Hi my friends.
I found someone selling a nice Sigma acoustic, but could use some help identifying the model #.
The person is the original owner, and I have copied his ad below to explain why he does not know the model #:
"Sigma OM sized guitar imported by Martin and purchased from the Martin factory store in Nazareth in 1989. This was tagged as a blemished guitar and the inside paper label had been removed so I am not sure of the exact model #. After all these years, I have not yet found the blemish. The guitar has a spruce top and, I think, laminated mahogany back and sides. The fretboard and bridge are rosewood and it has Grover chrome plated tuners. It has had very limited use and is in quite good condition; it comes with the original chipboard case."
Does anyone out there recognize this guitar, or know what the model # may be?
please see attached photos also
one more photo..
More info from the seller:
"Actually, my wife is the original owner and she bought it when we were
touring the Martin factory in 1989. Judging from that date I suspect it was
imported by Martin from Korea. The guitar has not been played much and
appears to be in quite good condition. "
"A collector from Oregon who writes a blog about Sigma guitars
(nossigmamartinguitars.com) talked with me about it and he thinks it is a
model GCS - grand concert series. I have no way of knowing for sure."
Good question as there is very little I.D. info on the web.
The guitar is a copy of a Martin 000-18. Given the date of purchase, it was probably made in Korea. The actual model number is of little or no importance.
Sigma guitars are very nice entry level, backup or stage instruments. There is a lot of unfounded praise levied at these instruments, mostly because of their association to Martin. Most owners think they're more valuable than they truly are. Although Sigmas had very clean workmanship, it is still a 25 year old Asian import and subject to all issues (or stregnths) found in similar brands.
Like any other guitar, regardless of the maker, the condition, playability and structural integrity of the instrument cannot be 'guessed' except by a hands on evaluation. I've seen both exceptional and exceptionally wonky Sigmas of the same vintage and model. It's kind of a gamble. However, the exceptional ones are some of the best values in the used low-end market.
A guitar of this vintage would sell in the Midwest USA for around $125-$150 in Very Good to Excellent condition WITH a case. It is no more or less valuable than a Takamine or Alvarez instrument of the same age. Of course, it all comes down to the price of the sight unseen/unexamined/unplayed guitar. I don't know what the original owner paid, but given the place of purchase, it was likely MUCH more than if were bought from an independent retailer.
Thanks for the photos. 000 sized acoustics are my ab-fave!
Have a great week, my friend :)
I don't recognize the exact model but it's very much like every Sigma I've see from that time period. As Paul already pointed out, they are entry level instruments. I still own a Sigma which is and has been a dependable if uninspired player since new. In my experience, it's not uncommon to come across Sigma brand guitars in fairly decent condition. BTW, I would be surprised if the top was solid. It might be but I've never seen one that was.
My guitar plays fairly well and has OK volume. What it doesn't have, and what I've never found in another Sigma is balanced tone. Almost everyone I've played is weak in bass and not so strong in mids. My experience is that they can make pretty good camp fire/ beach guitars but probably won't be all that satisfying to someone that progresses beyond beginner playing. They just don't have the tone/volume that most of us end up wanting.
They can be a good value IF you can find one priced to reflect their "Made FOR" status. They are not a Martin and are not worth anything like Martin prices. As Paul said, too many people want to think they are martins and ask too much for them. As I have said before, I would not recommend purchasing a guitar without holding it in your hands first. I do it sometimes but I expect to receive much less than the ads indicate and only once have I ever been wrong about this.
There is someone who appears to be more knowledgeable on Sigma than most, on Facebook. I assume you've gone through the entry in Wikipedia. And looked for a stamp on the back brace. If it was bought in 89, the Korea assumption is probably accurate. Normally it would have the brace branding, indicating "Made in Korea".
Will it sound like a real Martin? No. They used laminates rather than solid woods. That said, they are generally as good as any of the laminates. There is evidence that, at least the Japanese made, were produced from copies of the Martin tooling.