Dating vintage martin guitars

I found what I believe to be the initial order for decals at Martin. Remember that during the depression, things might set around in the factory, sometimes incomplete, for a while waiting on someone who had the money.

In my opinion this accounts for the occasional pre-1932 guitar, etc. 1898..............8348 1899..............8716 1900..............9128 1901..............9310 1902..............9528 1903..............9810 1904..............9988 1905.............10120 1906.............10329 1907.............10727 1908.............10883 1909.............11018 1910.............11203 1911.............11413 1912.............11565 1913.............11821 1914.............12047 1915.............12209 1916.............12390 1917.............12988 1918.............13450 1919.............14512 1920.............15848 1921.............16758 1922.............17839 1923.............19891 1924.............22008 1925.............24116 1926.............28689 1927.............34435 1928.............37568 1929.............40843 1930.............45317 1931.............49589 1932.............52590 1933.............55084 1934.............58679 1935.............61947 1936.............65176 1937.............68865 1938.............71866 1939.............74061 1940.............76734 1941.............80013 1942.............83107 1943.............86724 1944.............90149 1945.............93623 1946.............98158 1947............103468 1948............108269 1949............112961 1950............117961 1951............122799 1952............128436 1953............134501 1954............141345 1955............147328 1956............152775 1957............159061 1958............165576 1959............171047 1960............175869 1961............181297 1962............187384 1963............193327 1964............199626 1965............207030 1966............217215 1967............230095 1968............241925 1969............256003 1970............271633 1971............294270 1972............313302 1973............333873 1974............353387 1975............371828 1976............388800 1977............399625 1978............407800 1979............419900 1980............430300 1981............436474 1982............439627 1983............446101 1984............453300 1985............460575 1986............468175 1987............476216 1988............483952 1989............493279 1990............503309 1991............512487 1992............522655 1993............535223 1994............551796 1995............570434 1996............592930 1997............624799 1998............668796 1999............724077 2000............780500 YEAR LAST NO. NONE 1946.............17641 1947.............18303 1948.............19078 1949.............19559 1950.............20065 1951.............20521 1952.............20902 1953.............21452 1954.............21952 1955.............22254 1956.............22629 1957.............22985 1958.............23111 1959.............23262 1960.............23512 1961.............23663 1962.............23938 1963.............24139 1964.............24339 1965.............24439 1966.............24564 1967.............24639 1968.............24839 1969.............24989 1970.............25039 1971.............25065 1972.............25289 1973.............25339 1974.............25679 1975.............25895 1976.............26045* 1977.............26101 1978..............

Martin also built mandolins (introduced in 1895), ukuleles (introduced in 1915), taropatches (an 8-stringed ukulele), tiples (a 10-stringed ukulele), Hawaiian guitars, and tenor banjos (in 1923) plus a few custom instruments.

Zoebisch & Sons was the exclusive distributor of all Martin instruments, and that name appears on a paper label inside the sound hole. Beginning in 1929 the model numbers were marked on the neck block, inside the body.

Since serial numbers weren't introduced until 1898, approximate dating of the earlier guitars can be accomplished by knowing when Martin made changes to their labels or to the brand, which can be found stamped into the back of the head, the upper part of the back, and just inside the soundhole on the long strut which reinforces the back joint. Ukuleles didn't have serial numbers, but Craig Thompson wrote, "I recently talked to the ukulele expert, Mike, at Gryphon Stringed Instruments in Palo Alto.

The very earliest Martins, around 1833, had a paper label "Martin & Coupa". One good way of dating old Martin ukuleles is the headstock.

For a short period of time they continue to stamp the back of the peghead as well.

1934 Martin ends their use of bar frets on most models.

Sometime around here Martin starts putting the Martin decal on the front of the peghead.(Most other guitar makers had done so around the end of the 19th century.) Martin Hawaiian style guitars retain bar frets until at least 1938.1938 D-18 #71539 has the rear-shifted X-brace with no popsicle brace 1938 change to rear-shifted X-brace 1939 D-28 #71968 has the rear-shifted X-brace with no popsicle brace 1939 D-18 #72618 and has a 1 & 3/4 nut with no popsicle brace 1939 D-18 #72702 has 1 & 3/4 inch nut WITH popsicle brace.1920's Martin transitions away from pyramid long bridge to standard long bridge on 18 & 28 series. 17 series either never had pyramid bridge or transitioned earlier. Some lack Martin Serial #'s or markings of any kind.1929 18 series Martins fully switched over to nitro cellulose lacquer finish.

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