Katoh was and is the name that was adopted by Australian distributors to market classical and flamenco guitars sold elsewhere in the world as “Martinez” and “Cordoba” (not all models of the latter).
Katoh guitars are built in China by Minyard Martinez Musical Instruments in Guangzhou, China, currently the world’s largest manufacturer of handcrafted classical and flamenco guitars.
The three most influential people at Martinez are CEO Alex Wang, a player, manufacturer and lover of the instrument, Kenny Hill, master luthier from California and Wolfgang Jellinghaus who began Martinez in the 1980’s.
Alex Wang sought Kenny Hill’s advice about building techniques and Kenny was so impressed he partnered in the venture and now manufactures his “New World” series in Guangzhou.
Martinez, like Kenny Hill’s guitars, are heavily influenced by past master luthiers like Torres, Ramirez Hauser, Friedrich, et al. As the classical guitar evolves, the people are Minyard Martinez are keen to incorporate new techniques and knowledge into the continued refinement of their outstanding instruments.