Nazareth: The Childhood Home of… Martin Guitars

Martin Guitar

Ever heard of the "Martin sound"? In the music world, it's referring to the sound that a Martin radiates: bassy, warm, rich with sparkling high tones. Some say old-fashioned, some say the epitome of guitar tone.

You'll have to judge for yourself if you make it up to Nazereth, Penn., for a guided factory tour of C.F. Martin (510 Sycamore St., Nazareth, Penn.), the oldest surviving maker of guitars in the world.

From the shallowest point of the curve, to the peak at the end point of the heal (we’re positive this isn’t the beginnings of a Danielle Steel book), it takes precision and experience to make our favorite musical muse. The company has perfected and created many innovations to the guitar including X-bracing (a feature that gives strength) and the notable "golden era" steel guitars.

Founded in 1833 in New York, C.F. Martin moved his family and business to Pennsylvania in 1839. It's always been a family-owned company; its current CEO is C.F. Martin IV.

Your visit to Martin Guitar will be begin with a guided factory tour (one hour) that starts at the Martin Guitar Museum. The museum houses 170+ of the finest crafted Martin guitars (some with engraved gold tuners, ivory fingerboards and pearl buttons), some as old as 170 years.

Inside the factory itself, you'll get a glimpse of the old-world tools used to make early guitars, and get an eyeful of the new (state-of-the-art) guitar-making facility used these days. The tour also stops by the 1833 shop (a Martin souvenir shop with apparel and collectibles), where you can purchase your most needed gift items, or enter this contest to win the perfect Christmas gift, a D-28.

Martin is also a staunch supporter of environmental issues and sustainability. They are diligent with their monitoring of raw material purchases along the supply chain (to keep out non-conforming products and bad suppliers). You don't want to be stuck between a rock and a hard place if you're not regulatory compliant.

We also suggest visiting the Guitar Makers' Connection (10 W. North St., Nazereth, Penn.), the original Martin factory. It's now home to a retail store that has collections of luthier (guitar-making) tools, guitar parts and kits.

Free tours are offered at regular intervals between 11 a.m. and 2:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. CF Martin is located about 200 miles north of D.C.

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