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ETSU Hosting C.F. Martin Evolution of the American Guitar March 14

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Evolution of the American guitarOn March 14, 2012 beginning at 7:00 pm, the Bluegrass, Old Time, and Country Music Studies is hosting this C.F. Martin & Company free presentation “The Evolution of the American Guitar” featuring Martin's Director of Artist and Public Relations, Dick Boak, and virtuoso guitarists Craig Thatcher and Richard Starkey. The presentation will take place in the D.P. Culp Center’s Martha Street Culp Auditorium.

The evening’s festivities will begin with a 6:30 p.m. warm-up session of Bluegrass, Old Time, and Country Music Studies faculty and students—some playing vintage Martin guitars. U.S. Congressman Phil Roe, a member of the well-respected 1970s bluegrass band Pony Express, will join faculty, students, and Studies’ alumni on stage. He will be playing one of his own Martin guitars. Also joining in the on-stage festivities will be Grammy Award winner and ETSU alumnus Tim Stafford. The event is free and open to the public.

Acoustic guitar aficionados are in for a treat during a presentation that will showcase one of America’s favorite instruments and feature musical vignettes by Craig Thatcher and Richard Starkey. The presentation will be given by Dick Boak, archivist for Martin Guitar, who will offer an interactive history of the 178-year-old guitar company, as well as showcase several important examples in the evolution of Martin acoustic guitars. The presentation will focus on Martin’s colorful history, the development of the modern acoustic guitar, Martin's historical contributions to the acoustic guitar's design, artist signature model collaborations, and specific guitar shapes, sizes, and tonewoods that lend themselves to particular musical genres.

Boak, a 35-year Martin Guitar employee and author of Martin Guitar Masterpieces and Martin Guitars: A History, is a woodworker, guitar designer and builder, draftsman, Martin's public relations liaison, graphic artist, author, and guitarist. He is responsible for some of the most unique collaborates with top celebrity guitarists to design and build the finest instruments made at C.F. Martin & Co.

Founded over 175 years ago in 1833 by Christian Frederick Martin, C.F. Martin & Co. has been family owned and operated for six generations. The oldest surviving acoustic instrument maker in the world and largest producer of acoustic guitars in the U.S., Martin guitars are hand-made by skilled craftsmen and women, many still using the design and techniques introduced by the company founder in the 1830s. The privately held manufacturer is highly regarded for creating some of the finest instruments and introducing innovations that have become industry standards in the music products industry including the now-standard X-bracing, the 14-fret guitar and the “Dreadnought” size. Current Chairman and CEO Christian Frederick Martin, IV, took the helm of the company in 1986.

For those interested, a selection of books by Dick Boak and merchandise from Bluegrass, Old Time, and Country Music Studies will be available for purchase before and after “The Evolution of the American Guitar.” For more information about this interactive and informative evening of music, history, and fun, call the Bluegrass, Old Time, and Country Music Studies office at (423) 439-7072.

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