We are big fans of free factory tours…so when we had the opportunity to take a side trip to Pennsylvania to see how Martin Guitars were made, we jumped at the idea. (Besides we got to stay in the beauty of the Poconos) We decided to stay at the thousand trails campground in Scotrun about thirty miles from Nazareth, PA where the Martin Factory resides.
The factory tour lasts about 1 hour from start to finish. I really appreciated how you get up close and personal with the guitar makers…seeing every detail of what goes into making a Martin Guitar. When you walk through that door into the factory it is sparkly clean! They have a super effective system to remove all of the dust that normally floats through the air when wood working. Our tour guide is a second generation in her family to work at the factory. (Since they have been the finest guitars here for 175 years, I am sure she is not the only one) This is the definitely the kind of place I would love to work as a wood worker. But as they said…woodworking skills are not required. All are trained on the job…can you believe that is amazing! Only about 11% of the staff play guitar at all.
Each and every guitar that we saw in process was already sold ….had an order for it. They actually have a backlog right now…which is a great place to be in manufacturing. The picture below shows how the guitar is laid out on the wood…then they check to see if they can cut around imperfections to optimize the use of the wood.
Martin Guitars are known to be the instrument of choice for a lot of musicians and I can see why. Make sure to check out their tour from the Martin Guitar website.
The different stages of finishing are shown here. I loved the desk of the man who is known for his inlay skills. My personal favorite!
What impressed us most about the tour? I think it is how many hands it takes to create a Martin Guitar! In this age, there are skilled artisans hand-working each and every CF Martin Guitar! There is still so much skill.. from hand sanding, to finishing, to inlaying the edge banding and much more. There are real people behind these guitars! From what I have seen, sure shows one way that this company is supporting the community that same way it has for over 100 years. Each and every hand that touches your Martin guitar gives that distinctive sound!