Since serial numbers weren't introduced until , approximate dating of the earlier guitars can be accomplished by knowing when Martin made changes to their labels or to the brand, which can be found stamped into the back of the head, the upper part of the back, and just inside the soundhole on the long strut which reinforces the back joint. Until the brand read "C. Martin New York", when it was changed to "C. New York. From before until Charles A. In the brand was finally changed to C.
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The X-braced, steel-string, fret neck, large-bodied American flat-top is an icon of modern times. But it took many years of experimentation and ingenuity before Martin finally evolved the instrument in the late s and 30s into what many consider to be the pinnacle of acoustic guitar building. Indeed, there has long been a common emphasis on looking back to the pre-war period of production as a benchmark for quality. Imagine being in a boat on the Atlantic Ocean for two months! But right away, CF Sr went to work building guitars. Around this time, the instrument as we know it today with six single strings was just becoming established in Europe as luthiers increasingly shifted away from building the earlier-style double course-stringed baroque guitars during the latter half of the 18th century. The idea was that CF Sr would set up shop building guitars in Germany and they would live happily ever after.
Martin built his first guitars in the 's with the same ladder braces seen on the guitars of his mentor, Stauffer, in the Viennese tradition. Martin c. Martin 's Renaissance This 's presentation Spanish Style Martin adds a finger brace to the treble side. Interestingly, while Martin had built X braced guitars from the late 's for most of their better gut string guitars, Martin chose to revert to fan bracing for their first steel strings.
It is highly respected for its acoustic guitars and is a leading manufacturer of flat top guitars. The company has also made mandolins and as well as several models of electric guitars and electric basses , although none of these other instruments are currently in production. The company's headquarters and primary factory are situated in Nazareth, Pennsylvania , located in the Lehigh Valley region of the state. The building, listed on the National Register of Historic Places in , includes the Martin Guitar Museum, which features over guitars made by the company over its history. Visitors can see pictures of famous guitar owners, try out some guitars, or take a factory tour.