Nazareth, PA – June 2018 – Martin Guitar Company Factory Tour and Museum

The Martin Guitar Company has been making guitars since 1833. The current CEO is the 5th generation of Martin’s to run the company.

The business started in New York City but moved to Pennsylvania after a few years, being located in Nazareth ever since.

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As you enter the facility you are immediately greeted by the company museum.

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The museum houses over 130 guitars from the 1830s until now. It is striking to see how similar they are from 200 years ago.

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In addition to the guitars they have some components from over the years.

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The craftsmanship is amazing.

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Martin also makes ukuleles and mandolins.

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The museum housed some custom ones, including one from the Grand Ole’ Opry.

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Having finished the museum portion, we headed out on the factory tour. The guide handed each person a headset and we headed out. First stop was where they are ‘booking the wood’, basically splitting it and attaching the pieces so the grain matches and is wide enough for the body.

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Nearly all of the manufacturing is done by hand.

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After formed they sit for an extensive amount of time with their collection of clothes pins to hold it together.

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The build process involves weeks and months of time as components dry.

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Fret board assembly.

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It was amazing the workers could focus with the continual tours walking by taking their photos.

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A polishing/sanding station.

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Closer to being completed, but still more waiting – it takes months to get a custom guitar from Martin.

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One of the few automated functions – a polisher.

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Note someone from a tour watching the worker.

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This person was applying the detail around the edge of the body of the guitar.

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Similar to this worker – their lighting has been custom built to provide the optimum view.

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The work continues….

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Throughout the plant….

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Applying the strings.

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And a final polish.

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Before a test drive!

The visit to the Martin Guitar Factory Tour is easily one of the best we have done. Having the chance to walk the factory floor and take great photos of the quality work and hard working craftsman was fantastic.

If you ever get the chance to go to Nazareth, Pennsylvania and visit them – it is well worth the effort.

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Cleveland – March 2018 – Rock & Roll Hall of Fame

It has been over 10 years since the last visit to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, but having recently read that they now allow photography in most places it seemed like a good time to make a return visit.

I had forgotten how many artifacts they have from many genres, not just Rock. Since blues had such an influence, there was an extensive exhibit honoring those who contributed, such as Bo Diddley.

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In my opinion Ruth Brown is the best blues singer of all time…

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And Muddy Waters was one of the best as well. Note the partial view of the album in the upper right corner. It is ‘Hard Again’, featuring Muddy, Bob Margolin on Guitar, Pinetop Perkins on piano, James Cotton on harmonica, Willie ‘Big Eyes’ Smith on drums, Charles Calmese on bass and produced, as well as playing guitar, Johnny Winter.  The Best Blues Album Ever!

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The sign from Elvis’ famed 1968 comeback TV special

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Another cool Bo Diddley guitar.

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Mixing blues and rock makes another of my favorites, the Allman Brothers Band.

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Beyond the instruments and outfits there is an excellent collection of paraphernalia, including the original lyrics – such as Riders on the Storm by the Doors.

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The upper floors had a tribute to 50 years of Rolling Stone magazine.

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David Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust outfit

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Long Live Rock!

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Seattle – September 2017 – Museum of Pop Art

The Museum of Pop Art in Seattle started life as a tribute to Jimi Hendrix by Paul Allen, one of the founders of Microsoft. Recently they rebranded themselves and have some nice other exhibits.

 

The guitar collection was amazing.

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The Hendrix area

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A large area for sci-fi

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Cleveland – June 2012 – Guitar Mania

Cleveland’s approach to large, decorated fiberglass art were 10′ high guitars. Scattered around downtown for the exhibit, they were later moved to various public and private locations, so the opportunity to see them all was once in a lifetime.

While most lined Euclid Avenue, or were in Tower City, a number were appropriate placed outside of the Rock Hall of Fame.

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