After studying instrument making in the shop of Viennese luthier Johann Stauffer, Christian Frederick Martin returned to his hometown of Markneukirchen in what is now eastern Germany. The town's violin makers considered the guitar little more than furniture and forbade him from opening a business. Although he was eventually vindicated, hurt feelings and the death of his father caused him to pack his tools and immigrate with his wife and two children to the New World. He arrived in New York City in November 1833 and promptly set up a thriving music store near what is now the mouth of the Holland Tunnel. In 1839, he moved to Nazareth in eastern Pennsylvania, a small town of Germanic immigrants. There, his exquisitely made instruments evolved to provide the very definition of "the guitar." To this day, professional and amateur musicians prize Martin guitars for their tone, consistency, quality and attention to handcrafted detail.
"The guitars we're building today, I believe, are among the best in our company's history-models for every taste and playing style, from the traditional to the most avant-garde. When future generations look back at what we've done, I want them to see how much of our great tradition we have sustained and, at the same time, to see how boldly we have moved into the future."
-- Chris Martin, Sixth generation of the Martin family to run the business
For nearly two centuries, six generations of the Martin family and their legions of skilled luthiers have built the instruments that have sung America's song. Along the way, C.F. Martin and Company has refined the art and craft of luthiery, influencing music trends worldwide. From boldly voiced, iconic Martin dreadnoughts to bright-toned ukuleles, the company's instruments have provided the musical accompaniment to the American adventure. No other guitar company can claim such a rich history and few can look forward to such a bright future.
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