“The 175th anniversary of our company represents a profound milestone. Our signature product and Martin’s seamless tradition of quality to this day remain a significant source of pride for my family and all of those who are involved in crafting these extraordinary instruments,” said Martin Guitar Chairman and CEO Christian Frederick Martin IV. “Since 1833 musicians have connected with audiences everywhere the world over, showcasing their talent and virtuosity over all genres. Martin’s significance and cultural impact over 175 years is simply immeasurable.”
In honor of their 175th Jubilee, C.F. Martin & Co. will kick-off a year-long campaign in honor of the acoustic guitar – an instrument that has helped define virtually all genres of music, from classical and country to blues, folk and acoustic rock. Special events include an auction at Christie’s of exquisite Martin prototypes, pulled from an archived collection, to benefit the Martin Foundation in late 2008. Additional initiatives include introducing a line of limited edition guitars, the publication of several books, a CD compilation featuring the performances of Martin artists, the introduction of an in-depth online photo gallery chronicling the company’s vast history, as well as significant recognition locally, state wide and nationwide for the company’s accomplishments and cultural contributions over the last 175 years.
In 1833, Andrew Jackson, the seventh president was being sworn into a second term when the country was a mere 57 years into a union consisting of just 24 states. Since, C.F. Martin & Co. has survived a wide variety of economic, social and political upheavals including the Civil War, post-war turmoil, influxes of immigrant populations with varying tastes and customs, World War I, the “roaring 20s,” the Great Depression, World War II, The Vietnam years and the technological revolution. Through it all Martin not only survived but its reputation and outreach ultimately improved and increased. In recent years, despite the global economic downturn, Martin has been setting company sales records, crafted their millionth acoustic instrument, undergone a complete renovation and expansion of the Martin factory and unveiled an impressive new museum and visitor’s center at their headquarters in Nazareth, Pennsylvania.
Martin has earned an unparalleled reputation for dedication to exceptional quality and focus on one product – superbly well-crafted acoustic guitars. Their integrity and commitment to quality has maintained a level of respect in the marketplace that very few companies can boast. During the company’s long history, Martin branched out into related fields, producing mandolins in the late 1800s, and becoming one of the top manufacturers of ukuleles in the 1920s. With the acquisition of the Darco String Company in 1970, quality guitar strings have now become an integral part of C.F. Martin & Co’s operations.
Responsible for creating a number of industry standards through the years, C.F. Martin & Co. developed “X-bracing,” the 14-fret guitar and the “Dreadnought” size – all of which have been copied by virtually every acoustic guitar manufacturer in the world. This past year Martin Guitar was honored by Readers Digest (“Americas 100 Best”) and heralded by the New York Times “Saving Trees is Music to Guitar Makers’ Ears”) for helping pioneer the guitar industry’s eco-movement by developing instruments crafted from sustainable woods and innovative alternative materials.
Current Chairman and CEO Christian (“Chris”) Frederick Martin IV took the helm of the company in 1986. Under his leadership, the company has experienced unprecedented sales and production growth, maintained an extraordinary level of quality, introduced many new technologies, expanded the factory to nearly three times its prior size, integrated the model lineup with the introduction of many affordable guitars and has fortified the higher end with artist signature editions and vintage inspired recreations of historical Martin guitars. Chris recently made a bold investment in the company's future with the construction of the new Martin Museum and Visitors Center, which has proved to be a significant draw for tourists and guitar aficionados alike. Through his vision, the company has shown a great commitment to the development of alternative materials and sustainable woods to ensure the future of Martin Guitar for generations to come.