Monday, August 22, 2016

How It's Made: Martin Guitar Museum and Factory Tours

Martin Guitar Factory - Museum & Visitor's Center

Martin Guitar Factory - 510 Sycamore St. Nazareth, PA 18064
One of my favorite tours of all time are my visits to the Martin Guitar Factory, Museum and Visitor's Center in Nazareth, PA. In fact, I've taken many friends and family along as it is such a fascinating place to see how these uniquely American guitars are handcrafted into the iconic instruments they are. 

D-28 Marquis. Martin Guitar Museum & Visitor's Center

One of the most fun things to see is how select pieces of precious wood become guitars. There are a lot of steps and the guitar is passed along to a succession of crafts people along the way. What I noticed is that each technician exhibited a great deal of pride in their contribution to the creation of each instrument.  Did you know that there are over 300 steps involved in the making of ONE guitar?

Martin Guitar technician in action. Just one of 300 steps along the way.

The Guitar Factory tour also includes a glimpse of restoration projects on old or damaged instruments. There are so many steps in the crafting and repair of these guitars as I have myself had one of my four Martin Guitars repaired (my beloved D-16GT). To this day you can NOT see where the repair was made and the finish looks just like it came new from the factory.

A Martin Guitar technician shows off a restoration project. Gorgeous!

Friends who are in my Bluegrass Club asked me about this tour as many have yet to go. My question is, "What are you waiting for?" There is so much to see and learn. You will also pick up tips on how to properly store, feed and care for your own acoustic guitar whether it's a Martin or not. I've been a Martin Owner's Club Member for a number of years and have always found something new on these visits.

Taking in the sights at the Martin Guitar Museum

What is so cool is that these museum and factory visits are FREE to the public. All tours depart from the Lobby of The Visitor's Center. So what are some tips for taking a walking tour like this? As this is a working factory, you should wear comfortable, closed toe shoes. You are allowed to take cell phone photos but no flash photography or video taping. Once you take the factory tour, head over to the Martin Guitar Museum, (in the same building) for an engaging history lesson on Martin Guitars

The "Picking Parlor" awaits at the end of the Martin Guitar Museum Tour.

Once you are done with the factory tour and museum visit, you'll find a little picking parlor available where you actually get to PLAY some of the more exclusive Martins. This is such a treat because even at a music store, you may not get to try out a "D-35 Johnny Cash Commemorative Acoustic Guitar". I mean, who gets to do that? YOU do! One of the many insider perks my friend. Hours are:

FREE Tours are conducted at regular intervals between 11:00 am and 2:30 pm Monday through Friday at: 

The Martin Guitar Factory, Museum & Visitor's Center
510 Sycamore St.
Nazareth, PA 18064
The factory is CLOSED Labor Day, September 5th, 2016

Click here for more information on visiting the Martin Guitar Factory
Check out my feature archived article on the Martin Owner's Club

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