Sunday, October 2, 2016

Martin Guitars Factory Tour

I went to Martin Guitars in Nazareth, PA on 9/30/2016 for a factory tour.  Martin offers daily plant tours so I was excited to get a chance to see how their guitars are made.  CF Martin started in 1833. Once you enter the lobby of Martin Guitars there are lots of things to see while you wait for the tour to start.  There is a museum on the left which beautifully showcases the history of the company back to its start in 1833.  There are guitars there that are 180+ years old! You could spend a long time in this museum as it is as high quality as any museum you will visit. There is also a gift shop and a guitar playing area where you can actually play several Martin’s hanging on the wall.
The tour starts with a tour guide handing out wireless earphones so you get to hear every word during the tour.  This is a great idea!  They are set up for daily tours and have it down to a science.  There are display boards everywhere in the factory showing what the workcell does and what the equipment does.  There are many cnc machines and robotic equipment but there still is lots of work that is hand done by craftspeople. 
There are about 600 employees in this 200,000 square foot facility.  It is a marvel that this company has survived all these years.  It is a privately owned company and the Martin family is now in its 6th generation.  For anyone who is a woodworker or guitar player or both, this factory tour is really a special treat.  Even if you are not either, it is still one of the best plant tours you will see.  It is really interesting how the factory and walking tour are set up to showcase the employees and product.  There was careful thought to not make just a factory to build guitars but to market the high quality of the Martin product right in the factory itself.  When you are walking through and seeing the many different styles of guitars in process, you definitely want one!  It is really clever how this was thought out and something you will not see in other factories.  After the tour you receive a laser engraved sound hole cut out.
It is a bit of a ride from Philadelphia, PA but well worth it.
More pictures from the tour are here = Martin Guitar photos.