Frequently Asked Questions

CITES

CARE & PARTS

CUSTOM GUITARS

DEALER, SERVICE CENTER & ORDER INFORMATION

PRODUCT DATING & VALUE

SPECIFICATIONS, MATERIALS & RESPONSIBLE BUILDING PRACTICES

STRINGS CARE

CHOOSING STRINGS

WARRANTY & REPAIRS

ANSWERS

01. I'M A DEALER AND NEED MORE INFORMATION ON HOW THE NEW CITES REGULATIONS WILL AFFECT ME. WHERE DO I GO?

NAMM.org is the best resources for the most up-to-date information about the new CITES regulations. Learn more here.
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02. I'M A CUSTOMER WHO ORDERED A GUITAR MADE FROM MATERIALS AFFECTED BY THE NEW CITES REGULATIONS. HOW DO I LEARN MORE?

NAMM.org is the best resources for the most up-to-date information about the new CITES regulations. Learn more here.
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03. HOW DO I CLEAN AND POLISH MY GUITAR?

To clean your guitar, wipe it down with a clean, damp cotton cloth with water then a dry cotton cloth to dry. For polishing, we recommend using Martin Polish and Cleaner which is available for purchase online and in our 1833 Shop. We recommend this polish for gloss finish guitars but not satin finish. It will not harm satin finish guitars, though after time the finish may begin to shine unevenly. It is best to use just plain water on satin finish guitars.
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04. CAN I USE LEMON OIL ON MY FINGERBOARD?

Martin Guitar does not recommend using lemon oil on the fingerboard. The acids in lemon oil break down the finish of your guitar. It may also speed the corrosion of the frets and decrease the life of your strings.
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05. I CAN’T FIND MY TRUSS ROD. WHAT SHOULD I DO?

We recommend that your guitar be taken to an authorized Martin service center to have adjustments made. Incorrect adjustments may cause damage and may affect your limited lifetime warranty.
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06. 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.
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07. HOW DO I ORDER A CUSTOM GUITAR?

An authorized Martin dealer can help you build and order a custom Martin guitar. Use our dealer locator to get started.
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08. WHERE IS THE CLOSEST AUTHORIZED MARTIN DEALER OR SERVICE CENTER TO ME?

Visit our Find a Dealer page to locate the nearest dealer or service center to you.
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09. WHEN CAN I EXPECT MY GUITAR TO ARRIVE?

Please contact the authorized Martin dealer through which you purchased your guitar for an update on the status of your order.
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10. WHEN WAS MY GUITAR MANUFACTURED?

You can look up the manufacturing date of your guitar by serial number here. If your guitar does not have a serial number and was manufactured prior to 1898, it may only be identifiable by measurements, appointments and stampings. If that is the case, you can send photos and a description of the instrument here.
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11. WHERE CAN I FIND THE SERIAL NUMBER OF MY GUITAR?

A Martin Guitar will have the model designation and the serial number etched on the neck block. Look in the soundhole toward the neck to see where this is etched.
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12. WHERE WAS MY GUITAR MADE?

Martin guitars are made in Nazareth, Pennsylvania with the exception of the X Series, Backpacker Series, Road Series, Dreadnought Junior, PA5 models, and select ukuleles which are made in our plant in Mexico.
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13. WHAT IS THE APPRAISED VALUE OF MY GUITAR?

Martin Guitar cannot appraise your guitar for you. We recommend contacting an independent appraiser for assistance or referencing the Blue Book of Guitars.
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14. I’M CONSIDERING BUYING A USED MARTIN GUITAR, CAN YOU HELP?

Martin Guitar’s position is not an intermediary between a purchaser and seller to validate or discredit a seller's or purchaser's claim about an instrument. We suggest you contact an independent consultant to verify any used Martin product for sale.
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15. WHAT IS A MARTIN GOYA GUITAR?

The Goya series was imported from Korea and available for sale at an affordable price point from 1980-1993. They came with a one-year warranty to the original owner. Serial numbers and specifications were not kept on the models offered in the Goya series.
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16. WHAT IS A MARTIN SHENANDOAH GUITAR?

The Shenandoah series guitars were considered a mid-range model priced between the Sigma series and higher end Martins. Available from 1983 – 1993, they were assembled in Nazareth, Pennsylvania from imported parts. Shenandoah series guitars included tortoise-style pickguards and the Martin Thinline pickup as standard features. The models included a lacquer finish with tops made of solid spruce, necks made of mahogany, and the fingerboards and bridges made of rosewood. The back and sides were made from laminates, rosewood, mahogany, or maple. The Shenandoahs came with the limited lifetime warranty to the original, registered owner. You can determine the year your Shenandoah was manufactured by its serial number
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17. WHAT IS A MARTIN SIGMA GUITAR?

The Sigma series was imported from Japan (later from Korea and Taiwan) and available for sale at an affordable price point from 1970 - 2007. All Sigma guitars are constructed with laminated (ply) backs and sides. The Sigma series also included banjos and mandolins also constructed with laminated (ply) backs and sides. Martin Guitar did not keep Sigma serial number records. As such, Sigmas and Mandolins cannot be accurately dated.
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18.HOW DO I FIND THE SPECIFICATIONS FOR MY PARTICULAR GUITAR?

Specifications for each model currently in production can be found on each model page in the Guitars section.
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19.HOW DO I FIND SPECIFICATIONS FOR A GUITAR NOT ON YOUR WEBSITE?

First, try using the search box in the upper right corner of the website. If you still do not find the model you are looking for, that model might be discontinued. You can contact Customer Service to inquire about discontinued model specifications.
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20.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.
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21.WHAT IS BLACK RICHLITE?

Black Richlite is a composite material that is made from paper and resin pressed at high pressure.
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22.WHAT ARE MINERAL DEPOSITS?

Mineral deposits are considered a normal characteristic of wood and form as the tree extracts nutrients from the soil. During the finishing process these deposits may appear lighter in appearance. Mineral deposits will not affect the tone or structural integrity of the wood. With our remaining inventory of Brazilian Rosewood diminishing and extremely rare, it is our commitment to utilize the material responsibly, as Martin Guitar presents this exceptional opportunity to our customers.
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23.WHY ARE GUITARS MADE FROM BRAZILIAN ROSEWOOD SO RARE?

Brazilian rosewood is considered nearly extinct and as such is extremely difficult to obtain. It is available in very limited quantities for special limited edition models. Additionally, all rosewood models prior to 1969 were made with Brazilian rosewood, aligning Martin’s reputation for superior tone closely with the use of this wood.
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24.WHEN DID EAST INDIAN ROSEWOOD ENTER THE PICTURE?

In an effort to attract industry to Brazil in the 1960s, Brazil placed an embargo on Brazilian rosewood logs. In addition to the embargo, Brazilian rosewood logs that were large enough to create two-piece Dreadnought back was quickly becoming depleted. In response, Martin Guitar began using East Indian rosewood from India. Martin Guitar ceased using Brazilian rosewood in standard production for complete sets of back and sides in 1969.
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25.WHAT DO THE LETTERS AND NUMBERS MEAN IN YOUR MODEL NAMES?

Martin Guitar’s basic model designation system begins with a letter or 0 which denotes the body size including 0, 00, 000, 0000, Jumbo, D, Performing Artist, and Grand Jumbo. The following number designates the appointment level. For example, the 15 series includes mahogany, no bindings, and a satin finish. 16, 18, and 28 represent the upgrade to rosewood back and sides. H designates herringbone and scalloped braces. 35, 40, 41, 42 and 45 add represent the addition of pearl. 50 and 100 include highly decorative inlay. The number is also used indicate the price of the instrument. E indicates the model is an acoustic electric.
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26.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.
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27.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.

28.WHAT TYPE OF STRINGS CAME ON MY MARTIN GUITAR?

From time to time we changed the type of strings used on new Martin guitars. We are currently stringing most new Martin guitars with Martin SP Lifespan acoustic guitars strings. Martin SP Lifespan strings use an exclusive high-tensile strength core wire to better hold tunings and resist breaking; all six strings are treated with our proprietary treatment to enhance the life of the string. In general, all non-cutaway dreadnoughts and jumbo guitars get medium gauge strings. Most X-series, cutaways, and smaller models such as the OOO and the OO get light gauge strings. Most 12 string guitars get extra light gauge. Guitars designed for nylon strings will be strung with our Martin Classic strings. For the most current information of what type of strings came on your Martin, please refer to the MODEL SPECIFICATIONS for your guitar.
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29.WHERE CAN I FIND TENSION INFORMATION?

Tension varies by gauge and guitar style. However, we include general tension information based on a 25.4” scale length on EACH STRING PRODUCT PAGE and in OUR CATALOG.
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30.WHY DO STEEL STRINGS TARNISH?

Many of the traditional metals used in acoustic strings are subject to the corrosive effects of oxygen and moisture. Body chemistry can influence the longevity of a string as well; if a player has high acid content in his/her perspiration, strings may tarnish more quickly as well. We recommend always washing hands before playing, wiping down the strings when done, and storing the guitar in its case to increase the longevity of the strings.
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31.IS IT SAFE TO USE MEDIUM GAUGED 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 rise abnormally. If this happens, go back to the lighter gauge strings.
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32.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, and then discuss with an authorized Martin Warranty Repair Center. If you are a heavy strummer, a medium gauge string may be preferable.
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33.CAN I JUST CHANGE THE GAUGES OR TYPES OF STRINGS THAT I USE?

You can switch easily between types of wrap material, or types of strings - Marquis, SP, SP Flexible Core, etc. If you are changing more than one step in string gauge we recommend that you have the first change done professionally to ensure the set up remains comfortable, intonation accurate, and tone correct. For example, you if normally play lights you should be able to change to a custom light or medium light without issues. However a jump from light to medium or to extra light could affect playability or intonation.
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34.HOW OFTEN OR WHEN DO I CHANGE STRINGS?

Strings usually require changing every few weeks depending upon playing style, desired sound and environmental conditions. As a general rule, when strings require re-tuning often, it is time to change the strings. Changing strings provides a great opportunity to clean and service the guitar, including cleaning and dressing the fret board, polishing or cleaning the top and body, checking the nut and saddle for issues, and possibly changing the battery on a pre-amp if mounted inside the sound hole.
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35.HOW DO I CHANGE MY STRINGS?

String changing does not have to be complicated. Watch our resident expert Dave Doll explain how to change strings on your guitar in our video RESTRINGING YOUR ACOUSTIC GUITAR. Easy to follow, step by step diagrams can also be found in our mobile app, the MARTIN GUITAR TUNER.
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36.HOW ARE MARTIN STRINGS DIFFERENT FROM OTHER BRANDS?

We still make our own strings as we believe strings are important to the sound of the guitar. We put the same care and craftsmanship into the design, sourcing, and manufacturing of the strings as we do our guitars. We set the highest industry standards of quality and design for our SP core wire. All of our metals are sourced to our specifications. We design and build our string winding equipment. And each and every day we test our strings when we string up our guitars in the Martin factory. Discover the entire family of MARTIN STRINGS.
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37.WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN 92/8 PHOSPHOR BRONZE AND 80/20 BRONZE?

92/8 Phosphor bronze strings have a higher composition of copper blended into the metal than 80/20 bronze. Generally 80/20 bronze starts out with a bright attack and will mellow quickly while phosphor bronze maintains a warmer more consistent tone and with greater complexity. We generally string Martin Guitars with 92/8 phosphor bronze strings due to the consistency of the strings, however some models will ship with 80/20 bronze.
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38.WHAT IS A SILK AND STEEL STRING/SILK AND PHOSPHOR STRING?

Traditional wound acoustic strings are based on a hex –shaped core wire with a single wrap of metal. We start with a round core wire and wrap it first with a soft material. We then wrap the modified core with the silver-plated copper (silk & steel) or 92/8 phosphor bronze (Silk & Phosphor). This process provides a subtle softness to the tone and creates a pleasant-feeling string under the finger. These strings are commonly used in folk and singer/songwriter genres.
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39.WHY DO YOU OFFER SO MANY GAUGES OF STRINGS?

We offer a broad selection of gauges and string types so you can find the best string for your style of play, instrument, and desired tone. In general, lighter gauge strings put less pressure on a top and will produce a lighter softer sound as well as reduce finger fatigue. Light gauges are often chosen by fingerstyle players and singer/songwriters. Heavier gauge strings will drive more energy to the top and therefore create more complex and louder sounds. Bluegrass, rock, and blues players tend to use heavier gauge strings. Our SP Flexible Core strings use a unique construction method to reduce finger fatigue, increase strings response, and maintain equivalent tension on the top as standard sets. SP Flexible Core strings are played by masters like Tommy Emmanuel yet are highly recommended for beginners.
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40.WHAT IS A MARQUIS STRING?

We created our MARQUIS line to pamper your guitar by adding a soft wrap to the area near the ball-ends. This protective layer helps to prevent wear and tear on the bridge and end plate as you play. The added soft layer can also help seat loose bridge pins. Marquis strings put a comforting layer of protection in place every time you change your strings.
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41.I DON’T OWN A MARTIN GUITAR. CAN I STILL USE MARTIN STRINGS?

Yes. We have designed our strings such that they will fit on most brands and styles of acoustic guitars.
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42.WHY CAN I NOT REGISTER MY GUITAR FOR WARRANTY?

If you are receiving an “invalid serial number” error message when you try to register your guitar for warranty, it is likely due to one of the following reasons:

Number cannot be found

The serial number entered is invalid. It may have been entered incorrectly or is not a valid Martin serial number.

Instrument has already been registered

The serial number entered is already registered to another owner. Martin Guitar limited lifetime warranty is only valid for the original owner of the instrument and it not transferable.

Manufacture date exceeds verifiable timeframe

Purchase information for guitars manufactured 2002 and prior cannot be confirmed in the database. Please contact Customer Service to provide the necessary proof of purchase for registration consideration.

Model is not eligible for warranty

Martin Guitar limited lifetime warranty is not available for instruments purchased outside the US or Canada. Please contact your Martin dealer for details of international warranties. Little Martin models, Backpackers and ukuleles manufactured in Mexico have a one-year limited warranty. Your store receipt will be proof of purchase during the warranty period.
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43.HOW DO I REGISTER MY GUITAR?

You can submit your registration online, or by mailing in the warranty registration application included with your guitar.
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44.WHY DO I NEED TO REGISTER MY GUITAR?

Registration is necessary to obtain the Limited Lifetime Warranty for the original owner only.
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45.WHAT HAPPENS IF I DO NOT MAIL MY WARRANTY PAPERWORK TO YOU WITHIN 30 DAYS?

It is not a requirement to register your guitar within 30 days of purchase, but it is beneficial to you as the owner to complete your registration in a timely manner as possible.
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46.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.
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47.I CAN’T REMEMBER IF I REGISTERED MY GUITAR, HOW CAN I FIND OUT?

Upon registration you should have received a wallet sized registration card with your registration details. If you cannot find your registration card and are still unsure contact Customer Service. Be sure to include your instruments serial number.
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48.HOW DO I PROCEED IF MY GUITAR NEEDS REPAIR?

Contact an authorized Service Center in your area to have the guitar evaluated for repair.
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49.CAN I HAVE MY GUITAR REPAIRED AT MARTIN'S FACTORY IN NAZARETH, PA?

Yes. Martin Guitar performs 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 Customer Service.
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50.IS IT POSSIBLE TO SPEAK TO THE REPAIR PERSON WORKING ON MY GUITAR?

It is not, your guitar will be handled by a number of qualified repair technicians within the repair department. If you have questions, Customer Service can pass your inquiry along to our repair department and a representative will contact you.
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51.MY GUITAR IS BEING SENT BACK TO THE FACTORY FOR REPAIRS. WILL I BE NOTIFIED ONCE YOU RECEIVE MY GUITAR FOR REPAIRS?

Yes, we will email you a repair quote including warranty repairs, recommended non-warranty repairs, and an estimated timeframe to complete this work. It can take up to a few weeks due to volume to receive your quote.
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52.I RECEIVED A REPAIR QUOTE BUT DID NOT APPROVE IT WITHIN THE REQUESTED 30-DAY PERIOD. WHAT WILL HAPPEN NOW?

We will attempt to contact you via telephone and/or certified letter to see if you wish to continue with repairs. If we have not received any instructions after 60 days, the guitar will be returned directly to you or to the dealer facilitating the repair.
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53.WILL THE INSTALLATION OF A PICKUP OR STRAP BUTTON AFFECT MY LIMITED LIFETIME WARRANTY?

No, as long as it is done by 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.
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54.DO YOU WORK ON OTHER MANUFACTURERS' GUITARS?

No, Martin Guitar only work on Martin brand instruments.
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