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VOLUME 7 | 2017

Two Millionth “While the [Martin] team was creating a showpiece instrument, they wanted it to have the quality sound of a Martin guitar. The metal inlays make the piece heavy, but it still carries that classic Martin sound that has b een admired by lay men , lay wo m e n , a n d m u s i c a l superstars alike.” -“Tuning the Harmony of Time | Martin Guitar’s Two Millionth Mark”

“As long as artisans and craftspeople have plied their trades, they’ve looked to the beauty and complexity of the natural world to inspire a finer product. And when artisans of seemingly disparate fields have worked together to learn from one another and work togeth e r for a fine product, the res u l ts have often been nothing short of stellar.” -“Tuning the Harmony of Time | Martin Guitar’s Two Millionth Mark”










26 14














The Martin Guitar Family



A Word from Chris




By Daniel Long





By Thomas Walsh



By David Schneider





By Jeff Simpson



By Melissa Faliveno





By Jonathan R. Walsh





Merle Haggard




M A R T I N G U I TA R . C O M |


Since 1833, we’ve made

2,000,000 GUITARS and not one compromise.

Two Millionth 6 | LINER NOTES

VOLUME 7 | 2017




CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Daniel Long, Thomas Walsh, David Schneider, Jeff Simpson, Melissa Faliveno, Kaitlin Vadyak, Dick Boak, Jonathan R. Walsh


C. F. Martin & Co., Inc. P.O. Box 329, Nazareth, Pa. 18064 P. 610.759.2837 F. 610.759.5757

© 2017 C. F. Martin & Co., Inc., Nazareth, Pa. All rights reserved.

M A R T I N G U I TA R . C O M |



Photo courtesy of John Sterling Ruth

Nazareth, Pennsylvania

From Nazareth, Pa., to Navojoa, Sonora, Mexico, Martin Guitar proudly shares over 11,000 years of dedicated service and expertise from our family of coworkers.


Photo courtesy of Gerardo Correa

Navojoa, Sonora, Mexico

We are all producing, marketing and selling what we believe to be the world’s best acoustic and acoustic-electric guitars, ukuleles and acoustic strings. #MartinFamily

M A R T I N G U I TA R . C O M |


“I feel very lucky to be involved with a product that I have


an interest in and believe in, but I’m most grateful for the amazing team we have here. #MartinFamily ” | Rory G.,


5 years, Nazareth “I like working directly with the instrument.” Guadalupe N., 16 years, Navojoa

“I absolutely love my job. It has been an awesome learning experience for me.” Karen M., 15 years, Nazareth “I really enjoy my work schedule and the stability of Martin Guitar.” | Raquel R.,

“I love working with Martin guitars and the

21 years, Navojoa

good work atmosphere.” | Marco A., 15 years, Navojoa

“I was hired as a temp for anywhere from one to three weeks and was entering names and addresses for warranty registrations. After three days of temp work, I was offered a full-time job. Fast-forward 36˙ years: I still look forward to coming into work.” Sandy S., 36 years, Nazareth “I like the schedule, and it’s a nice environment to “I enjoy the treatment that I have received from the

work in.” | Jesus A.,

entire company. It is a good work environment.”

16 years, Navojoa “If you’ve got to

Maria A., 17 years, Navojoa

“I feel good working in the Martin Strings

work somewhere,

“I have been at Martin Guitar for two years, and I

department.” | Mirna G., 14 years, Navojoa

why not make it the

feel honored to work at a place that values their

premier acoustic

employees so much.”

“I love seeing the quality and different styles of

guitar manufacturer?”

Samantha H., 2 years, Nazareth

guitars that leave this factory. I’m honored to be a Martin

Jared L., 6 years,

Guitar employee.” | Chris T., 3 years, Nazareth


“I have had the pleasure of working under the leadership of three generations of the Martin

“I have been working at Martin Guitar for less than two years, but on top of learning a lot about guitars and guitar making, I have been surprised at the unique opportunities that working here has offered, like singing for factory tour visitors on Make Music Day. It is a great feeling to work for a company that is known and respected around the world for its legendary craftsmanship, and at the end of the day, I can be proud to walk through the doors of the quiet factory and know I am a part of it.” | Sylvia P., 2 years, Nazareth “I’ve worked in various departments and enjoyed all of them. What is great about Martin

family. I started in 1979 when C. F. Martin III was CEO and Chris’s father, Frank, was President. I am extremely proud to say I work at Martin Guitar.” Jody W., 37 years, Nazareth “Martin Guitar is a great place to work, and it carries on tradition. I can’t say enough good things about my coworkers.” | Jarrett H., 2 years, Nazareth

Guitar is if you express your desire to learn, they will help you do just that.” | Tina K.,

“More than anything, I like the work schedule, and I

22 years, Nazareth

feel comfortable here.” | Mary C., 14 years, Navojoa


“I have an amazing, supportive team that works behind the scenes to

“I really like the work atmosphere and the schedule. In

help bring our instruments to life. We take great pride knowing that these

these 14 years that I have worked at Martin Guitar, I have

remarkable instruments end up in the hands of musicians worldwide.”

achieved things that I wanted, like my home.”

Jolene H., 18 years, Nazareth

Magdalena A., 14 years, Navojoa

“I started on the assembly line 30 years ago and worked

“The nice thing about Martin Guitar is the ability to expand your skill

in many areas. I now enjoy working with customers and

set. In the years I’ve worked here, I have learned six different positions

visitors from all over the world at the old Martin Guitar

spanning over three departments.” | Keaton Y., 5 years, Nazareth

factory. Its rustic charm and past history are the perfect way to end your tour of the Martin factory and see where it all began.” | Gail V., 30 years, Nazareth

“It’s been quite an honor working for Martin Guitar for 19 years. Being part of the rich history and tradition of excellence is truly humbling. I’m proud to be part of the Martin team.” | Scott F., 19 years, Nazareth

“The schedule of work is good, and it is a stable job

“It is a good job with an excellent

for me.” | Esmeralda A.,

work environment." | Juan B.,

19 years, Navojoa

18 years, Navojoa “I get to play guitars and try out new models. It’s a great environment to work in.” | Suzanne H., 5 years, Nazareth

“I feel good here, and, thank God, I have been here for many years. It is a good environment.” | Maria I., 14 years, Navojoa

“I have been working here a long time, and it is a stable job.” Maria G., 16 years, Navojoa

“Martin Guitar’s schedule

“ W he n yo u h ave a p ro b l em, yo ur

allows me to spend time with my children.”

coworkers are always there for you.

Francisca M., 15 years, Navojoa “The work schedule and environment make “With my work, I have raised my family, and I was

Martin Guitar a good place to work.”

supported when my husband had an operation. For

Ramona I., 19 years, Navojoa

this I am very grateful. I like everything here, and I feel like it is my second home. I feel happy here.” Francisca T., 15 years, Navojoa

“I really enjoy building Martin guitars and putting them together. H ow Chairman and CEO Chris Martin IV treats his employees

“The greatest sense of pride from my job is

makes it the best place to work.” | Chris H.,

seeing the joy that our guitars bring to players of

15 years, Nazareth

all ages. I’m happy to be a small part in making the world’s best acoustic guitars and strings!” Greg C., 4 years, Nazareth “It is an honor to be a part of Martin Guitar’s rich culture and history. I love being able to be a

Personally, I am very grateful to the company because they have given me the opportunity to develop in the workplace.” | Patricia M., 27 years, Navojoa “I enjoy my wo rk, and I have respect for my bosses. The bus drops me off at the door of my home, and I have good cowo r ke rs. I a m 5 5 yea rs o ld, a nd I

“The fact that some employees have been

hope with all of God’s favor to continue

at Martin Gu ita r fo r 30 or 40 years is

working here in the factory until I retire.”

just amazing. The company must be doing

Maria C., 17 years, Navojoa

something right for them to stay here that long.” | John R., 4 years, Nazareth

“The stability of the co m pa ny, along with the work schedule, makes it a very

part of it and create guitars with them.”

“I love when I get to see a Martin guitar on

good work environment.” | Jose R.,

Julian B., 4 years, Nazareth

television.” | Luz C., 17 years, Navojoa

19 years, Navojoa M A R T I N G U I TA R . C O M |




Dear Martin enthusiast, Two million guitars and 100 years of ukulele production. Quite a testament to the enduring appeal of both of these instruments. Left to right: BenoĂŽt BarbĂŠ (RGM Watches), Roland Murphy (RGM Watches), Chris Martin IV (Chairman & CEO), Ja c ki e Re n n e r ( Presid e nt), Tim Teel (Director, Instrument Design), Jeff Allen ( G e n e ral Manager, Custom Shop), Robert Goetzl (Fine Artist) Photo courtesy of Zachary Hartzell

The origins of the ukulele go back to the island of Madeira off the coast of Portugal. You might wonder how this quaint and somewhat quirky instrument ended up being such an important part of Hawaiian music. The economic opportunities on Madeira were bleak in the 1800s. What did young men on Madeira know how to do? Sail ships. There was work on sailing vessels in the South Pacific. When the ships stopped at Hawaiian ports for provisions and R&R, the sailors left behind the instrument that became the instrument we know as the ukulele.


Two Millionth

In 1898, Hawaii became a U.S. territory, and by the early 20th century, tourists were enjoying the culture, the food, the climate and the music. The Pan-Pacific Exposition was held in San Francisco in 1915. One of the exhibits exposed the visitors to the fascination of all things Hawaiian, especially the music. This kick started a craze for Hawaiian music that swept across the nation. It also gave us the incentive to feature, for the first time, Martin ukes in our 1917 catalog. The demand was so strong that we put two additions on our factory at North Street in Nazareth. In 1926, we manufactured over 14,000 ukes. The demand dropped off during the Great Depression, came back briefly in the 1950s, and wasn’t helped at all by Tiny Tim. About ten years ago, interest in the uke improved, and today, it is quite popular again around the world. It is a charming, fun and easy-to-learn how to play instrument that has been referred to as the gateway to the guitar. The Hawaiian music craze was also the impetus for us to develop the Dreadnought guitar, which celebrated its 100th anniversary last year. Since our inception in 1833, our primary focus has been flat top acoustic guitars. We initially built them for gut strings and transitioned to steel strings in the 1920s. The adaptation of the 14-fret neck in the ’30s made Martin guitars easier to play. They soon became the “go-to” guitar for country, bluegrass, folk and folk-rock. Today, Martin guitars are more popular worldwide than they have ever been. As my friend Brian Majeski said in a recent editorial in Music Trades magazine: “If you accept that music making is deeply ingrained in human nature, then a strong case can be made that the guitar is a pretty essential component of civilization. With the exception of the human voice, there is nothing more musically expressive than fingers on frets and a vibrating string. In addition to their sonic beauty, guitars are visually striking as well. This probably explains why they continue to figure prominently in so many music genres.”


C. F. Martin IV Chairman & CEO C. F. Martin & Co., Inc.



five thousand stars visible in the night’s sky,

pennies, for example. If one were to collect two

and half of those probably can’t be accessed

million pennies from the sidewalks and couch

tonight from your side of the world. So when

cushions and just throw them in a pile in the

we talk about two million guitars—not stamped

backyard, that pile wouldn’t quit until it were

or whimsically floating through the eons, but

well over twelve thousand pounds. (Have fun

guitars, made by hands—we’re talking about

rolling that, and the teller is never going to

a very unique accomplishment, even over the

take it.) By comparison, there are only around

span of more than 180 years.

M A R T I N G U I TA R . C O M |


Though I don’t have the knowledge or perspective of most of the people who have a hand in making the guitars, very few outsiders have been called upon more regularly over the last few years to write about the venerable Martin Guitar and its illustrious history. There are ways in which its founding is like something from the storybooks: Godfearing Moravians, road-weary and navigating by the stars, arriving on Christmas Eve to find the city of Bethlehem— and later Nazareth. C. F. Martin, once a luthier’s apprentice, making the exodus from Austria to New York City and then to Pennsylvania. Proud and hard-working people. Communities that shifted from the business of steel to the crafting of steel guitars. The Martin factory has a mural in its Visitors Center lobby that will tell you all about it, if you have a good and a patient set of eyes. I remember the first time I saw the guitar dedicated to the one-million mark, on display at the Nazareth, Pa.-based factory, and here we are already at number two. It’s disturbing how quickly the time goes, but trust me: It was worth it for the sequel. The two millionth guitar will feature a D-45 style body, with the back and sides constructed from Brazilian rosewood. A striking cut of bearclaw Engelmann makes for the soundboard, and the guitar has a surprising heft as a result of the metal inlays carefully potted to a polished smoothness. But by far the most intriguing aspect of the guitar is the use of a watch motif to mark the anniversary, replete with decorative gears, guilloché decorative turnings and a working watch embedded within the headstock. In order to bring this idea to life, Martin recruited the help of one of America’s most notable watchmakers, Roland Murphy of RGM. Chris Martin IV, Chairman and CEO of Martin Guitar, instantly saw the value in what RGM brought to the table. “The two millionth guitar is complicated, particularly because it incorporates an actual watch into the design. But once you’re excited, you sort of put aside the hurdles that you have to jump over. RGM was a perfect fit because they’re in Pennsylvania and still make fine handcrafted watches in Pennsylvania. They’re not just a branded company. With a lot of companies today, whatever their history is, the current situation is very different because they’re sourcing the product in Asia (not that there’s anything wrong with that). In this case, Mr. Murphy had a love for American watchmaking, and he’s probably one of the only people still carrying on that tradition. In the field of watch aficionados, people recognize his dedication and his skill.”


While the concept sprouted from a discussion between Tim Teel, Martin’s Director of Instrument Design, and Scott Sasser, Custom Shop Director, Mr. Murphy instantly saw the appeal of the idea. The group also drew some inspiration from the mind of Robert Goetzl, artist and cousin to Mr. Martin. Trained as an artist before the proliferation of compu te r des i gn , G o etz l h a s h a d a long and productive history beyond his occasional work on guitars and his massively impressive mural that graces the lobby wall in Martin’s Visitors Center. In addition to his other artistic works, Goetzl has a l so ca rve d o u t a fi n e ca re e r d oing book illustrations— Seasons of the Circle is definitely worth a look—and he has also crafted iconic promotional materials, such as the image of astro n au t Al an She pa rd te e ing off f ro m t he m o o n, created for the U.S. Golf Association. For his par t, Goetzl saw his col l e c ti on of h an d m a d e s ketch es as a small step in a larger artistic process. “I sat down at the desk with a pencil and paper,” he explains, “but that was really just a seed to plant for the people who were actually using the tools and designing it through their CAD drawings, as well as all of the inlay artists, and people like that. My job was just to create a vision that the other folks could sort of rally around.” The notion instantly struck a chord with Goetzl, whose grandfather had been a watchmaker. After initially favoring a gaudier steampunk design, Goetzl eventually drew inspiration from the classic angles of RGM’s Caliber 20, which is the watch embedded in the headstock. “Tim Teel and I went down to the watch company and saw the process of how they make watches, and it was really involved and fascinating. It made me feel a connection. Here I was, trying to capture everything a watch represents, and my grandfather would have been actually making one.” While the team was creating a showpiece instrument, they wanted it to have the quality sound of a Martin guitar. The metal inlays make the piece heavy, but it still carries that classic Martin sound that has been admired by laymen, laywomen, and musical superstars alike. Careful attention was paid to the bracing and the long-term durability of the strings. While two of the six tuners were incorporated into the build of the watch, the guitar also benefits f ro m e n g i ne -turned pa r ts and a clockwork design that builds upon the spirit of anniversary—the wheels and gears of time.

M A R T I N G U I TA R . C O M |



Two Millionth


Though it may fly in the face of common logic, very few objects

only American watchmakers in a changing landscape. “We’re really

are more naturally crafted to embody the spirit of an anniversary

the only company in the U.S. that is actually manufacturing high-

than a guitar. In ways often disregarded or forgotte n , the shape

grade mechanical watch movements anymore,” Murphy explains.

and construction of a guitar are an unusually fitting representation

“We put a lot of work into the design of the mechanisms and the

of both harmony and time, with the theory behind a guitar holding

hand-finishing of the movements. We also make the dial of the

mu c h more knowle dge th an i mme di ate l y co m e s t o m ind . The

watch, which is hand cu t w i t h e n gine turning, known in French

gu i tar ’ s m o s t i m p o r t a n t p re d e c e s s o r wa s p ro b a b l y t h e l y re,

as guilloché.” The lost art of guilloché i s o ne of the hallmarks

especially the seven - stri n ge d l y re of th e an c i e nt G re e k s. The

of M ur p hy ’s cra f t, a nd it p lays heavily i nto the two millionth

philosophers of that e ra tel l u s th at each of the strings of the

guitar’s design. He explains it thus: “The process includes cutting

lyre was meant to represent either the sun or the moon or one of

geometric patterns into the dial, which most companies mimic by

the five wandering planets visible to the human eye. Along with

stamping. Ours are cut line by line. It creates sharper peaks and

the teachings on music attributed to Orpheus, there was a long

valleys, so it reflects light in a more beautiful way.” The project

tradition bolstered by the geometer Pythagoras insisting that a

presented a series of e n g i n e e r i n g c h a l l enges, with Martin and

music or a harmony existed between the heavenly spheres by merit

RGM working together to find solutions that would elevate rather

of their relationships to one another, and the strings of the lyre

than minimize their unique set of skills. “We needed to make a

were tangible representatives of that higher order. The shape of

watch for the two millionth guitar that would fit into the headstock

the week was also included in this far-reaching philosophy, which

while integrating into the guitar in a way in which the guitar and

is why the seven days of th e we e k are named for the Sun (i.e.,

the watch b ot h wo r ke d we ll and b e lo nged together. We had to

Sunday), the Moon (i.e., Monday), and the planets before returning

build a housing for the watch in order to save space. Two of the

to Sunday—not unlike the Do-Re-Mi scale of the solfège or octave

guitar tuners are integrated into the watch case itself, and the

in which a note asce n ds th e mu s i cal scale to ar r ive ba ck at a

other four tuners—which we helped make—are separate. There

higher, brighter form of Do. Certain moral and philosophical beliefs

were challenges there and things we had never done before, but

were base d up on re co gn i ti o n of th i s patte rn , though the most

that was a challenge we were able to conquer nicely.” Martin’s

pertinent takeaway here is that craftspeople of all ages have always

Ti m Te e l explains, “Our technical ch a l l enge was to figure o ut

worked to inject their finest creations with the beauty and order

how to incorporate a tuning gear design into the mounting piece

embodied by the mysteries and marvels found while observing the

that wo u ld h o l d t h e c l o ck while also giving us something that

blossoming, regenerative world. The seven vowels of the ancient

would look good and function well. Working with RGM was a great

tongue were also attributed to these celestial bodies, and the idea

experience. I personally l ea r n e d a l ot, and I think it was a fun

was popular and all-pervading enough within the popular culture

project for them too, because I don’t think it was something that’s

that archaeologists have occasionally recovered ancient jewelry in

ever been done before. When we got into brainstorming sessions,

which the seven vowels are placed along a series of gilded ladder

everyone was able to contribute in their unique ways.” But the

steps—and the musical scale, naturally, takes its inspiration from

design elements went well beyond the headstock. “We wanted to

the ladder (Latin scala, meaning “ladder” or “flight of stairs”).

work on the styling so it would blend in and look appropriate,” says

The duties for crafting many of the timepiece and design elements

Murphy, “so we also worked on the guilloché, or engine-turned,

fell on the shoulders of the venerable Roland Murphy, whose RGM

soundhole ring as well as other engine-turned plates. We’ve had a

Watches is based in Lancaster, Pa. To put Murphy’s pedigree into

pretty big role in working with Martin on this, and everyone at RGM

perspective, watch aficionado Michael Clerizo, writing for the Wall

has been really enthusiastic about the project. Martin’s certainly

Street Journal, has called Murphy “America’s preeminent master

an old company that makes beautiful things, just like we like to

watchmaker.” Educate d at th e n ow- defunct Bowman Technical

make beautiful things. We’ve been working on this for a couple

School that was in Lancaster, Pa., Murphy also studied at WOSTEP

of years now, and it’s a great project because it’s about making

in Neuchâtel, Switzerland, in the mid-eighties before working for a

something special more than about anything else. It’s about trying

Swiss company in America.

to create something that will wow people. I think this project will get

In 1992, he founded RGM, and he is noted for being one of the

everyone’s attention.”

M A R T I N G U I TA R . C O M |


Few A m e r i c a n s h ave h ad as mu c h o p p o r t u n i t y to stud y t he s c i e n c e a nd a r t of t im e a s M ur p hy, whose company p ro du ces ove r two h u n dre d haute horology watches per year — b ut d o n’t m ind m e if I a dd so me trivia to d e e pe n th e moti f of time. Known as horology—fro m t he G re e k ho ra ( i.e., “ ho ur, o r p e r io d of t he day”) and –logy (i.e., “study”)—the study of time holds vestigi a l remnants of civilization that begin with the astronomical zodiac and our earliest understandings of the universe. We’re not talking about my Aunt Lucille fretting about the horoscope in the Sunday newspaper, though the histories of astronomy and astrology are more than tangentially intertwined. What I mean is that just as the Moravians who settled the Lehigh Valley had been guided by trail blazes and indigenous paths and the movement of the stars, the clockwork rotation of the celestial bodies was our most dependable method of measurement and timekeeping within the early observable universe. Forgotten scientists and sages of bygone millennia noted that a new constellation of the zodiac meets with the horizon every hour, creating a circular dance of storybook characters twice during the course of the 24-hour day. This twinkling menagerie also helped mark the moons and aspects of the agrarian seasons, leading to the 12-month calendar. We find the i m p o r ta n ce of this cycle embedded in the custo ms and steps of some of our most time-honored dances, including the dervishes of the East and the ceremonies of the Lakota. The hora, a popular dance across many seemingly disparate cultures, takes its name directly from this cycle of the hours. So if the strings of the lyre once represented the sun and the moon and the five wandering planets obse rvable to the naked eye, it is a fitting harmony that the inner gears and workings of a watch would also account for the heavens. Early music theorists tell us that the twelve musical pitches of the chromatic scale were base d on th i s celestial dance, in a similar manner to how the sun and moon and planets inspi re d th e oc tave (and the Do-Re-Mi, the ascending l adder of the solfège). That all sounds very high-minded, but what could better represent an anniversary guitar than a motif weaving some of the richest and most vitally important knowledge necessary to the long-term success of humankind? Not that Martin or RGM were consciously playing that angle, per se. It would be more accurate to frame it this way: As long as artisans and craftspeople have plied their trades, they’ve looked to the beauty and complexity of the natural world to inspire a finer product. And when artisans of seemingly disparate fields have worked together to learn from one another and work together for a fine product, the res u l ts have often been nothing short of stellar.


In addition to the work Martin and RGM put toward the two millionth guitar, the duo also collaborated on a signature guitar—the D-200 Deluxe—inspired by the watch motif, a D-45 style body incorporating many of the key design elements. Unlike the anniversary guitar with its clock-face headstock, the D-200 Deluxe will come with an RGM-designed wristwatch that will round out the time motif while adding a personal feel. Explains Tim Teel, “For the D-200 Deluxe, we wanted to make it so that whoever owns it will cherish it and play it, so we made sure it kept the weight of a regular guitar. We changed the inlays—primarily wood and pearl—and there will be less potting, except for the rosette area.” The ring for the soundhole, as well as other choice parts, will also be crafted by the watchmakers at RGM. “We’re designing a very special watch for the D-200 Deluxe,” Murphy explains. “Projects like these don’t come around every day. It’s a wonderful opportunity, but it is expensive to design something this special while also making it here in Pennsylvania. For our part, we’re proud to make anything that highlights homegrown craftsmanship.” And as time goes on, craftsmanship remains one of the cornerstones of lasting American businesses. Chris Martin IV was at the helm when the company hit the one-million mark, so it is no small feat that the 183-year-old guitar company has already doubled that milestone under his watch. But don’t ask him about it. When asked about the accolade, Martin laughs that he tries not to think about it. He’s ever looking toward the challenges of the future. “The big challenge—and all of us who make fine musical instruments are aware of this—will be the availability of the exotic materials. We have to be very aware of asking what we are doing to foster sustainability, while talking to our customers about alternatives. It’s a challenge. I’ve always felt as if it was important for me to be open to alternatives, because otherwise it’s a zero-sum game.” But while new challenges may arise in an ever-changing global market, there are some outlooks that stand the test of time. As Martin’s Director of Museum and Archives Dick Boak philosophizes, “You know, our growth is all fine and good in respect to the healthy economy of Nazareth and what it does for the employees working here, but one has to ask where all the guitars go. If we were able to grow at the same rate, could we make a million guitars in a year? Maybe. But honestly, the elements that are special to me about Martin Guitar have nothing to do with quantity. What we’re focused on is the quality and the integrity of the product that produces exceptional tone. I think the first ingredient of Martin instruments should continue to be great tone and making su re we’ re fostering t h e sort of work environment in which people are constantly learning and proud of what they can do.”

M A R T I N G U I TA R . C O M |


The diffe re nce was n’ t i n t h e n u m b e rs , of co urse. That’s t he t ro ub le w it h anniversaries. We boil a passel of years into a party or a ring or a guitar, and those on the outside—like myself—are often left oblivious to the hard work and technical expertise that goes into tuning just one string. And as systems become automated and as further American manufacturers make the voyage overseas, fewer citizens have a proper vantage point from which to examine and appreciate the nature and the heart of the American artisan. But if the morning news ever gets you low and lonesome over the worries and affairs of this world, do yourself a favor and follow a star to the old Moravian hill country of Pennsylvania. Slouch toward Bethlehem, Pa., and then Nazareth, Pa., and take a tour of a guitar factory where folks still whistle while they work and where a man or a woman may pick up some odd-shaped piece of wood or shell and tell you more about it than you know about your mother’s chicken soup. And they’re well aware of the two-million milestone, of course. They have reason to be proud. But what I suspect, if my own experiences serve as any proof, is that most of the people in that factory would say from their work stations, “Sure. I had some hand in some of those guitars. So did my mother and father. But right now, if you want to know the truth, I’m really only concerned with this one.” And that’s part of the secret to the recipe. That’s where quality and craftsmanship trump all. That’s Robert Goetzl laboring for long days with his pen, sketching out th e shadows and lines that will later grace a children’s book, an ad campaign, a mural, or the time-inspired features of a wooden machine that brings together the deep roots of his personal and artistic history. That’s Roland Murphy and his people laboring over guilloché while pondering th e gears an d complications that push us through the days, through the hours. And that’s the hundreds of people who go into Martin Guitar every day with an eye toward improving and perfecting a long tradition of beauty, one piece at a time. And just as the strings of the lyre once represented the sun and the moon and the wandering planets, and just as the ticks of the watch once represented the menagerie of glittering animals that marked the hours and the seasons while guiding the travelers of a bygone era, these guitars serve as a living artifact of what may occur when theory and practice fight against the odds to merge into a tangible harmony. And maybe one day there won’t be American artisans to collaborate, if the dwindling number of American guitar makers or watchmakers may be submitted as evidence. Maybe there won’t be the hands-on technicians. Maybe there won’t be the metal or wood. That is yet to be known in an environmentally distressed world. But if this anniversary guitar sticks around for a thousand years, complete with its headstock and design, its well-constructed bridge, some lucky admirer is going to pick it up one day, dust it off for clues, and most assuredly say to anyone around, “Can you even believe that people used to make things as beautiful and enduring as this?” And that guitar will hold some mysteries and knowledge of the forgotten world that even the makers may not have been fully aware of. One guitar, pegged for an anniversary, reaching around the heavens to say something about the beauty and order of this world. But it is still just one of two million, of course, and two million is a lot of anything. Lots of stars and lots of pennies. But the trick, from what I gather, goes something like this: The only way to two million of anything is to learn how to make one—but to learn how to make that one exceptionally, exceptionally well. Learn more about the D-200 Deluxe at Watch the video of the making of Martin’s Two Millionth guitar at 22 | TUNING THE HARMONY OF TIME



BILL HALL Before Bill Hall ca m e to M a r t in in 1 975 , he wa s e m p l oye d a s a n ex p er t sawyer in a highproduction New Hampshire sawmill. His expertise in quarter-sawing made him the perfect candidate to oversee the cutting of rosewood, spruce and mahogany components for Martin guitar production. Martin had invested in a new building adjacent to the Sycamore Street factory with the h o p e of cutting l o gs cor re c t l y a n d efficiently. Th e Sawmill was promptly equipped with a state-of-the-art Brenta precision bandmill and resaw. Unfortunately, nearly immediate restrictions on guitar-specific log importation forced Martin to make the best of an Bill Hall inspecting a rare shipment of East Indian rosewood logs in the Martin Sawmill, circa 1975.

unfortunate situation by utilizing the Sawmill to supply a variety of custom-cut alternate wood species for the high-end furniture and woodworking markets. In addition, the Sawmill solicited the custom processing of logs, and for many years, Bill cut all of the large girth walnut logs for George Nakashima, the highly res p e c te d wo o d wo r ke r who is generally credited as the fath e r of contemporary American furniture making. As exotic woods became increasingly more difficult to import and as the demand for Martin’s guitar-related lumber processing i n c reased , t he Saw m ill’s business was gradually suspended, a nd t he b ui l d i ng i tsel f wa s enveloped by the ma j o r fa c to r y expansion i n 1 9 9 8 . But as early as 1989, Bill had made a graceful transition into guitar production and excelled there in many key managerial roles. He eventually assumed the position of Senior International Manufacturing Director and virtually defi n e d t hat eve r - g row ing responsibility until his ret ire m e nt in 2 016. Thi s sma l l t ri b ute acknowledges Bill Hall’s great contribution and commitment to Martin’s success over his 40+ years of employment.


THE SAWMILL, INC. By 1980, the Sawmill was importing non-guitar exotic wood species like bubinga, zebrawood, purpleheart and padauk, and custom cutting logs for a variety of discerning customers. Seen here are a nice array of George Nakashima’s large girth walnut logs. If you could reach around the trunk of a walnut tree and touch your fingers, the tree was too small for George. All of these trees had to be metal detected for barbed wire, horseshoes, electrical insulators and Civil War bullets before going onto the saw carriage, as cutting into metal on “fencerow” walnut is certainly the bane to a ny sawye r. Th e p recision Martin bandmill could accommodate large logs of up to 54" diameter with a very fine saw kerf that didn’t waste the precious resource. Left to right: Glenn Peters, Alan Peters, Bill Hall (sawyer) and Dick Boak (Manager of Martin’s Wood Products Division).

LINDA & MIKE Martin’s longtime wood expert and purveyor Linda Davis-Wallen posed with Martin’s renowned historian/author Mike Longworth (1938-2003) in the Sawmill for this photo that appeared on the cover of an impressive calendar created by Martin’s Japanese distributor in 1979. For more than 20 years, Linda was integral to the management of the Sawmill. The wood expertise that she gleaned in that role has proven invaluable (if not critical) to the wood acquisition a n d so u rc i n g challenges for Martin guitars ever since!

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THE OLDEST SURVIVING MAKER OF UKULELES BY THOMAS WALSH 2017 marks the 100th anniversary of Martin’s formal catalog introduction of ukuleles to the marketplace. Martin first prototyped ukuleles in 1906. Like Martin guitars, these had s p r u ce tops and didn’t achieve the desired “plinky” tone. Following San Francisco’s Panama-Pacific International Exposition of 1915, the popularity of the ukulele was on the rise, and Martin gave it another try, this time shipping a batch of mahogany-topped ukuleles that had the perfect tone. During 1916, Martin gradually developed Soprano Styles 1, 2 and 3, and by the time Martin’s first ukulele catalog appeared in 1917, Frank Henry Martin boldly claimed that the Style 3 was “superior to original Hawaiian instruments in quality and volume of tone.” In the years that followed, Martin came to define and extend ukulele design by adding larger Concert, Tenor, Taropatch, Tiple and Baritone configurations, many of which were offered with genuine Hawaiian koa tonewood. Join us in celebrating these joyous little cousins of the guitar!

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All photos courtesy of the Martin Archives

When, and why, did Martin make its very first ukuleles? In the first decade of the 1900s, the ukulele was becoming very popular in Hawaii, but was still virtually unknown on most of the U.S. mainland. There were only a small handful of ukulele makers in Hawaii at the time, and these builders were individuals, not factories. Bergstrom Music was a music retailer in Honolulu, and we can only assume that they were looking for new ways to meet the demand for ukuleles. In the fall of 1907, Bergstrom Music’s J. W. Bergstrom visited Chicago and the East Coast, and it is quite possible that he stopped in at the Martin factory, as Bergstrom had been selling Martin guitars since 1900. It may be that he left a Hawaiian ukulele with Martin or had one sent from Hawaii and requested Martin make an attempt at ukulele building. In Martin’s sales book, there is an entry dated December 6, 1907: “6 Hawaiian Ukuleles made to sample as trial lot to calculate price 6.50.” Bergstrom didn’t order Martin ukuleles again until 1917, so it is likely that Martin’s $6.50 asking price and the associated shipping costs to Hawaii were simply not competitive enough for Bergstrom to have any more Martin ukuleles made. So, how long was it before Martin gave ukuleles another try, and what went differently that time? Martin got back into ukulele manufacturing beginning in 1915. Hawaiian music was quickly growing in popularity, and demand had begun growing strong on the mainland for ukuleles. Martin’s New York City retailers requested Martin make them ukuleles. Martin’s largest NYC-based account was Chas. H. Ditson & Company. Ditson had been selling Hawaiian-made ukuleles since at least 1910, and with growing demand saw a need for a source that was closer to home. Martin made its first listed ukulele sale in October of 1915. In late 1915 and 1916, Martin made many adjustments to their ukulele models. By 1917, the construction style was quite similar to the ukuleles Martin would make for the next 75 years, and are now making again. The title of your book refers to the Martin ukulele as “The Little Instrument That Helped Create a Guitar Giant.” Isn’t that a little over the top? Wasn’t Martin a big name guitar maker for decades before they first made ukuleles? Martin was unquestionably a highly respected guitar maker for over 80 years before ukuleles became part of their standard production. However, they were not a “giant” in the guitar business with respect to the actual number of instruments they were making. Martin was making only a couple of hundred guitars per year at the time they began ukulele production. A number of other manufacturers, including Chicago’s Lyon & Healy and Regal, were making thousands of guitars annually. Although Martin’s guitar sales started to pick up around the same time as they got into ukulele production (both were bolstered by the Hawaiian music craze), it was the very strong ukulele demand that was the primary reason for the factory expansions of the late teens and mid-1920s. When ukulele sales started to dip in the late 1920s, Martin had the space


and resources to increase its guitar production to meet the growing demand of the time. When other companies were going out of business during the Depression years of the 1930s, Martin was able to rely on the financial surplus created during the ukulele boom. But even when Martin’s ukulele production was at its peak, the guitar was always the heart of the Martin Co., wasn’t it? The guitar might still have been the “heart” of the company, but the ukulele was paying the bills. Ukulele sales climbed quickly as dealers from around the country began ordering them from Martin. Between 1916 and 1926, Martin built fewer than 17,000 guitars. In that same time period, they built nearly 57,000 ukuleles. In fact, in those first 11 years of ukulele production, Martin made twice as many ukuleles as they had produced guitars in their entire 93-year history. How many different ukulele styles did Martin make? A lot. In 1916, Martin began making soprano ukuleles in three styles (unsurprisingly designated as Styles 1, 2 and 3). Soprano is considered the “standard” ukulele size at approximately 21" long overall. They also made the same three styles in an eight-string “taropatch” model. The taropatch had a larger body and was styled after the Hawaiian taropatch, which had recently become popular in Hawaii. The larger taropatch model could also be ordered with just four strings. Also in 1916, they began making all of their soprano and taropatch models in a special mini-dreadnought shape for Chas. H. Ditson & Co. of New York City. Martin initially chose to make their ukuleles almost entirely out of mahogany, including the tops, but by 1919, all of the standard models were also made available in Hawaiian koa wood. In 1922, two more sopranos were added to the catalog, a low-end Style 0 and the top-of-the-line abalone-inlaid all koa Style 5K. In 1925, Martin first cataloged the larger concert size (23" overall) ukulele, but only listed it in one model, the Style 1C. In 1928, an even larger Style 1T tenor ukulele (about 26" overall) was added, and in 1960, the largest ukulele in the line was added, the Style B51 baritone ukulele (about 30" overall length). Over the last 10 years, Martin has reintroduced ukuleles in soprano, concert, and tenor sizes. When were the peak years of Martin’s ukulele production? 1925 and 1926. In the late teens, the Hawaiian music craze that swept across the country initiated the demand for ukuleles. By the mid-1920s, the ukulele had become an instrument that was being used to play all sorts of popular music, and it seemed everyone had to have one. In 1925, over 14,000 ukulele orders came in, and Martin quite simply could not keep up with the demand. For perhaps the first time in their history, they had to turn away all new customers because they had fallen so far behind. During that year, the second story of the new wing at the North Street factory was completed, and production was increased. More than 10,000 ukuleles were ordered the following year. By the end of 1926, Martin caught up with the back orders, just as demand for ukuleles began a long, slow decline. M A R T I N G U I TA R . C O M |


So, did Martin stop making ukuleles after this decline? No. During the 1930s as guitar sales grew, Martin continued to make many styles of ukuleles. Some models, like the taropatch, had fallen out of popularity and were dropped. Most others continued to be made, but for most of the 1930s, fewer than 1,000 ukuleles were produced each year. Interest in the ukulele started to grow again in the years of World War II, with Martin selling a couple of thousand ukuleles a year. With koa wood in short supply, Martin began to phase out koa models, including their top-of-the line Style 5K. During the early war years, Martin offered the Style 5 instrument in beautiful curly mahogany, but 1942 was the last year they were made. By the late 1940s, the ukulele line had been simplified to just six models, all in mahogany: four soprano models, as well as the concert and tenor ukuleles. When Arthur Godfrey took to the radio and television with his ukulele in the late 1940s and early 1950s, ukulele sales climbed again across the country and at Martin. Over 5,000 ukuleles were ordered every year from 1949 to 1952, and they continued to sell about 3,000 per year until the mid-1960s. Martin eventually stopped ukulele production completely. Why? Well, there were a number of factors. In the 1960s, Martin’s guitar sales were surging, and the ukulele was losing popularity. Tiny Tim, despite his unpredictable popularity, most likely did not inspire many to play the ukulele. It seems that it got to the point where making ukuleles, even in small numbers, was getting in the way of Martin’s guitar production. Ukulele prices were raised repeatedly, and by the late 1970s, even the basic Style 0 was listed for over $500. The price increases caused even fewer ukuleles to be sold, and in 1977, ukuleles were made available on special order only. In the 1980s and early 1990s, it was much less expensive (and likely much faster) to locate and purchase a used Martin ukulele than to order a new one. With very few ukuleles being ordered, Martin eventually decided to stop ukulele production completely. Ironically, production ceased around 1995, just as a new wave of interest in the instrument was beginning to develop across the country. So, how long was Martin out of the ukulele business? Not long. Martin began manufacturing Backpacker guitars in their Navojoa, Mexico, factory in 1992. In 1997, just a couple of years after ending ukulele production in Nazareth, they introduced the Mexican-made Backpacker ukulele. Martin sold a few hundred of these each year in the late 1990s and early 2000s. In 2002, they added a standard soprano ukulele model, the SO, also made in their Mexican facility. In 2006, Martin again began building ukuleles in Nazareth. They first reintroduced the Style 5K ukulele, a model that had not been made since the late 1930s. Over the last 10 years, Martin has reintroduced new versions of many of their vintage ukulele models, including Style 3 sopranos and Style 1 and 2 ukuleles in concert and tenor sizes. Who are some of the players who played Martin ukuleles? Cliff Edwards, known as Ukulele Ike, always seems to be playing a Martin in every vintage photo of him. Roy Smeck was quite fond of Martin guitars and played their ukuleles exclusively until he signed a promotional deal with Harmony. May Singhi Breen, the Ukulele Lady, was extremely fond of her Martin ukuleles. She had a number of custom models made for her by Martin. Jimmie Rodgers, considered by many to be the Father of Country Music, played a Martin ukulele when he wasn’t playing guitar. He even wrote to Martin before his first recordings were released, looking to buy ukuleles “for Fair Concessions” and asked for the price on “three or four hundred” ukuleles! Along with Hawaiian-made Kamaka ukuleles, Martin ukuleles have always been very popular with Hawaiian musicians. Jesse Kalima, Eddie Kamae, Alfred Apaka, Herb Ohta (aka Ohta-San), and Israel Kamakawiwo’ole are just a few of the top Hawaiian musicians who were fond of Martin ukuleles. Learn more about Martin’s anniversary ukulele and the entire ukulele series at


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In 2009, artist Robert Goetzl (also a first co us in to C hr is M a r t in) wa s co mmi ssi o ned to create a n e p ic wo r k of a r t d ep i c t i ng Ma r t i n’ s longstanding history—its family, its sound and i t s s t o r y. A f t e r s i x ye a r s i n t h e m a k i n g , t h e s ix- pa ne l se r ies of 4' by 3' cont i g uo us mura l s wa s completed a nd now ha ngs p ro mi nent l y i n the lobby of Martin’s Visitors Center. As richly textured as the music of the Martin guitar, t he murals are dimensional—most ly painstakingly painted, but also incorporating mixed media of collage and found objects. Certainly a labor of love fo r G o e t z l , he re f l e c t s o n t he p ro j ec t: “ I rea lize d t he e no r m ity of t he p ro j ec t—not j ust in sco p e b ut a lso in imp o r ta nce to t he fa mi l y a n d to t h e te n s o f t h o u s a n d s o f p e o p l e w h o wo uld b e lo o k ing at it. ” Vis it t he M a r t in G uitar fa c to ry, l o cated i n N a za ret h, Pa ., to view t he m u ra l i n p erso n, o r yo u ca n p urcha se a p ri nt si g ned by C ha ir m a n a nd C EO C hri s Ma r t i n IV o nl i ne at M a r t inG uita m / 18 33 Sho p. M A R T I N G U I TA R . C O M |



I recently took my car to the shop with a heavy heart and grim expectations. It seemed like there was some kind of major problem: It was shaking at higher speeds, veering inexplicably to both the left and right, and generally acting weird. Since I’ve chosen to remain willfully uneducated in the mechanical arts, it was tough to guess what might be wrong—it could have been anything, and frankly they could have told me anything. The cost of ignorance is high.


Luckily, the folks at this particular garage are exceptionally honest. New tires, they said. That’s all you need. Dry rot’s taken over the old ones. OK, that’s a relief, I thought, …sort of. It was nice to know there was nothing wrong with the engine or chassis, but spending money on tires felt deeply unsatisfying, like somehow it was money for nothing. I’d resigned myself to investing in a more fundamental, important upgrade to my car. These feelings of dispirit vanished as soon as I pulled out of the parking lot, and then quickly morphed into a new series of sensations. I felt excited, renewed, relieved—the car was driving beautifully, perfectly! It did not have mechanical problems. It was not showing signs of age. No, rather, it had a maintenance problem, an ownership problem. The owner did not understand the paramount importance of tires. I was reminded of the reaction I have every time I change my guitar strings. As my strings reach the end of their lives and my tone suffers, thoughts of new guitars, new gear appear more and more often. Then, with a new set on, I think only: Wow. I’ve got to start doing this way more often. “I’ve many times said to someone, ‘You put a set of Martin strings on there, and it’ll leap to life,’” world-renowned guitar virtuoso Tommy Emmanuel said when we spoke for this article. “At the moment, it’s being held back by bad strings, but there’s nothing wrong with your guitar.” Had I heard this months ago, I doubt I would have been smart enough to apply his wisdom to my car,



but at least I would have spent less time worrying that I

since the wrap wire is, as the name suggests, wrapped

needed a new guitar. “The sound of the strings—that’s my

around the core wire, but the basic idea remains: There are

world,” says Tommy, and perhaps this is why he puts on

two parts to these guitar strings, and one lives hidden inside

a fresh set before every show. This is probably also why

the other. Like a corndog, there exists an ideal ratio between

NASCAR crews may change tires up to 12 times during a

the inside core and the outside layer, or rather there exist a

single race: Top-of-the-line engines and world-class drivers

few ideal ratios for players of different tastes.

notwithstanding, those tires are key. Meanwhile, many

Martin originally developed the SP Flexible Core strings

everyday motorists wait for their tires to go bald, and too

for beginners, whose tastes are largely dictated by their

many guitarists are playing dead strings.

emergent abilities and still-callousing fingertips. The idea

There’s a certain devil-may-care attitude about strings

behind the SP Flexible Core string is that you can slenderize

that’s grown out of some musical cultures, and in some cases

the core wire while fattening the wrap wire to produce a

there’s plenty of good reason for it (like, for example, your

string that has the same volume and tone as a traditional

string budget being one in the same with your food budget).

string, but is more flexible and has a softer touch. SP Flexible

But “three chords and the truth” sounds a lot snappier than

Core strings are easier to bend, which makes them an ideal

“three chords, a lively set of strings, a proper setup, a

string for fingerstyle players. This is part of the attraction

thoroughly warmed-up voice, and the truth.” The mythologies

for pros like Tommy Emmanuel, who also observes that “it’s

of our heroes can mislead as much as they inspire.

much more accurate with the capo as well. Strings impact

So, let’s set the record straight: Strings are really important.

everything.” Similar to the way Coca-Cola ® was originally

A guitar without strings is, at best, a very expensive drum.

conceived as a treatment for headaches, but turned out

The way accomplished players like Tommy Emmanuel, who

to be more popular as a soft drink, the SP Flexible Core

are highly sensitive to both the sound and feel of their

strings were originally designed to complement the needs

strings, can felicitously describe the defining qualities of a

of beginners, but this innovative string is now valued by a

given formula really underscores this point. “When Martin

panoply of players for different reasons.

sent me some SP Flexible Core strings, I was thrilled because

Martin has been manufacturing its own strings since 1970,

they still had toughness to them, but they also had that

and 2017 marks the 20th anniversary of the launch of SP

flexibility and a softer feeling even though they were 54

core wire, which is the particular type of core wire used in

to 12 [gauge]. It’s a solid-feeling string, and it just has a

all of the Martin Strings families with “SP” in the name. SP

sweetness that I really love.” However, to really appreciate

core wire is made from premium, high-tensile steel that

what makes a player like Tommy Emmanuel gravitate towards

holds tuning longer, and the successive insights of the SP

a string like the SP Flexible Core, it helps to first have a

Flexible Core strings wouldn’t have been possible without

basic technical understanding of the string itself.

these earlier innovations. The SP co re wire used in SP

The first thing to know about guitar strings is that there are either one or two basic parts: the core wire and the wrap

Flexible Core strings is the finest, thinnest core wire that’s been produced by Martin’s manufacturing team.

wire. On the higher B and E strings, the core wire is the

Despite the fo re g o i n g , technical k n owled ge is not a

guitar string. On the lower E, A, D and G strings, both

prerequisite to appreciating the SP Flexible Core strings.

components make up the string. If the lower E, A, D and G

As Tommy puts it, “I don’t profess to technically know a lot

strings were a corndog, that core wire would be the pork/

about strings. All I know is what works for me. I live in the

beef/soy/unknown meat-like product, and the cornmeal

real world—I have to get the best sound I possibly can, the

would be the wrap wire. This is a slightly imperfect analogy

best tuning I possibly can, and consistency every time.”

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They say music’s greats make it look easy, but when Tommy Emmanuel picks up a guitar, there’s no delusions about the skill behind his music. His alacritous playing is filled with an energy that seems to warp the normal dimensions of time; the listener, rapt in attention, feels weightlessly suspended in the moment of every beautifully articulated note. Tommy’s tone is of course no accident either; he carefully considers, and exhaustively experiments, with each component of his sound. But, as an acoustic fingerstyle player, there are only so many elements in the equation, and strings are chief among them. “I’ve always been very conscious of what strings work. Nowadays, I’m pretty guaranteed that every time I put a set of Martin strings on my guitar, it’s not only going to sound great, but it’s going to tune up just right—what’s important to me is that the guitar feels great, but more importantly, tunes up perfectly.” That being said, Tommy’s preferences are based on what works rather than brand loyalty, and he’ll be the first to tell you that he’s open to playing any string—it’s whatever sounds good to his very exacting ears. For Tommy and the SP Flexible Core strings, it was decidedly not love at first touch. The technology took some time to perfect—when you’re trailblazing, there is no path to follow, and a few crooked turns are simply part of the journey. “It was probably around 2009 or 2010 when I came up to Canada on a tour, and Martin gave me a bunch of strings to try out. They were looking for feedback on the SP Flexible Core strings. The third string kept breaking, so I mentioned that. They went back and did some adjustments and sent me some more strings, and they were perfect. I said you really got it now!” Even though the SP Flexible Core is now Tommy’s preferred string, his real world concerns demand that he heed his intuition. For example, Tommy has found, “If you use the same string for every string change, after a few weeks of doing that, the real brilliant, complex textures that new strings bring out of the guitar will start to die away. And you’ll change the strings, and you’ll say they don’t sound as good as they normally do.” So what does Tommy do to cleanse the palate of his guitar? “Sometimes I’ll put on Martin’s new Retro™ strings, and they work really well, too. But it’s a totally different sound!” Still, the SP Flexible Core remains his go-to string because it sounds great, feels great, and because “I can put on a brand new pair of strings and not check my tuning for five songs, and it’ll still be perfect.” #StayTuned Learn more about Tommy’s choice, Martin’s SP Flexible Core strings, at Stay up to date on what Tommy Emmanuel is doing at



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#staytuned 40 | MARTIN®


Album available everywhere

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NEW RELEASES D-200 DELUXE After 184 years, and in celebration of our two millionth serial number milestone, C. F. Martin & Co. is proud to introduce the D-200 Deluxe. Created in collaboration with renowned watchmaker Roland G. Murphy (RGM), this unprecedented instrument is symbolic of the passage of time with a unique watch theme displayed throughout the many highly decorative aspects of the model. A classic 14-fret Style 45 Dreadnought is the basis for this work of art. The top is crafted from highly figured bearclaw Engelmann spruce and features an aluminum rosette with guilloché engraving—a refined process of cutting geometric patterns into metal—which also appears on the stainless steel tuning machine buttons of the edition. The guitar’s back of rare pre-CITES Brazilian rosewood is inlaid with spectacular watch gears cut from reconstituted stone, mother-of-pearl, bloodwood, Hawaiian koa and ebony. The equally spectacular soundboard inlays feature a minute track in mother-of-pearl, birdseye maple, flamed Hawaiian koa and ebony, and a pickguard with pearl inlaid watch gears. Yet another unique decorative detail is the triple-strand abalone pearl striping that bisects the length of each side, referencing the early Spanish-inspired instruments of C. F. Martin Sr. The maple bound ebony fingerboard showcases watch gear mechanisms with the highest level of delicate inlay art. Each guitar is furnished with a newly designed wearable edition watch from RGM that references details from the D-200 Deluxe guitar design and bears a matching serial number with each edition instrument. Lastly, each guitar comes in a premium aluminum ZERO Manufacturing ® attaché case with a built-in hygrometer that allows the interior environment of the case to be seen without the need to open the case. Limited to no more than 50 highly collectible pristine guitars, this instrument will be played and prized until the end of time. Discover Martin’s new winter models at


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CS-CFMARTINOUTLAW-17 This limited edition Dreadnought for 2017 breaks the traditional Custom Shop rules. Crafted with traditional Authentic hide glue construction, the CS-CFMartinOutlaw-17 also includes a modern modified low oval neck with a high performance ta p e r and a drop-in belly bridge. The soundboard is constructed with an Adirondack red spruce top that features Martin’s torrefied Vintage Tone System (VTS*). The ba ck and sides are crafted of genuine mahogany and trimmed with antique white binding and matching heelcap, B ra z i l i a n ro s e w o o d h e a d p l a te, b o n e n u t a nd s a d d l e, a n d a n eb o ny fingerboard and bridge. The CS-CFMartinOutlaw-17 is limited to no more than 10 0 special instruments. Discove r Martin’s new winter models at *This model boasts Martin’s Vintage Tone System (VTS) Adirondack spruce top and braces to replicate the aged appearance and tonality of the original. The new Martin Vintage Tone System (VTS) uses a unique recipe that is based on the historic torrefaction system. The VTS acts much like a time machine in which Martin can target certain time periods and a ge the top/braces to that era. Learn more about Martin’s Vintage Tone System (VTS) at



000-30 AUTHENTIC 1919 Remaining true to its origins, the 000-30 Authentic 1919 is meticulously crafted with hide glue construction, dovetail neck joint, solid Adirondack red spruce top with Martin’s torrefied Vintage Ton e System (VTS*), solid Madagascar rosewood back and sides with a thin Vintage Gloss finish, a grained ivoroid bound black ebony fingerboard inlaid with 1919 style abalone snowflakes and a black ebony bridge. The lightn ess of con stru ction combined with the faithful authentic details and processes contributes a remarkable integrity, b oth in ton e and appearance, to this beautiful re-creation. Discover Martin’s new winter models at *This model boasts Martin’s Vintage Tone System (VTS) Adirondack spruce top and b races to replicate the aged appearance and tonality of the original. The new Martin Vintage Tone System (VTS) uses a unique recipe that is based on the historic torrefaction system. The VTS acts much like a time machine in which Martin can target certain time periods and age the top/braces to that era. Learn more about Martin’s Vintage Tone System (VTS) at

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Album available everywhere


D-28 JOHN PRINE SIGNATURE EDITION This beautiful custom signature edition is limited to no more than 70 special instruments. The prolific and highly respected John Prine has played his 1960s Martin D-28 throughout his entire career, so it is no surprise that he wanted his signature model to be just that. The D-28 John Prine is crafted with an Engelmann spruce top to replicate the unique bass response of Prine’s personal guitar. Madagascar rosewood back and sides offer a powerfully resonant sound right out of the box. The headplate is inlaid with angel wings to commemorate one of John’s most popular songs—“Angel from Montgomery.” The top has an antique toner finish to give it the warm, aged appearance of his 1960s model. This guitar also features antique white binding, bone nut and saddle, an ebony bridge and an ebony fingerboard inlaid with abalone snowflakes. Each edition guitar includes a unique 5-ply case made with a genuine tweed exterior and a scarlet red interior. Discover Martin’s new winter models at



DWIGHT YOAKAM DD28 ARTIST EDITION The Dwight Yoakam DD28 is inspired from a 1972 D-28, the guitar Dwight has played his whole career. He has always loved the sound of his guitar, and his custom signature model could not be anything less. Honky-tonks and casinos are the theme for this model. Crafted from a Sitka spruce top and East Indian rosewood back and sides, this model honors the classic sound of the Dreadnought. An ebony fingerboard is t h e backdrop for the inlaid mother-of-pearl and recon stone playing cards. The other truly unique feature of this instrument is the bull’s horn shaped pickguard. This guitar is sure to be a treasured instrument for years to come. Discover Martin’s new winter models at

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CEO 8.2 This beautiful FSC ®-certified Grand Jumbo 14-fret acoustic guitar is crafted with a European spruce top with Vintage Tone System (VTS*) and a Bourbon Sunset Burst finish, paired with genuine mahogany back and sides. Other features include a Martin archtop headstock shape, grained ivoroid binding and heelcap, bone nut and saddle, liquid metal bridge pins on an ebony bridge and an ebony fingerboard with a gorgeous mother-of-pearl skeleton diamond pattern inlay. This guitar comes with a TKL Alumin-X ™ case, which is built using patented technology for a strong, lightweight case with great impact protection. The interior of the case was custom designed for a precise instrument fit. If you are looking for a great sounding guitar that is also pleasing to the eyes, look no further. Discover Martin’s new winter models at

CEO 8.2E A beautiful FSC ®-certified Grand Jumbo 14-fret acoustic-electric guitar that is crafted with a European spruce top with Vintage Tone System (VTS*) and a Bourbon Sunset Burst finish, paired with genuine mahogany back and sides. Other features include an archtop headstock shape, grained ivoroid binding and heelcap, bone nut and saddle, liquid metal bridge pins on an ebony bridge and an ebony fingerboard with a gorgeous mother-of-pearl skeleton diamond pattern inlay. This model is equipped with new Fishman ® Blackstack ™ electronics, a soundhole mounted, magnetic, batteryfree, passive pickup that is specifically designed to work with acoustic guitar strings. The electronics unit has been customized to include a decorative ivoroid cover plate to match the binding of the guitar. This guitar comes with a TKL Alumin-X ™ case, which is bu i l t using patented te c h n o lo gy fo r a strong, lightweight case with great impact protection. The interior of the case was custom d es i g n e d for a p re c i se i n st r u m ent fit. This is a great sounding acoustic-electric guitar. Discover Martin’s new winter models at *This model boasts Martin’s Vintage Tone System (VTS) European spruce top and braces to replicate the aged appearance and tonality of the original. The new Martin Vintage Tone System (VTS) uses a unique recipe that is based on the historic torrefaction system. The VTS acts much like a time machine in which Martin can target certain time periods and a g e t h e to p/braces to that era. Learn more about Martin’s Vintage Tone System (VTS) at

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SS-0041GB-17 This NAMM Show Special is inspired by an instrument of George Bauer, who was a Philadelphia luthier a ro u n d 1890-1910. The SS-0041GB-17 is limited to 50 instruments and is crafted from a Eu ro p ea n spru ce to p w i th Vi nta ge Tone System (VTS*) and Guatemalan rosewood back and sides. This 12-fret Grand Concert model features a dovetail neck joint with hide glue construction, grained ivoroid binding and heelcap, an ebony bridge and ebony fingerboard that is bound with grained ivoroid and inlaid with an abalone and mother-of-pearl custom snowflake and block design. This guitar will be treasured fo r yea rs to come for its b eaut if ul dynamic to n es, as well as its a est h et i c a p p earance. Discover Martin’s new winter models at *This model boasts Martin’s Vintage Tone System (VTS) Euro p ea n spruce to p and b ra c e s to re pl i cate th e age d a p p e a ra n c e a n d t o n a l i t y o f t h e o r i g i n a l . The new Martin Vintage To n e System ( VTS) uses a unique recipe that is based on the historic torrefaction system. The VTS acts much like a time machine in which Martin can target certain time periods a n d a g e t h e to p/ braces to that era. Learn more about Martin’s Vintage Tone Syste m (VTS) at



00-28 The relatively rare 14-fret 00-28 enjoyed popularity between 1936 and 1955, but it was perhaps overshadowed by the less expensive 00-18 during the lean war years. We are pleased to reintroduce this fine Grand Concert model, prized for its roundly balanced sound. The 00-28 features a Sitka spruce top, East Indian rosewood back and sides, dovetail neck joint, a modified low oval neck with a high performance taper and a genuine ebony fingerboard and bridge. Discover Martin’s new winter models at

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D-16E The D-16E features the classic Dreadnought shape, but with a significantly thinner 000 depth. Constructed with fine Sitka spruce for the soundboard and bookmatched figured sycamore for the back and sides, the D-16E also includes silver colored binding and heelcap, an ebony bridge and a silver colored bound ebony fingerboard with mother-of-pearl diamond and square inlays. A modified low oval neck with a high performance taper offers fast playability into the upper registers. This model is also equipped with Fishman ® Matrix VT Enhance ™ electronics. Discover Martin’s new winter models at

DC-16E The DC-16E has specifications that match the non-cutaway D-16E, except for the addition of the Venetian cutaway that provides easy access to the uppermost frets. This is a comfortable solid wood Martin acoustic-electric, perfect for stage or studio use. Discover Martin’s new winter models at

OMC-16E The OMC-16E Orchestra Model cutaway features a Sitka spruce top paired with cherry back and sides. This FSC ®-certified model features a modified low oval neck with high performance taper, simple dovetail neck joint, silver colored binding and heelcap, bone nut and saddle, ebony bridge, a silver colored bound ebony fingerboard with diamond and square mother-ofpearl inlays and Fishman ® Matrix VT Enhance ™ electronics. The OMC-16E offers a rich and articulate tone with great sustain and clarity. Discover Martin’s new winter models at

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00LX1AE This 00-Slope Shoulder 14-fret model is constructed with a Sitka spruce top and mahogany patte r n e d h i g h- p ressure l a mi n ate back and sides, offering the perfect balance of tone, durability and affordability. Our 24.9" scal e length i s a fingerpicker’s dream. The high performance tapered neck is constructed from rust colored birch laminate, and a faux tortoise pickguard and Richlite ® fingerboard and bridge complete this model. The 00LX1AE is stage ready w it h Fishman ® Sonitone electronics. Discover Martin’s new winter models at #XMarksTheSpot

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DCRSG The DCRSG is a full gloss Dreadnought cutaway featuring a solid Sitka spruce top and solid mutenye back and sides. Mutenye is an attractively grained African tonewood with properties that are similar to ovangkol. This guitar produces a beautiful, even tone with good bass response and clear midrange and trebles. The DCRSG also features a Richlite® fingerboard and bridge, high performance taper neck and Fishman ® Sonitone electronics to make this guitar ready for the road. Discover Martin’s new winter models at MartinGuitar. com/New. #OwnTheRoad


GPCRSG The GPCRSG is a Grand Performance cutaway model crafted with a solid Sitka spruce top and solid mutenye back and sides. The Grand Performance body shape performs well across all registers. The GPCRSG also features a Richlite ® fingerboard and bridge, Martin’s high performance neck taper and Fishman ® Sonitone electronics to make this attractively priced solid wood guitar ready for t h e stage o r stu d i o. Di scover Martin’s new w i nte r models at #OwnTheRoad

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STYLE 3 CENTENNIAL UKULELE C. F. Martin & Co. is the old est surviving maker of ukuleles in the world. Though Martin prototyped ukuleles as early as 1906, 2017 marks the 100th anniversary of Martin’s formal catalog introduction of ukuleles to the marketplace. This Style 3 Centennial soprano ukulele is limited to 100 instruments, each crafted from fine genuine mahogany for the top, back and sides. The mahogany hea dp late is inla id with a grained ivoroid kite design inspired by the earliest Martin-made ukuleles. This instrument i s a l so equipped with a mahogany bridge and an ebony fingerboard inlaid with abalone diamonds and squares, bone n ut a nd s a d d l e, a n d a m o l de d prote ct ive hardshell ca se. The Sty le 3 C e nte nnia l U kule le is a great sou n di n g, fun i n stru m e nt that will appeal to d isce r ning ukulele players. Discover Martin’s new winter models at

STYLE 1 CENTENNIAL UKULELE As the oldest surviving maker of ukuleles, C. F. Martin & Co. is proud to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Martin ukulele with the introduction of the Style 1 Centennial Ukulele. This sopran o u ku l e l e is limited to o nly 100 inst r um e nts a nd is cra f te d with a genuine mahogany top, back and sides and features a black nut and saddle, nickel peg ukulele tuners with black buttons, morado fingerboard and bridge, and a soft padded gig bag. Discover Martin’s new winter models at

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0X UKE BAMBOO NATURAL This unique soprano ukulele is crafted from a bamboo patterned high-pressure laminate (HPL) for the top, back and sides. Also available in green, blue or red bamboo pattern HPL. The fingerboard and bridge add a tasteful color contrast and feature Martin’s Clear Fluorocarbon ukulele strings. This fun little instrument is super durable, great for travel, and sure to appeal to ukulele players of all levels. Discover Martin’s new winter models at



BACKPACKER 25 TH ANNIVERSARY 2017 marks the 25th year that C. F. Martin & Co. has been crafting the Backpacker. To celebrate this milestone, we are introducing the Backpacker 25th Anniversary, available only in 2017. This exciting a nnive rsa ry model features a sapele top, back and s i d es, and Richlite Ž fingerboard and bridge. Black enclosed gear tuning machines with black buttons, a black nut and saddle, and black bridge pins with white dots complete this sleek limited package. Discover Martin’s new winter models at

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De co n stru c t a bi g i dea o r a c h i e v e m e n t a nd yo u’ll of te n find t hat t he incit ing i n c i de nt h appe n e d i n a fo r k o f l i g h t n i n g . T h e re a re t h e le ge nd a r y sto r ies like Newton’s falling appl es, a n d t h e n t h e re are the less- ce l e b rate d tales of industry. Clarence Birdseye invented t h e flash-freezing technique th at wo ul d revolutionize t h e f roze n foo d i n du stry w hile o bse r ving I nuit f re ez ing fis h in t he A rct ic. A s a teenager, Philo T. Farnsworth happened upon his idea for the first electric television while pl ow i n g h i s fami l y ’s Idaho farm. We ro m a nt icize t he e ureka moments and qu a ntu m l ea ps, b u t m o s t p ro g re s s h a p pens i ncrem e n t a l l y. O v e r t h e d eca des, Martin Guitar and the Rainforest Alliance have both made significant strides toward sustainability and the careful m a na ge m e nt of t he wo r ld ’s wo o d s up p ly. Through their new collaboration, based on a yearlong, multiphase campaign, their goal is to expand their commitment to the environment while elevating consumer awareness abou t ou r l i mi te d n atu ra l reso urces. The Rainforest Alliance was fo und e d in 1987 to conse rve biodiversity and ensure sustainable livelihoods by reshaping land-use p ra cti ces and business practices on a global scale. It also strives to influence consumer behavior through its green tree frog seal that is printed on a growing list of products and services (products bearing the Rainforest Alliance Certified ™ seal originate or contain ingredients sourced from Rainforest Alliance Certified farms or forests that are Forest Stewardship Council ® certified by the Rainforest Alliance). In order for a farm, forestry enterprise, or business that relies on forest products to earn Rainforest Alliance ™ certification, it must meet and adhere to rigorous standards and audits designed to protect ecosystems and the wellbeing of local communities.

Carmelita forest concession. Photo courtesy of Sergio Izquierdo,

As the oldest guitar manufacturer in America, C. F. Martin & Co. is accustomed to change and innovation, both in terms of manufacturing—they created the dreadnought guitar body that is now the common style and shape of modern acoustic guitars—and have been long-standing leaders in responsible guitar building practices and environmental responsibility. Martin stopped using ivory for bindings and bridges in 1918. In the 1960s, when the demand for ivory led to soaring tusk prices and the subsequent slaughter of elephants, Martin phased out their use of ivory (commonly used for saddles and nuts during this time period) in favor of synthetic materials like Plexiglas®, Micarta™ and Corian®. In the early 1990s, they formalized their ecological practices to include judicious forest management and the responsible use of natural materials and alternative wood species. Most of the world’s premium guitars are built from a combination of mahogany, rosewood, and ebony. However, these traditional tonewoods often come from areas of the world that are under severe pressure from logging and development. According to an FAO (the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations) estimate, the world lost 0.8% of its tropical forests every year between 1980 and 1990. From 1990 to 2000, the annual loss continued, in some cases at a rate of over 1% per year. Faced with the scarcity of exotic tonewoods and the damage of illegal logging, Martin Guitar began looking for ways to ensure their wood imports came from sustainable and legal sources. Chris Martin IV, Martin’s Chairman and CEO, explained that in the late ’90s, they started looking for a third-party certification entity. “Early on, there wasn’t enough certified wood to purchase because people weren’t certifying it,” he said. “We looked for a legitimate third party to make sure the wood we were buying was not sourced illegally, and we found the Forest Stewardship Council ® (FSC ® ).” The FSC ®, which the Rainforest Alliance helped establish in 1993, sets the highest standards for responsible forest management by requiring forest managers on both public and private lands to engage local communities and to


José Román Carrera explains sustainable mahogany production at former logging staging area turned mahogany regeneration site at Carmelita forest concession. Photo courtesy of Sergio Izquierdo,

protect the customary rights of indigenous p e o pl e. Today, they o p e rate in more than 80 countries and have helped certify more than 380 million acres of forest, including more than 150 million acres in the U.S. and Canada alone. Cindy McAllister, Martin’s Director of Community Relations and FSC ® Coordinator, indicates that Martin Guitar was FSC ® Chain-of-Custody certified from 1997 to 2004, and then recertified by the Rainforest Alliance in 2007. Many Martin coworkers across all functional areas are involved in maintaining the company’s compliance with FSC ® standards. The Rainforest Alliance conducts yearly, on-site audits to ensure that the forests Martin sources their tonewoods from meet or exceed all FSC ® standards. Gregory Paul, Martin’s Chief Technology Officer, believes that using a third-party certifying system i s one of the keys to Martin’s responsible stewa rd s hip. “Instead of coming up with our own definition of sustainability and, in essence, creating our own standards, we’ve sought out what we believe is the best third-party certifying organization in the world,” he said. “I don’t see many of our competitors taking a third-party standards approach.” While switching to FSC ® standards was important to Martin’s commitment to stewardship, it was not without growing pains. “It was daunting,” Chris Martin said. “It’s expensive, it’s tedious, but it’s the right thing to do. I don’t want my daughter, who’ll inherit the company, to go to a tradeshow one day with a t-shirt that says, ‘My daddy cut down the last tree, and I had to close down the factory.’” In 2009, Martin rolled out its first 100% FSC ®-certified acoustic guitar, the D-Mahogany. They were, in fact, one of the first manufacturers in the entire industry to produce an acoustic guitar model comprised entirely of FSC ® -certified woods. Nick Colesanti, Martin’s Vice President of Supply Chain Management, stresses how difficult it is to produce FSC ®-certified products. The FSC ® Chain-of-Custody standards also apply to all of Martin’s suppliers who may work on a piece of wood during manufacturing before sending it back to Martin. “Otherwise,” Colesanti said, “the Chain-of-Custody becomes broken, and the wood is no longer considered FSC ® -certified.”

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Richard Donovan, Senior Vice President and Vice President of

Amani Duncan, Martin’s Vice President of Brand Marketing,

Forestry for the Rainforest Alliance, says that working with Martin to

says that they wanted to engage with the Rainforest Alliance

develop a more sustainable supply chain was very straightforward.

to expan d the relationship even more while showcasing to

“There was no philosophical angst whatsoever,” he said. “Martin

a broader consumer audience Martin Guitar’s commitment

understood the nuances from the get-go. It isn’t just about getting

to t he e nv i ro n m e nt. As a res u l t, Martin Guitar joined the

legal wood and making sure they know where the wood comes

Rainforest Alliance #FollowtheFrog campaign, built upon the

from. It’s about moving all the wood supplies into a sustainable

Rainforest Alliance’s tree frog seal of approval. Martin Guitar’s

sourcing dynamic, and Martin has been proactive from the start.”

yearlong activation with the #FollowtheFrog campaign is a

McAllister indicates that in 2014, Martin Guitar received two highly

journey broken into two distinct phases, both of which aim to

significant awards for its long-standing dedication to responsible

raise social and consumer awareness around the importance of

timber sourcing and rigorous adherence to the FSC standards.

sustainable wood sourcing.


In May 2014, Martin Guitar was recognized with the Sustainable

Phase on e of t h e campaign, which launched on August 8,

Standard-Setter award at the Rainforest Alliance annual gala at

2016, utilized various multimedia and social media components,

the American Museum of Natural History in New York City. The

including a photojournalistic spread that chronicled the entire

Sustainable Standard-Setter award provides global recognition

manufacturing p ro cess of m a k i n g a s i n g le FSC ® -certified

to industry champions who have the vision to make sustainability

guitar—from conception, to wood selection, to the final act of

a priority and the vigor to make it a reality. In October 2014, Martin

placing the Rainforest Alliance’s Certified seal inside the guitar.

Guitar was recognized for FSC leadership in the music industry

Promotional materials from this first phase were also showcased at

at the “10th Annual Design & Build with FSC®” awards ceremony

festivals and tradeshows, where attendees could #FollowtheFrog

in New Orleans. The FSC

on social media and become educated on both Rainforest Alliance



leadership awards were given to

organizations and individuals who have long championed forest

initiatives and Martin’s responsible guitar building practices.

conservation and leveraged markets to promote stewardship.

Phase two will start in early 2017, when the Rainforest Alliance

After awarding Martin Guitar with the Sustainable Standard-

will commence its 30th anniversary with the launch of a full global

Setter award in 2014, the Rainforest Alliance, along with Martin

Follow the Frog activation, while Martin’s engagement continues

cowor k e rs , b e ga n b r a i n s to r m i n g about ways to take their

the #FollowtheFrog campaign from the artist’s perspective.

collaboration even further. According to Paul, one of the biggest

The n ew l y minted FSC ® -ce r t ifie d guitar wi l l be handed to

challenges the FSC ® and the Rainforest Alliance have had over

James Valentine, lead guitarist of Maroon 5. Valentine, a Martin

the years is consumer awareness. “One of the goals has been

Ambassador, will play shows throughout 2017 using his new

to make the consumer more aware of these brands and, in turn,

guitar. Duncan says they chose Valentine because he really

for these brands to become more relevant to the consumer,”

believes in sustainability and ethical guitar building. “We wanted

he said. “In the last two years, we’ve had this great bidirectional

to find someone wh o wa s a u t h e nti c b e cause we consider

call-to-action about how Martin can collaborate to have better

ourselves to be a very authentic brand,” she said. “This isn’t

shared messaging and more impactful communication in the

a manufacturing or branding initiative. We are always looking

marketplace about the importance of managing precious wood

for opportunities to raise social awareness about environmental

resources around the world.”



Martin Guitar’s engagement in the #FollowtheFrog campaign is yet another step along the long road of change. In any discussion about sustainability or stewardship, Chris Martin points out the future of using alter native materials and wood species. “We’ve done such a good job of convincing the customer that these traditional, rare and exotic timbers make the best guitars, that it’s difficult to move customers away from those materials,” he said. “If those woods are not FSC ® -certified, and many of them aren’t, we’re caught in this catch-22. Whereas if we could use other woods that are not traditional, but are certified, we could produce many

00-DB Jeff Tweedy

more certified guitars.” In the coming years, Martin will introduce a new line of guitars using temperate hardwoods from North America that relies on both historical and new shapes and designs. Martin has also purchased a crop of koa saplings in Hawaii. “What will come of those saplings, my daughter will be able to tell you when she’s my age,” Chris Martin said. “It’s a beautiful wood, but it’s a long-term investment.” For now, both Martin Guitar and the Rainforest Alliance are committed to the long game and the s t e a d y g r i n d t owa rd e n s u r i n g th e h ea l th a n d longevity of the world’s forests for generations to come. Donovan, a 25-year veteran of his industry, knows that sustainability is a persistent endeavor. “It isn’t something where you flip a key and it’s done in a year,” he said. “It takes time, but it’s the journey that matters.” Learn more about Martin’s Commitment to the Environment and the #Fol lowtheFrog journey at FSC ® C008304

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Photo courtesy of JaneG.© Photography 70 | PLAYING HER SOUL OUT


On a Friday in early July 2015, there was a parade in lower Manhattan. New York City hosts a countless number of parades, but this one was different: The United States women’s national soccer team (USWNT) had just returned from Canada, having defeated Japan for the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup, and they were being honored with a ticker-tape parade. The path would follow the historic “Canyon of Heroes,” a stretch of Broadway from Battery Park to City Hall that since 1886 has honored the likes of Charles Lindbergh and his transatlantic flight, Dwight Eisenhower and the U.S. Army after World War II, Neil Armstrong and the crew of the Apollo 11, and the World Series-winning New York Yankees. On this day, for the first time in history, the heroes being honored were a group of women. It was a perfect summer day, the sky a cloudless blue. From 40 stories above the street, shredded paper fell in bursts from office windows, waterfalls of confetti glittering in the sun. The sidewalks were packed— thousan ds of N ew Yo rke rs an d tourists of every a ge a nd et hnicity, so m e in s ho r ts a nd so m e in sui ts, crammed in tight with necks craned to see the parade as it passed. And when it did, the crowd erupted. Preceded by the New York Fire Department bagpipe band, three floats carried the team—23 women who waved and cheered, pumped their fists in the air. At the helm, one of the women—her short blonde hair bobbing as she jumped and danced—held a golden trophy toward the sky. As Me gan R api n oe, captain of the 2015 U.S. wo m e n’ s n at i o n a l so ccer team and newly minted Martin Ambassador, passed through the Canyon of Heroes with her team that day, throngs of journalists and fans snapped photos, attempting to capture the historic moment. Up and down the street, the crowd surged and swelled together, their cheers rising up with the skyscrapers. At the center of it were thousands of little girls—some hoisted on their parents’ shoulders, some jumping into the air—decked out in team jerseys and face paint, waving American flags, screaming their favorite players’ names. One girl, no more than 12, held up a handmade sign that read, “Thank you for letting me dream.”

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Photos courtesy of JaneG.© Photography

Megan Rapinoe grew up playing both soccer and guitar. Born in 1985, the youngest of six children, she and her twin sister, Rachael, were raised in northern California, in Redding, with a soccer field across from their house. Their mother, Denise, insisted that the twins play a musical instrument—a mandate Rapinoe bemoaned at the time but is grateful for now. She chose the guitar and took lessons until high school, learning to play mostly folk music— the genre she tends to play most these days, though it wasn’t quite where her interests lay then. “I was really into music,” Rapinoe says in an interview, laughing when I ask her about her early influences. “But I wouldn’t say I had a very sophisticated taste when I was younger. I probably just wanted to learn a Backstreet Boys song.” When the twins were growing up, in the mid-nineties, the Rapinoe family always had music on. Her father, Jim, who coached some of his daughters’ soccer teams, drove Megan and Rachael to games and always had jazz on in the car. “He really kind of ruined jazz for me,” Rapinoe says, laughing again. “He just killed it.” Rapinoe has an easy way about her, a familiarity and warmth, her words moving to the laid-back cadence of the Pacific Northwest. During our interview, she laughs often. She recalls visiting her parents during Christmas a few years back and discovering her father’s record collection. “I always knew he had these records, but I just wasn’t into it, so I didn’t pay attention,” she says. “But now I’ve gotten older and I’ve started my own collection—and come to find out he’s got these rare records from the ’60s and ’70s, boxes and boxes of incredible records.” She’s in the car and talks loudly over the sound of the road. “On the one hand, I was like, ‘That’s amazing!’ And on the other, I was like, ‘What the hell? Why didn’t you ever show me these when I was a kid? There could have been all these great bands playing!’” There’s a slight delay on our connection, and it breaks for a beat, but on the other end of the line her laughter rings out. Today, Rapinoe, who lives in Seattle with her fiancée, the singer-songwriter Sera Cahoone, tends toward folk and indie rock, and in the last few years, Cahoone—whose own music blends country-western with lo-fi indie—has gotten her into classic country and blues. “She’s introduced me to a lot of amazing old artists, a lot of old country stars,” Rapinoe says. “I’ve really gotten into blues—it’s the best music to make dinner to.” Junior Kimbrough and Stevie Ray Vaughan make her list of favorites, along with country mainstays Loretta Lynn, Dolly Parton, and Merle Haggard, who, she adds, her father used to sell cars to at a dealership in Redding. “I didn’t know Merle




growing up,” she says, “but apparently he was quite the figure. A bit of a party animal. Everybody knew him around town.” Rapinoe set the guitar aside in high school as she became


more involved in soccer. She played for competitive club teams,


Program and in the FIFA U-19 World Championship. She was named


participating in the Northern California State Olympic Development

a Parade and National Soccer Coaches Association of America All-American as a junior and senior, and made the McDonald’s All-American team in 2004. All the while, her guitar sat waiting. “I always had it,” she says, “but I just didn’t play it as much. And then when I went to college, I found my love for playing again.” Along with her sister, Rapinoe attended the University of Portland on a full soccer scholarship. As her college career took off—during her freshman season, she helped her team win a Division One championship—she discovered that her guitar served as a much-needed outlet. “Guitar for me is kind of like journaling,” she says. “I’ve always had such an emotional connection with music, and playing is very much an emotional release. I tend to internalize things, probably more than I should, so it’s a nice way to clear my head.” On the road, at camp or training, she typically brings an acoustic along. “It helps me disconnect from the stress of whatever we’re doing and the intensity of playing on a hypercompetitive team. I can just take myself to another place and kind of recharge.”

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After college, Rapinoe joined the short-lived Women’s Professional Soccer league, having been drafted out of college by the Chicago Red Stars in the league’s inaugural season. She played for two other WPS teams before the league’s disbandment, and played for the U.S. in the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup in Germany (the team took home the silver, having been narrowly defeated by Japan in the final) and the 2012 London Olympics, where the U.S. defeated Japan to win the gold. Since 2013, she has played for the Seattle Reign, part of the National Women’s Soccer League, and just after we spoke, this past July, she was heading off to Rio de Jane iro, having m a d e t h e 2 016 U.S. Olympic team. Like many athletes, music is a big part of Rap ino e’s ro ut ine. “ O n t he way to ga mes, I’ll listen to the same kind of music, often the same song—something that gets me in a certain mood that’s familiar, and I can kind of lock in.” But nothing too intense, she says. “I already have enough nervous energy.” This past year she listened to the new Of Monsters and Men album (also Martin Ambassadors) and a lot of Black Keys. “They’re rock,” she says, “but they have that kind of smooth, driving beat.” Once she and her teammates get into the locker room, though, things get turned up a notch. Beyoncé has been on heavy rotation this year—“Lemonade is required listening,” Rapinoe says—anything that’s popular and has a good beat. “People are dancing around, getting everything ready for the game, getting onto the same wavelength.” It’s w he n s he talks about getting her head o ut of a game that Rapinoe’s connection with m us ic b e co m es p e r ha ps m ost a p pa rent.

Photo courtesy of JaneG.© Photography 74 | PLAYING HER SOUL OUT


Af te r a loss, she’ll often listen to something sad—“something that just kind of complements the mood I’m in,” she says. “Sometimes it’s nice to really allow yourself to feel it. I find the more that I try to deny those feelings or not acknowledge them, the longer they stick around. I think music can do that for me: It kind of sets me in that mood; whenever I’m feeling down about a game or down about a loss, I’ll just listen to a real bummer song. You just allow yourself to feel it as much as you can, allow it to marinate long enough, and then you’re just like, ‘Okay, I’m done with that; I’ve felt that.’” “It can never really be too downer for me,” she adds with a laugh. “I like the sad numbers.” Pl ay i n g gu i tar se e ms to occupy a s im ila r s pa ce fo r R a p ino e, w ho likes to p lay t hose sad n u mbe rs as mu c h as s h e likes to listen. A nd unlike so cce r, which requires constant training, she reve l s i n th e f re e d o m to not b e t he best at g uita r. “ So m et im es I ’ll t r y a nd work at it, but a lot of times, it is just kind of like being able to pick it up—I’m good enough to l earn s i mpl e so n gs, an d i t’s just a nice relief, an o p p o r t u n i t y t o n o t h a v e t o tota lly focu s an d work at it. It’s just a thing that I can pick up and float away.” O n e co u l d argu e th at th e l i fe of a n at hlete is not unlike t hat of a m us icia n, p e r ha ps espe c i al l y when it comes to t h e element of p e r fo r m a nce. Th i s is something Rapinoe h a s learned intimately within th e last few ye a rs, since meeting Cahoone in 2013. “I think the lifestyl e an d th e sor t of press ures and inte r na l d ia log ue a re m uch t h e s a m e, ” she says, recalling a time when her fiancée came off stage after a show, rattled by p e o p le in the audience who talked loudly through her set. “When I’m playing soccer, I’m so m etimes thinking about other things, maybe when I shouldn’t be. Sometimes you get distracted. Other times you just get in the zone and you don’t hear anything at all—you’re on stage playing your best and you’re really dialed in. But I think that’s something in our relationship that we’ve really bonded over, this sort of deep understanding of what it means to be a performer, what it means emotionally and what kind of hold it takes, what kind of energy it gives you and what energy it takes away. Even just touring and being on the road, or the sacrifice that it takes to do something that you love—while there’s obviously amazing parts, there are hard parts too. Sometimes it’s hard getting up on stage or getting yourself up for a game.” Both partners are often on the road—Rapinoe for games, camps, and training, Cahoone for gigs, touring, and recording (her last solo record, Deer Creek Canyon, was released on Sub Pop in 2012; she has al so been a touring d r u m m e r for several acts, including Band of Horses). The couple’s busy schedules can be a challenge, Rapinoe says, but have cemented a deeper connection in their relationship. “It really brings us closer together,” she says. Al so n ot u n l i ke profess i o n al m us icia ns, b e ing a p rofess io na l athlete—particularly one ex p e r i e n c i n g a s u d d e n s u rge in visibility—ha s p l a c e d R a p i n o e i n a s u d d e n s p o t l i g h t . Te l ev i s i on broadcasts, m e d i a atte nt io n, co m m e rcia l d ea ls a nd s p o nso rs hips aside, she also finds herself in the position of role model—specifically for a generation of young girls.

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Photos courtesy of JaneG.© Photography

“It’s really an incredible time to be a woman,” she says, noting that Hillary Clinton had just won the Democratic nomination. “I think that I and the other women on the team understand that this is a special time, that we have the opportunity to break a lot of barriers and create new norms. Women are superstars now. They’re being watched, and their sports are popular, and they’re moneymakers, and they have a place in the market. And we did that. We made that happen. We pushed ourselves into that conversation, and we’ve been successful, and I feel so proud of this team to be a part of that. And then to have all of these kids—primarily girls, but it’s good for the boys too—to see that it’s not just all about men. To see little girls and know that they have our team to look up to, it’s incredible. We’re smart, and we’re strong, and there’s so many different personalities on our team—we have biracial players, we have gay players, we have players who like sci-fi—our team has broken down so many barriers and given so many options to these girls. It’s a really powerful thing for a young girl to see—to actually see—what the possibilities are.” She mentions how diffe re nt the landscape of athletics was while she was growing up. “When I was young, I looked up to Michael Jordan, and now girls don’t have to do that. They can look up to me. They can look up to my teammates. And that’s something I’m keenly aware of and very proud of. And I feel honored to be at the forefront of this incredible movement for women in our country and around the world.” Rapinoe, who is openly gay, has also become a dedicated advocate and spokesperson for gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender kids and athletes. Last June, during the Women’s World Cup, the United States Supreme Court ruled same-sex marriage a constitutional right. A little more than a week after the ruling passed, the U.S. women’s national soccer team beat Japan for the World Cup title. After the game, forward Abby Wambach famously ran to the stands to kiss her wife—an action that made history right alongside the ruling. For weeks after the decision, photos of the kiss appeared in news outlets and social media accompanied by the hashtag #LoveWins. Since Wambach’s retirement last year, Rapinoe is now the only openly gay player on her team. And while being gay is certainly a significant part of her identity, what seems more important to her is the act of being publicly out—something that she considers part of her duty as a public figure: to help others feel safer coming out, to help diminish homophobia in sports, and further break down the divisions that still exist in society. While the country has certainly made progress, Rapinoe says there’s still a lot of work to do.


“Gay rights have come so far in this country, even in sports, and I thought when I came out, that more athletes would come out,” says Rapinoe, who came out publicly in 2012 in an interview with Out Magazine. She notes that even Wambach, whose kiss became famous, never publicly came out. “There hasn’t really been anyone else,” Rapinoe says, “and while we’ve come so far, I think oftentimes in women’s sports, because we can be quite open with our teams, it can actually hinder people from coming out publicly because they think, ‘Why do I need to get up on a soapbox and declare it?’ But I think it’s still really important, because there is still a lot of homophobia in sports, and I think a female athlete coming out can help create a more open environment for men’s sports as well and sort of break down the stereotypes of female athletes. Not all female athletes are gay. A portion of us are, but it’s not everyone, and hopefully more athletes will come out and really fill in that picture. Because I think it’s pretty incomplete now.” She notes men’s soccer player Robbie Rogers and basketball player Jason Collins—both who came out in recent years, becoming the first openly gay athletes in any of the four North American professional sports leagues—and the adversity they both faced afterward. She also mentions Michael Sam, the former professional football player who left the sport shortly after coming out, in part due to the way he was treated in the wake of his coming out. “The NFL says they’re being inclusive,” Rapinoe says, “but they’re obviously not. It’s still not safe for people to come out.” To help change the landscape for gay athletes, Rapinoe volunteers with Athlete Ally, an organization that focuses on ending homophobia and transphobia in sports. She also dedicates much of her time to organizations such as the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, through which she advocates for LGBT rights and education. Along with a host of honors she received after the World Cup in 2011—among them she was a finalist for Sports Illustrated’s Most Inspiring Performers of 2012—Rapinoe was honored by the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Center for her work in bringing awareness to LGBT athletes. Last year, she was also inducted into the National Gay and Lesbian Sports Hall of Fame. There may be a lot of work to do, but Rapinoe is at the forefront of that work, fighting for inclusivity, dismantling biases, and creating safer environments for athletes and kids. “When you’re not fully willing to be yourself,” she says, “it can really play into the stereotypes. Coming out and being your authentic self helps break that down.”

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For Rapinoe, that authentic self is a complex one. Whether it’s soccer, volunteer work, or music, Rapinoe plays on an international stage, traveling the world representing her team, her sport, and her country as a leader and a role model, imbuing the many facets of her life and work with not just a spirit of hard work and dedication, but also an undeniably positive energy. This is what makes her not simply an idol for so many girls, but a hero. It’s a role she welcomes and takes pride in—much like her role as a Martin Ambassador. “This partnership is really important and special to me,” she says. “Oftentimes athletes are sort of dehumanized—we’re seen as these elite figures that are very glamorized, that fly around on private jets and have all this money, and play in front of whole stadiums. But we have lives, and we have other interests. Athletes often like to put this image out of themselves: that they’re 100 percent sports all the time; just work, work, work; eat, drink, sleep, live, breathe, die sports. Some athletes like that image. I personally don’t. I don’t think it’s realistic, and it’s not me. This partnership with Martin really opens me up as a normal person who loves guitar, who loves to have a hobby, who does it for fun. I’m not exceptional at guitar by any means, but it’s something I love to do and is an outlet for me. I always want to be seen as a person—to be seen not only for what I do on the field, which is something I’m very proud of, but for other things I’m interested in that I’m just as proud of.” After a few beats of silence, she adds, “You know, I’m just—me. And I like people to get the whole scope of that. And guitar is something that’s very important to me. Music is very important to me.” Rapinoe is no stranger to the word team—to the concept of a group of dedicated individuals working collectively to achieve a unified goal. In this sense, she says, the Martin team is very much like the U.S. women’s national soccer team. “I think it’s really special,” she says of Martin and the process by which Martin guitars are made. She and Cahoone have a collection of Martins: Rapinoe’s favorite is the small-bodied CEO-7, while Cahoone favors the John Mayer OM edition, which she often plays live. “You can tell with the beauty of the guitars and the way they sound that they have soul in them,” Rapinoe says. “It’s not something you can always tangibly pick up, but you can feel it when it’s not there. And you can feel that with a team. You can feel when people aren’t playing for each other or it’s just kind of off, and it’s something really special when everyone comes together and has that shared heart and that shared passion and desire for whatever they’re doing.” Rapinoe, who shortly after our conversation would set off to Rio to start training with her team for the Olympics, says that being part of a team and sharing that unified mission and belief is an experience unlike anything else. One can tell, when talking to Rapinoe, that it’s not just the competition that drives her; it’s not just about being the best. It’s about striving and working hard, about creating a vision and setting a goal, and much like the little girl at the ticker-tape parade—about having a dream and working to make that dream a reality. “You can see it with our team; you can see it with making a guitar; you can see it in a kitchen at a restaurant,” she says. “You can just feel it when there’s something special in a group. And I definitely feel that in Martin guitars. They take real pride. They’re giving someone an outlet. They’re letting someone get on stage and play their soul out.” Learn more about Megan Rapinoe at




Photo courtesy of JaneG.© Photography M A R T I N G U I TA R . C O M |




Photos courtesy of Juan Ramirez

JOSÉ RUIZ José Ruiz has spent the last 19 years with Martin Guitar. He has previously worked in String Production, the Warehouse, and Logistics, but is currently the Manager of Guitar Production in Navojoa. His job revolves around supporting the production supervisors. José raves about the opportunities for development and personal growth that Martin Guitar provides employees. He says each Martin guitar is unique and has its own story and soul. Each instrument has the assurance of the commitment to enduring quality. He says you’ll always get more than you expect with a Martin guitar.


Yolanda Jacott has worked at Martin Guitar for the last 22 years. She currently serves as the Production Leader, ensuring that daily product goals are achieved throughout the Martin Guitar factory in Navojoa. Yolanda shares that she feels fulfilled through her job and has been able to help her family grow while learning a great deal through company training. She describes Martin Guitar as a respected international company that treats all people with respect. Yolanda characterizes Martin Guitar as a big family that welcomes others and provides an excellent work environment that is reflected in the quality of Martin guitars and Martin strings.


LIDIA VALENZUELA Lidia Valenzuela has been an employee at Martin Guitar for 21 years. Lidia performs service and corrective maintenance to machines that are used in the production of Martin strings. She enjoys the work environment and work schedule of Martin Guitar. Lidia would say the top three reasons her coworkers love working at Martin Guitar are they produce the best acoustic guitars and strings, they coordinate well, and they all like their jobs. Lidia wants readers to know that Martin guitars and Martin strings are made of the best materials, with the highest quality, and the company is always looking to improve to ensure the best finished products.

MARTA BORQUEZ A 27-year veteran at Martin Guitar, Marta Borquez is the Supervisor of Final Inspection in Navojoa where she coordinates with and supports other group leaders. Marta began working at Martin Guitar because she saw it as an opportunity to better herself. She describes her relationship with Martin Guitar employees in Nazareth as a good one filled with respect. Marta’s advice to someone building a Martin guitar kit at home is to enjoy the experience.

BENINGO VALENZUELA A 22-year employee at Martin Guitar, Beningo Valenzuela, known to his coworkers as Benny, is the Supervisor of Tooling and Machinery in the Martin Guitar Navojoa factory. Benny’s department is responsible for overseeing the CNC machines, as well as what is needed in the production process for Martin guitars and Martin strings. He describes his coworkers as good people with a lot of charisma. It’s no surprise that his favorite part of working at Martin Guitar is that he sees his coworkers as a big family who support each other. Benny has visited his coworkers in Nazareth and enjoys knowing he is a part of the great history that is Martin Guitar.


Martin Olmos has been an employee for 16 years. He is currently the Manager of Martin Strings Production and oversees the resources for the production and manufacturing of Martin strings. Working for a top-level company, belonging to a good team, and the feeling of mutual commitment between him and Martin Guitar make him excited to come to work every day. If he had to describe Martin Guitar in one word, it would be family. When Martin describes his coworkers in Nazareth and Navojoa, he says they always respect each other, and all have the same commitment to maintaining and improving Martin Guitar. M A R T I N G U I TA R . C O M |


Angela Savvas and David Schneider of SAVVAS


MARTIN'S NEW ROAD SERIES MEETS THE DREADNOT FUNTIME BRUNCH BUNCH BY JONATHAN R. WALSH PHOTOGRAPHY BY MAGGIE WALSH ete’s Ca nd y Store s its on the same stretch of Lorimer Street in Brooklyn it has for going on 50 years, in a building that’s occupied the spot for over a century. Completed in 1910, just a few years after the Williamsburg Bridge first connected Brooklyn to Manhattan’s Lower East Side, the building was home to a general store known locally as Funzi’s starting in the 1920s. Though the storefront hasn’t changed much over the last few decades—a faded mint-green sign still boasts that Coca-Cola is available inside—since Pete Caruso took it over in the 1970s, it’s been known as Pete’s, and since 1999, when it was reopened again by Andy McDowell and Juliana Nash, it has served as a mainline to the heart of north Brooklyn’s music community.

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Even—or especially—on the coldest days in Williamsburg, when the streets are lined with gray trash bags dusted in white snow, mysterious black fluid leaking from their seams, Pete’s is a beacon of warmth. Incandescent bulbs cast everything in a little bit of gold, and old-fashioned painted Christmas lights blink in the windows. In the summers, cyclists and smokers gather out front or in the back garden to drink Kölsch and


cocktails, and the place feels a little like a county fair: rubber chickens hang behind the bar, Chinese newspapers decorate shellacked tabletops, and from a tiny kitchen the smell of sandwiches toasting entices hungry drinkers. But, to musicians, writers, and performers, it is from the back room from which the magic of Pete’s Candy Store truly flows. McDowell, who designed Pete’s with the help of his friend Ryan McFaul, worked as a set designer for film and TV, and that may be why the back room feels almost too good to be true. The room is petite, about the size and shape of a boxcar, and feels pulled from the era of freight-hoppers, speakeasies, and vaudeville. Art deco light fixtures and wood paneling give the back room the intimacy of a speakeasy, and along the walls sit tiny tables, chairs, and stools. At the back hangs a red fire bucket labeled “TIPS,” to be passed around during performances since all shows at Pete’s are free. The room’s tiny stage sits under a row of light bulbs that recall 1920s Hollywood and is home to an eclectic assortment of house gear: a tweed Fender tube amp, a small jazz drum kit, and a weathered Ampeg bass



combo. Affixed to the wall is a PA system powerful enough to handle vocals, keyboards, and acoustic guitars. The back room at Pete’s Candy Store can only hold up to 40 people, but that intimacy is one of Pete’s greatest strengths. The space’s pressboard baffling gives treble frequencies a dulcet sweetness and bass a satisfying


woomph, and the room sounds magical whether crowds are packed or spare. At Pete’s, a set in front of a handful of people can have the energy of a sold-out room of 200 elsewhere, the clapping of a dozen listeners

t started as an excuse to try out a guitar. Martin had a new

transformed into raucous applause.

prototype, a take on their classic Road Series guitars built with

Perhaps that’s why so many stars—performers who could easily pack

mutenye instead of mahogany or rosewood for the back and

the Mercury, the Knitting Factory, or the Bowery—choose to stop by and

sides, and they needed someone to review it. What better way to put a

play at Pete’s Candy Store. That miniature stage has played home to Beth

guitar built for the road through its paces, I thought, than to take it on

Orton, David Byrne, Norah Jones, Loudon Wainwright III, Sufjan Stevens,

the road—or at least down the street, to Pete’s?

Langhorne Slim, and many, many more.

Musicians were contacted and the back room was booked for an afternoon. Posters were printed, emails sent, Facebook invites cast out like dandelion seeds on the wind. We’d put the guitar in the hands of gigging players to hear how it sounded for rock and roll, for soul, for jazz and Americana. The musicians were all veterans of the music scene, some fresh off of month-long tours, others regular performers in Manhattan and Brooklyn’s myriad clubs, concert halls, and jazz nooks. Together we’d hear how Martin’s new Road Series sounded loud, soft, fingerpicked and strummed. We’d hear it for what it was: a gigging guitar, a Martin made for life on the road, on the stage.



The guitar we were sent is technically called a GPCRSG—Grand

Like most Martin necks, Martin’s Road Series is made of a sturdy

Performance Cutaway Road Series Gloss for the uninitiated. Though

hardwood, and the headstock is capped with rosewood HPL (high-

slightly narrower than a D-sized instrument, Grand Performance bodies

pressure laminate) and marked with the same classic logo as many

are still among the largest that Martin makes: only Dreadnoughts and

of Martin’s recently updated guitars. The fretboard is a jet black

Jumbos are bigger. They’re instantly recognizable by their curves:

slab of FSC ®-certified Richlite®, and the tuners are closed-back and

more extreme than a Dreadnought, with sharper hips than a 000- or

feel piston-smooth. A mortise-and-tenon joint connects the neck

M-style guitar. They’re almost always found with a cutaway in the

and the body tightly to one another, while keeping potential repairs

Martin lineup, which, to this eye at least, gives them the unmistakable

easier and cheaper down the road.

shape of a rock instrument. That cutaway also proved to be a great

Like all creatures bestowed with a voice, on a Martin most of the

addition to a gigging guitar: for me, new real estate higher up the neck

thinking happens by the head—chord progressions, voicing, phrasing—

opened in a way I hadn’t expected.

but the body is where its heart lies. It is the place that nearly 200

That neck is Martin’s Performing Artist design, and like anything that

years of craftsmanship have been devoted to transforming the touch

comes straight from the Martin factory, it was set up perfectly. The action

of a guitar string into sonorous swell, from deep bass to shimmering

was low enough that fretting was effortless, but despite the low action

highs, and like our own bodies, in there a near-miraculous machinery

there wasn’t a buzz or a rattle to be heard. In addition to a more even taper

does work most of us never see. The new Road Series guitars

across the length of the neck, the Performing Artist neck has two main

come equipped with contoured X-bracing designed for maximum

differences from some of Martin’s older necks: first, it’s a little wider at the

responsiveness while not sacrificing the stability of the body, and I

nut, and a touch thinner from front to back. That shape offers versatility for

imagine it so u n d s just as Christian F. Martin intended when he

playing—flatpicking, strumming, or fingerstyle—and for players: delicate

invented it (if considerably louder).

digits and big-fisted folk alike should all find it fairly comfortable.

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Acoustically, the Road Series’ note projection, definition, and power are

Ahabs of the era that solid-state musical equipment could sometimes

among the finest I’ve ever heard on a steel-string guitar. Played on the

sound sterile, cold, or just plain bad. For some, it led to a rush back

couch at home, notes filled the room when fingerpicked, and took on a

to the roots of amplified music—point-to-point wiring, paper-in-oil

throatier punch when driven hard with a pick. The high notes were broad

capacitors, and vacuum tubes.

and round, and the bass notes hit right in the chest. Even at the lowest

The unique qualities that characterize analog audio equipment have

volume levels I felt the new guitar purring, eager to amplify every note.

been described at various times as warmth, richness, presence, musicality,

An acoustic guitar’s timbre is largely defined by the selection of woods

and myriad other terms that get at the idea that while these older audio

picked for it, and for the new Road Series, Martin decided to try something

circuits may not have transcribed sound as literally as their more modern

new. While the top remains a beautiful cut of Sitka spruce with an even

offspring, they more effortlessly captured its spirit.

grain and a glossy finish, the sides and back are a wonderful, African variety of evergreen called mutenye.

As transistor technology has gotten more advanced—and more compact— companies like Fishman have begun to crack the mathematical alchemy

Found in tropical regions of western Africa, mutenye is a species in

behind creating solid-state circuits that sound like they’re being run

the Guibourtia family, making it a relative of other exotic tonewoods like

through a vintage Teletronix® LA-2A tube compressor set just right. Today,

bubinga and ovangkol. While mutenye has been sought after by craftsmen

transistor circuits can sound more organic, and preamps like the one

for years due to its strength and workability, the new Road Series is one

in the new Road Series have become instruments unto themselves.

of only a few examples of it being used in guitars today.

So how does it sound? Plugged in, the new Road Series sounds big,

Its bold striping gives it the appearance of a hazel-hued cousin of

complex, full, and chiming. Whereas older acoustic-electrics could

rosewood, but it has a slightly dryer and more mid-focused tone profile

sometimes sound thin or “plastic,” the Fishman Sonitone offers a tone that

than its distant eastern relative (both mutenye and rosewood fall under the

is distinctly musical, authoritative, and honest. The sound I heard through

Fabaceae family of flora). I was pleased to hear that, not unlike ovangkol,

PA speakers was a tastefully boosted version of what I heard coming from

mutenye adds an organic, woody richness to notes that offset the darkness

my soundboard. Rather than the sound of an electronics system, for the

inherent in other, more widely-used tonewoods.

first time, it felt to me that what the audience would hear would be

But this is a gigging guitar. In a live setting, few will ever hear the raw sound of any instrument, and all of Martin’s 184 years of dedication to tone can be bottlenecked by a bad electronics package. Enter the Fishman® Company and their Sonitone system. Like the Aura® VT Enhance™ acoustic amplification system in some of Martin’s higher-end guitars, the Sonitone is designed to combine maximum performance with minimal marring of the guitar body. Gone are the LED displays and knobs that defined earlier acoustic pickups and preamps, replaced now with simple volume and tone controls hidden beneath the edge of the soundhole, and a combined battery box and output jack tucked neatly on the lower bout. From a performance perspective, the simplified controls are a godsend. While the flexibility and power of more complex systems, with their range of features, presets, bells, and whistles, can make a huge difference on vintage guitars or through six-figure sound systems, most of that will be lost through a more modest setup like the one at Pete’s. The simpler controls also make dialing in your sound quick and painless—key for gigging musicians who need to set up and break down on stage in as little time as possible. All of this would mean very little indeed, however, if the system choked the beautiful, natural tone of the newest addition to the Road Series. Luckily, it doesn’t—in fact, it makes it better. In a word, the Sonitone electronics in the guitar we played, to use a fraught term, sounded “tubey.” Not technical jargon, per se, the word refers to that hard-to-define quality vacuum tubes bring to analog audio equipment. Perfect audio fidelity was the white whale



of early transistor-based amps and preamps, and so focused were the

M A R T I N G U I TA R . C O M |


The author and Melissa Faliveno of Self Help

t was a bright, sunny Sunday afternoon when I arrived with the new Road Series’ GPCRSG guitar to begin setting up for the show at Pete’s Candy Store. Though they weren’t yet open to the public, the bartender was kind enough to let me inside for an early start. We set up the stage for the show and then took a few photos of the guitar. Early afternoon light poured into the vacant barroom, and aside from the faint clinking of glasses being stacked and music playing softly behind the bar, all was silent. In a few hours the red vinyl barstools would fill up with women and men drinking pints of Sixpoint, Yuengling, Pabst Blue Ribbon and cocktails of all stripes, music thumping through the room as it has every weekend for almost 20 years. But, for now, the bar was ours: quiet, smelling faintly of lemon and limes being cut for the late evening rush still hours away. Our show was an early one, set to start at 3:00 p.m. sharp. When Ryan, the sound engineer, showed up, we plugged in our guitars—the new GPCRSG and a 000-18 equipped with a soundhole pickup—to get sound levels. It was immediately clear that the Sonitone system was much louder than Billy Gray of The Cases 88 | MARTIN’S NEW ROAD SERIES


LIGHTS WENT DOWN, AND THE SHOW BEGAN. the soundhole pickup—not unexpected for an active system playing

avant-garde quirkiness. In her songs, softer by nature, the guitar plays a

alongside a passive one, but the amount of headroom was impressive.

variety of roles, from typical acoustic accompaniment, to piano rhythm-

We adjusted the volume to keep the guitars in the same ballpark as one

and-bass interplay, to the countermelodies of a full string section. It was

another and then rolled back the tone control on the Road Series until we

a unique challenge that the Road Series met with aplomb. Pick sweeps,

found the sweet spot for the room: rich, articulate, but not too bright.

palm-muting, and other techniques benefited from the responsiveness

Around a quarter till three, audience members and performers began to

of the guitar’s contoured bracing, highlighting the sense of rhythm that

arrive. As I mentioned, it doesn’t take much to fill the room at Pete’s, and

separates acoustic guitars from electrics.

by the time the first musician came onstage, listeners were sitting and

In Senior Vice President, Schneider took the GPCRSG on a tour of jazzy

standing all the way to the back of the room, nursing beers and donuts

chords and complex phrasing that Burt Bacharach might lead if he were

(the DreadNot Funtime Brunch Bunch made sure to bring brunch). Then,

driving Elvis Costello’s car. Sevenths, ninths, sixths, and more were on

the lights went down, and the show began.

display in songs with an angular thrust, giving us a chance to hear the

Billy Gray of Brooklyn act the Cases opened things up with a mix of

Road Series’ tone outside the context of typical modern pop. I’d heard

tunes that recalled the best parts of power pop songwriter Ted Leo

these songs before, and it was here that the guitar’s mutenye back and

and post-hardcore stalwarts like Mclusky and the Dismemberment

sides really seemed to make a difference. Notes that might be lost or

Plan. “Post-hardcore” not being a genre often associated with acoustic

blurred elsewhere seemed to jump out, highlighting the movement of bass

music, Gray took the Road Series sprinting out the gate with songs

and treble notes in complex chord progressions and fingerpicked phrases.

that featured power chords, stop-on-a-dime time changes, and lead hooks

Despite abundant overtones, the fundamentals were never lost, and songs

played high on the neck. The new guitar handled them all with ease—

that could feel complicated took on a new catchiness I hadn’t heard before.

chords sounded chunky and thick, while lead lines rang out with ample

For our part, my band, Self Help, used the new Road Series to play

sustain. The Performing Artist-style neck seemed to handle like a racecar

our particular brand of Americana and power pop. From a performance

in Gray’s hands as well, making the jump from chord progressions to

perspective, the most striking aspect of the Road Series guitar was a

lead lines handily.

feeling of connection with the audience. Being onstage means placing a

Performing next on the GPCRSG were the songwriting duo of Angela Savvas

lot of trust in equipment—in pickups, in cables, in monitors, in speakers—

and David Schneider, who perform in each other’s acts as SAVVAS and

and not always being sure that what you’re putting in is what the audience

Senior Vice President, respectively. Both musicians embrace music theory

hears coming out. With the new guitar, there was an unmistakable sense

with both arms, and Savvas’s music tends toward a style of arty doo-wop

that the room was hearing what we felt—punchy midrange, room-filling

that combines Roy Orbison’s crooning crescendos and Joanna Newsom’s

low end, and round, clear treble notes.

M A R T I N G U I TA R . C O M |


David Schneider of Senior Vice President


Headlining the afternoon were the Courtesy Tier, fresh on the heels of a pair of EP releases and just ahead of the launch of their full-length record. They’d recently toured the East Coast, and after landing a manager on a recent trip to Austin’s South by Southwest festival, had scored opportunities to record with the likes of Peter Katis (Interpol, The National), Joe Hardy (ZZ Top), and Chris "Frenchie" Smith (...And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead). Their blend of blues, rock, and indie music is characterized by intricate chickenpickin’ lines, quick hammer-ons, and the occasional alternate tuning—a triathlon of sorts for an acoustic guitar. In their hands, though, the guitar sounded as clear and full as it would in a studio, supporting—but not competing with—the band’s vocal harmonies. Like all the best musicians, their set ended on a high that left everyone feeling energized and wanting more. But, this being Brooklyn, where there is no shortage of musical talent and everyone is in a hurry, we needed to pack up our gear and clear the room for another show at Pete’s later that evening. Tearing down was as easy as unplugging the Road Series guitar and returning it to its case, and as I did, Ryan came by with the red “TIPS” pail. We’d made a sizeable chunk of change, and everyone decided the best result of an afternoon of good vibrations would be to donate the money to charity. More than a chance to try out a prototype from the Martin workshop, which is scheduled to debut at the 2017 Winter NAMM Trade Show in Anaheim, the back room of Pete’s that day was a place to create warmth. Connected by songs, and by this guitar, the afternoon was a chance to kindle a small flame against the chill of a long workweek, of terrifying newspaper headlines, of all the setbacks and frustrations of working life. It was an afternoon of camaraderie, and openness, and all of the things music has offered us since time immemorial. A chance to make new memories, to warm ourselves; a chance to get drink tickets. Mostly, it was a reminder that wherever you are and however you’re feeling,


YOUR FRIENDS, YOUR GUITAR, AND THE OPEN ROAD. Learn more about the new GPCRSG from Martin’s Road Series at and find a local authorized Martin dealer at

M A R T I N G U I TA R . C O M |





THE MARTIN ARCHIVES: A SCRAPBOOK OF TREASURES FROM THE WORLD’S FOREMOST ACOUSTIC GUITAR MAKER By Jim Washburn – with Dick Boak (Backbeat Books – A Division of Hal Leonard Publications) The Martin Archives is a unique inside look into C. F. Martin & Co.’s reign as America’s oldest and most revered guitar maker viewed through a selection of images, documents, and reproduced artifacts chosen from some 700,000 items the company has amassed over nearly two centuries. Many of these have lain unseen in the Martins’ attic or vault. From the concert halls of the pre-Civil War United States to the Grand Ole Opry stage to Woodstock, Coachella, and beyond, Martin’s instruments have been on hand to give voice to the human spirit. The Martin Archives offers i n s i g hts into those instruments and the people who made them, as well as the times the Martins lived through. While some guitar makers predate the advent of personal computers, Martin predates the typewriter, electric lights, and even the steam locomotive, and its archives reveal what an interesting ride that has been. In addition to all that is on its pages, The Martin Archives contains 20 removable facsimile items illuminating bits of its history, including old company records, letters from stars such as Gene Autry, antique instrument tags and catalogs, a handwritten history of the company on its 100th birthday by Frank Henry Martin, and other palpable delights. Jim Washburn is the co-author, with Richard Johnston, of the 1997 book Martin Guitars, An Illustrated Celebration of America’s Premier Guitarmaker. Since 1983, he has written extensively about music, popular culture, and musical instruments for the Los Angeles Times, Orange County Register, OC Weekly, Fretboard Journal, Guitar World, MSN online, and other publications. He lives in Costa Mesa, California. Dick Boak manages the museum and archives as well as special projects for the Martin Guitar Company, where he has enjoyed working since 1976. Boak helped to coordinate Martin’s Limited Edition guitar program that has produced signature models for more than 100 legendary artists, including Eric Clapton, Paul Simon, Tom Petty, Steve Miller, Joan Baez, Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, and Sting. Boak is also an illustrator, recording artist, luthier, woodworker, writer, and publisher. He lives in Nazareth, Pennsylvania.

92 | THE 1833 SHOP ®

MSRP: $45.00 (US) Item #18B0019 - The Martin Archives, Treasures Order your copy today at

M A R T I N G U I TA R . C O M |





Merle Haggard (1937-2016) was synonymous with great country music for more than five decades. He chronicled a world of hard knocks, pain, love and triumph in songs that exhibited a storyteller’s soul. After 39 chart-topping country hits and more than 70 albums, he built upon a legacy virtually unmatched in music, country or otherwise. Merle Haggard had a longstanding history and friendship with Martin, and he was extremely reverent about the musical influence and inspiration of Jimmie Rodgers, as well as the actual guitar that Rodgers played. We celebrate his life and musical contribution. Hail to Merle!

Merle Haggard mad e a sp e c ia l e f fo r t t o a t t e nd t he unveiling of his 000C-28HAG Signature Model at the Anaheim NAMM Show in January 2001. Martin’s Dick Boak p rese nte d Merle with a "THANKS" guitar back f ro m the Ji m m i e Ro d ge r s E d it io n, on which Merle’s "Blue Yodel No. 13" was based.










The Turning Wheels and the Hands of Time—obvious themes as we pass yet another milestone with the completion of Martin Serial Number 2,000,000. “Time Books” like these were fastidiously tracked for the purposes of costing and payroll. The reality is that flawless craftsmanship and purity of tone require a great commitment of time—a commitment that Martin has always been intent on making.

C. F. Martin & Co., Inc. 510 Sycamore St., Nazareth, PA 18064

VOLUME 7 | 2 01 7

MARTIN | The Journal of Acoustic Guitars: Volume 7  
MARTIN | The Journal of Acoustic Guitars: Volume 7