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Last Updated on January 10, 2024 by Justin Thomas

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Author: Teemu Suomala

I first grabbed the guitar in 2009. I started this website in January 2020 because I couldn’t do window installation anymore due to my health problems. I love guitars and have played dozens and dozens of different guitars through different amps and pedals over the years, and also, building a website interested me, so I decided to just go for it! I got lucky and managed to get awesome people to help me with my website.

I also got lucky because I have you visiting my website right now. Thank you. I do all this for you guys. If you have any recommendations, tips, or feedback, just leave a comment, I would love to chat with you. I have also been fortunate to produce content for several large guitar websites, such as SongsterrMusicnotesGuitarGuitar, and Ultimate Guitar.

I spend my spare time exercising and hanging out with my wife and crazy dog (I guess that went the right way…).

Considering buying a new Martin guitar and want to know more about how and where they’re made

Martin is one of the oldest and most revered guitar manufacturing companies in history. The company has made guitars for some musical icons like Elvis Presley, John Lennon, and Bob Dylan. 

In this article, we’ll take a brief look into the backstory of Martin guitars, and discuss where in the world their products are manufactured. 

We’ll also cover some intriguing theories surrounding Martin guitars being manufactured in China. 


Martin Guitar Factory Locations

displays Martin guitars facilities in Nazareth Pennsylvania
Martin guitar factory located in Nazareth, Pennsylvania US.

C.F Martin & Co – or Martin Guitars as they are better known – are an American-based guitar manufacturer. The company was founded in 1833 by Christian Frederick Martin

Martin guitars are primarily manufactured in The USA

The main Martin guitar factory is located in Nazareth, Pennsylvania – which is also home to the company’s headquarters. 

The current Martin guitar factory and headquarters feature the Martin Guitar Museum. Visitors can come view over 170 different Martin guitar models that have been made since their inception. There are also exhibits featuring guitars used by famous musicians, as well as an in-depth tour of the factory itself. 

Martin also has another factory in Navojoa, Mexico where they manufacture some cheaper guitar models, as well as strings and other instruments. Initially opened in 1989, the first Mexican factory employed just 12 people, and was used for string production and basic electronic accessories. 

At present day, the Martin guitar factory in Mexico employs over 450 people, and through skills development programs, has gone on to release successful Martin guitar series of its own. The factory is also the sole manufacturer for all Martin guitar strings.

Make sure to check out our other Martin guitar guides:

5 Best Martin Guitars

5 Best Budget Martin Guitars Under $1000

Are Martin Guitars Good For Beginners?

Martin D18 vs D18

displays Martin guitar strings
Martin guitar strings are made in Mexico.

FAQ

Does Martin Make Guitars in China?

Contrary to certain rumors and reports you might find, Martin guitars are not made in China. If you come across a guitar with a Martin branding and some form of ‘’Made in China’’ label, the chances are that you are handling a cheap (and probably illegal) replica. 

Much like with other products, it is quite easy for a company to copy the primary design elements of a Martin guitar using cheaper parts. However, the replica guitars often sound as cheap as they feel, and also tend to be more prone to wear and tear. 

However, the choice of tonewoods and manufacturing methods largely determine the sonic quality and playability of an authentic Martin guitar. Even if a replica may look identical – it certainly won’t sound as good. 

A common method to check the authenticity of your Martin guitar is to check the bridge and bridge plate. Fake Martin guitars often come with an easily identifiable bridge plate, as they have sharp and rough cut edges, and generally sloppy finishing.  

For reference, all original martin guitars have a very secure bridge saddle fitting, with smooth rounded corners. Authentic models also have a small, solid piece of wood below the bridge at the bridge plate. Manufacturers of fake models often forget or disregard this component in their production line. 

Which Martin Series Are Made in the USA?

Below is a shortlist of some of the primary guitar models that Martin manufactures in the USA.

  • Martin Standard Series
  • Martin Modern Deluxe Series
  • Martin Authentic Series
  • Martin 15 Series
  • Martin 16 Series
  • Martin 17 Series

Where Are Cheap Martin Guitars Made?

Martin currently utilizes a secondary factory based in Navojoa, Mexico to manufacture alternative models, strings, smaller guitar parts, and other instruments such as mandolins. 

Many of the guitars and instruments made in Mexico use more cost-effective materials, which allow them to be sold at a more accessible price. Below are some of the guitars manufactured out of Martin’s factory in Mexico:

  • Martin Road Series
  • Martin X-Series
  • Martin Backpacker Series
  • Dreadnought Junior Series
  • PA5 models
  • select Ukuleles

Where Have Martin Guitars Been Made Throughout History?

Martin guitar’s origin lies in the hands of its founder Christian Frederick Martin. Martin was originally born in South Germany and developed his craft under the guidance of luthier Johann Georg Stauffer in Austria. 

After a local dispute amongst the Cabinet Makers Guild in Vienna, Martin left for the USA to pursue better opportunities. He opened his first business in New York City, operating out of Hudson Street on The Lower East Side. This move proved successful, and soon Martin would look for new locations to expand his business.

Martin’s wife Ottlia Kuhle (a maker of pedal harps herself) suggested that Martin move to a shop located on Sycamore Street in Nazareth Pennsylvania. Martin obliged and in 1833, he opened the C.F Martin & Company guitar factory. 

Today the company still operates at the same location in Pennsylvania and is headed up by Martin’s great-great-great grandson, CF Martin IV. On average, Martin’s factory produces around 193 guitars per day. 


Conclusion

Martin manufactures some of the world’s finest and most popular guitars, so it’s encouraging to know that their products come with such a rich heritage. 

It’s also understandable that other companies would want to take a chance and sell replicas of their products at lower prices. You can use some of the above-listed pointers to help you steer clear of any dubious replica models. 

If you’re ever able to, make sure to visit the Martin Guitar factory in Nazareth to get a truly hands-on experience with how these guitars are made.

Keep rocking!

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Teemu Suomala

I first grabbed the guitar in 2009. I started this website in January 2020 because I couldn’t do window installation anymore due to my health problems. I also noticed that most guitar websites don’t do a really good job, so I decided to just go for it! I got lucky and managed to get awesome people to help me with my website. I also got lucky because I have you visiting my website right now. Thank you. I do all this for you guys. If you have any recommendations, tips, or feedback, just leave a comment, I would love to chat with you. I have been fortunate to produce content for several large guitar websites, such as Songsterr, Musicnotes, GuitarGuitar, and Ultimate Guitar. I spend my spare time exercising and hanging out with my wife and crazy dog(I guess that went the right way…). Expertise: guitar learning techniques, electric guitars, and guitar amplifiers. You can connect with me on LinkedIn or just email me.
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William Padgett

Hi, I have a D-17 I bought in 1976 and it’s a work horse ,it’s still my main acoustic guitar. You will think I’m crazy but I swear it sounds sweeter every year goes by wish I had some background on that model I’ve only came across one more anyway thanks for makeing me a musician if I had not got that D- 17 I would have quit playing

Tyler Connaghan

Whoa, yea, I can’t find any info on that model. Do you know what year it was made?

Manuel

I want to buy a Martin Guitar but nylon string classic guitar

Tyler Connaghan

I’d recommend checking out the Martin 000C12-16E Nylon! One of my favorite classical Martins I’ve ever played. Worth every penny