An 1834 spruce, maple, ebony, ivory and mother-of-pearl guitar built by C.F. Martin, c. 1834, shortly after the legendary guitar maker opened his business in New York City.
The artistry and craftsmanship of these early instruments are featured in a new exhibition at New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art, "Early American Guitars: The Instruments of C. F. Martin."
By CBSNews.com senior producer David Morgan
C.F. Martin (1796-1873)
Born in Saxony, Germany, in 1796, Christian Friedrich Martin was the son of a cabinetmaker who also built guitars.In addition to carrying through traditional guitar elements (such as the Stauffer headstock), Martin was also an innovator, introducing X-bracing - a key element of the modern American guitar – to the instrument's design.
This Terz guitar (Legnani model, serial number 1309) was built in Vienna by Johann Georg Stauffer and Johann Anton Stauffer, c. 1828-30.
C.F. Martin apprenticed at the Stauffer guitar shop before emigrating to America.
New York CityAfter his apprenticeship in Vienna, C.F. Martin emigrated in 1833 to the United States, where he opened a musical instrument store at 196 Hudson Street in Manhattan.
An 1837 guitar built by C.F. Martin, constructed from spruce, maple, mother-of-pearl, abalone and mastic.
The guitar is an example of Martin's earliest guitars, which featured a design he brought with him from Vienna: a headstock with tuning keys all on one side.
Detail of the headstock of a Viennese Stauffer-style Presentation Guitar by C. F. Martin, from 1837. From the collection of Peter Szego.
C.F. Martin's 1837 guitar (serial no. 1114), made from spruce, rosewood, ivory, mother-of-pearl and abalone.
Detail of a presentation guitar built by C.F. Martin in 1837, from the C. F. Martin Museum Collection.
A detail of hearts (or "Herschen") on the bridge of a Viennese Stauffer-style guitar built by C. F. Martin, c. 1830s.
In the late 1830s C.F. Martin moved to Pennsylvania, and was selling his handmade guitars throughout the country.
Left: A C.F. Martin-built guitar (dating from between 1843 and 1852), made from spruce, rosewood, ebony, ivory, mother-of-pearl and mastic.
DetailDetail of C.F. Martin's spruce, rosewood, ebony, ivory, mother-of-pearl and mastic, built between 1843 and 1852.
1840sA guitar built by C.F. Martin, c. 1843-48, constructed from spruce, rosewood, ivory, and mother-of-pearl.
Factory FloorAn undated photo of workers in the C.F. Martin & Co. guitar factory.
1838An 1838 guitar built by C.F. Martin and Charles Bruno, of spruce, rosewood, cedar, ebony, ivory and mother-of-pearl.
Detail of ornamental soundboard of a Martin & Coupa Guitar by C. F. Martin, c. 1841-42. From the collection of Peter Szego.
AmbrotypeA glass-negative ambrotype, c. 1850s, of a musician holding a Martin guitar.
Closeup of detailing in the "2 1/2-40 Guitar" by C. F. Martin from 1859, from the collection of Peter Szego.
A guitar built by C.F. Martin, c. 1843-48, constructed from spruce, rosewood, ivory, and mother-of-pearl.
Closeup of the headstock of a Martin & Coupa Guitar by C. F. Martin, showing friction pegs. From the collection of Peter Szego.
Detail of the Col. Wilkins Guitar, built by C. F. Martin, c. 1846. From the collection of Peter Szego.
10-StringC.F. Martin's 10-string Harp guitar, c. 1859-60.
Harp GuitarDetail of the headstock of C.F. Martin's 10-string Harp guitar.
SpainThis beautiful spruce, walnut, cedar, ebony and mother-of-pearl guitar was built by a contemporary of C.F. Martin: Antonio de Lorca García of Malaga, Spain.
BostonAnother contemporary of Martin's whose work is in the Met's exhibition was Bostonian Heinrich (Henry) Schatz. He built this guitar, c. 1845-50, out of spruce, macassar ebony, ivory, mastic and mother-of-pearl.
The Man In Black
A list of noted musicians who didn't play with Martin Guitars would be considerable shorter than a list of those who did.Among the Martin artists were Woody Guthrie, Elvis Presley, Gene Autry, Willie Nelson, Jimmie Rodgers, Bob Dylan, Kurt Cobain, Neko Case, Eddie Vedder, and the Man in Black, Johnny Cash.
Apprentice or MasterSting is pictured playing a Martin guitar.
Speak For MeJohn Mayer poses with a Martin guitar.
Eric Clapton's 1939 Martin guitar, on display at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
For more info:
"Early American Guitars: The Instruments of C. F. Martin," at the Metropolitan
Museum of Art in New York (Jan. 14-Dec. 7, 2014)
By CBSNews.com senior producer David Morgan