Tells the story of how a European instrument was transformed - within a mere 20 years - into the iconic American flat-top guitar. The person who dominates this history is C. F. Martin Sr., America's first major guitar maker and founder of the Martin Guitar Company. At first crafting guitars modeled after his mentor, Johann Stauffer, Martin was later influenced by Spanish guitars, eventually designing a revolutionary way of bracing the soundboard. The team of scholars that collaborated on this book have unearthed new information about Martin, his relationships with fellow luthiers and business associates, his instruments, and technical advances. Martin's achievements are put in context with chapters on: Johann Stauffer and the Viennese guitar, guitar making and the instrument trade in Martin's homeland, early 19th century Spanish guitars and guitarists, and inventor and guitar maker James Ashborn, Martin's main competitor in the 1840's and '50s. Filled with spectacular photos of dozens of early instruments by Martin, Ashborn, Stauffer, Henry Schatz, and other early builders, many presented full page; plus two-page profiles of 45 special guitars from private and museum collections; and detailed fold-out drawings of two very different early Martin guitars. Hardcover. 289 pp.