fretboard journal: martin guitar ebook

Download Fretboard Journal: Martin Guitar eBook

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A glimpse at some of our favorite Martin Guitar (and Martin artist) tales from the Fretboard Journal.

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  • Martinspecialedition

  • It all starts with a question. Inevitably, whenever I talk to an artist, an instrument builder or a guitar col-lector, he or she will pull me aside and sheepishly ask, Want to see the Martin? And more often than not, I do. Over the last decade as Ive travelled around the country collecting stories for the Fretboard Journal, Ive been privy to seeing some amazing instruments up-close, from David Crosbys 12-string conversion to the 1936 D-18 that an anonymous collector brought to our 2014 Wintergrass workshop which floored everyone in the room. So many instruments, so many cannons. Its not just guitars, either. Ill never forget the Style 0 ukulele owned by session music legend Bob Bain, which just happens to be signed by Cliff Ukule-le Ike Edwards and dozens of Hollywood celebrities from the 20s, 30s and 40s; or the cool, rare Martin electrics Ive seen (Jackson Browne is currently raving about his Martin F-55), even the oddball tiple and mandolins from Nazareth. There have been no short-age of great guitar stories.

    This eBook is a compendium of sorts, featuring some of our favorite Martin tales and some of our favorite Martin artists from our first decade of publish-ing. It is by no means comprehensive (and to keep download times sane we didnt run all of the great photos that appeared in the print FJ), but it hints at the wide array of Martin-related articles weve been lucky enough to publish and helps to explain why this iconic guitar brand is just cherished (and often dupli-cated) by so many. Its also a testament to versatility: How is it a D-28 can somehow fit so perfectly in the hands of a Loudon Wainwright III or a Tony Rice (the tale of the latters larger-than-life D-28 is an espe-cially special cover feature were happy to share here).

    We hope you enjoy these tales and we hope youll subscribe to the Fretboard Journal itself. The stories (Martin and otherwise) just keep coming, as do the amazing discoveries from the world of music and lutherie. And dont forget to drop us a line if you have a great Martin story, were all ears.

    Jason Verlinde publisher the fretboard journal

    Opening Notes

    Join us?Subscribe to the Fretboard Journal and support the worlds most unique guitar publication, filled with in-depth articles and never-before-seen photography.

    Visit us at fretboardjournal.com and use the coupon code MARTIN to receive 10% off of your order.

    PUBLISHER Jason VerlindeCO-FOUNDER Michael John Simmons FIELD EDITOR John ThomasDIRECTOR OF OPERATIONS Scott Krashan

    DESIGN DIRECTOR Andr MoraDESIGNER Brandon Brinkley

    The Fretboard Journal 2221 NW 56th St., Suite 101Seattle, WA 98107(206) 706-3252

    U.S. SUBSCRIPTIONS $40.00 for four issues (one year); $75.00 for eight issues (two years). Available at www.fretboardjournal.com or (877) 373-8273.

    FOREIGN SUBSCRIPTIONS Visit www.fretboardjournal.com.

    COPYRIGHT 2014 by Occasional Publishing, Inc. All rights reserved.

    Cover Photo: Tony Rices Martin D-28, formerly owned by Clarence White. Photo: Art Dudley

  • Contents

    You can call me fred ..............................................................................5The legend of C.F. Martin III (1894-1986) by richard johnston

    Little Eyes ............................................................................................11The worlds most famous tiple-toting singer-songwriter chimes in by ed askew

    Behind the Stripes ...............................................................................15Bob Shane reflects on the Kingston Trios wild rideby michael john simmons

    The 14-Fret Bet ...................................................................................25The true story of Perry Bechtel and the Orchestra Model guitar by richard johnston

    Gale Force ............................................................................................35 David Crosby reflects on history and harmonies photography and text by jason verlinde

    58957 .......................................................................................................47 Tony Rice and his Holy Grail Martin D-28 by art dudley

    000-401K .................................................................................................57 Finding value in a Martin-restoration project by steve krieger

    Easier Than a Kid ................................................................................63 Loudon Wainwrights memory lane by bob douglas

    The Loft ................................................................................................69 Inside Wilcos secret hideout by jason verlinde

    Martin Advertising Supplement ........................................................75

  • 4Plugged InChris Eldridge on Charles Sawtelles 1937 Martin D-28Charles Sawtelles angular, austere picking style was among the many traits that earned him his classic nickname, The Bluegrass Mystery. Before Sawtelle succumbed to leukemia, in 1999, he passed along his beloved 1937 Martin D-28 to his friend and Hot Rize band mate Nick Forster, and, in an act of incredible generosity (or, perhaps, extreme cruelty), Forster loaned the guitar to Chris Eldridge, guitarist with Punch Brothers. Sawtelle would surely be pleased to know that, in Eldridges hands, the herringbone is still delving into some of the more mysterious corners of acoustic music.

    Listen to Eldridge perform Wildwood Flower on this D-28 here.

    Originally appeared the Fretboard Journal #20. Video by Amanda Kowalski.

  • You Can CaLl mE FreD

    T H E L E G E N D O F C.F. M A RT I N I I I (1894-1986)

    By Richard Johnston

  • 6 he Martin Guitar Company has had a lot of Christian Fredericks in its long history. The first, founder C.F. Martin Sr., was born in 1796, while the most recent, current CEO C.F. IV, recently turned 50. Smack dab in the middle of the almost two-centu-ries-old Martin saga was C.F. III, a quiet man who, by his own admission, didnt lead the company into new markets or champion important innovations. Yet its clear that he left a legacy that has probably been even more critical to the companys survival and to its recent phenomenal growth.

    Christian Frederick Martin III was born in 1894 in Nazareth, Pa., the first-born child of Frank Henry Martin and Jennifer Keller. Frank Henry, son of C.F. Martin Jr., was the dynamo of change at the small fac-tory nestled on a tree-lined street just a few blocks from the town square. Under F.H. Martins leadership, the company grew from a small, guitars-only work-shop employing about a half-dozen German-born craftsmen to one of Americas major fretted-instrument manu-facturers. Martin had been stuck in a rut for decades when Frank Henry took over at the age of 23, after his fathers death in 1888. Although widely recognized as builders of the countrys finest guitars, all gut-string in those days, Martins annual sales had been stagnant since the Civil

    War, and rarely surpassed 300 instruments annually. With big factories like Lyon & Healy of Chicago (makers of Washburn guitars, banjos, and mandolins) boasting production of 100,000 instruments per year, it was clear that Martin had to change to survive.

    Its probably not a coincidence that C.F. III was born just a few months before Martin began building man-dolins and around the same time that Frank Henry broke away from a moribund New York distributor with long and close connections to previous genera-tions of the Martin family, both in Germany and Amer-ica. Along with consolidating and standardizing Martin models, introducing mandolins and issuing the companys first catalog, Frank Henry began to aggres-sively push distribution of the companys instruments into new markets on the west coast of the continent. By the time C.F.III was old enough to sweep floors and wind strings at the small factory adjoining the family home, crates of Martin guitars and mandolins were

    being shipped to Seattle, Port-land, San Francisco and Los Angeles, with some then making the long boat ride to Honolulu.

    C.F. III, called Frederick, and later Fred, by family and friends, had a brother one year his junior, Herbert Keller, with whom he played guitar and mandolin duets at social functions in the greater Lehigh Valley. Even today,

    ORIGINALLY FEATURED IN FRETBOARD JOURNAL #2

    T

    Previous: C.F. Martin III and C.F. Martin IV talk guitars, circa 1970.

  • 7C.F. III is the only Martin to have headed the company and performed on its signature product in public. What was far more important in his fathers eyes, how-ever, was for Frederick to become the first Martin to attend college, and both he and his brother graduated from Princeton. While the boys were draining the family coffers in nearby New Jersey, their father embarked on an even more ambitious expansion of the company business and began building ukuleles and steel-string guitars for the new Hawaiian music craze. (Frank Henry had other financial obligations besides his immediate family he was also responsible for supporting his mother and two unmarried sisters.) Frederick did well in college and had hoped to con-tinue his studies at Harvard; he was even considering a career outside the Martin orbit, but around the time he graduated the family company was beginning its greatest period of growth, and he was needed back in Nazareth.

    Although Frederick had served time at virtually every workstation on the factory floor, his education

    made him far more valuable in the office. Before he could spend much time there the United States finally became embroiled in that awful German war, and both Frederick and his younger brother answered the call. Poor eyesight kept C.F. III out of the army, and he instead volunteered for the army

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