Inventing the American Guitar

Inventing the American GuitarChristmas time is coming … and this new book, Inventing The American Guitar, may well be an ideal present for those interested in the history of the American flat-top guitar.

Sub-titled The Pre-Civil War Innovations of C.F. Martin and His Contemporaries Inventing The American Guitar tells the story of how a European instrument was transformed into one with all of the design and construction features that define the iconic American flat-top guitar. It’s a story that is dominated by Christian Frederick Martin, Sr. and its publication is timely insofar as it coincides with the 180th anniversary the formation of the Martin guitar company.

Born on January 31, 1796, in Markneukirchen, a small village in Saxony, Germany, C F Martin, Sr. emigrated to New York in 1833. He soon established a guitar making business, producing instruments modeled after those of his Viennese mentor, Johann Stauffer. By the time he moved his family and business to Nazareth, Pennsylvania, in 1839, Martin had absorbed and integrated the influence of Spanish guitars that he had seen and heard in New York. In Pennsylvania, he invented a uniquely American guitar that was fully developed shortly before 1863.

It is on the first decades of the Martin guitar history rather than another innovative period, that between World Wars I and II, that Inventing The American Guitar focuses.

Christian “Chris” Martin IV, great-great-great-grandson of the founder, provided a personal family history and various guitar collectors and noted historians contributed essays for what is a large format book, one approximately the size of an LP record jacket (a size often referred to as a ‘coffee table’ style).

Also it includes many high resolution photographs of prominent instruments in guitar history, with much previously unpublished.

Edited by Robert Shaw and Peter Szego
Publisher: Hal Leonard Corporation
ISBN-10: 1458405761
ISBN-13: 978-1458405760
Hardcover: 360 pages
Dimensions: 28.2 x 26.7 x 3 cm

Available from the publisher, on-line booksellers and all good bookshops.

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About the Author

Richard Thompson

Richard F. Thompson is a long-standing free-lance writer specialising in bluegrass music topics. A two-time Editor of British Bluegrass News, he has been seriously interested in bluegrass music since about 1970. As well as contributing to that magazine, he has, in the past 30 plus years, had articles published by Country Music World, International Country Music News, Country Music People, Bluegrass Unlimited, MoonShiner (the Japanese bluegrass music journal) and Bluegrass Europe. He wrote the annotated series I'm On My Way Back To Old Kentucky, a daily memorial to Bill Monroe that culminated with an acknowledgement of what would have been his 100th birthday, on September 13, 2011.