Martin guitar serial dating

After Sigma musical instruments were built in Japan, Korea, Taiwan and finally Indonesia, they were sent to Martin & Co. White/pearl binding on body (w/p/w/p/w.) Rosewood overlay on 1st generation "Spatula" headstock (Sigma w/Σ logo.) Headstock and fretboard are single-bound in white.

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.

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 understandable since the Martin customer service department now responds to individual inquiries stating "all" Sigma's had laminate back/sides, while Sigma catalogs from the early 70s list the back/side wood as "Matched." (edit: "Matched" does not mean solid, but is a careful marketing nomenclature for laminate to confuse potential buyers.) In the 70's Sigma produced a line of guitars with model numbers starting with 52S, e.g., 52SDM-5, 52SDR-7 and 52SGCS-7.

Because more than 30% of the work was completed within the borders of the United States, Martin was legally allowed to designate them as Made in U. 81XXXXXX.) Since we know these instruments were manufactured from 1984 through 2007 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 1981 and that these serial number 'indicators' are not to be trusted.

In 1978-'79 the paper labels were discontinued and the inner back brace was "branded." Later Korean production show a resurgence in the paper label system for model and serial number, sometimes along with the brand. Adjustable rosewood bridge to approximately 1975, non-adjustable thereafter.

distributor is now Six String Brokerage LLC, Nazareth, Pa. In 1980 Sigma produced the D-10 Anniversary model to commemorate 10 years of Sigma production in Japan.

Other physical indicators or attributes, such as finish, trim, tuners, etc., can help determine the approximate construction date of a particular example, but almost never exactly.

Martin completed and finished them alongside the regular Martin production line.

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