Martin Guitars – History and Overview

C.F. Martin & Company is one of the oldest, if not the oldest guitar company in the United States. Christian Frederick Martin founded the company in 1833. After years of developing their guitars and setting a standard for excellence, it is easy to say that Martin is one of the most popular acoustic guitar companies in the world.

Despite the fact that the company was founded around 175 years ago, it still remains a family operation. The current company chairman and CEO is ‘CF’ Chris Martin IV. He continues the tradition started by his family in creating high quality acoustic guitars. As a side note, they also produce some electric guitars and basses.

Christian Frederick Martin, Sr. was actually born in Germany. His family made cabinets for a living, and that was to be his future. But at the age of 15, he left Germany and traveled to Austria to apprentice with Johann Stauffer who was an expert luthier. He learned his trade well, and returned to Germany to set up shop.

He was met with serious resistance. Not from his family, but from the Violin Makers Guild. Martin wasn’t the only cabinet maker who was showing an aptitude for making stringed instruments. The violin makers feared it would hurt their business. Eventually, Martin left for the United States, where he started his illustrious guitar making company.

Martin has both a regular line of guitars and a custom shop. The Dreadnought is possibly one of their most popular guitar series and many consider Martin’s Dreadnought series to be amongst the best. Other acoustic guitars include their Limited Editions, The Backpacker, the Road Series, the X Series, the Golden Era Marquis, and the Vintage series. They have plenty of other styles and options so you may want to visit their website to take a look.

A lot of guitarists swear by Martin guitars. These include Beck, Jimmy Buffet, Eric Clapton, Sting, Nancy Wilson, Norman Blake, Bob Shane, Steve Miller, the late Johnny Cash, Buddy Guy, and Paul Simon. However, this is an incomplete list. Visit their website for more names and their profiles.

Here is what people have to say about their Martin Acoustic Guitars.

About the Martin HD-28 Acoustic

Simply, the guitar sounds amazing. Very well balanced, bass, mids, and treble all come out very clearly but don’t step on each other at all. Sounds especially nice capoed up a few frets. I got the guitar about 2 and a half years ago and I have noticed it starting to open up since I play it a lot.

About the Martin D-18

This is without a doubt the best guitar I have owned or played. Over forty years of playing I have had the opportunity to play many guitars. I can’t think of one that I would consider trading for my D-18 including my 1962 Stratocaster purchased from the same music store as my Martin. The strat is long gone but the D-18 is still here…thank God.

Bill McRea is the publisher of Guitar Warehouse the best place to Buy Guitar and learn Guitar Playing Techniques. Visit our site for over 60 Free Guitar Lessons and Information about playing Guitar.

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  • Pete Stamper

    I am trying to find out what a Martin made between the year of 1865 and 1885 with original case would be worth. It is fair to good condition. it is a size 2/12 (quality 17)