Having studied instrument making in the shop of Viennese luthier Johann Stauffer, Christian Frederick Martin returned to his hometown of Markneukirchen in what is now eastern Germany. The town's violin makers considered the guitar little more than furniture and forbade him from hanging out his shingle. Although he was eventually vindicated, hurt feelings and the death of his father caused him to pack his tools and immigrate with his wife and two children to the freedom and excitement of the New World. He arrived in New York City in November 1833 and promptly set up a thriving music store near what is now the mouth of the Holland Tunnel. Unhappy in New York, he moved to Nazareth in eastern Pennsylvania in 1839. In this small town of Germanic immigrants, his exquisitely made instruments evolved to provide the very definition of "the guitar."
Martin guitars have been prized for their tone, consistency, quality, and attention to handcrafted detail. Professional and amateur musicians in every category of music hold Martin guitars in high esteem. Among the extensive list of famous musicians who have owned and played Martin guitars are Elvis Presley, Paul McCartney, Bob Dylan, Paul Simon, Eric Clapton, Joan Baez, Sting, Johnny Cash, Gene Autry, Hank Williams, Jimmy Buffett, Jimmy Page, Tom Petty, Willie Nelson, and Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. More than 150 artist signature-model collaborations with many of the era's greatest guitarists have raised more than a million dollars for the charities of each artist's choosing.