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2004 Martin Guitar Design Workshop


On the first day, the fledgling designers took an in-depth tour of C.F. Martin & Company's world-famous facilities for inspiration. After the tour, a design symposium was conducted by Dick Boak and Tim Teel, raising awareness of design elements used in the distant past up to modern times. As luck would have it, they arrived on the same day as the annual gathering of the Unofficial Martin Guitar Forum. After soaking up the enthusiasm and enjoying a picnic on the lawn of the Martin plant, they returned to their laboratory at the college to begin work on their own designs with assistance from guitarmaker Dale Unger and Martin's R & D Manager, Tim Teel. To help them focus their ideas, Chris Martin suggested that participants think about the Dreadnought and how they might improve upon its time-honored design; however, they were also free to pursue their own ideas if they wished.

By the end of the week, fifteen diverse and innovative designs awaited the judges' opinions. Each person spoke briefly to the panel about what they had designed and the inspiration behind it. Their "muses" included technology, family members, and even favorite songs! With so many unique guitar designs to choose from, the judges definitely had some challenging decisions to make.

The Grand Prize went to Anthony Pavilonis of Beaver, PA, for his ergonomically designed guitar. This design included a wedged body and top to achieve a more comfortable playing position. Mr. Pavilonis won a Martin Alt X Resonator guitar for this unusual instrument.

The Participants' Choice Award was given to Halcyon Person of Plainfield, NJ, whose design was inspired by the Joni Mitchell song, Chelsea Morning. Using a line from the song, "And the sun poured in like butterscotch and stuck to all my senses" as her starting point, Ms. Halcyon created a design that featured gold-colored stained glass in geometric shapes. She received a Martin Graphite X guitar for this eye-catching design.

The Instructor's Choice Award went to Jesse Carpenter from Philadelphia, PA. Mr. Carpenter drew on his experience as a classical guitar builder in developing bracing for a steel string guitar based on classical design. He won a Martin Alternative X guitar for his effort.

This workshop has been held every summer for the past three years, and grows more popular every time. We look forward to doing it again and to being amazed, once again, at the creativity and innovation we see every year!

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