Martin Guitars (& the Uke)
by Shelby Campbell Berry
How it began
Jimmie Rodgers, Hank Williams, Elvis Presley, Bob Dylan, John Lennon, John Mayer, and Thomas Rhett held one thing in common in their hands—a Martin.
Officially named CF Martin & Co, Martin Guitars is the epitome of music history with a long line of legendary instruments dating back to 1833 and traveling with soldiers into the Civil War to be strummed around campfires. Family-owned and operated since the beginning, six generations of Martins led the company through countless changes, passing along dedication to quality, craftsmanship, and protecting their environment.
Setting the Standard
“As a player myself, it inspires me knowing that some of my favorite music was created on Martins,” said Mike George, Associate Product Manager for Martin Guitars.
With an unwavering commitment to environmental sustainability in their company practices, Martin Guitars has continuously driven the acoustic instrument market forward, introducing innovative and groundbreaking features that have become standards across the industry over the years.
“Without trying to sound too full of ourselves, I feel like we set the standard for guitars today. We created the standard for what an acoustic guitar is and have innovated the way an acoustic guitar should be going.”
The company’s sole purpose has been to preserve tradition while changing with the times and today’s music through innovation and revolutionary ideas.
One of these innovative and revolutionary ideas was the addition of ukuleles to the Martin Guitars’ repertoire.
Producing their first ukulele in 1915, Martin Guitars has spent the last hundred years building some of the most sought-after ukuleles in the world of acoustic music. Last year, a Martin ukulele was aboard the Inspiation4 mission to space.
“We set the standard for acoustic guitars, but we can’t forget that we started making ukuleles in 1915,” Mike said. “A lot of companies have only started figuring out ukuleles in the last 20 years. We figured it out and perfected it 100 years ago. Martin ukuleles are really worth exploring.”
Martin Guitars announced their three newest ukulele models this year: 0 Tenor Uke, C1 Uke, and the T1 Uke FSC.
Tradition & Innovation
"I would say the products we launched this year are more of an evolution," Mike said. "For the T1 Uke FSC tenor, we looked at the model completely and wanted to make a truly sustainable package. Made from 100% FSC woods and including a gig bag made from recycled plastic water bottles pulled from the ocean, this model meets global recycling standards. We love keeping sustainability at the forefront of what we do without taking away from the quality of the product."
Continuing the Legacy
Reminding itself to balance the tradition and history of Martin Guitars with the innovation of the future, like the new ukulele models, the Martin team prides itself in making the instruments everyone knows and loves while also pushing the boundaries of what they are comfortable with creating.
“Moving forward, we have some groundbreaking design choices for us coming. We are looking to branch out more than in any other five-year span before,” Mike said.
As we move toward tomorrow, Martin Guitars remains the primary choice for many musicians worldwide because of its quality, tone, and craftsmanship.