|Linked from the Visit Us Page at www.martinguitars.com|
There's plenty of guest parking right in front of the famous factory. Straight through those door and you're in the reception area where you'll be greeted and asked to sign in for your tour. The tours seem to run about every hour starting at 11:00 AM weekdays.
The reception area has a couple famous guitars on display, like the D-18 (#98611) Hank Williams bought in 1947.
There are also a couple amazing art pieces like this dragon themed instrument. Paul, I love my Santana III, but Martin has your Dragons beat.
There's also a lounge area where you can kick back and play some of the less fancy instruments in front of the "Martin Players Wall".
The real fun starts with the museum. As you walk in you're confronted with the D-100. Martin employees can buy 2 instruments a year at 50% off retail. Our tour guide offered to buy us one of these for $700,000. I think I could have negotiated him down to $650K.
|Did you know Martin made zithers?|
|How 'bout Mandolins?|
|Everybody knows Tiny Tim was a Martin Artist Right?|
|Ready to ship|
The largest part of the shop floor is dedicated to taking raw slabs of wood and turning them into shapes suitable for guitar building. If I'm remembering this scene correctly these are the machines that make the "book match" slices for tops and backs.
|Book matched top blanks|
|Hand shaving the braces|
The machine than makes the sides for most guitars is a cool laser system that makes 4 pieces at a time. The "Authentic" line of instruments are still cut by hand.
The sides are formed on large machines using steam and hot rollers. They're then cooled in frames like these.
After the sides are glued craftsmen (and women) apply a gluing strip, holding it in places with advanced hi-tech clamps.
Top and back are pressed onto the guitar body with a little heat to cure the glue quickly and evenly.
Binding (and the rosette) are applied by hand and taped in place.
Well, the factory was interesting, but the real fun begins in The Pickin' Parlor at the back of the 1833 shop. It's a smallish room with a bunch of higher end instruments almost none of which I can even imagine being able to buy.
|D-28 Authentic. 1931|
If you're ever withing 200 miles of Nazareth, PA you owe it to yourself and your descendants to come here and see where the best guitars on the planet are made.