NAMM’S Museum of Making Music Partners with Martin Guitar to Celebrate 100th Anniversary of the Dreadnought

Mike Lawson • Uncategorized • October 19, 2016

Beginning October 8, the Museum of Making Music will present a special exhibition celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Martin Dreadnought guitar, perhaps the most iconic and influential American acoustic guitar ever to be created.

Used by legendary musicians such as Bob Dylan, Gene Autry, Neil Young and Joni Mitchell, to many prominent musicians today, the dreadnought has shaped the evolution of American popular music from country ballads, string bands and country and western, to blues, folk, rock and rock ‘n’ roll.    

A partnership between the Museum and Martin Guitar, which is credited for developing the dreadnought style in 1916 and for giving it the unique name has made San Diego the only city in the entire country where music-fans can view this iconic 100-year anniversary exhibition and the variety of dreadnought models it features. 

 “The Dreadnought exhibition reveals the rarely heard story of the origin and evolution of an iconic guitar, and the impact it had—and continues to have—in so many areas,” shared Carolyn Grant, executive director of the museum. “Visitors will be intrigued by the historical guitars on display, and dazzled by the chance to pick up and play a variety of stunning models in a comfortable setting.  They will walk away with a deeper appreciation for the history, craftsmanship and cultural contribution the Martin Guitar company has made to music all over the world.” 

 The Museum will transform one of their galleries into an interactive gathering space, designed like a laid-back living room, where the public can learn about the evolution of the Martin dreadnought, play and experience a variety of dreadnought guitars from different makers, and view Martin Guitar’s new short documentary, “The Ballad of the Dreadnought.” The displays, designed for a variety of interest levels, have been created to help guests gain a musical understanding of the dreadnought and the art of the luthier, a builder of stringed instruments, including one where the guitar has been disassembled and each piece laid out in an intricate wall display to showcase its inner workings.  Visitors also the opportunity to hear guitar builders talk about their craft, their business and their philosophies on guitar building.

Below is a partial list of Martin guitars on display at the exhibition:

·      Limited Edition “HMS Dreadnought” guitar with artwork by Robert Goetzl

·      1937 D-18 once owned by James Taylor

·      1902 Martin Parlor Guitar

·      D-111 Ditson Dreadnought Guitar, precursor to the Martin model

·      Also a D-42, a D-35 Johnny Cash model, and a unique “Napa Rose” Commemorative D-35 

The Dreadnought Guitar Exhibition opens to the general public on Saturday, October 8, 2016. General admission is $10, with discounts for seniors, youth, students and military.

Dreadnought Guitar Open House Reception and Kick-Off Concert – Friday, October 7

In conjunction with the exhibit, Dick Boak who has been with Martin Guitars for over 40 years and is the Director of the Martin Museum and Archives, will be on hand to answer questions and engage with the public at two events: a first-look at the new exhibit at a member open house reception starting at 5:00 p.m. to be followed by a celebratory concert at 8:00 p.m. The concert feature two purveyors of acoustic rock, John Batdorf and James Lee Stanley and serves as the kick off to the museum’s concert series that will feature the dreadnought; additional dates in this series will be announced soon. The cost for the October 7 concert is $20 per person.  Museum members are invited to a free Open House at 5:00pm and receive a 10% discount to the 8:00p.m. concert. Tickets are available for purchase here.

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