View Full Version : Martin Tenor - not '50s, but when?

06-11-2018, 04:47 PM
Hello. I'm test driving a Martin Tenor. It was advertised as vintage '50s, but is clearly at least 1960 (made in USA stamp). Also it has the longer neck and fret board pattern that began in the '60s.
My question is, are there identifying characteristics that can help narrow the instrument's date between 1960 - 1993 (when regular production stopped)? Thanks for any help.

06-11-2018, 11:28 PM
Unfortunately, serial numbers won't help.

" August 28th, 2017, 12:37 pm #2
As far as I know , the only Martin ukes with serial numbers are the Mexican Martins and Customer Service has told me that
they do not keep track of ukulele serial numbers and have no idea of when a ukulele is made by its serial number.
Seems hard to believe but that's the answer I got , why have a serial number and not keep track of them ? Doesn't make sense to me."


Tim Mullins
06-12-2018, 06:19 AM
I used to have one like that. As I remember, the Made in USA stamp started in 1960 and the binding changed from tortoise to black in 1966. Hope that helps!

06-13-2018, 05:18 AM
Thanks for the feedback.
After a bit of research, conversations with the folks at Martin, and a visit with my local luthier, I'm reasonably comfortable saying I have a mid-'70s instrument. Thanks again.

Patrick Madsen
06-13-2018, 05:46 AM
Martin was in disarray in the mid '70's so be extra vigilant when considering one from that era

06-13-2018, 08:42 AM
Martin was in disarray in the mid '70's so be extra vigilant when considering one from that era

No kidding. I owned a 1974 Martin D-18 that could never be intonated properly. Turns out Martin was using an old jig (for bridge and saddle placement) that was too short because it was worn down from years of use. They never thought to check it! Consequently there are a whole bunch of mid-70s Martin guitars out there with horrendous intonation that can only be fixed by actually moving the bridge (or saddle) to the correct location. You would think QC would catch something like that!

06-13-2018, 09:27 AM
QC would catch something like that!

"Why do we do it like this?"
"Because we have always done it like this."