By the end of the millennium year, 780,500 Martin guitars will had been built. Chris Martin remarked, “My personal goal is to take our company from ‘Not Many, But Much’ (Non Multa Sed Multum) to ‘Many – And Much.’”
The "D-50 Deluxe Edition" guitar is unveiled. Crafted of rare Brazilian rosewood with unprecedented pearl inlay, it is the most spectacular – and expensive – limited edition guitar yet. But even more spectacular Martin guitars are waiting in the wings.
"SP+ Extended Life" strings are introduced. (“Your fingers will wear out before these strings do” says one Bluegrass picker.)
Utilizing the same technology and synthetic materials applied to Martin's successful X Series, this little guitar is built and sized to go anywhere, and it does!
One hundred and seventy-one years after C.F. Martin Sr. moves to Nazareth, and in the shadow of the old Martin homestead, (Serial #1,000,000) the One Millionth Martin guitar is built.
Crafted from C.I.T.E.S. certified Brazilian rosewood, Adirondack red spruce, black African ebony and genuine mahogany, Serial #1,000,000 – fittingly, a Dreadnought, one of the Martin’s most influential designs – is the most elaborate instrument in the company’s history, surpassing even the D-45 China Dragon (#700,000) and the D-45 Peacock (#750,000). Intricate inlays of abalone, mother of pearl, sea snail, 18-karat gold, white gold and precious gems, including diamonds, emeralds, rubies, sapphires and aquamarines, cover the back, fingerboard, headstock, rosette, pickguard and inset soundhole “rose.” Similar inlays accent the sides and neck.
The inlays feature Victorian and Baroque imagery as well as some uniquely Martin elements. Tendrils of vines and leaves frame the top, back, sides and neck, and more elaborate inlays in the same style are set into the back of the neck and the sides. A grand trellis rises from an urn at the base of the fingerboard. A golden eagle peers from a flourish of leaves on the headstock. The pickguard features a guitar top with Martin’s innovative X-bracing as well as tools of the luthier’s trade.
Most spectacular of all is the guitar’s back. An urn near the center supports an arbor of vines and leaves on which four angels play guitars, a mandolin and a ukulele, while near the top, two more angels place a wreath on the neck of an early Martin of the sort the founder C. F. Martin Sr. made in his early years in the United States. Framed by cascading tendrils, “#1,000,000” is followed by the familiar “C.F. Martin & Co., Est. 1883” logo in abalone. Near the bottom, an engraved portrait of C.F. Martin himself completes the inlay.
Is “#1,000,000” the ultimate C.F. Martin guitar? Certainly it is an unprecedented museum piece and a pristine example of the guitar making craft. But as C. F. Martin & Co. continues to add to its guitar making legacy, the urge to create an even more fantastic guitar will almost certainly arise. After all, #2,000,000 may be less than 20 years away!
C. F. Martin & Co. has announced the opening of a new Martin Guitar Museum and Visitors Center. Martin, the oldest surviving maker of guitars in the world and the largest and most respected manufacturer of acoustic guitars in America, has had profound impact on music. The Company’s exquisitely crafted guitars have helped define virtually all genres, from classical and country to folk and acoustic rock. Martin’s old museum and visitors center, the starting point for one of the most popular “factory tours” in the U.S. (named the #1 tour of its kind by USA Today) and a destination for tens of thousands of visitors every year, has been completely rebuilt to offer guests the chance to experience Martin’s 173-year history, as well as play some of Martin’s best-known and top-selling guitars. The goal is to “complete the visitor’s experience,” according to CEO and President Christian Frederick (Chris) Martin IV, the sixth generation Martin to head this continuously family-owned and operated American institution.
Construction started in 2004, and a little more than one year later, the new Museum and Visitors Center opened to the public. With more than 173 years of history, the museum display occupies nearly 3,200 square feet (almost ten times its previous size) and tells the Company’s story through guitars and other priceless artifacts that have been archived at Martin for decades. Eight distinct periods of Martin history will be highlighted in the museum:
1796-1838 Getting Started
1839-1873 The Gentler Arts
1874-1929 Timely Change
1930-1945 The Golden Era
1946-1969 Taking No Risks In Good Times
1970-1985 Acquisition & Diversification
2000-Present Music History – Martin History
Among the featured guitars are those with serial numbers 600,000, 750,000, 800,000 and of course Martin’s priceless, stunningly crafted and adorned one millionth guitar. In addition, two separate workbench display areas will showcase the late-19th and mid-20th century crafting of the Martin guitar. A segregated 200 square foot area will showcase items from current President and CEO Chris Martin’s personal guitar and art collection.
“It has been my dream for many years to expand our little museum into something very special that can do justice in presenting our incredible story to the many thousands of people who visit the factory every year to take the tour,” notes Chris Martin. “Finally that dream has come to fruition. Our collection of Martin guitars has really grown, and we will finally have an appropriate space to show them. In addition, there will be an expanded “Pickin’ Parlor” area to view and try many of our models, plus a very impressive new entrance and lobby.”
The design is exceptionally creative with architect Mic Curd, fulfilling Martin’s desire to replicate the facade of the original North Street Factory (circa 1860) for the Visitors Center entrance.
The lobby is designed to be generous in space, with wood details and accents that highlight the fixtures. The space is flexible so it can be used for performances. For the first time, Martin will have a stage that can be located in one of two designated areas between the reception desk and the lobby staircase.
In addition to Mic Curd, Architect of Shelter Design Inc., Green Lane, PA, others who helped turn the dream of a new museum into a reality include Ondra-Huyett Associates Inc., of Fogelsville, PA (Construction Management), Shari West of Museum Design Associates, Cambridge, MA, who provided text for the display panels, and Martin’s Dick Boak who gathered and installed the museum artifacts and wrote the labels for the more than 200 instruments on display.
In just seven years of unprecedented growth, Martin produced another half-million instruments, but there was no compromise to quality. To commemorate the milestone, Martin unveiled the DaVinci Unplugged guitar for display at the 2011 Winter NAMM Show in Anaheim. Following the completion of Harvey Leach’s remarkable DaVinci inspired inlays, scrimshaw artist Bob Hergert tackled the incredibly intricate illustrative engravings pictured at right. The three primary inlay areas on the guitar are the Mona Lisa headstock, the Last Supper pickguard, and the Vitruvian Man on the back of the guitar. Style 45 hexagons inlaid into the fingerboard and bridge wings are cut from fossilized mammoth ivory and expertly scrimshawed with an array of Leonardo's drawings. The various parts were carefully crafted at the Martin factory, then sent out to Harvey and Bob, then returned to Nazareth for final assembly, delicate Style 45 perimeter inlay, and finishing. Lastly, special gold tuning buttons are being engraved by Tira Mitchell, a special case is being crafted by TKL, and a special strap is being hand-tooled and donated by leather artist, Chuck Smith. Harvey Leach has collaborated with Martin on the creation of an online blog that delineates the evolution and process for this unique milestone guitar.