08-2011 09:46 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Shuttleman   Click Here to Email Shuttleman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
When Guitars and Space Collide

Scott Phillips' custom space shuttle C.F. Martin guitar

My passion for woodworking began as a young child growing up in Montpelier, Ohio. I had no sophisticated tools at the time and no formal instruction, but carried my hot coal of passion for woodworking throughout my life. When I was a teenager, my family moved from Ohio to North Alabama where the Marshall Space Flight Center is located. I was fortunate to gain employment with a prime contractor to NASA at the beginning of the Space Shuttle program. As an adult, I continued with my woodworking and the Space Shuttle program provided a vehicle for my passion by crafting hardwood shuttle art pieces. To date, I have made well over 150 one-of-a-kind models. They are commissioned by astronauts, collectors, and for NASA retirees and contractor personnel. My art pieces are currently on display in two museums.


I first became aware of the C.F. Martin Guitar Company about thirty years ago when I acquired a vintage 1931 Model 1-17 Martin guitar, Serial #49206. In response to my request for information about the guitar in 1983, I received a letter from C.F. Martin's Mike Longsworth about the heritage of that guitar. The information in that letter planted a seed and prompted me to begin a process of serial numbering my art pieces.

I enjoy playing the guitar and writing music. Since I am totally deaf on one side, I knew I needed a top-notch instrument that could maximize my talents. My goal was to someday purchase a new HD28 Martin guitar. I became aware that C.F. Martin's 1994 timeline includes 'the first [American] guitar in space' exhibit. Since the Space Shuttle program was beginning to wind down, it occurred to me that placing one of my shuttle art pieces in C.F. Martin's museum with the first [American] guitar in space exhibit would be a fitting and appropriate tribute to the Space Shuttle program and I could order my HD28 at the same time!


STS-62 astronaut Pierre Thuot playing the first [American] guitar in space in 1994.

I began my personal relationship with C.F. Martin in the summer of 2008. I was fortunate to become acquainted with Dick Boak, C.F. Martin's Artist and Public Relations and Museum Curator. Dick enthusiastically embraced the idea of placing one of my shuttle models in the museum and so began the journey. Over the next couple of years, we shared many emails and phone calls about our mutual interest in wood, guitars, space, and plans for placing the model in the museum. He graciously sent some wood to be used in the model including ebony cutoffs from the guitar that Martin crafted for David Crosby's D12 that was, at the time, being custom built. He also sent some Brazilian rosewood out of his personal collection.

The shuttle model, Serial #10-15, was finished in January 2011. The Crosby ebony was crafted to make the external tank nosecone and the Brazilian rosewood was used in the body of the orbiter. Since C.F. Martin is located on Sycamore Street, I used sycamore wood for the three main engines. To further connect woodworking with guitars, after I write a song I remove the guitar strings and use them as my burnishing tool on the shuttle's tank and boosters. Like Martin guitars, all my shuttle models receive a serial number to document the date it was made and the traceability of its heritage.


Scott Phillips with C.F. Martin's Chris Martin and Dick Boak

Over two years of planning had come to fruition. My journey brought me to Nazareth, PA on January 19, 2011. Fortunately, my trip happened right between two major snowfalls. With great anticipation, I arrived at the C.F. Martin Company. As I entered the facility, I was greeted with a warm and welcoming smile from Cassandra Frantz. We enjoyed a friendly conversation while I waited for Dick Boak. Within minutes, Dick came down to meet me. I didn't realize it at the time, but he had cleared his calendar and spent the entire day with me. We proceeded through an electronic entrance upstairs to the executive suite.

After stopping for a cup of coffee, we went to Dick's office where the boxes I had sent ahead of time were waiting. While we were discussing the day's agenda, I was hoping there would be an opportunity to meet Chris Martin. I was blown away when Dick informed me that Mr. Martin wanted to meet me and that we would unveil the shuttle model that I created for their museum, with Mr. Martin, in his office. Mr. Martin loved the model and inquired about the LOX feed line and commented how much he enjoyed the level of detail. It was a bittersweet meeting as his younger brother had passed away the day before I arrived.


We then moved on to the museum with the shuttle model. Dick unlocked the glass case and placed the model next to the first [American] guitar in space. He allowed me to handle the guitar that Astronaut Pierre Thuot carried into space in 1994, which was a great thrill. Actually, it was overwhelming!

After lunch, Dick took me on a private tour of the guitar factory. I felt like a movie star. I was able to visit one-on-one with the craftspeople and we presented them with Shuttle lithographs and NASA meatball stickers along the way. It made me proud to be an American as I watched these world-class artisans working and to experience the authenticity exhibited by this extraordinary company. I would highly recommend touring the C.F. Martin facility.

Knowing that I am passionate about history, Dick invited me into their archive vault, which didn't appear to be part of the general tour. What a bonus that was! They had huge volumes of sales ledgers from back to the early 1900's as well as letters from many famous people including Elvis Presley and Gene Autry. It was both fascinating and highly informative.

Well, my moment had come. Dick asked me, "Are you ready to see it?" We went back to his office and I was presented with my new HD guitar that was over two years in the making. It absolutely exceeded my expectations. The inlay, crafted by Tracy Cox, depicting the STS-1 shuttle launching off the pad was stunning! We took lots of pictures. Dick took one interesting picture of me holding my guitar with a picture of C.F. Martin III holding a guitar in the same way. Wow!


My amazing day had come to an end. As I reflected back, I felt like I left part of my family with them (my shuttle model), yet I felt a real connection and that I would forever be part of the Martin family.

garymilgrom
Member

Posts: 1571
From: Atlanta, GA, USA
Registered: Feb 2007

posted 02-08-2011 10:37 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for garymilgrom   Click Here to Email garymilgrom     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Couldn't happen to a nicer guy Scott. Now will you use the guitar to create a wake-up call for the next mission?!

Mr Meek
Member

Posts: 348
From: Chattanooga, TN
Registered: Dec 2007

posted 02-08-2011 10:48 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Mr Meek     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
That's an absolutely stunning guitar. Though my primary instruments are piano and Hammond organ, I've played guitar since high school. My mentor had a Martin D-28, and that's been my favored maker of acoustics ever since. They're truly a player's instrument, and I'm glad to see you got such a work of art.

However, you'll have to explain yourself to my wife, as I now have a terrible case of Gear Acquisition Syndrome!

saturn1b
Member

Posts: 122
From: Westcliffe, CO
Registered: Jun 2006

posted 02-08-2011 04:07 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for saturn1b   Click Here to Email saturn1b     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thanks for posting the story Scott. After seeing your work firsthand the photos don't do it justice. You really have to see these shuttles up close to appreciate the craftsmanship. They are incredible! I'd have to agree with Gary... couldn't happen to a nicer guy. Way to go.

Gilbert
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Posts: 935
From: Carrollton, GA USA
Registered: Jan 2003

posted 02-08-2011 05:44 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Gilbert   Click Here to Email Gilbert     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Awesome, Scott.

DoRon
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posted 02-08-2011 06:23 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for DoRon   Click Here to Email DoRon     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I hate to pop anyone's bubble here, but was there not a guitar that flew aboard the Salyut-7 Space Station that was later transferred to Mir? I believe that it remained on Mir until the end.

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 27327
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 02-08-2011 07:38 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Good catch. The USSR's Progress 3 unmanned spacecraft, launched on Aug. 8, 1978, carried an acoustic guitar for cosmonauts Vladimir Kovalyonok and Aleksandr Ivanchenkov who were already aboard the Salyut 7 space station.

The guitar remained on Salyut 7 until 1986, when the Soyuz T-15 crew moved it along with other equipment and supplies to the new Mir space station.

Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield brought a second guitar to Mir with space shuttle Atlantis' STS-74 crew in 1995. It was also the second guitar to fly aboard the shuttle -- the first being the C.F. Martin Backpacker that flew with the STS-62 crew.

Hadfield's collapsible classical travel guitar was later returned to Earth. The original acoustic guitar was lost when Mir was de-orbited.

Today, there is a Canadian Larivée guitar aboard the International Space Station.

Shuttleman
Member

Posts: 114
From: Huntsville, Al. USA
Registered: Mar 2007

posted 02-08-2011 10:27 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Shuttleman   Click Here to Email Shuttleman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The CF Martin guitar (Backpacker) should have read in the story as the first American made guitar in space. I was so excited about my guitar I didn't write the story with that distinction. I appreciate the eagle eyes on this site, my bad. Thanks for the kind words on my two year plus journey to secure a spot for iconic shuttle with the iconic guitars!

history in miniature
Member

Posts: 456
From: Slatington, PA U.S.A.
Registered: Mar 2009

posted 02-09-2011 06:20 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for history in miniature   Click Here to Email history in miniature     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Congratulations Scott you should be proud.

KSCartist
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Posts: 2488
From: Titusville, FL USA
Registered: Feb 2005

posted 02-09-2011 06:32 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for KSCartist   Click Here to Email KSCartist     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Great story Scott, thanks for sharing it with us. Your work is incredible and the attention it receives is well deserved.

I've got a "Baby Martin" I inherited from my Dad when he passed away in 1995. He purchased it after WWII and its the one he taught me to play. I hope to teach my grandson(s) and one day pass it on to them.

Joel Katzowitz
Member

Posts: 325
From: Marietta GA USA
Registered: Dec 1999

posted 02-09-2011 07:22 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Joel Katzowitz   Click Here to Email Joel Katzowitz     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Great story Scott. Congratulations on having your model enshrined and scoring the guitar.

DoRon
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posted 02-10-2011 08:23 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for DoRon   Click Here to Email DoRon     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
That is a great guitar of yours, Scott, and I am totally jealous of the tour of the Martin facilities that you got. I have always been a big fan of your wooden shuttles as well. Thank you for all that you have done for our country's space program. Keep pick'in!

Shuttleman
Member

Posts: 114
From: Huntsville, Al. USA
Registered: Mar 2007

posted 02-10-2011 07:45 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Shuttleman   Click Here to Email Shuttleman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I want to thank everyone for their great comments!!! I feel very special to have had this great adventure.

My son was on YouTube and found this music video with Mark Ballas at the Martin Museum and yes, my shuttle model is in the lower right hand corner of the performance!! Check it out...

Space Possum
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Posts: 32
From: USA
Registered: Feb 2008

posted 02-11-2011 07:13 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Space Possum     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
BEAUTIFUL guitar. I'll bet it sounds great too, like most Martins. It makes me wish us collect space member/musicians could get together and jam.

Shuttleman
Member

Posts: 114
From: Huntsville, Al. USA
Registered: Mar 2007

posted 02-25-2011 09:43 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Shuttleman   Click Here to Email Shuttleman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I can't believe the sightings of my shuttle model at the CF Martin guitar museum. See this YouTube video of Andrew Rose Gregory picking up his new guitar and performing in front of the model.

garymilgrom
Member

Posts: 1571
From: Atlanta, GA, USA
Registered: Feb 2007

posted 05-12-2011 10:48 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for garymilgrom   Click Here to Email garymilgrom     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Scott recently had John Glenn and CF Martin IV sign labels that he will add to this special guitar. Here's photos:

CF Martin Label 2

CF Martin Label 1

Shuttleman
Member

Posts: 114
From: Huntsville, Al. USA
Registered: Mar 2007

posted 07-20-2011 07:04 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Shuttleman   Click Here to Email Shuttleman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
It was 33 years in the making. It's been a long journey. So many emotions swirled in my head as I drove my family from Huntsville, AL to Kennedy Space Center for the last space shuttle launch, STS-135. My thoughts took me back to 1981 when I was working 12-hour days, 7 days a week when STS-1 launched from Kennedy Space Center. We had worked long hours to ensure the first shuttle flight would be successful. I remembered how excited I was when STS-1 launched. I was part of the team that helped launch the first vehicle and now 33 years and 135 missions later, I was about to witness the end of an era. I guess you could say I have come full circle.

At that time, I had no idea how long the Space Shuttle program would last. We had concerns after Challenger and spent the next 33 months recovering from that accident and then another 29 months after the Columbia accident for a total downtime of five years. But we knew we would recover and that we would fly again. And we did. However, this last flight, STS-135, is forever. I now have forever facing me. It is a bittersweet feeling.

I had also lined up a fantastic opportunity for a photo op on the pad the day prior to launch. I would also be onsite to help mount the infrared (IR) NASA camera. We left Huntsville a day early to make sure that everything would play out smoothly. I secured my pass for the pad and everything went according to plan. While I was working on the pad and getting my photo op for my upcoming book Remove Before Flight, my family enjoyed an afternoon at the Kennedy Space Center museum. My son, Christian, is a rock collector so I made sure to gather several crushed rocks from the crawler's path as a memento.

I have always understood the enormity and the complexity of the space shuttle program, but standing there, next to Atlantis, really evoked a powerful sense of what the shuttle has meant to our country. It was surreal as the light filtered through the stack. It was almost like standing in front of the Statue of Liberty and realizing what that symbol means to so many people. At that moment, I felt a deep sense of pride as an American. The shuttle program, for me, has always been about the people not the hardware because it is the people who enable it to launch.

Since we were staying with my sister, Lori, in Orlando we had to make a decision whether to drive back to Orlando the night prior to launch and return early in the morning or stay local and beat the crowds that were expected. The weather that evening was also a concern. Rain and thunderstorms were expected throughout the night. We decided to 'hang out' in Titusville and stick with our game plan knowing the launch could be scrubbed at any moment. McDonald's is not typically our favorite eatery but they certainly came through for us that night as they were the only place that was open 24 hours and had Wi-Fi! We were able to monitor the launch status on our laptop throughout the night. As it turned out, there were several other families doing the exact same thing.

As soon as we saw day break over the coast, we set out for our coveted spot on the causeway and to wait for the countdown to begin. The weather remained iffy due to the possibility of strengthening cloud formations. We met a lot of interesting people that morning and heard many amazing shuttle stories. I had my C.F. Martin guitar and a shuttle model in my vehicle so I was able to share those as well. There was one particular individual who was very curious to see my art piece. I didn't recognize him at the time but knew he looked familiar. It turned out to be Don Petit who spent many months on the International Space Station.

The weather was 'go' then 'no go' throughout the morning. We watched in amazement as the clouds began to separate and disappear as it came closer and closer to the launch window. In spite of the weather concerns, we heard the final 'go' and the countdown continued. All technical systems were a 'go' but held at 31 seconds for a camera placement issue. My heart nearly jumped out of my chest. Surely it wasn't the camera I helped set up that caused the countdown to stop! Alas, it was not!!

It was a spectacular lift off. The crowd was on their feet cheering. At the same time, it was a bittersweet moment for most everyone witnessing the launch of Atlantis.

Somehow I knew my return to work would be different. I appreciate the support of my colleagues and this last flight won't dampen my passion. I will forever be a Space Shuttle model builder and a space memorabilia collector. The final STS-135 pin has now been mounted on the 30-Year Shuttle Tribute display and is ready for signatures when the STS-135 crew visits MFSC in the near future. I have gone the full circle. The Shuttle Program may be over but the memories and passion live on!

saturn1b
Member

Posts: 122
From: Westcliffe, CO
Registered: Jun 2006

posted 07-20-2011 01:45 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for saturn1b   Click Here to Email saturn1b     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Scott, if that's a taste of what your book is going to be like, it'll be a huge success! What a great story, time to start another 'circle' I guess. I'm honored to call you my friend.

Jay Chladek
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Posts: 2211
From: Bellevue, NE, USA
Registered: Aug 2007

posted 07-21-2011 05:58 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jay Chladek   Click Here to Email Jay Chladek     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I would like to take this time to again thank Scott. On Tuesday after Atlantis launched, we had a chance to meet one another in person for the first time at Marshall and he took me on a brief tour of the facility (I would have stayed longer, but I had a long drive still ahead of me that day). It was nice getting a chance to share our passion for these winged machines which are a melding of aerodynamics, rocketry and astrophysics (and music and fine craftsmanship as well). He is in certainly a more enviable position as he worked on the hardware that got it into orbit time and time again. I am just glad he gave me an opportunity to share in the experience, if only for a little while.

history in miniature
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Posts: 456
From: Slatington, PA U.S.A.
Registered: Mar 2009

posted 07-21-2011 11:53 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for history in miniature   Click Here to Email history in miniature     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Scott, thank you for sharing this with us.

Shuttleman
Member

Posts: 114
From: Huntsville, Al. USA
Registered: Mar 2007

posted 07-28-2011 10:18 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Shuttleman   Click Here to Email Shuttleman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I was in Nashville this past weekend and met with Chris Martin of CF Martin guitar company and he handed me his Sounding Board Magazine and I was surprised to see a fantastic story on my HD-28 Shuttle special... enjoy.

Shuttleman
Member

Posts: 114
From: Huntsville, Al. USA
Registered: Mar 2007

posted 09-08-2011 10:35 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Shuttleman   Click Here to Email Shuttleman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Here is a photo of my family with Chris Martin at the NAMM Convention in Nashville. Security was extremely tight and no one was allowed to carry anything out. So we had a Martin rep escort us through Security assuring them that the poster belonged to me. We all had a great time!

Shuttleman
Member

Posts: 114
From: Huntsville, Al. USA
Registered: Mar 2007

posted 09-16-2011 11:44 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Shuttleman   Click Here to Email Shuttleman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Here is the actual picture that was taken of me at the pad with my HD-28. Hard to believe it was raining that day!

Shuttleman
Member

Posts: 114
From: Huntsville, Al. USA
Registered: Mar 2007

posted 11-10-2011 06:21 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Shuttleman   Click Here to Email Shuttleman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Post shuttle sighting in CF Martin Museum with a good shot of the model.

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