The very finest in acoustic instruments, each one painstakingly created by the hands of skilled craftspeople, have been the hallmark of C.F. Martin’s business for nearly two centuries. The care and attention given to every single Martin guitar is evidenced by the fact that the company, since its birth, has been continually operated by the Martin family, and to this very day is overseen by CEO Chris Martin IV, the great-great-great-grandson of its founder. Well-known for their steel-string guitars and flattop acoustics, Martin produces valuable items, with vintage instruments known to have brought up to six-figure prices at auction.
Distinctive chapters of the Martin history include X-bracing, the 14-fret guitar, and the “Dreadnought” size. While every guitar maker selects bracing intended to produce his own idea of the perfect sound, the popularity of the X-bracing (two braces forming an X across the soundboard, below the top of the sound hole) led Martin’s method to become an industry standard. Likewise, their 14-fret guitar was designed to allow players easier access to high notes, yet this newfangled idea soon dominated in the guitar industry. “Dreadnought” was a joke of a name, referring to a guitar so large and deep it reminded its makers of a battleship. Designed to provide a louder, fuller accompaniment to singers working with limited amplification equipment, the Dreadnought initially flopped. However, after a redesign in 1931, including X-bracing and a modification of its shape, the Dreadnought became Martin’s bestselling model and went on to become iconic across several musical genres.
While renowned for their superior craftsmanship, Martin desired to produce a model more affordable to the average consumer, and in 1993 they debuted their D1 series which featured laminated wood sides and a solid wood back. On the heels of the D1’s success, they decided to offer the even more affordable DX series, crafted of high pressure laminates while still maintaining excellent tonal quality. So whether you are a beginner or an aficionado, Martin makes a guitar for you.
Martin guitars are or have been played and enjoyed by such well-known musicians as Ed Sheeran, Joan Baez, Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash, Eddie Vedder, and Kurt Cobain.
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