At a Glance:
Company Name: C. F. Martin & Company
Web site: www.martinguitar.com
Headquarters: Nazareth, Pennsylvania
Manufacturers Instruments In: USA, Mexico
A Quick History of Martin:
After experimenting with guitar-building in Germany in the early 1800s, and running into legal resistance from the Violin Maker's Guide, Martin founder C.F. Martin moved to the United States, and settled in Nazareth, Pennsylvania in the late 1830s. The guitar company has maintained it's headquarters in Nazareth to this day, and is still owned by the Martin family.
In the mid-1800s, Martin became a well-respected name in the instrument production business, focusing on acoustic guitars in addition to ukuleles, mandolins and banjos. Like many similar companies, after struggling financially during the Great Depression, the period after the end of WWII and the during birth of rock n roll was a time of great growth for Martin. This facilitated a move to a larger production factory in 1955. In the 60s and 70s, Martin expanded by buying a number of smaller guitar and instrument manufacturers.
The Martin guitar company remains keen to encourage and foster new talent and places a lot of money into The Pub Deal, which gives emerging artists the opportunity to win publishing contracts. This is part of Martin's commitment to supporting the American songwriter.
Most Notable Instruments:
The Martin D-28 is become the signature guitar in the Martin catalog. The D-28 features a large, dreadnought shaped body with a neck that meets the body at the 14th fret. The OM- series of guitars are also held in extremely high regard. The steep prices of the OM guitars are commensurate with the esteem of owning one.In general, because of their price and quality, Martin guitars are a sensible fit for serious guitarists. Having said that, Martin & Co. does make some relatively lower-priced guitars using Sapele and HPL (high pressure laminate), instead of their more traditional Rosewood or mahogany. In 1990, Martin & Co. became one of the first guitar manufacturers to introduce an ecological policy, introducing sustainable wood sources in their production process.
Guitarists Playing Martin Instruments:
Elvis Presley famously played a D-28 in the last concert before his death in 1977. The sense of history around this guitar was so strong the Martin Company bought the guitar back at an auction for over $100,000.
The D-28 has been used regularly by the most historic names in pop, rock and country music, including Hank Williams (1941 D-28, which was later acquired by Neil Young), Joni Mitchell (1956 D-28), John Lennon and Paul McCartney John Lennon (1965 D-28) and many others.
More current artists, like Ray LaMontagne, uses a D-35. John Frusciante from the Red Hot Chili Peppers has used the 15 Series range, notably the O-15 on albums such as Stadium Arcadium. Coldplay singer Chris Martin favors the Martin 15-series guitars.