A highlight of our trip last month was a "pilgrimage" to the C.F. Martin & Co. guitar museum and factory in the charming, sleepy little town of Nazareth, Pennsylvania. TJ, as some of you know, is a music man, and Martin acoustic guitars are his favorite. So going to the "home" of America's guitar, as Martin styles itself, was very much a kind of pilgrimage for TJ! Part of the facility is a replica of the original 1833 factory... it's beautiful. Martin Guitar in Nazareth offers free guided factory tours to see the guitars being made--and we went to see!
Before the factory tour we had a little time to walk through the Martin museum which chronicles the history of the Martin guitar, from Christian Frederick Martin's--the company's founder--beginning in Germany, his apprenticeship as a luthier (stringed instrument maker/repairer) in Vienna, Austria, to his emigration to America, guitar innovations through the years, to the present days...and the company is still family owned.
Martin guitars are favored by many well known musicians the world over... Crosby, Stills & Nash, Elvis, Johnny Cash, and many, many more...
For anyone interested in stringed instruments, and guitars in particular, the Martin Guitar factory tour is an amazing experience!
While factories usually conjure up images of lots of machines and mechanization, and there is certainly some of that, and lots of tools that help along with the making of a guitar, at Martin there are a lot of people doing very hands-on work and details to creating from pieces of wood some of the best guitars in the world. It's actually pretty humbling to see the process, and human hands making these beautiful instruments. I had a tear in my eye often as we went through the tour... (Photography was allowed during the tour, and these are just a few of the many, many photos we took, but I don't include those of people at work, as that just didn't feel right to do somehow for their privacy, etc.)
There is, of course, a gift and gear shop at the Martin complex...everything from clothing, coffee mugs, fridge magnets with the Martin logo, to guitar strings, books and much more besides. We came away with HIS and HERS Martin t-shirts. :)
Your can "test drive" many guitar models at Martin. And this has to be one of my favorite photos from our trip... TJ playing one of the guitars at the "pickin' parlor."
We had a great time on our trip... and look forward to our times Stateside.
In case you missed my other posts from our trip, you can see them here and here. Thanks for being along with us to re-share some memories! :)