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The secret of the Martin Guitar
on Air: December 2017
Jimi Hendrix played it, Elvis played it, and so did Bob Marley, Paul McCartney, Sting, Bob Dylan, Dolly Parton, Joan Baez, Bruce Springsteen, Paul Simon and Wolfgang Niedecken. Eric Clapton caused a run on the Martin Guitar after his legendary Unplugged Concert in 1992. It is an incredible success story in instrument making. The myth of a guitar that began in Markneukirchen in the Vogtland district in the 19th century, and its sequels are still written in the USA to this day.
200 years ago the inventor Christian Friedrich Martin faced circumstances that are still part of our everyday life: bureaucracy, regulatory frenzy, fears of competition, and small-mindedness. Like thousands of people today who leave their homelands because they cannot find a job, the young Saxon instrument maker turned the back on his home and turned towards freedom, to America. Since then, six generations of the Martin family have made guitars for the world in Nazareth, PA. His descendants haven’t forgotten their roots. The present owner of the company, C.F. Martin IV, has traveled to Markneukirchen, the birth- and work-place of his forefather, several times. The local museum doesn’t only display works of his great-great-grandfather. The Martins, who are very attached to their native soil, contribute time and again new developments from their range of products for the exhibition – guitar history first-hand.
The film tells the story of the Martin-Guitar and goes together with musicians like Eric Clapton, Wolfgang Niedecken and Tracy Chapman on a quest for the secret of the instrument.