Martin guitars are revered, collected, and played by performers, singers, songwriters and by legions of avid collectors and enthusiasts.
If there has been a hallmark for Martin guitars over the years, it is that the guitars were plainly adorned. No expense was spared on achieving the best sound, but no extra expense was deemed necessary simply to make the guitar look nicer. Those 40-45 series guitars were comparatively rare and unusual until the 1970s. Nowdays it seems everyone is making fancy guitars, and Martin is no exception. Neither has any expense been spared for many custom instruments.
This book features more than 100 of Martin’s most desirable guitars, including instruments belonging to Bob Dylan, Willie Nelson, Joan Baez, Sting, and Eric Clapton. We also get a look at Martin’s one millionth instrument, the fanciest Martin ever made.
Author Dick Boak is the head of artist relations and publicity at C.F. Martin and Co., collaborating with artists in the design of their Limited Edition and Signature Models. A prolific artist, luthier and musician in his own right, he is a founder of the Association of Stringed Instrument Artisans, and has organized numerous national instrument-making symposiums. Here he enthusiastically outlines his experiences as liaison in these collaborations.
Many players prefer a more plain guitar, and most still associate Martin with unadorned instruments or, at the most, with herringbone trim. However, others appreciate the beauty of pearl-trimmed and otherwise festooned guitars as art objects as well as instruments you can play. This book is for the latter, though the former will also be rather interested, as well.
Bulfinch Press 2003, Hardbound 144 pages, ISBN 0-82122-835-8, $40
This article originally appeared in VG‘s Aug. ’04 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.