Martin is one of the most best acoustic guitar manufacturers in the world and produces a whole host of iconic guitars including the D-18 and D-28, but where are they made?
Martin guitars are made in the USA and Mexico. Most of their guitars are made in the United States in Nazareth, Pennsylvania except for the more affordable X series, Backpacker Series, Road Series, Little Martin and Junior acoustic guitars which are made in Mexico in Navojoa, Sonora.
Most Martin Guitars are Made in the USA
Martin started producing guitars in 1833 in New York and moved to Nazareth, Pennsylvania in 1939 where they still produce their premium line of acoustic guitars.
The following Martin guitars are made in the USA:
- Standard e.g. D-18, D-28 etc.
- 15 Series e.g. D-15M, 000-15M
- 16 Series e.g. GPC-16E
- 17 Series e.g. DSS-17
- Modern Deluxe e.g. D-42 Modern Deluxe
- Authentic e.g. D-28 Authentic 1937 Aged
- Custom Shop
The Martin Nazareth factory has approximately 500 employees and makes 200 guitars per day, with 98% of them being handmade. You can actually visit this factory for a tour that lasts roughly 1 hour.
USA-made Martin acoustic guitars start at approximately $1500 with the 15 Series, but can cost tens of thousands of dollars if you look at guitars in the Authentic and Custom Shop ranges.
The USA has earned its reputation as being the best country in the world at manufacturing high-end guitars. It’s home to some of the most skilled luthiers and best quality control procedures to ensure that every guitar that leaves the factory is of the highest quality.
Mexican-Made Martin Guitars
Martin make their more affordable acoustic guitars in Mexico in a factory in Navojoa, Sonora.
Martin opened the Mexican factory in 1989 with the intention to produce electronic accessories and some of the guitar strings however it soon after expanded into guitar production. In 1992, the Navojoa factory began making the Martin Backpacker series of guitars and now also produces several other more affordable guitars.
The Martin Navojoa factory has over 450 employees so has massively expanded since it opened in 1989 with just 12 members of staff.
The following Martin guitars are made in Mexico:
- X-Series e.g. D-X13, GPC-X2E
- Road Series e.g. SC-10E, SC13-E
- Junior e.g. DJr-10
- Little Martin e.g. LX1, LXK2
The attention to detail that goes into producing Mexican-made Martin guitars is not as high as it is compared to USA-made Martin guitars, however the instruments are still excellent quality.
Mexico has a very good reputation for producing mid-high end acoustic and electric guitars which sound amazing and are really built to last.
USA vs Mexican-Made Martin Acoustic Guitars
Mexican-made Martin guitars cost between $400 and $1800, averaging at around $750. USA-made Martin guitars cost upwards of $1500, with the average price being $3000.
So why are USA-made Martin guitars so much more expensive?
USA-made Martin guitars are crafted with more attention to detail and higher quality materials compared to Mexican-made Martin guitars. USA-made Martin’s also have a lot more prestige and history which contributes to the higher price.
Many Mexican Martin guitars have laminated wood on the back and sides, but some of the more expensive ones have solid wood back and sides. You’ll also find nitro finish on many USA Martin’s compared to poly on a lot of Mexican Martin’s.
Check out this video comparing two Martin dreadnoughts, an American D-18 and a Mexican D-12.
Martin Guitars by Series
- Martin Standard acoustic guitars (e.g. D-18, D-28 and D-35) are made in the USA and cost between $2800-$9700
- Martin Modern Deluxe acoustic guitars are made in the USA and cost between $3600-$10500
- Martin 16 Series acoustic guitars are made in the USA and cost between $1950-$2300
- Martin 17 Series acoustic guitars are made in the USA and cost between $1800-$2000
- Martin 15 Series acoustic guitars are made in the USA and cost between $1500-$1800
- Martin Road Series acoustic guitars are made in Mexico and cost between $900-$2000
- Martin X-Series acoustic guitars are made in Mexico and cost between $550-$750
- Martin Junior acoustic guitars are made in Mexico and cost between $500-$700
- Little Martin acoustic guitars are made in Mexico and cost between $400-$500
- Martin Backpacker acoustic guitars are made in Mexico and cost $300
Check out my guide to where Taylor acoustic guitars are made.