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Chapter 6: The Big Guitar Boom

The late 1960s may have witnessed the end of one era for the Martin Company, but their last few products of that decade ushered in the ensuing "high production `70s" with a surprise. In 1968, after 26 years, the famous D-45 surfaced again. Martin Historian Mike Longworth deserves more than a little credit for reintroducing this product.

When Longworth went to work for the Martin Company, he brought with him the knowledge of how to do the pearl work necessary for the fanciest production Martin guitar. Working on his own, Longworth actually "converted" several D-28s by retrofitting them with all of the pearl bordering found on the old D-45s. This was no attempt to deceive, but flattery of the highest regard. 230 D-45s were made with Brazilian rosewood in the late `60s before the switch to Indian rosewood.

A totally new model was introduced in 1969 to fill the gap between the D-35 and the new D-45: the D-41. This instrument featured pearl borders around the top only, as opposed to the all-encompassing borders on the more expensive D-45. Thirty-one D-41s, starting with #252014, were made with Brazilian rosewood; all the rest are constructed of Indian rosewood.

With the tremendous interest in acoustic guitars in the early 1970s (which coincided exactly with the new "soft-rock" era of James Taylor, Loggins & Messina, and Seals & Crofts), the Martin company increased production to an unprecedented rate. As a comparison, in 1961 the company made 507 D-28s; in 1971 the total was 5,466. The company offered five different Dreadnoughts (as well as numerous smaller-sized guitars) to a market that seemed to grow every month.

To meet the ever-increasing demand, Martin chose to build up its staff rather than change production procedures, which still primarily required hand work. Martin reached its peak production in 1971, but didn't hit its peak Dreadnought production years until 1974 and 1975. Over 30,000 Dreadnoughts were produced in this two year period. (1974: 3,811 D-18s; 5077 D-28s; 6,184 D-35s; 506 D-41s; 157 D-45s. 1975: 3,069 D-18s; 4,996 D-28s; 6,260 D-35s; 452 D-41s; and 192 D-45s [does not include "S" models].)

Table of Contents

Chapter 1: The Dreadnought Story
Chapter 2: From the Beginning
Chapter 3: The First D-45
Chapter 4: Mid-`40s to the Mid-`60s
Chapter 5: The Tumultuous Mid-`60s
Chapter 6: The Big Guitar Boom
Chapter 7: Other Models
Chapter 8: Approaching 2000 & Beyond

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