My boss is a huge fan of Martin Guitars. He owns at least five of them and he's been on the free factory tour numerous times (he says it never gets old). So on Friday, he took me to the Martin Guitar factory over in Nazareth to help me fulfill one of my last remaining New Year's resolutions for 2009: Take a factory tour of Martin Guitar.
Our tour guide handed out individual headphones and battery packs for all of us in the group to wear, that way no matter where we were in the tour we could hear what he was telling us, and we were off.
To start, we got to see samples of all the beautiful woods used to create the guitars. Our guide proceeded to explain each step of the guitar-making process to us as we came across that area of the factory. From the bending of the side woods to the different bracing patterns used to enhance the sound to the intricate mother-of-pearl inlay carving. After seeing first-hand the time and attention to detail the Martin employees put into each guitar, it's no wonder they're called artisans.
The tour took about an hour, although I would've liked it to have been a bit longer. Our group was a bit large, so I couldn't always see what the guide was talking about until we were on our way to the next stop on the tour but I didn't want to miss that part either.
Afterward, I received my special factory tour "gift" and headed toward the Martin Guitar museum. Even though I'm not a guitar player, I still appreciated Martin's rich history and beautiful craftsmanship, both perfectly illustrated by looking at the 1,000,000th Martin ever made, which happens to be on display.
Guided tours of the Martin Guitar factory are held Monday through Friday between 11 a.m. and 2:30 p.m., which is why it took me almost an entire year to fit it into my work schedule. But if you are visiting the area, have the day off or can take a long lunch, the tour is certainly worth it. Just ask my boss!