By Richard Johnson and Dick Boak
These extraordinarily comprehensive books began as internal Martin documents prepared by the late Mike Longworth, and originally published in 1975 as Martin Guitars-A History. The book was updated haphazardly over the years, lacking a coherent structure and even an index by the time that Martin decided to create a definitive edition 20 years later. So, company veteran Dick Boak was tasked with completely revamping the book, and he enlisted the aid of Martin historian Richard Johnson, who arguably knows more about Martin than anyone else in the world. The result was this lavishly illustrated two-volume set, one volume of which spans the entire history of the company from 1833 to 2007, and the other details every conceivable aspect of Martin acoustic and electric guitars, mandolins, mandolas, mandocellos, ukuleles, banjos, and other instruments. A must-have for collectors, music shops, repair facilities, luthiers, and musical instrument historians—and a damn fine read for the layman, too. Hal Leonard.