It is never too late to heal old wounds
Bernd Häber
In 1833, the cabinet maker Christian Frederick Martin left his hometown in Markneukirchen, Germany and began his journey to America. At that time, nobody even remotely suspected that this decision would lead to the foundation of a world leading guitar manufacturer.  Today not many know of the 30-year dispute which prompted his departure, a dispute that has not been rectified until now.
On October 11, 2005 the exhibition "The Roots of Guitar Making in Vienna and Saxony in the early 19th Century” opens documenting the art of guitar making in Saxony and the conflict between Martin and the violin maker’s guild.  This exhibition returns the name Martin to his homeland after more than 170 years.  This collaboration of the faculty of ‘Making of Musical Instruments’ at the West Saxony College Zwickau and C.F. Martin & Co in Nazareth, Pennsylvania displays - for the first time in Germany - the roots and career of the young guitar maker and the later founder of the Martin company in one coherent presentation.  The exhibit shows a number of historic guitars that represent the traditions of guitar making in Saxony at the beginning of the 19th century as well as various designs of the Martin guitar family.
In addition, the exhibition will be accompanied by presentations that discuss the historic dispute between the cabinet maker and the violin maker’s guild.  It will also explain the circumstances and conditions of guitar making in the region at that time.  They also look at the traditions and designs of Martin Guitar following the foundation of the company in America.  The finale of the Grand Opening will be a concert of the German American Song Festival on Tour (DAFT-Tour).
This initiative was inspired by the DAFT-Tour concert date on June 29, 2003 in the courtyard of the musical instrument museum in Markneukirchen. In cooperation between WorldStrings Promotion in Phoenix, Arizona and Laurarecords in Eisenberg, Thuringia, six song poets from both Germany and the United States came together for a concert tour throughout various German states.  The newsletter "Sounding Board” published bi-annually by C.F. Martin & Co. featured a report in the July 2004 issue about this special event that was dedicated to the name Martin.
One of the goals of the exhibition project initiators, Professor Andreas Michel and Bernd Häber, is to give the name Martin an increased level of appreciation in Markneukirchen and to open a new chapter in the book of German-American relationships.  Another goal is to establish Markneukirchen as an attraction for musicians and lovers of guitar making from all over the world.  The city shall attract fans of Martin guitars to visit the birthplace of C.F. Martin and at the same time learn about the variety of today’s traditional Musical Instrument Technology in Saxony.
By celebrating and appreciating the name Martin in Markneukirchen historical wounds will be healed and the emigrated son will return with honor to his hometown after all these years.
Inhalt  |  Thüringisch-sächsische Gitarren  |  C. F. Martin (bis 1833)  |  Martin-Quellen  |  Bibliographie