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Martin Guitar updates 40 models for 2018, adds special John Mayer edition

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C.F. Martin Guitar & Co. of Upper Nazareth Township introduced its new 2018 models Thursday in its lobby, where more than 40 guitars were re-imagined from their original styles
C.F. Martin Guitar & Co. of Upper Nazareth Township introduced its new 2018 models Thursday in its lobby, where more than 40 guitars were re-imagined from their original styles - (Photo / )
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C.F. Martin Guitar & Co. of Upper Nazareth Township introduced its new 2018 models Thursday in its lobby, where more than 40 guitars were re-imagined from their original styles.

The guitars in Martin’s re-imagined standard series, from styles 28 to 45, have been the guitars of choice for famous players such as Dolly Parton, Johnny Cash, Tom Petty, Hank Williams, Eric Clapton and countless others.

In its authentic series, Martin debuted three new guitars and several limited edition series, including one for musician John Mayer and the Purple Martin, which was inspired by a native bird of Pennsylvania of the same name. The Purple Martin, Model D-42, is limited to 50 guitars and retails for $13,995.

The company will be showcasing its new models through this weekend at the National Association of Music Merchants, in Anaheim, Calif. It’s the world’s largest trade-only event for the music products industry.

Chris Martin, owner and CEO of the company, was looking for ways to take its product to a new level.

“How can we modernize traditional Martin Guitar models while continuing to honor our rich history and heritage?” he said.

“I challenged my co-workers to help me with the significant task of modernizing guitars whose origins go back to the 1930s [and earlier], and together we met that challenge head-on, and the results far exceeded my expectations.”

The most notable updates to the guitars include the additions of modern, high-performance necks that are thinner and more comfortable for the player, and vintage appointments including aging toner and open-gear tuners.

“Changing this many models that are so iconic to the company and music industry all at once was a real challenge,” said Fred Greene, senior director of product management at Martin. “But, our team did an incredible job in choosing appointments and improvements that make these instruments event better.”

Also, for the fifth time, the company collaborated with Grammy-award-winning musician Mayer to build a custom signature edition D-45 guitar.

The model honors both the artist and one of Martin’s most prestigious models and will be limited to 45 guitars in production.

Mayer first collaborated with Martin in 2003 with the release of his first signature edition, the OM-28 John Mayer, with three more to follow.

Chris Thomas, director of marketing at Martin, said he expects all 45 guitars to be spoken for by the end of NAMM on Sunday.

“The D-45 John Mayer is the largest in John’s collection of custom signature guitars and is sure to be a hit,” Thomas said.

NAMM offers the latest products from more than 7,000 brands, cutting-edge industry education across hundreds of sessions and special events, concerts and experiences.

Since its inception in 1833, Martin is one of the few businesses that has managed to survive hard economic and enduring times, including the likes of the Civil War.

Martin is one of the largest privately held businesses in the Lehigh Valley, employing 550. In 2015, the company hit a milestone with $100 million in revenue.

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Christopher Holland

Christopher Holland

Christopher Holland is a researcher for Lehigh Valley Business and blogs on arts and entertainment in the region.

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