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Meet Dick Boak and Richard Johnston to talk about the history of Martin Guitars

Boak and Johnston co-authored the new books Martin Guitars: A History and Martin Guitars: A Technical Reference and in doing so, uncovered new information about the history of C.F. Martin and Co.

In this forum environment, we invite you to engage with the authors of those books and ask questions about the research that went into the project, some of the new facts that are presented both in the books and in our story, and the long process of writing the books.

Tags: discussion, event, guitars, history, martin

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How come there is such a difference in price from manufacturers when the guitars are made of the same material and pretty close to the same craftmanship?
This is a forum about the history of Martin Guitars, although we've veered into topics about repairing them as well. I'm sure there are other more general forums within Acoustic Guitar's online community where you can post this question and get a lot of responses.
Great to be able to read all your great replys to so many questions. I am 79 yrs. young and have had quite a few Martins over the years. I bought my first D28 in 1946 for $80.00 with HSC. And like a lot of other fools, I sold it in about 1953 for $125.00. If I only had it now!!!!! I have owned D15, D28, D40, D41 and currently own and play the new DC Aura model through a Fishman Loudbox 100 and love it. It is a beautiful guitar. I will be picking up your new book soon. Thanks--Floyd Tidd--Mesa, Az.
Great to hear from you, Floyd. As for that '46 D-28 you sold so many years ago, there are two ways of looking at it. From one angle, of course it would be great to have kept it and to have that same guitar today, especially considering its value. But on the other hand, those other Martin Dreadnoughts you've owned have all added their own unique sounds and may be part of why you've continued playing much longer than many people your age who have kept the same guitar for decades, but now rarely play it. It's inspiring to hear that you're playing a DC Aura and exploring all the sounds available to you when using the Loudbox amp with that pickup system. 79 years young, indeed!
I just ordered the two books. I have been to the factory twice many years ago as I am from Lancaster PA. I recall adding my name to a list asking to work there when I graduated high school in '73. How come you never called me?
Martin's production was at its peak in '72, when they hit production records they wouldn't match again until the mid-1990s. By 1973, sales were already slowing down and the company probably had laid-off workers who would the get the first call when Martin needed more help. Chances are good they weren't hiring anybody new for many years after you graduated.
There is a "Martin" for sale here that has no serial numbers. Story is that it is/was an employees guitar and that is the reason there is a lack of serial numbers. Most of us in this part of the country think it is a fake and doubt that they allow this what is your take on this?

Without seeing photos, and photos of the inside of the guitar might be needed, I can't make an informed comment. Martin does allow employees to make guitars, but there are limits on the number and how they are marked. Dick Boak knows all that info, but he's managing the A.S.I.A symposium now and may not be able to reply to your question for a few days. But Martin's stylistic elements like the headstock, soundhole rosette, bridge, etc. have been so widely copied that purchasing the guitar you describe is a risky investment unless you get someone who knows Martins both inside and out to look at it, preferably in person, before you shell out serious money.
I have an R and D guitar from Martin (a D1) Circa 90s
The body is complete and has a nice satin finish except it still needs binding. Neck, etc to be added later.
The slot for binding looks very even and precise
Is is possible to buy binding that will fit instead of having to 'scrape' oversized binding.
Any thoughts greatly appreciated.
> Michael
Santa Rosa CA
Chances are good that the binding thickness needed is not exactly uniform, and you cannot buy binding that's exactly the right thickness anyway. Since the guitar has a finish, here's one way to do it: Try to get the binding to the approximate thickness you need before gluing it into the recess already routed in the body (you can do this with a scraper, check for more tips). Glue the binding in, being careful not to get glue on the finish if the glue you are using etches into the finish. Once the binding is glued in, use blue "low tack" masking tape to cover the finish right up to where the binding begins. You can then scrape the binding down to a near perfect fit without marring the finish. You'll probably mess up the tape now and then, but so what? Just peel off that section, apply another bit of tape, and keep going.
Good luck!
Thank you so much for your suggestions and expertise.
Taping and carefully scaping seems do-able to me. I will take my time and try this.
Much Appreciated!
Michael A Martin
Santa Rosa, CA
History of Martin Guitars

Thank you for the Martin Guitars (History Of) Forum and the postings. I missed the actual Forum event however, I did post a discussion of my experience with Martin Guitars in Acoustic Guitar Community with the title "CF Martin & Co." under the Playing Guitar/Discussion on June 10, 2009. If you have any comments feel free to post them as they are welcome.

Gary Fladmark


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