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Images of America Series

C. F. Martin & Co.

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    The guitar has long since surpassed the piano as the most popular musical instrument in the world. C. F. Martin & Co. led the charge ever since the guitar began to take hold in the early 1800s. Most family businesses struggle to survive one generation, but Martin persevered the Civil War, the Spanish-American War, World War I, the Great Depression, World War II, and even the disco decade. The formula for Martin’s success is and always has been an unparalleled commitment to precise hand-craftsmanship blended with optimum tonewoods, innovation, and singular¬lar design. Today, Martin remains the oldest surviving maker of stringed instruments in the world, and the largest and most respected maker of acoustic guitars in America.

    The images in this book, mostly sourced from Martin's vast company archives, trace the remarkable development of the acoustic guitar in the hands of six generations of Martin family members that have managed the business from 1833 until present day. The images also capture the buildings, the employees, the musicians, and the exquisite instruments that have all combined to create a lasting legacy.


    An employee since 1976, Dick Boak has worn many hats at Martin. Originally hired as a design draftsman, he has been a builder of prototypes, founder of the company's two retail stores, and manager of Martin’s in house advertising department and print shop. He initiated Martin’s highly visible Signature Edition guitar program that has produced artist models for more than one hundred legendary musicians including Eric Clapton, Paul Simon, Jimmy Buffett, Tom Petty, Steve Miller, Joan Baez, Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, John Mayer and Sting. While he is not spreading himself too thin as an illustrator, musician, designer, guitarmaker, woodworker, writer, and publisher, Dick Boak currently manages the company's Museum and Archives.

    C. F. Martin IV, or "Chris" as he prefers, is the Chairman and CEO of the world-renowned C. F. Martin & Co. and the 6th generation of Martin family members to run the business. Under Chris Martin's direction, the Company has maintained its integrity and industry wide respect while growing and prospering to unprecedented manufacturing and sales levels.

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