Martin Guitars Serial Numbers Decoder - GuitarInsite
We call it "old school service. HISTORY AND TIMELINE OF THE MARTIN HERITAGE Under the date of July 9th, the authorities again permitted the . Trying to determine the year of your Martin Guitar? Take a moment and review our list of the serial numbers for the last years. Dating Your Martin Guitar. Find answers to some of the most commonly asked product dating and value questions to learn more information about your guitar.
The 'Black and White' label: The earliest examples had a plain black on white inner paper label showing the model and serial numbers. These will show a 4-digit serial number. More about the 8-digit serial numbers later. The 'Purple' label c onward: All other text was printed in black ink, or stamped on in ink by the manufacturer model and serial numbers.
The Back Brace Brand: Being a mid-year change, some continued on with the "Purple" label, though with the new serial number designation preceded by an "S" or an "E" This is prefixed by the serial number assigned to the instrument and followed by an ink stamp of the model number. L-R as seen through the sound hole: Serial number, "Brand," Model number. The serial numbers on these instruments were often preceded by the letters S or E; e. It is currently believed that this transition was complete by Early Korean made guitars show this same brand, only stating Made in Korea in place of Made in Japan.
During later Korean made years c, Sigma transitioned back to paper labels and they stayed that way until the end of production in Indonesia in Further detailed information is required here. Serial Numbers Under the best of circumstances, Sigma serial numbers can only provide an indicator of the year when a particular model was built. This may be due to them being built in several Japanese factories at the same time with no coordination or tracking in the numbering system.
Other physical indicators or attributes, such as finish, trim, tuners, etc.
See below for that explanation. I bought it new in Some early 70s Sigma guitar serial numbers c began with 7X0 suggesting the X build date e. These were eight digits long, the third digit always a place-holding 0, while all others by then were still only five digit serial numbers further adding to the confusion. It is widely assumed by owners and Sigma historians alike that this is correct, though C. Martin cannot, or will not confirm this. These serial numbers are documented by C.
Martin completed and finished them alongside the regular Martin production line. Bridges and tuners may have been installed, as well final sanding and finishing before strings were installed and a final set-up was done.
Since we know these instruments were manufactured from through in these three countries, it is safe to assume that a serial number beginning with 81XXXXXX which I have personally seen were not produced in and that these serial number 'indicators' are not to be trusted. In '79 the paper labels were discontinued and the inner back brace was "branded.
These had an even fancier border. My own first Sigma, a DM, which I purchased new in mid I still have the receipt had this second gen "Martin style" decal logo.
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It being a smaller, local store, the instrument may have been sitting there for a while before I acquired it. While I cannot be absolutely certain of the year it was manufactured, it was certainly by, or prior to High end models such as the D Anniversary model have the "Second Generation" logo inlaid in the headstock using mother of pearl, as do many of the later Korean produced instruments.
Some guitars made later in Taiwan and Indonesia have a different headstock shape and decal: The shape is more squared off at the top corners, while the decal states, "Sigma Guitars" on top with a miniature version of the "C. Some of these guitars also had the "Est " instead of the C. The issue of whether or not Sigma guitars are solid wood or "plywood" laminate wood has been a source of controversy and confusion for many years now.
All known Sigma guitars have laminated sides and back wood. This is no longer in question. While it was thought at one time that these were somehow 'special' and had solid tops, based on current research and scholarship, an emerging school of thought dismisses this notion.
Current documentation taken from the files at Martin indicate these models were produced by the Kasuga Gakki company as overload for the Tokai Gakki company.
Further, tests conducted on the 52S models with model numbers below "8" show that they are, in fact, wholly laminate bodies. Most Sigma guitars under the numerical model number 8 are wholly laminate bodies exception is the DM-1ST. The top wood is another matter entirely. Many had laminated tops. These guitars are thoroughly inspected and prepared by Martin craftsmen at our factory and carry a limited lifetime warranty.
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Other Sigma instruments included mandolins, banjos, acoustic and electric Bass guitar basses and solidbody and Semi-acoustic guitar hollow body electric guitars. The SDR models also feature "scalloped" bracing ala' Martin's own HD with the addition of herringbone design around the binding.
A distinctive herringbone design around the binding adds to the appearance of the SDRH Dreadnought. It also includes scalloped bracing, solid spruce top and rosewood back and sides.
It has been suggested that these Second Generation branded instruments were the precursor, or pilot program for what has now become C.
Martin and relaunched Sigma Guitars worldwide. Martin had, inexplicably allowed their rights to the Sigma brand name in US territories to lapse — United States law states that: In contrast to copyright or patent law, trademark protection does not have a set duration or definite expiration date. This brand name appears to the left of the Sigma banner on the " http: Peghead is a unique "spatula" shape that differs from the traditional Martin peghead design in that it is more square than tapered, as the later 2nd Gen models were.
These 'spatula' shaped headstocks only lasted the first few years before taking on a more tapered appearance and shape while still in the early '70's. Much of the construction is still done by hand although in recent years Martin has adopted computer controlled CNC machines to fashion the guitar's neck, and employs automated buffing and polishing machines, while maintaining the overall quality of the finished product.
Older models made in the s, s and early s can command far greater prices. Has scalloped braces,  said to give the guitar a more "open" sound than a D Also features the herringbone or "pre-war" top border and a zigzag, or "zipper" backstrip. This variation resembles the original pre-war model and features both chrome butter-bean tuners and herringbone bindings around the aged-toned top.
A very limited run version of the D with special pickups placed at the end of the fretboard and near the bridge. While not generally well received, it is considered a collectors item and was notably used by Kurt Cobain in Nirvana 's famous MTV Unplugged performance. The ES was introduced in Gibson hired Ted McCarty inwho became President in He led an expansion of the guitar line with new guitars such as the "Les Paul" guitar introduced inendorsed by Les Paula popular musician in the s.
The guitar was offered in Custom, Standard, Special, and Junior models. Later, a shorter neck was added. Similar in size to the hollow-body Thinlines, the ES family had a solid center, giving the string tone a longer sustain. In the s, Gibson also produced the Tune-o-matic bridge system and its version of the humbucking pickup, the PAF "Patent Applied For"first released in and still sought after for its sound. These "modernistic" guitars did not sell initially. It was only in the late s and early 70s when the two guitars were reintroduced to the market that they sold well.
The Firebirdin the early 60s, was a reprise of the modernistic idea, though less extreme. Modernization[ edit ] In the late 50s, McCarty knew that Gibson was seen as a traditional company and began an effort to create more modern guitars.
In the body design of the Les Paul was changed due to the demand for a double-cutaway body design. The original Les Paul design returned to the Gibson catalog in This began an era characterized by corporate mismanagement and decreasing product quality.