The Egmond Guitar

The History of the Egmond Guitars or how the C.F. Martin Vega Range was made in The Netherlands.

Documentary by Siert van den Berg (44 min. 37 sec. English spoken or subtitled).

American guitar maker C.F. Martin came to the Netherlands round 1975 to develop a range of 6 Vega guitars to be built by the Dutch Egmond Guitar factory. This documentary is based on interviews with Chris Martin IV, former CEO of C.F. Martin, former staff and employees of the Egmond Guitar factory, Dutch collectors of Egmond guitars and musicians that played or learned to play on these guitars that were made in the city of Best in The Netherlands.


Musica Musical Instruments

The Egmond family started a factory for musical instruments in 1947 from Eindhoven in The Netherlands, called "Musica Musical Instruments". In 1960 they moved to the neighbouring city of Best. Here acoustic and electric "Egmond" guitars were being built on a large scale: 200.000 guitars each year, guitars that found their way around the world.

The brothers Egmond

Before the Second World War, retired railway official Uilke Egmond supplemented his income by giving violin lessons and startrd selling musical instruments to his students. During the war he established a music store under the name Musica in the center of Eindhoven. His eldest son Gerard started working with his father and, due to a lack of sufficient supply of musical instruments in the war years, started building simple guitars. His three brothers Dick, Piet and Jaap soon joined him after the war and so a small factory on the Frankrijkstraat was created in 1947. The demand for guitars was increasing in the late 1950s and in 1960 a new modern business space was opened in Best. Here the production was increased to 200,000 guitars per year that found their way to all parts of the world. Due to the rise of the Asian countries, almost all producers of musical instruments in the West started to face serious problems in the late 1960s. The Egmonds, too, could only keep their factory going with the help of government support.

Martin Tolchin

But in 1972 the involvement of the Egmond family in the company came to an end and an American trading company ("Tolchin Musical Instruments Inc.") became a major shareholder.

C.F. Martin

For a while it seemed that new times were coming for the factory, when the American company C.F. Martin ordered a series of guitars to their own high standard under the name Vega Guitars, made by Martin in The Netherlands. However, the guitars appeared to have too many defects and Martin soon decided to cancel the cooperation with the Dutch company. In 1977 the factory in Best closed its doors.

Alpha Guitars

In September 1979 a number of machines purchased from the bankruptcy were transferred to the social workplace in Boxtel. Under the guidance of a number of former employees from Best, guitars would be made for a few more years under the name Alpha Musical Instruments. Tolchin was still the distributor of these instruments at that time. In 1981 however, this company was taken over by the English company Boosey & Hawkes, and there was no longer room for these instruments in their range.