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FAQ

Guitar Care

Guitar Care

TECHNICAL CARE

What type of polish do we recommend using?

In the Martin factory, we use the Martin Polish and Cleaner. The same polish is available for purchase in our 1833 Shop. It is to be used primarily on gloss finish guitars. We do not recommend using Martin polish on a satin finish instrument, however, it will not harm the guitar. You may notice after time the finish will begin to shine unevenly. To clean the guitar, we suggest using a warm, damp cotton cloth to wipe it down and then a dry cotton cloth to finish drying it off. This will remove harmful chemicals.

Can I use lemon oil on my fingerboard?

We do not recommend using lemon oil on our fingerboards. The acids in lemon oil break down the finish of our guitars. It may also aid the corrosion of the frets and lessen the life of the strings.

What are the benefits of the Two-Way Adjustable Neck Reinforcing Rod System?

The Two-Way Adjustable Neck Reinforcing Rod System is designed to correct both a hollow (concave) and a rounded (convex) fingerboard condition.

I can’t find my truss rod

The one-way adjustable truss rod was implemented in 1985. The two-way truss rod was implemented in 2006. This rod is recessed further than the one-way rod and you will not see it. We recommend that the guitar be taken to an authorized Martin repair center to have adjustments made.
Both the one-way and the two-way rods require a 5mm Allen wrench to make the adjustments. The two-way rod does not protrude and is not visible. To reach the two-way adjustable rod nut, use a 5 mm Allen wrench that has a bent leg that is 4 ½" long.

What is HPL?

HPL stands for high pressure laminate. It is a composite material made from paper and resin that is pressed at very high pressure. The surface will have a wood pattern (Mahogany, rosewood, Koa, etc) and a protective clear coating. It is not a wood veneer.

What is Black Richlite? 

Black Richlite is a composite material that is made from paper and resin pressed at high pressure. Richlite is an FSC (Forest Stewardship Council).

How do I find the specifications for my particular Martin Guitar?

If you visit our website, you can use the search box at the top right-hand corner of the page. Be sure to type the model in exactly as it is printed inside the guitar.
If the model is still active, you can use the search functions on the “Choosing Your Martin” tab on our website. You will be able to search by series, price, model, wood and by size. http://www.martinguitar.com/guitars/ 

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Owner's Resource Guide

Owner's Resource Guide

Martin Guide

Created to assist you in giving your Martin instrument the best possible care. It includes valuable information on humidity, temperature, storage, cleaning, tuning, and more. Download now. 

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Historical

Historical

When was my guitar manufactured?

If you have the serial number of your guitar, just visit the "Serial Numbers" page and you’ll be able to obtain the information you need. If you have a Martin Guitar in your possession that does not have a serial number and was manufactured prior to 1898, it may only be identifiable by measurements, appointments and stampings. We would then request you contact us either by e-mail, phone or letter. Photographs are certainly beneficial in trying to identify pre-serial numbered instruments.

When did East Indian rosewood enter the picture?

In the 1960’s Brazil placed an embargo on Brazilian rosewood logs that Martin required. Their purpose was to attract industry to Brazil by demanding that the logs be sawn in Brazilian mills. This was unsatisfactory, and Martin changed to similar product, East Indian rosewood from India. In addition to the embargo, there was another basic problem in acquiring Brazilian rosewood. The available supply of large rosewood trees, in which the processed wood is wide enough for two-piece Dreadnought backs, was depleted. The shortage of wide pieces led to the introduction of the D-35 with a 3-piece back, in 1965. We ceased using Brazilian rosewood in standard production for complete sets of back and sides in 1969. Then in June of 1992, CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species) which is an international treaty signed by 115 countries, adopted a new amendment that went into effect which affects international shipments of Brazilian rosewood no matter how large or small. In order to export a guitar made with Brazilian rosewood, the C. F. Martin & Co. must first have a "General Permit" from the U. S. Department of Agriculture, and secondly we must have a "Pre-Convention Certificate" documenting that the Brazilian rosewood was harvested before June 11, 1992.

What is a Martin Shenandoah guitar? 

The Shenandoah Series guitars were designed as an intermediate line between the Sigma guitars and the higher priced Martin guitars. It was a sincere effort to make a Martin guitar which was more affordable. These guitars have tortoise-style pickguards, and all models have the Martin Thinline pickup as a standard feature. They were assembled in Nazareth, Pennsylvania, from imported components. The back and sides are laminates, rosewood, mahogany, or maple, the tops solid spruce. The neck is mahogany, the fingerboard and bridge are rosewood. The Shenandoahs had a lacquer finish and came with the limited lifetime warranty to the original, registered owner. This series was offered from 1983-1993, retailing at $1000-$1500. You can determine the year your Shenandoah was manufactured by its serial number. Please visit the "Dating Your Martin" section of the website.

Why are guitars manufactured with Brazilian rosewood so sought after?

Mostly, because the wood is so rare and difficult to obtain. Since it is considered nearly extinct, it is extremely expensive if available at all. Martin rosewood models before mid-1969 were made with Brazilian rosewood. As a result, Martin’s long standing reputation for tone was closely connected to the historical use of this wood. Brazilian rosewood is available in very limited quantities for special limited edition orders only. Brazilian rosewood is sometimes referred to as "Jacaranda". This species of genuine rosewood ranges in color from dark brown to violet, with spidery black streaks. The smell is like roses when freshly cut.

What is a Martin Goya guitar?

The Goya series was imported from Korea and offered as a resale item in an effort to reach the lower priced guitar market. This series was offered from about 1980-1993, and they came with a one-year warranty to the original owner. Unfortunately, serial numbers and specifications were not kept on the models offered in the Goya series. The Martin Company did not own Goya instruments before 1980. We have no history on Goya before 1980.

I understand that all of your guitars were once made with Brazilian rosewood back and sides. Is that true?

Yes, at one time all of Martin’s regular styles were made of Brazilian rosewood. The Style 17 was the first to use mahogany for the sides and back. This change occurred about 1909 and was documented in the catalog of that year. Style 18 followed suit in 1917 according to a dealer notice dated January 1 of that year. Brazilian rosewood continued to be used for all instruments in Style 21 and was the next style up from the 18 at that particular period of time.

How can I determine the current appraised value of my guitar?

We would ask that you contact an independent appraiser for the current value of your guitar or refer to the "Blue Book of Guitars". Many factors are taken into consideration when appraising an instrument, such as the model, woods used in construction, and original condition. As a manufacturer of new instruments, we do not follow the used market, so we are unable to evaluate or appraise our guitars on the current market.

What is a Martin Sigma guitar? 

The Sigma program was initiated in 1970, and Sigma guitars were manufactured in Japan (later in Korea and Taiwan). Sigma instruments were imported by Martin to serve the lower priced markets. Each Sigma instrument was inspected and adjusted by Martin personnel before going to the authorized retail store for retail sale. In more recent years, Martin introduced what they call the "Second Generation" Sigmas with solid tops and extended warranties. As of September 17, 1984, all solid top Sigmas offered a limited lifetime warranty to the registered original owner. All Sigma guitars are constructed with laminated (ply) backs and sides. Sigma banjos and mandolins also constructed with laminated (ply) backs and sides. The Martin Company does not keep Sigma serial number records; therefore, Sigmas guitars and Mandolins cannot be accurately dated.

On instruments such as the D-35P and D-28P, what does the "P" designation stand for?

The "P" was designated to distinguish guitars manufactured with low profile necks. This was done while we were manufacturing both full thickness neck guitars and low profile neck guitars of the identical models. The low profile (thinner) neck was introduced on the J40M in 1985 and was extended to some other models. The “P” designation was dropped when the low profile neck became the standard neck shape in 1991. Beginning January 2011, the "P" designation was resurrected to distinguish guitars manufactured with the High Performance Neck. Ex. D-18P,D-28P. the "High Performance Neck" is the name given to the neck used in the Performing Artist Series guitars, which debuted in January 2011. 

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Registration and Warranty

Registration and Warranty

What happens if I neglect to mail my warranty paperwork to you within 30 days to register my guitar?

We will not refuse to register your guitar if all proper documentation is received by us after the thirty-day period. We ask the paperwork be submitted within the thirty-day period because we have found if not handled within that time frame, the paperwork will be set aside and neglected. We are only trying to assist the customer in making sure the guitar is registered in the event it would be stolen, lost or require warranty work. If warranty repair work would be required in the future, having your guitar registered with us would alleviate any delays in providing this service. In order to register your guitar, the warranty paperwork, along with a copy of the original bill of sale is required.

Will the installation of a pickup affect my "Limited Lifetime Warranty?"

No. We do recommend that you take your guitar to an authorized Martin Service Center to ensure proper installation. Damage caused during the installation or resulting from the installation is not covered under your "Limited Lifetime Warranty."

Will the installation of a strap button affect my "Limited Lifetime Warranty?"

No. We do recommend that you take your guitar to an authorized Martin Service Center to ensure proper placement and proper installation. Damage caused during the installation or resulting from the installation is not covered under your "Limited Lifetime Warranty."

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Manufacture Date and Location

Manufacture Date and Location

Where is my Martin made?

Martin guitars are made in Nazareth PA, USA with the exception of the X Series (HPL), Backpacker Series, Road Series, Dreadnought Junior, and select ukulele models (T1K, C1K S1, and OXK) are made in our plant in Mexico.

How do I determine when my Martin guitar was made?

A Martin guitar will have the model designation and the serial number etched inside the instrument on the neck block. Use the serial number and the chart on our website to determine the year the guitar was manufactured.

http://www.martinguitar.com/history/dating.html

Where can I find my serial number?

A Martin Guitar will have the model designation and the serial number etched on the neck block. To access this information, look in the soundhole of the guitar and look toward the neck.

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Service and Repair

Service and Repair

Could I speak to the repair person working on my guitar? 

In the event the authorized repair center is unable to make necessary repairs and your instrument is returned to our facility in Nazareth, PA, it would not be feasible to speak to the repair technician. In most instances, your guitar will be handled by a number of qualified and talented repair technicians. Your inquiry should be directed to the Consumer Customer Service Department of the company.

How do I proceed if my guitar needs repair?

We request you contact an Authorized Warranty repair person in your area to have the guitar evaluated for repair. You will find the listing of our Authorized Repair Centers on this web site. The repair centers will be able to assist you in having your guitar evaluated and repaired.

Does the factory perform warranty and non-warranty repairs?

Yes. We do perform warranty and non-warranty repairs on Martin instruments at the factory. If you are interested in having repair work done at our factory, please contact our Customer Service Department for details. You may also bring your Martin instrument to the factory for repair evaluation, please contact our Repair Department for details. 

Do you work on other manufacturers' guitars?

No, we only work on Martin brand instruments.

What happens if I just decide to send my guitar into the manufacturing facility anyway?

A Return Authorization number is needed in order to return an instrument to our manufacturing facility. Any instrument received at our facility without an appropriate Return Authorization number will be refused by our shipping and receiving department.

How will you notify me once you receive my guitar for warranty or non-warranty repairs?

We will mail you a repair quotation that lists both warranty repairs and recommended non-warranty repairs. It is not necessary to purchase non-warranty work to avail yourself of warranty service. A signed copy of the quote is required within 30 days to begin any warranty or non-warranty work. An estimated timeframe for completion will also be stated on the quote. 

What happens if I do not mail my signed quotation within the 30 day time period?

If we do not receive any instructions after the 30 day time period, we will attempt to contact you via telephone and/or certified letter. If we have not received any instructions after 60 days, the guitar will be returned to the customer or dealer freight collect.

How do I determine when my Martin guitar was made?

A Martin guitar will have the model designation and the serial number etched inside the instrument on the neck block. Use the serial number and the chart on our website to determine the year the guitar was manufactured. 

Where can I find my serial number?

A Martin Guitar will have the model designation and the serial number etched on the neck block. To access this information, look in the soundhole of the guitar and look toward the neck. 

I can’t find my truss rod 

Guitars built after 2006 have a two way truss rod. The two-way rod does not protrude and is not visible. To reach the two-way adjustable rod nut, use a 5 mm Allen wrench that has a bent leg that is 4 ½” long.

How do I find the specifications for my particular Martin Guitar/What strings are on my guitar? 

Please visit our website www.martinguitar.com to find the complete model specifications, including the recommended strings you can use the search box at the top right-hand corner of the page. Be sure to type the model in exactly as it is printed inside the guitar (i.e. "HD-28")

Why do I need to register my new Martin guitar? How do I register my Martin guitar? 

Registration is necessary to obtain the Limited Lifetime Warranty for the original owner only.  Registration can also be completed by filling out and sending the warranty registration application that should be in the case pocket along with the booklet “Care and Feeding.” 

Can the warranty on a Martin guitar be transferred to another owner?

No, the Limited Lifetime warranty is valid to the original, registered owner who purchased the guitar through an authorized Martin dealer only. It cannot be transferred.

How do I know if I am registered for my guitar?

If you registered the guitar, we would have sent a wallet sized owner’s card with your name and guitar serial number. If you do not have that, contact Customer Service (610- 759-2837) with your serial number.

How do I order a custom guitar?

As we do not sell direct to the public (we sell through dealers and distributors) Pleasework with your Martin dealer to create your custom quote. You can find our dealer locator at this link.

What do I do if my guitar needs repairs?

You will have two options: (1) Send the guitar to the Martin factory for the repair (please contact Customer Service at 610-759-2837 to obtain a Return Authorization number and packing/shipping instructions. Do not ship the guitar without the Return Authorization number. (2) Take the guitar to a local Martin authorized repair center.  

What is my Martin guitar worth?

We would ask that you contact an independent appraiser for the current value of your guitar or refer to the "Blue Book of Guitars". Many factors are taken into consideration when appraising an instrument, such as the model, woods used in construction, and original condition. As a manufacturer of new instruments, we do not follow the used market, so we are unable to evaluate or appraise our guitars on the current market.

When can I expect my guitar to arrive? 

Please contact your Martin dealer to inquire about the delivery of your new Martin guitar.

View String FAQs

Strings

Strings

Is it safe to use medium-gauge strings on my scallop braced guitar?

Yes it is safe. All of our six-string guitars designed for steel strings have been tested to withstand the tension of a medium gauge string. However, since each top is unique, take note if the top starts to raise abnormally. If this happens, go back to the lighter-gauge strings.

What is the difference between phosphor bronze and regular bronze strings?

Simply put, the difference lies in the tone of the strings. Phosphor bronze has a copper/tin alloy, making them sound brighter. 

Why do steel strings tarnish?

Longevity of a string can sometimes depend on the player's body chemistry; and if a player has a high acid content in his/her perspiration, it could cause the strings to tarnish more quickly. Environmental factors such as humidity, can also cause tarnishing. 

Why are your strings packaged in three envelopes instead of six?

It’s an ecological decision that literally saves tons of excess paper every year. We package pairs of strings in alternate order to avoid confusion for beginner players who may not be familiar with different string gauges.

What type of strings came on my Martin?

From time to time we change the type of strings used on new Martin guitars. Generally, all non-cutaway dreadnoughts and jumbos get medium gauge. All X-Series, cutaways and smaller models such as the 000 and 00 get light gauge strings. All 12 string guitars get extra light gauge. Of course we have a few exceptions with nylon string guitars and bass guitars. For the most current information of what type of strings came on your Martin, please refer to the model spec page for recommended strings.

Why did the Martin Guitar Company choose the packaging they are currently using?

Our 100% recyclable packages and envelopes are safe for the environment and reduce the chances of the strings becoming tarnished.

I keep breaking strings. How can I prevent this from happening?

Your string breakage problem may not be the result of the strings you are using. Strings often break due to an excessively sharp break angle or rough area at the saddle, or a rough area at the nut. Analyze the frequency you break strings and the location of the break. If you think it is the guitar, take your instrument to an authorized Martin Warranty Repair Center. If you are a heavy strummer, a medium-gauge string may be preferable.

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Responsible Guitar Building Practices

Responsible Guitar Building Practices

What does FSC® Certified mean?

FSC® certification ensures that products come from responsibly managed forests that provide environmental, social and economic benefits. The FSC® was established in part by the Rainforest Alliance to ensure rigorous standards are met for the protection of forestlands, communities, and wildlife. FSC® Certified means that all of the wood components of a guitar meet the stringent requirements of responsible forest management set forth by the Forest Stewardship Council® (FSC®). Martin’s FSC® license code is FSC® C008304.

Guitars that are FSC® Certified are designated by the FSC® Certified and Rainforest Alliance Certified™ seals.

These models can be found in the FSC® Certified & Sustainable Wood category of our site.

What does Sustainable Wood mean?

Sustainable Wood is a categorization used by Martin to indicate that a guitar model has certified wood components that have been sourced in a responsible manner.

Sustainable Wood guitars have Certified parts noted within the specifications.

These models can be found in their appropriate categories and in the FSC® Certified & Sustainable Wood category on our site.

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