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    This instrument is one of the prettiest American guitars of the nineteenth century. Its maker, Christian Frederick Martin, was born in the instrument-making center of Markneukirchen in Germany's Saxony region. Although concrete proof is lacking, tradition holds that Martin was an apprentice and later shop foreman for the inventive Viennese guitar maker J.G. Stauffer. What is known for certain is that Martin immigrated to the United States in 1833, where he soon became the country's first influential guitar maker, creating a manufactory that remains world famous to this day. Dainty by today's standards, this instrument is the type of "parlor" guitar Martin first produced after coming to America, and it does indeed include features of Stauffer's work, such as the sideways-scroll headstock and adjustable neck. The use of so much ivory on an American guitar is exceptional during this period, especially for the neck. Combined with the "thumbprint" inlays of pearl and abalone around the top, the effect is almost jewelry-like, an aesthetic that would have appealed to young female players, who constituted an important element of guitar ownership in antebellum America.



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