Martin Guitar Unveils “Golden Era” Retro Series at Summer NAMM

Written by July 13th, 2012 at 10:09 am

Pictured left to right are Lawrence Fishman, Chris Martin and producer Bill VornDick

Martin Guitars has long been about fusing tradition with innovation. The Pennsylvania guitar maker continues this mission with their new Retro series, which the company unveiled Thursday at NAMM.

The new series – which includes the D-18E Retro, D-45E Retro, HD-28E Retro, and OM-28E Retro – pays homage to the pre-war Martins of the ‘30s and ‘40s (often referred to as the guitar manufacturer’s “golden era), in both style and sound.

Martin Guitars partnered with Fishman to create the guitar’s electronic foundation. In an effort to approximate the sound of the pre-war guitars, Martin conducted a field test of sorts. The company took several of its “museum” guitars from the ‘30s and ‘40s and played them through vintage microphones at the old Quonset Hut studio, in Nashville. Bill VornDick, a Grammy-award winning Nashville producer and adjunct professor at Belmont University, supervised these sessions. The idea is that the plugged-in sound for the Retro Martins will recall the sound the pre-war guitars would have made in a professional recording studio.

Speaking on the floor of NAMM Thursday, Chris Martin IV, CEO and a sixth-generation Martin employee, says his company may be the only manufacturer that has the capability of creating an authentic “retro” sound from that era.

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