Profile on GREEN People – Martin Guitar’s Dick Boak

By Adam Eisman,
Posted on Sunday 25th January 2009

A - The Leadership

Dick Boak, Director of Artist Relations and Publicity for Martin Guitars

Dick Boak manages Artist Relations and Publicity for the world renowned Martin Guitar Company in Nazareth, PA. He established and manages Martin's highly visible Signature Edition guitar program which has produced collaborative models for more than 100 legendary artists including Eric Clapton, Paul Simon, Jimmy Buffett, Dave Matthews, Joan Baez, Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, Stephen Stills, and Sting. His acclaimed book "Martin Guitar Masterpieces" relays the stories of those collaborations.
An employee since 1976, Dick has worn many hats at Martin. Originally hired as a design draftsman, he has been a builder of prototypes, founder of several retail divisions, manager of Martin's in house advertising department and print shop, organizer of the company's museum exhibits, and company archivist. He has held his current position as Director of Artist Relations and Publicity since 1994.
He is an accomplished and widely published illustrator, author, designer, woodworker, guitar maker, and musician. He resides just north of Nazareth with his wife Susan Ellis and his two daughters, Emily & Grace.

B - The Organization: Martin Guitars

C. F. Martin & Co.'s Mission:

To be the best fretted instrument and string manufacturer in the world, providing the highest quality products and services for our customers while preserving and enhancing our unique heritage.

Mr. Boak's Personal Mission:

To live a creative, productive and happy life.

About Us:

Founded in 1833 by Christian Frederick Martin, C.F. Martin & Co. has been continuously family owned and operated for six generations. At 176 years old, the oldest surviving acoustic instrument maker in the world and largest producer of acoustic guitars in the U.S., Martin guitars are hand-made by skilled craftsmen and women, many still using the design and techniques introduced by the company founder in the 1830s. The privately held manufacturer is highly regarded for creating some of the finest instruments and introducing innovations that have become industry standards in the music products industry including the now-standard x-bracing, 14-fret guitar and the "dreadnought" size.

C - GREEN 10-Qs

  1. What childhood, personal, or career eco-experience inspired your current work?

    As a woodworker and guitar maker, I have always felt that wood is a sacred material - deserving of our great respect, preservation and appropriate use. Very early on in my career at C. F. Martin & Co., I served on the founding Board of Directors for WARP (The Woodworkers Alliance for Rainforest Protection). This organization, though short lived, evolved and morphed several times, eventually contributing to the formation of early certified and eco-friendly wood programs. Because of my keen interest in this area, I have with several of my Martin co-workers been at the center of our Certified and Sustainable Wood Guitar initiatives.

  2. Who inspires you in our Philadelphia community?

    Fred Oster and Catherine Jacobs of the fantastic guitar and violin shop Vintage Stringed Instruments on South Broad Street in downtown Philly.

  3. What professional accomplishment are you most proud of?

    The publication of my hardcover book "Martin Guitar Masterpieces" and the 26 issues (to date) issues of Martin's "Sounding Board" magazine, of which I am the designer, writer and editor. I am also extremely proud of the more than 140 artist signature model collaborative guitar projects with legendary musicians such as Eric Clapton, Tom Petty, Paul Simon, Joan Baez, Mark Knopfler, George Martin, John Mellencamp, Linda Ronstadt, Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, and many many more!

  4. What is one of your favorite Philly eco-activities, products, or services?

    There's nothing better that a long and healthy walk around Philadelphia's beautiful and historic neighborhoods.

  5. What is one of the things that you regularly do to make your life more eco-friendly?

    I constantly try to find uses for scraps of precious wood that is either rejected or left over from guitar production.

  6. What would you change about your home or office to make it more eco-friendly?

    Our windows are not sealed perfectly and I would like to commission an energy audit to identify and seal those leaks in order to save on winter heating fuel.

  7. What would you change about Philly to make it more eco-friendly?

    Less traffic on the Schuylkill Expressway! (More train lines to outlying areas.)

  8. What book, movie, or TV show would you recommend people to read or watch?

    I love the movie "The Red Violin."

  9. In addition to your family and friends, what three people living or dead would you take to live with you for a decade on a deserted island?

    Guitarist Mark Knopfler, inventor/philosopher/dome builder Buckminster Fuller, and a great chef like Alice Waters to cook up island delicacies for us.

  10. What quote or your own words of wisdom would you like to share with our readers?

    "When a tree falls, we have an opportunity and an obligation to extract something that extols the incredible majesty of the tree. What better eulogy for the tree and the wood than a great guitar, one that sings, one that responds in the hands of a passionate player. One that is a Martin!"
    - Excerpted from: Martin Guitar Masterpieces by Dick Boak is a free resource for anyone that wants to save energy, money, and the environment. The articles, product reviews, online tools, and return on investment calculations are researched from a diverse range of public and private sector sources. Overall, the company is passionate about saving money as well as creating healthy homes, offices, and lifestyles.

Click the links for more information on Martin Guitars and Strings. And to find out how musicians are embracing the Green movement, take a look at the following article by Shawn Rice on Reverb's Efforts to Make Concerts Green. For tips on making your own home green, check out GREENandSAVE's Return on Investment Table for great Energy Saving tips.

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