C.F. Martin & Co. officially has the BEST customer service ever…
The other day I was lamenting the fact that I haven’t played my acoustic guitar—a Martin Road Series DCME that I’ve been pretty much inseparable with since 2004—in three months due to attending Ross University School of Medicine in the Caribbean. Between the crazy levels of humidity here and the risk of transporting it on three planes (the last being a prop plane where I could touch both walls at once) I figured I’d be better off bringing a solid-body electric, which was fine; for three months. With the end of the semester coming up and the fact that I’m heading off to Dominica for 16 months I decided there’s no way I can not have an acoustic guitar with me. Unfortunately the issues that prevented me from bringing my DCME to Freeport, Bahamas still held true for Dominica…
I decided it was a no brainer to look into getting a cheap guitar in the $100-$150 range that I could swing on a med-student budget rather than risk the $1300 Martin I’d been given by my late grandfather. The only problem was that every guitar I found that could withstand the humidity and transport wouldn’t compare sound-wise to the DCME, and every guitar that had decent reviews for sound and playability was probably too fragile to make the trip and hold up to rain-forest heat. What was the point of dealing with the hassle of bringing a guitar if I’d never want to play or if it warped on me?
I decided to try asking for some advice from the experts themselves: the good folks at C.F. Martin & Co. A few quick Google searches led me to the personal website of Mr. Dick Boak, the Director of Artist & Public Relations for Martin. I drafted a letter stating my situation as above, my love of Martin’s guitars—besides the DCME, I also have a D12X1 12-string—and asking for any advice he could offer, as someone who’s been playing and around guitars for decades, on a non-Martin guitar (even their travel guitars came to over $300) that would meet my needs. I didn’t really expect much by way of response but figured it was worth a shot.
Well, two days later I received an email back from Dick letting me know that as an employee of C.F. Martin & Co. he was unable to offer any advice on non-Martin guitars but stating that what he could do was offer me a 50% direct discount on a Martin LXM Little Martin—the aforementioned $300 travel guitar. As their most popular travel guitar, the Martin LXM is built like a tank and more than capable of withstanding climate changes, comes with it’s own soft-shell case, is the perfect size for an airline carry-on, and, being a Martin, still plays and sounds amazing.
::Cue me dancing like a crazy person in my room reading his email::
It was literally too good to be true, but lo and behold, less than a week later my parents Skyped me from the states and let me know that I had received a package from C.F. Martin & Co. They opened it up and there, as promised, was my brand new Martin LXM complete with an invoice listing the Artist Relations department as the salesperson and a “Professional Courtesy” discount. How cool is that?
I haven’t gotten a chance to play it yet as I am still in Freeport getting ready for my 1st official med school final—covering every class in one test is super fun by the way—but my dad played around with over Skype and it sounds great.
In closing, just want to reiterate a huge thank you to the folks at C.F. Martin & Co. and Dick Boak in particular for their help in providing me with the guitar that will no doubt keep me sane in the next 16 months living in the jungle and studying for 20 hours a day.