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Martin Guitars

Christian Frederick Martin was a German-born luthier who emigrated to the United States in 1833 and settled in Nazareth, Pennsylvania. It has been the home of C. F. Martin & Co ever since. The company was the first to make guitars in the United States, and is credited with a number of innovations which have attracted players such as Elvis Presley, Paul McCartney, Eric Clapton and John Mayer.

First of these was the internal X-bracing system, which strengthened the company's guitars and allowed them to more quickly adapt to the demand for steel-stringed instruments. The next was the dove-tail neck joint, which aided the transmission of tone from the neck to the body. The company also introduced the 14-fret neck (most guitars only had 12), which allowed guitarist easier access to higher frets.

The last, and most important, innovation was that of the dreadnought body. Borrowed from the Royal Navy's HMS Dreadnought (a large new battleship), these larger guitar bodies produced more volume and bass, and allowed the acoustic guitar to be better utilised as an accompaniment for singers. The shape is now considered the "standard" for acoustic guitars, and the Martin family still run their factory in Nazareth, Pennsylvania.

Photo credit: Hailey Reed

Man sitting and playing Martin Guitar
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