The Martin is considered the finest acoustic guitar in the world, a distinction it has held for more than 150 years. Philip Gura chronicles the career of C. F. Martin from his humble start as an importer and repairman of musical instruments in New York City in the 1830s through his move to Nazareth, Pennsylvania and the founding of C. F. Martin & Company.
Gura is the first historian to study thoroughly the Martin company records dating back to the 1830s: letters, account books, inventories, and other documents. Using this rich archive, he establishes how a German immigrant from Saxony's guild tradition became the finest American guitar maker of his time and created a uniquely American business that successfully eclipsed its competition.
As Gura shows, Martin's success was based on his astute navigation of the rapid economic expansion and industrialization of his time. Martin adapted his artisanal craft to modern industrial methods, maintaining quality while meeting increased demand. After Martin's death in 1873, the company continued to grow, and it thrives today, producing instruments that are still the most sought after in the world.
With more than 175 illustrations, many of them in color, this book is a handsome and entertaining history of the nineteenth-century American music trade told through C. F. Martin's innovation and vision.