Martin


DATING YOUR MARTIN

All Martin guitars since 1898 (except solidbody electrics from the 1970s, basses, and tiples) are numbered in consecutive order. Ukuleles do not have serial numbers. Mandolins use a different serial number system than guitars. Martin guitar serial numbers start at 8000 in 1898 because Martin estimated they made 8000 instruments before 1898.
Model Numbers stamped above the Serial Number starting in 1930.

Starting in October 1930, Martin also stamped the model number just above the serial number. Martin model numbers are straight forward too. The first set of characters are the body size. Next there is a "-". The last set of numbers are the ornamention style.

For example, "OO-28" stamped above the serial number tells use the body is "OO" size (14 5/16" wide for a 14 fret model, 14 1/8" wide for a 12 fret model), and the ornamention style is "28" (rosewood body, ice cream cone style neck).

 

Left: The model and serial numbers, as seen through the sound hole on the neck block of this 1950 D-28. Prior to October 1930, the model is NOT stamped on the neck block (you have to figure it out yourself!).

 Right: The model and serial numbers, as seen through the sound hole of this 1944 D-18, serial number 90067. Notice the "1" in the "18" does somewhat look like a "2". This confuses a lot of people who think their style 18 guitar is a style 28. Also the "D" is sometimes confused for an "0". 


  

On round hole martin guitars, the serial and model numbers are stamped on the neck block inside the instrument. The number can be seen by looking inside the sound hole. Look at an angle towards the neck. All f-hole Martin archtops have their serial and model numbers stamped on the inside center of the backstripe, roughly under the shadow of the bridge (and best seen from the bass side "f" hole).

The numbers listed here show the LAST serial number produced for that year. Martin produced all guitar serial number sequentially. These serial number apply to all Martin guitars, flat top and arch top. It does not apply to ukes (except for the first year, they do not have a serial number). Does not apply to Martin mandolins either (they have their own serial number system).

 

Year Serial# Range (produced)                Year Serial# Range (produced)

1898 8001-8349 (347)                                1950 112962-117961 (4999)

1899 8350-8716 (367)                                1951 117962-122799 (4837)

1900 8717-9128 (411)                                1952 122800-128436 (5636)

1901 9129-9310 (181)                                1953 128437-134501 (6064)

1902 9311-9528 (217)                                1954 134502-141345 (6843)

1903 9529-9810 (281)                                1955 141346-147328 (5982)

1904 9811-9988 (177)                                1956 147329-152775 (5446)

1905 9989-10120 (131)                              1957 152776-159061 (6285)

1906 10121-10329 (208)                            1958 159062-165576 (6514)

1907 10330-10727 (397)                            1959 165577-171047 (5470)

1908 10728-10883 (155)                            1960 171048-175689 (4641)

1909 10884-11018 (134)                            1961 175690-181297 (5607)

1910 11019-11203 (184)                            1962 181298-187384 (6086)

1911 11204-11413 (209)                            1963 187385-193327 (5942)

1912 11414-11565 (151)                            1964 193328-199626 (6298)

1913 11566-11821 (255)                            1965 199627-207030 (7403)

1914 11822-12047 (225)                            1966 207031-217215 (10184)

1915 12048-12209 (161)                            1967 217216-230095 (12879)

1916 12210-12390 (180)                            1968 230096-241925 (11829)

1917 12391-12988 (597)                            1969 241926-256003 (14077)

1918 12989-13450 (461)                            1970 256004-271633 (15629)

1919 13451-14512 (1061)                          1971 271634-294270 (22636)

1920 14513-15484 (1335)                          1972 294271-313302 (19031)

1921 15485-16758 (909)                            1973 313303-333873 (20570)

1922 16759-17839 (1080)                          1974 333873-353387 (19513)

1923 17840-19891 (2051)                          1975 353388-371828 (18440)

1924 19892-22008 (2116)                          1976 371829-388800 (16971)

1925 22009-24116 (2107)                          1977 388801-399625 (10824)

1926 24117-28689 (4572)                          1978 399626-407800 (8174)

1927 28690-34435 (5745)                          1979 407801-419900 (12099)

1928 34436-37568 (3132)                          1980 419901-430300 (10399)

1929 37569-40843 (3274)                          1981 430301-436474 (6173)

1930 40844-45317 (4473)                          1982 436475-439627 (3152)

1931 45318-49589 (4271)                          1983 439628-446101 (6473)

1932 49590-52590 (3000)                          1984 446102-453300 (7198)

1933 52591-55084 (2493)                          1985 453301-460575 (7274)

1934 55085-58679 (3594)                          1986 460576-468175 (7599)

1935 58680-61947 (3267)                          1987 468176-476216 (8040)

1936 61948-65176 (3228)                          1988 476217-483952 (7735)

1937 65177-68865 (3688)                          1989 483953-493279 (9323)

1938 68866-71866 (3000)                          1990 493280-503309 (10032)

1939 71867-74061 (2194)                          1991 503310-512487 (9177)

1940 74062-76734 (2672)                          1992 512488-522655 (10167)

1941 76735-80013 (3278)                          1993 522656-535223 (12567)

1942 80014-83107 (3093)                           1994 535224-551696 (16472)

1943 83108-86724 (3616)                           1995 551697-570434 (18737)

1944 86725-90149 (3424)                           1996 570435-592930 (22495)

1945 90150-93623 (3473)                           1997 592931-624799 (31868)

1946 93624-98158 (4534)                           1998 624800-668796 (43996)

1947 98159-103468 (5309)                         1999 668797-724077 (55280)

1948 103469-108269 (4800)                        2000 724078-780500 (56422)

1949 108270-112961 (4691)                        2001 780501-845644 (65143)

Year Serial# Range (produced)                 Year Serial# Range (produced)

Important Serial Number Milestones.

  • 439xx to 44362: October 1930 first time both the body size & style number stamped on neckblock above the serial number (exact serial number change unknown).
  • 57305 = T frets first used and T bar first used (1934)
  • 59044-61181 = Martin stamp in back of peghead discontinued (1935)
  • 72740 = Change in nut width on 14-fret models from 1 3/4" to 1 11/16" (late 1939) on all non-slotted peghead models. Style 17 models with 14-fret body may have changed earlier.
  • 80585 = Ebony neck reinforcement started to be implemented during WW2 (1942)
  • 83107 = Last pre-WW2 style 45 guitar (1942).
  • 89926 = According to Martin, this is the approximate last scalloped braced guitar made (late 1944). Though some models have been seen after this number with scalloped braces, and before this number with tapered braces. (For example #90014 appears to be the last D28 with scalloped braces, and D-28 #88112 had tapered braces.)
  • 90021 = Snowflakes on D28 discontinued (1944). This is an approximate serial#.
  • 98223 = Last style 28 guitar made with Herringbone trim (early 1947).
  • 99992-100240 = Last style 28 guitars made with a "zipper back" center seam (mid 1947).
  • 197207 = Bridge pin holes moved back 1/16" (1964).
  • 200601 = short saddle bridge (1965).
  • 205251 = 102C Grover machines on all "D" guitars (1965).
  • 211040 = Boltaron bindings on D-28 and D-35 (1966).
  • 212100 = Boltaron bindings on D-18 (1966).
  • 213775 = Boltaron rosettes (1966).
  • 215253 = New tape strips on sides (1966).
  • 216736 = Bridge pin holes moved to center (1966).
  • 217215 = Tortoise guards discontinued (1966).
  • 220467 = Last hand stamped serial/model numbers (1967).
  • 224079 = Kluson K324 tuners on all style 18 models (1967).
  • 226969 = Grover v100 tuners on all 0,00,000 models (1967).
  • 228246 = Square truss rod bar on D models (1967).
  • 235586 = Rosewood bridgeplates on all guitars (1968).
  • 242454 = Larger rosewood bridgeplates on all guitars (1969).
  • 254497 = Last style 28 guitar made with Brazilian rosewood (late 1969).
  • 254498 = East Indian rosewood introduced (1969, a model D-21).
  • 255717 = First D-41 model with Indian Roseood.
  • 256366 = First D-45 model with Indian Rosewood.
  • 350287 = Plastic saddles on D-18 models (1975).
  • 355357 = Plastic saddles on D-28 models (1975).
  • 360970-365831 = Rosewood vertical sidestrips (1975).
  • 370976 = Micarta nuts and saddles (1975).
  • 447004 = Self-adhesive pickguard trial (1984).
  • 447501 = Last glued-down pickguard in regular production (1984).
  • 453181 = Adjustable truss rods gradually implemented (1985).
  • 478093 = Maple bridgeplates on all guitars (1988).
  • 737277 = Last HD-28LSV with an Adirondack top (2000). Sitka spruce was used in regular production thereafter.

 

Other Brands Made by Martin.

Since 1900, Martin did make guitars, mandolins and ukes for other brands and guitar studios. No, this was not "common". Just because your guitar looks like a Martin, doesn`t mean it is. Even if your instrument is one of the brands listed below, that does NOT mean it was necessarily made by Martin either! Just keep that in mind.

  • Bacon: a few made for Bacon Banjos in 1924.
  • Belltone: fifteen guitars, ten mandolins and twelve Style 3k ukes were made for Belltone.
  • Bitting Special: Martin made some mandolins for this Bethlehem, PA teacher in 1916 to 1919.
  • Ditson: in 1917 to 1919, and 1923 to 1930, Martin made some guitars for the Ditson company in Boston. Early models only have a "Ditson" stamp, later models have both the "Ditson" and "Martin" stamps. The 1923 to 1930 models have Martin serial numbers. Prior to this, 483 guitars of the original 1917 to 1919 series have been documented.
  • Foden: In 1912 to 1917, Martin made guitars for concert guitarist William Foden. These are similar to the standard Martin models, but have simple soundhole rings and a 20 fret fingerboard (instead of 19). Made in sizes 0 and 00, the styles were similar to Martin`s Style 18, 21, 28, and a pearl trim model. Only 27 of these guitars have been documented to date.
  • Jenkins: Martin made Style 1 and 2 ukes for this Kansas City mail order company.
  • Olcott-Bickford: 32 guitars made for this guitarist.
  • Paramount: Around 1930 Martin made about 36 guitars with strange construction. A style 2 size body mounted into a larger rim and back of rosewood, small round soundholes around a "lip" that joins the outer rims to the inner rims, no soundhole in the top, 14 frets clear, dot fingerboard inlays to the 15th fret, rounded peak peghead with standard Paramount banjo peghead inlay, banjo-style tuners, four or six strings.
  • Schoenberg: In 1987 to 1994, Martin made some guitars similar to their OM-18, OM-28 OM-45, some 12 fret 000 models, and a few D models. The last Schoenberg/Martin was made in October 1994, serial number 541742.
  • S.S. Stewart: Martin made ukes for this company in 1923 to 1925.
  • Rolando: In 1916 to 1918 Martin made 261 guitar (numbered 1 to 261), and some later guitars with standard Martin serial numbers.
  • Vega: Martin bought Vega Banjos in 1970 and moved production to their property in 1971. In 1979, Martin sold the Vega name. Some guitars were made under the Vega name during this period (but they mostly made banjos).
  • Weymann: Around 1925 Martin made some Ukes for this company, but no guitars.
  • Wurlitzer: In 1922 to 1925, Martin made 297 standard Martin models (but with a simplier soundhole rosette) for Wurlitzer. These have the Wurlitzer name and model number on the back of the peghead.

As you can see, Martin did not make very many guitars for other companies. So the chance that your non-Martin guitar is really a "Martin" is very unlikely!

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