It’s the 2016 A to Z Blog Challenge, so I thought I’d focus on one of my favourite subjects: Guitars. Care to join me?
Martin Guitar Company
C. F. Martin and Company was founded in New York City in 1833, making it one of the oldest guitar manufacturers in the United States, if not the oldest. Christian Frederik Martin came from a long line of German cabinet makers and woodworkers. His father was also a luthier.
After finishing his apprenticeship to an Austrian luthier, Christian Martin opened his own guitar shop in Germany before moving to the United States to escape the highly politicized nature of the guild system under which wood workers and instrument makers operated. Christian Martin moved the business to Nazareth, Pennsylvania in 1838, where its headquarters are still located. Most Martin guitars are still handmade in Nazareth.
Martin has long been one of the leading innovators of acoustic guitar construction, being credited with the development of X-bracing. I’ll be delving into X-bracing in more detail later on, but for now, let me say that the development of the X-bracing design ushered in the dominance of the steel-stringed guitar.
Another design innovation was the 14-fret neck set, which allows a player to reach the higher notes further up the neck towards the sound hole, allowing for a broader musical expression.
One of the most important innovations Martin has brought to the acoustic guitar world is the development of the dreadnought guitar. Originally designed in collaboration with a notable retailer, the dreadnought was larger and louder than its contemporaries. Its shape was different, too, being a little more “square” than a traditional guitar. The dreadnought design reflected a shift towards the guitar as an accompaniment instrument. The design has become very popular with country and folk performers and is now considered the standard performance instrument for acoustic musicians.
Martin guitars are absolutely beautiful, both in looks and in tone. Oh, and if you’re curious about their durability, Willie Nelson’s beloved N-20 “Trigger” has been on the road since 1969.