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Martin Guitars

Martin Guitars

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Martin Guitars

When Christian Frederick Martin from Markneukirchen in Germany started his apprenticeship in 1820 with the Vienna luthier Johann Stauffer he wouldn’t have dreamt that the millionth guitar baring his initials C.F.Martin would be made 185 years later. Today the company is in the sixth generation.

Johann Stauffer was the inventor of modern guitar machine heads, they made a precise tuning much more comfortable then the violin peg box used until then. After he finished his apprenticeship he returned to his hometown and started his own business. Soon after he started, he experienced serious problems with the local violin guilds and so he finally left for America in 1833, thus, Martin becoming an American and not a German legend. The same year he arrived, he opened a guitar workshop in New York. At first he connected with many musicians, wholesalesmen and other partners. A number of instruments from that time carry names such as "Martin & Schatz" or "Martin & Coupa".

In 1838 Christian Frederick Martin sold his shop in New York and relocated to Nazareth, Pennsylvania. After moving the workshop he had around 20 employees and expandeed continuously. In the 1840´s C.F. Martin invented and improved the X-bracing, which effectively increased the stability of the top. The X-bracing is still one of the best bracing patterns ever. The first manufacturing plant was opened in 1859. C.F. Martin passed away in 1867 and left behind a successful guitar manufactory.

Since the founding of the first workshop in New York, Martins success has never ceased. The company Martin Guitars is significant to the development of the acoustic guitar; they invented the Grand Concert, the Dreadnought and the X Bracing. The first Dreadnought was named after a huge warship and produced in 1916. It was the largest guitar body for a long time. After problems with the introduction of the new shape, it became accepted worldwide and is now a kind of trademark for Martin & Co. Martins have been played by Paul McCartney, Eric Clapton, Joan Baez, Neil Young, Mark Knopfler, John Denver, Tracy Chapman, Bob Dylan, Kurt Cobain, Elvis Presley, Paul Simon and many more.

The Martin range of guitars today leaves nobody´s wishes unfulfilled; they are cult and the dream of every guitarist. Many of the older models are available again today as reissues and make dreams come true for many guitar players.

Time Scale

1796: Christian Frederik Martin is born in Markneukirchen
1820: C.F. Martin starts an apprenticeship as a luthier with Johann Stauffer in Vienna
1833: C.F. Martin leaves Germany and establishes a workshop in New York
1839: The company moves from New York to Nazareth, Pennsylvania
1850: C.F. Martin unveils the 0-Model. The largest guitar of that time.
1873: C.F. Martin dies and C.F. Martin jr. takes over.
1902: The 000 is introduced and becomes a bestseller.
1916: Martin invents the Ditson Dreadnought
1931: After selling the Ditson Co. Martin takes the Dreadnought into the standard program
1950: Elvis Presley and many others concur the world accompanied by the legendary D-28
1979: Martin opens the Custom-Shop
1990: Martin makes the 500.000 Guitar.
1991: The Martin Backpacker is introduced
2005: The 1.000.000 guitar is finished.