For the first time in its history that I am aware, Martin Guitars put together a Repair Summit for its some odd 250 authorized warranty service people in North America. For the inaugural event Martin invited 60 of us, and I was lucky enough to receive an invitation.
It was a two day event that included tours, meetings, and training on various aspects of repairs. The first day started off with a tour of the on site Martin guitar museum. Our tour guide was Chris Martin himself. It was a pleasure to be able to stop at various areas throughout the museum and hear an interesting story attached to a piece of history that only Chris could share.
After the tour we continued with another guide into the actual factory. Although it was my fourth factory tour over the years I never get tired of seeing the process of guitars being built. During my time there I was also allowed an off limits tour of Martin's wood mill and holding room. The mill is where all of the incoming woods are processed and prepared for storage. This process can include sanding, cutting and drying. The wood is then moved into a large temperature and humidity controlled holding room.
A good deal of my time at the factory included training in the various repair departments. We were split up into small groups and spent time with Martin repair staff. Fretwork, neck resets, set up work, structure repairs, and finish work were some of the main types of repairs covered. We were able to see the work being done and ask any questions that we desired.
The Summit also included times that allowed us all to get to know some of the staff at Martin and each other. We were able to meet Martin's new Customer Service Manager and spend time chatting over meals. There were people from all over North America there, some from well known music stores and repair shops and some who had been doing Martin warranty work for over 20 years. Some of these folks are very well known in the repair and lutherie fields. It was such a blast.
Martin took great care of us all and were so accommodating. It was a large undertaking to host so many of us and they did a great job at it.