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ABC News Nightline CF Martin Guitar

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(Jun 04, 2007)
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Editorial Reviews

CF Martin Senior set out to build every Martin guitar as perfectly as a guitar could be built by a human being. Christian Friedrich Martin was born in Germany in 1796 into a family of furniture makers. The guitar was a new instrument and Martin learned to build them. But, there was trouble. He was not a member of the guild of musical instrument makers. In 1833, he packed up his tools and his family and like so many German immigrants before and after he emigrated to the New World where there were no prohibitions against craft. They finally settled among German immigrants in the eastern Pennsylvania town of Nazareth. From home and then from this factory, Martin evolved a completely new instrument. At first, they were European, small. Over time, as customers wanted more sound, the bodies got a little bigger. To compete with banjos and mandolins, guitar players wanted metal strings instead of gut. That meant a bigger, stronger body, a longer neck for more range. During the Depression, country musicians playing at farm shows and grange halls wanted an instrument a large audience could hear and Martin invented the big, loud Dreadnought. It now defines the American acoustic guitar. The designs have endured and continue to be considered the ultimate design. Anchor: Ted Koppel.

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