As a guitar geek, specifically an acoustic guitar geek, there are certain books that need to make an appearance in your library. Books that not only take on the history of guitar, but also provide a reference for specs and things of that nature.
There are two books that cover these topics, in fact their titles even plainly lay out that one is focused on history and the other is a technical reference. I am referring to the Martin History and Martin Technical Reference books written by guitar geek, Richard Johnston and retired Martin history museum curator Dick Boak… and the cool thing is that they pickup right from where Martin historian Mike Longworth had left off.
First let’s address the history book. This book combs through Martin guitar history from the very start of the company all the way to current day. The book has pictures of invoices and ledgers from the 1800’s, shop pictures from the golden era, and insight into each generation of ownership for Martin guitar. There are even some very interesting tales involving race cars and other shenanigans.
Now, the technical reference book… This book sounds like it wouldn’t be that exciting, but it is actually astonishingly informative in the best way. This second portion of the book set includes production numbers on nearly all of the guitar models, price lists from nearly every era, and even a section on all of the other brands that Martin built for. The latter section I described was easily the most fascinating to me, and offered up some wonderful pictures as well is historical information on how Martin weathered certain economical storms and created new models.
The two book set is one that I feel is a necessity for a Martin fan, guitar geeks in general, and anyone interested in the guitar’s and Martin’s place in history. When I received these books I initially was planning to only use them when the situation arose, but in true guitar geek form I had to dive in and it certainly extended the reach of my Martin guitar knowledge. These books are very well thought out and even if you fancy yourself as more of a picture book lover… these two encyclopedias will have you covered in that department as well.
Martin Guitars History Book Links