Laura and Lindsay Martin Clinic

A girl, her shoes, and a lot of Martin guitars!

Wednesday night I had the pleasure of attending the Martin guitar clinic at our Florence location. At first, I wasn’t too sure about attending. You see, I am not a guitarist. In fact, when I pick up a guitar I just make a lot of crazy sounds…sadly, nothing that sounds good. So, now I find myself attending a clinic about guitars…and really NICE guitars at that. Maybe you are thinking: “okay why did you go?” Well, I am the face behind our social media sites! And I was going to cover the event. Another thing making me a little skeptical: I sit behind the computer all day talking to the world via social media. Now I am going to have to talk to people at this event!

Even with my nerves all worked up and my lack of knowledge of guitars, I went. I got there early to take pictures of the set up and empty auditorium to hype the event up on twitter. Now the cool thing about this clinic was that Martin had their artist Lindsay Ell attending. If you don’t know who she is then that is your loss because she is a fantastic person and artist! So…go check her out!
This is Lindsay.

I was mostly nervous about meeting her! How do you talk to someone when you don’t know the first thing about guitars and when you sing it sounds like a bunch of dogs howling? Lindsay got there early as well, so I worked up the nerve to go introduce myself. And she was a completely normal girl! How about that?! First thing she did was gave me a big hug! How did our conversation start off? Well, with our shared obsession of Snapchat and Twitter, of course! We immediately went to all of the super awesome Martin guitars and took a Snapchat and a “selfie.” Okay let’s be real: we are girls and our hair had to be just perfect so we took a few “selfies!” In today’s world that makes us new BFF’s! Here is the selfie we finally settled on!

She is originally from Canada, but now lives in Nashville, and this girl loves Chipotle. They made a stop at Chipotle before the clinic and of course she had to add a few snaps to her Snapchat story. Lindsay’s guitar of choice that night was a Martin OM-28. She also has a Martin OMJM at home, but her favorite guitar this year was this little beauty! It was one of the guitars on display and it also seemed to be a crowd favorite as they were eagerly waiting their turn to try it out.

I couldn’t help thinking to myself why were you so nervous because she is so easy to carry on a conversation with? Of course I was in my own head. Anyway, we sat down and she let me ask her a couple of questions. I bet you want to know what they were, don’t you?
Okay, I will tell you!

Me: What sparked your interest in music?
Lindsay: When I was six my mom put me and my brother in classical piano. When I turned 8 I thought it was a lot cooler to play Shania Twain on my guitar and I never looked back. My dad played, so I went to bluegrass camps with him. That is what interested me in playing lead guitar. There just aren’t enough lead female guitarists in the world! When I was 10, I started writing and playing shows. I was the first one crazy enough in my family to play guitar for a living!
(What girl in the 90’s didn’t love Shania Twain? I am guilty of shamelessly belting our her lyrics at the top of my lungs).

Me: Do you have any pre performance rituals?
Lindsay: Other than the normal ones like warming up, me and the band pick a word of the day. Before we head on stage we get in a circle put our hands in a say the word really loud. Like ‘SNICKERDOODLE!’ The people in the front row can hear so they are all probably like “what is going on?”

Me: What is your favorite place to perform?
Lindsay: Can I give you a two part answer?
Me: Sure!
Lindsay: Well, my first place is performing solo acoustic at the original Ryman in Nashville. There is a certain magic performing there that most rooms can’t touch. My second favorite is at Stagecoach. That is the biggest music festival I have ever seen! It is so big when you look out at the crowd you can’t even see the edge of the crowd! That many country music fans in one spot is contagious.

Me: I saw on your Twitter page you like Shoes and guitar pedals..
Lindsay: Yes I do!
Me: Do you have a favorite pair of performing shoes?
Lindsay: (Smiling, she says:) “It changes a lot, but right now it’s these running shoe heels. I feel like I can still be a girl, but also a runner and they look like moon shoes on stage!” Shoes and guitar pedals are my weakness. I can always find a way to buy shoes and pedals.

After that, she had to go warm up…but not before she handed me her CD. I also found some guitar picks she dropped before returning them I took this “artsy” photo!

As Lindsay was doing her warm up rituals, the crowd started to file in and test out the Martins on display. They were asking the Martin Rep., Jay Meyer, all kinds of questions about them! You could tell how excited everyone was to try out all of these beautiful guitars. I did not touch them I just looked no one wanted to hear the mess I would make! I left it to the guys who knew what they were doing! It took a minute for the clinic to get started because everyone was so excited about testing out the guitars.

Then, Lindsay took the stage and Jay started the clinic. It was incredibly informative and interesting. If you missed this event, you really missed out on some good stuff! That’s okay…I will fill you in on the highlights!

What did we learn?Well, a lot. Jay took us on a virtual tour of Martin’s history. Where they started, how they ended up in Nazareth, PA, and how the guitars are made. One of my favorite things I learned-and something that makes me want to tell everyone to buy a Martin-is how Eco-friendly they are! They find a way to use every single piece of material! Nothing is wasted by just throwing it away! Take this coaster for instance. This is made from the wood used to make the sound holes on the guitars! And the facility…wow! Jay also took us on a virtual tour of the facility where their guitars are hand-crafted with the utmost care. They do tours of their facility and they highly recommend you add this to your bucket list! I know I am adding it to mine. One attendee Rachel Schrand said, “It was a lot of fun! I learned a lot about guitars that I didn’t know before and I got to meet a very sweet and amazing singer, Lindsay Ell.” Speaking of Lindsay Ell she performed 3 songs in between Jay’s presentation. She sounds amazing! She sang a few of her own songs including one she wrote for a dear friend of hers who has muscular dystrophy and went through a tough time. The girl really is a great person. You walk away thinking, “man I wish I was her best friend.” She is so humble I was blown away watching her interact with the fans! She was down on the floor talking to the kids and taking pictures with everyone and didn’t even think twice about it!

There is not a bad thing anyone could find to say about her. If you didn’t get to check out this clinic and hear her I took a few videos for your viewing pleasure.

    Here are some other cool facts I learned:

  • Martin uses wood from all over the world to build their guitars
  • They spend a lot of time experimenting with different types of wood. They use 100 different species on their custom guitars and more than 300 on their in-house guitars.
  • The D18 and D28 got their names because they costs $18 and $28 when first built.
  • In 1931 Martin came out with it’s first was a 12 fret.
  • In 1937 They came out with the 14 fret Dreadnought.
  • Before this Martin built only small body guitars.
  • The parlor guitar got its name because they were originally built for women to play for the men in the parlor…(we know ladies…but it’s okay, times have changed!)
  • They use hide glue rather than tight bond because it resonates more even though it’s more difficult to build with.

These are just some of the fascinating things taught at this wonderful clinic. You can check out these videos to here a little of Jay Meyer’s presentation!

    Things I am taking away from this clinic:

  • I need to stop being such a chicken!
  • Lindsay Ell is an incredible artist.
  • Martin guitars are awesome and they are a great company!
  • Next time we have a clinic, come by and check it out…you never know what you will learn and who you will meet. Follow us on twitter @WillisMusicCo for all of the updates!

    Laura Barrowman