Martin serial number dating
The first Sigmas were typically dreadnought acoustics, although Grand Concert Series (GCS) and classical models were also produced from the early 1970s (1971? Though other models were produced the most common two throughout the '70's were the Dreadnought models DM-5 (DM12-5) and DR-7 (DR12-7.) D for dreadnought, R for rosewood, M for mahogany and the number denoting the grade of wood, 5, 7, 9, 11, 15. GCS-7/CS-7) continued to be built during this time as well. They were only made in 1980, but throughout the entire build year. Instead of 'seconding' these by labeling them as 'Picador' guitars, and/or voiding the warranty completely, Martin decided to invoke a warranty exception and lower the price by a few points.
Initial construction was in Japan by various manufacturers/factories from 1970 through 1983. The "First Generation" DM-5 and DR-7 (laminate wood bodies and tops,) as well as other early models (e.g. It is not known at this time just how many D-10's were built but it is believed by some, and indicated by the number up for saleat any given time that production ran into the thousands, not limited to 100 as previously rumored. Martin memo dated August 7, 1980 further discusses 'economically uncorrectable' cosmetic flaws in the D-10 and how they were to be indicated by the inspectors: "The flawed instruments were graded into 2 categories depending on the nature of the blemishes and were stamped on the back center strip accordingly.
It is widely assumed by owners and Sigma historians alike that this is correct, though C. Martin cannot, or will not confirm this."Sigma-Martin USA" guitars built in 19 only, had specifically assigned serial numbers ranging from 900,001 to 902,908 (2,907 in total.) These serial numbers are documented by C. These "N" instruments of which there were only two models ever produced, the DR-28N & DR-35N partially assembled in Japan and were imported to Nazareth ("N") and the Martin guitar factory as "kits".
There they were completed and finished alongside the regular Martin production line.
In 1978, model designations were added to capitalize on Martin model numbers: the DM-18, DM-19, DR-28, DR-28H, DR-35, DR-41, and DR-45. Pegheads & Logos Sigma guitars made in Japan from 1970 through 1983. The affixed warranty card was amended to read..."Your D-10 '9' (or D-10 '8') is not warranted against cosmetic defects." In the years of 1981 & 1982, Martin imported partially assembled Sigma guitars from Japan and the assembly was completed in Nazareth, Pennsylvania.
Bridges and tuners may have been installed, as well final sanding and finishing before strings were installed and a final set-up was done. Serial numbers for Sigma guitars built in South Korea, Taiwan and Indonesia are perhaps even more meaningless, though again some seem to indicate the year of manufacture (e.g. Adjustable rosewood bridge to approximately 1975, non-adjustable thereafter.
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.
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.
Martin & Co., based in Nazareth, Pennsylvania, created a line of inexpensive guitars in 1970 to compete with the increasing number of imported guitars from Japan and elsewhere. (Further detailed information is required here.) Serial Numbers Under the best of circumstances, Sigma serial numbers can only provide an indicator of the year in which a particular model was built.
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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.