Martin 1-40

Even before C.F. Martin had left NY for the countryside of PA in 1839, dealers were asking for less expensive guitars, and in the 1840s he abandoned his native Germanic designs to develop a simpler, distinctly American guitar.

By 1852, Martin had standardized his body sizes and ornamentation styles. Size 1 was 12 3/4 inches wide, which would be called a parlour guitar today but was Martin’s largest size at the time. Style 40, with a top border and soundhole ring of abalone pearl, was relatively plain for a guitar of any era, but it was Martin’s fanciest style at the time.

Model names, than as now, simply combined the body size and style number, so that model 1-40 is a size 1 with style 40 trim.

Despite Martin’s move to Nazareth, PA, where the company is still located, Martin guitars continued to be sold through a NY distributor. Consequently, the guitars were branded “New York” until the distribution agreement was dissolved in 1898.