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The C. F. Martin Archives

A Scrapbook of Treasures From The World's Foremost Guitar Maker


The Martin Archives: 

A Scrapbook of Treasures from the World’s Foremost Acoustic Guitar Maker

by Jim Washburn – with Dick Boak

(Backbeat Books – A Division of Hal Leonard Publications)


   The Martin Archives is a unique inside look into C. F. Martin & Co.’s reign as America’s oldest and most revered guitar maker viewed through a selection of images, documents, and reproduced artifacts chosen from some 700,000 items the company has amassed over nearly two centuries. Many of these have lain unseen in the Martins’ attic or vault. From the concert halls of the pre–Civil War United States to the Grand Ole Opry stage to Woodstock, Coachella, and beyond, Martin’s instruments have been on hand to give voice to the human spirit.

   The Martin Archives offers insights into those instruments and the people who made them, as well as the times the Martins lived through. While some guitar makers predate the advent of personal computers, Martin predates the typewriter, electric lights, and even the steam locomotive, and its archives reveal what an interesting ride that has been.

   In addition to all that is on its pages, The Martin Archives contains twenty removable facsimile items illuminating bits of its history, including old company records, letters from stars such as Gene Autry, antique instrument tags and catalogs, a handwritten history of the company on its 100th birthday by Frank Henry Martin, and other palpable delights.


   JIM WASHBURN is the co-author, with Richard Johnston, of the 1997 book Martin Guitars, an Illustrated Celebration of America's Premier Guitarmaker. Since 1983, he has written extensively about music, popular culture, and musical instruments for the Los Angeles Times, Orange County Register, OC Weekly, Fretboard Journal, Guitar World, MSNonline, and other publications. He lives in Costa Mesa, California.

   DICK BOAK (retired) managed the museum and archives as well as special projects for the Martin Guitar Company, where he enjoyed working since 1976. Boak helped to coordinate Martin’s Limited Edition guitar program that has produced signature models for more than one hundred legendary artists including Eric Clapton, Paul Simon, Tom Petty, Steve Miller, Joan Baez, Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, and Sting. Boak is also an illustrator, recording artist, luthier, woodworker, writer, and publisher. He lives in Nazareth, Pennsylvania. 

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