A Guitar Lover’s Guide to Visiting Martin Guitars in Nazareth, PA

Martin Guitars   |   January 27, 2024

posted by: Levi

Nestled in the Lehigh Valley region of Pennsylvania, the small town of Nazareth is an under-the-radar destination for guitar enthusiasts. This quiet borough of around 5,500 residents has an outsized place in music history as the home of C.F. Martin & Co., makers of some of the world’s most iconic acoustic guitars.

For almost two centuries, Martin has hand-crafted instruments from their Nazareth headquarters and factory. A trip to Martin’s Pennsylvania home offers far more than just a chance to see where famous guitars are born. Visitors can take a unique look behind the scenes, interact with Martin history and products, and fully immerse themselves in the culture of guitar making.

Exciting Martin Factory Tours

At the heart of any visit is the Martin Factory Tour. These guided, hour-long tours provide an insider’s perspective on Martin’s guitar-building process from timber to finished product. Friendly, knowledgeable guides walk you through different production stations, explaining how each component comes together to create Martin’s signature sound. With group sizes kept intimate, there’s plenty of access and opportunities to ask questions.

The tours run frequently Monday through Friday, but advance booking is required as spots fill up. For the true guitar geek, signing up for an early morning tour means you’ll get to see Martin craftspeople actually at work. There’s nothing quite like witnessing the hands-on expertise required to build these amazing instruments.

Explore The Museum

ven when not touring the factory itself, Martin’s headquarters offer some great attractions for visitors. The Martin Museum contains over 300 instruments, demonstrating the changes in guitar styles and technology since Martin’s founding. You can see the evolution from 19th century parlor guitars to today’s booming jumbos. There’s also an entire wall showcasing limited-edition custom guitars made for famous musicians.

The Pickin’ Parlor & More

The museum is free to walk through, making it easy to stop in during any Nazareth visit. For a more hands-on experience, head to the Pickin’ Parlor downstairs. Here you can play and compare different Martin models first-hand, seeing how body shapes affect tone and feel. With knowledgeable staff assisting, it makes for a fun musical trial session.

Vacationing with budding guitar makers or players? Martin’s Guitar Maker’s Connection retail store offers workshops where kids can assemble their own ukulele kit under the guidance of Martin employees. It’s an unforgettable hands-on introduction to luthiery for younger visitors. Adults can utilize the Guitar Maker’s Connection as well for DIY instrument kits, tools, woods, and other supplies.

Of course, no trip to Nazareth is complete without browsing the impressive Martin merchandise at the 1833 Shop. Beyond t-shirts and branded goods, the 1833 Shop functions like a full-on Martin guitar showroom, packed with instruments and accessories. Visitors are welcome to play and inspect the guitars, or bring an existing Martin in need of a setup or repair. It’s a handy resource for Martin fans.

Martin’s Nazareth location makes it easy to incorporate visits to their facilities as part of a broader Northeast PA trip. The countryside around the Lehigh Valley region provides ample opportunities for outdoor recreation and sightseeing at attractions like the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area. History buffs will enjoy downtown Nazareth’s Moravian roots, or Bethlehem’s Colonial Industrial Quarter just 20 minutes south of town.

Music lovers can check out venues like the legendary Sellersville Theater or ArtsQuest Center at SteelStacks in nearby Bethlehem, both of which host major concerts in an intimate setting. For craft beer fans, the Lehigh Valley Ale Trail highlights some fantastic local breweries to sample award-winning beers.

With Martin’s PA headquarters at the heart of so many activities, it’s little wonder that guitar enthusiasts make pilgrimages here from around the globe. The only difficulty is narrowing down everything to see and do on one vacation! But for any guitar lover, a trip to Nazareth offers the chance to pay homage to one of music’s most storied instrument makers.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does Martin offer factory tours?

Yes, Martin offers guided factory tours at their Nazareth headquarters Monday through Friday. Tours must be booked online in advance.

What is the Guitar Maker's Connection?

This is Martin’s specialty retail store in Nazareth, offering guitar-building tools, DIY instrument kits, workshops, and more.

Can you test out guitars at Martin in Nazareth?

The Pickin’ Parlor and 1833 Shop allow visitors to test play Martin guitars onsite. Staff is on hand to answer questions.

How far is Nazareth from New York City?

Nazareth, PA is located about 85 miles west of New York City. The drive is around 1 hour 45 minutes.

Are Martin's Nazareth facilities family-friendly?

Definitely! Martin offers kid-friendly workshops at the Guitar Maker’s Connection store. The museum and factory tour are great for older kids.

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