Martin Tenor, c.1926

Although the first C.F. Martin was trained as a luthier and violinmaker in Europe, Martin family tradition has it that he made no violins after his arrival in the USA in 1833. The Martin factory devoted itself solely to guitars until about 1895, when they began to manufacture a successful range of mandolins.

The company subsequently introduced ukuleles (in 1916), South American-style tiples (in 1919), and tenor guitars (in 1926). Instruments like this were tuned identically to a tenor banjo. They were initially popular with Dixieland jazzmen.

Later, in the 1950s and 1960s, they were taken up by folk performers such as Nick Reynolds of the Kingston Trio.

Briefly reissued in 1997, Martin tenor guitars are no longer in production.