But, having grown up in a bucolic area of Saxony, C.F. Martin was a country boy at heart, and the grind of big-city life wore on him and his family. After his wife returned from a trip to the rolling hills of Pennsylvania in 1838, he decided to settle down just outside of Nazareth, Pennsylvania—which is still the home of Martin Guitars almost two centuries later (Fun fact: Robbie Robertson said that the label reading “C.F. Martin Guitar Co., Nazareth, PA” was what inspired the first line of “The Weight”).
Out in Pennsylvania, Martin Guitars flourished under C.F.’s leadership to the point that they outgrew the operation on their property and opened up a proper plant in 1859. Part of the reason for their rapid growth was their new X-brace construction, which gave their guitars that trademark Martin power and high-end resonance. X-bracing didn’t catch on until the steel-string explosion in the next century, but it would eventually become the industry standard.
After C.F. Martin passed away, he gave the reins to his son, C.F. Jr. However, fifteen years later, C.F. Jr. passed away out of the blue, leaving his twenty-two year-old son Frank in charge in 1888. Many young men in their early twenties would have folded under the pressure, but Frank rose to the challenge. He spotted a trend towards mandolin-based music and pounced, increasing his company’s mandolin business thirtyfold. In the twenties, Frank jumped on another craze—this time for Hawaiian music—and had great success producing ukuleles while quadrupling Martin’s guitar business.
Their booming business in the twenties allowed them to weather the Great Depression with relative ease. Since sales were down, they focused their energy on developing new ways to make better acoustic guitars. Many of their inventions were lost to the sands of time, but they did produce two of the greatest innovations in the history of acoustic guitar design: the dreadnought body shape and the 14-fret neck, which adorned another legendary design called the Orchestra Model, or OM. Both of these breakthroughs would shape the world of acoustic guitars into what it is today.
After the Depression ended, Frank Martin passed the company to his son, C.F. Martin III in 1948. The folk music craze took off shortly thereafter, and the public was ravenous for steel-string sounds. Martin’s business exploded. By the early sixties, there was a three-year wait time for a Martin guitar, so they expanded their production facility yet again to their current facility on Sycamore Street.
Business continued to boom, and in 1986 the sixth generation of the Martin family took over when C.F. Martin IV was appointed CEO. Under his leadership, Martin has expanded the frontiers of acoustic guitar design even further while maintaining the storied Martin tradition. His sustainability initiatives have led to the development of fresh, exciting new guitars built with environmentally-friendly tonewoods, and he even opened up a new Martin factory in Mexico to produce a line of budget-friendly guitars, making the wonderful world of Martin tone accessible to more players.
We believe that the guitars showcased on this page are the culmination of six generations’ worth of excellence in lutherie. They are the product of almost two centuries of meticulous refinement and an obsessive commitment to building the best acoustic guitars possible. Within our carefully-curated Martin inventory, you’ll find jaw-dropping one-off Wildwood Spec Custom Shop pieces, Wildwood-Exclusive runs of Custom Shop guitars, Road Series gems, and (of course) a healthy selection of the core models that have made the Martin name synonymous with greatness. We invite you to browse our array of killer Martins and find one that makes your heartstrings resonate. We’re sure you’ll find one that will be an inspiring companion on all of your acoustic adventures!