What do Elvis Presley, Paul McCartney, Eric Clapton, and John Mayer have in common (aside from all being great musicians)? They have all used a Martin guitar.
What is a Martin guitar, you ask? Martin Guitar was founded in 1883 in Nazareth, Pennsylvania by Christian Frederick Martin Sr, a German immigrant. CF Martin & Co (Martin Guitar) has been continuously owned and operated for six generations. Martins are known for their high quality, well crafted acoustic guitars. Recently Martin Guitar has made the news in the New York Times for their efforts in pioneering the industry’s eco-movement by developing instruments made from sustainable wood and innovative alternative materials.
The global COVID-19 pandemic has affected travel in every way. Please refer to local ordinances in the country, state, or city, and look up the website of the museum, tour, restaurant, or hotel you are considering visiting.
The Martin Guitar Museum and Visitors Center is open weekdays. Martin Guitar offers public tours, group tours and behind the scenes tours. Tours are subject to availability and are on a “first come first serve” basis, so plan to get there early! Walk-in- public Guided factory tours are free! Tours are generally held from 11 am–2:30 pm and are approximately 1 hour long. They max out at 15 people (call ahead for specific tour times and availability). Private Group Tours are available for a small fee and Behind The Scenes Tours are available for an additional fee and must be scheduled in advance. The factory tour allows visitors to witness the guitar making process from start to finish and witness the blend of old-world craftsmanship and modern technology.
Visitors Center and Martin Guitar Museum
In addition to a unique tour experience, Martin Guitar also offers a Visitors Center which includes the 1833 [gift] Shop and Album and CD displays. However, the two unique features of the Visitors Center are:
- The Pickin’ Parlor- a private room where visitors can play high end and limited edition guitars
- The Play Me Wall- where visitors can test out top-selling guitars and new factor offerings
The museum is a free, self-guided experience also located at CF Martin & Co. The museum is open 8 am–5 pm and includes more than 200 rare and vintage instruments and honors artists who created music history.
For musicians and music buffs, The Guitar Makers Connection housed in the original Martin Guitar Factory building is where guitar aficionados can buy guitar making kits, guitar parts, accessories, and guitar repair and construction books. The Visitors Center also offers warranty and non-warranty repairs on Martin instruments, by appointment only.
10 W. North St., Nazareth
PA 18064 610-759-2837
Monday through Friday, 9:00 am – 4:00 pm
C. F. Martin & Co.
510 Sycamore St., Nazareth, PA
18064 USA 610-759-2837
Hours: Monday through Friday, 8:00 am – 5:00 pm (closed on major holidays). Please see their website for updated information.
If you find yourself looking for things to do in Nazareth, PA and want a fun activity, I wholly recommend a trip to CF & Martin for musicians and non-musicians alike. I am not a musician by any means and the last time I played the guitar was in high school, but I genuinely enjoyed my visit and learning about the artistry involved in making Martin Guitars!
By the same author: Your Airport Survival Guide
Currently living and working San Diego, Angela drinks too much coffee and usually doesn’t get enough sleep. Traveling and wanderlust are in her blood and she is always counting down the days until her next adventure. Follow her on instagram (@itsjustanji) to see where she is off to next!