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Sigma Guitars

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GUEST,Allison 25 Jul 04 - 07:42 AM
Billy the Bus 25 Jul 04 - 07:53 AM
Leadfingers 25 Jul 04 - 07:57 AM
Billy the Bus 25 Jul 04 - 07:58 AM
Billy the Bus 25 Jul 04 - 08:01 AM
early 25 Jul 04 - 08:22 AM
HiHo_Silver 25 Jul 04 - 08:39 AM
Den 26 Jul 04 - 08:25 AM
MikeofNorthumbria 26 Jul 04 - 12:36 PM
RichM 26 Jul 04 - 02:44 PM
kendall 26 Jul 04 - 03:36 PM
Richard Bridge 27 Jul 04 - 03:09 AM
kendall 27 Jul 04 - 07:30 AM
GUEST,Allison 27 Jul 04 - 10:28 AM
GUEST,kate 04 Aug 04 - 10:53 AM
Amos 04 Aug 04 - 11:27 AM
Richard Bridge 04 Aug 04 - 02:10 PM
Dharmabum 04 Aug 04 - 02:50 PM
GUEST,SirGalihad 05 Aug 04 - 10:50 PM
GUEST,kate 16 Aug 04 - 06:52 PM
GUEST,Spikeis 17 Aug 04 - 06:40 AM
GUEST,joannes 18 Aug 04 - 12:09 AM
English Jon 18 Aug 04 - 03:00 PM
robomatic 18 Aug 04 - 04:21 PM
GUEST,phil 21 Aug 04 - 05:38 PM
GUEST,cb 22 Aug 04 - 11:11 AM
GUEST 23 Aug 04 - 03:24 PM
GUEST, 28 Aug 04 - 11:50 AM
GUEST, 28 Aug 04 - 12:24 PM
GUEST,jmac 02 Sep 04 - 07:17 AM
spikeis 02 Sep 04 - 08:06 AM
GUEST,Gary 02 Sep 04 - 04:43 PM
PoppaGator 02 Sep 04 - 06:00 PM
GUEST,steele 05 Sep 04 - 02:48 AM
Richard Bridge 05 Sep 04 - 02:04 PM
GUEST,r chew 07 Sep 04 - 12:17 PM
GUEST,Pat Cooksey 07 Sep 04 - 06:15 PM
GUEST,GUEST,T Render 07 Sep 04 - 06:46 PM
GUEST,Matt 20 Sep 04 - 03:29 PM
Hand-Pulled Boy 20 Sep 04 - 04:04 PM
GUEST,T. Render 21 Sep 04 - 01:53 AM
Hamish 21 Sep 04 - 02:21 AM
GUEST 25 Sep 04 - 12:34 PM
Mooh 26 Sep 04 - 09:24 AM
spikeis 26 Sep 04 - 04:47 PM
GUEST,T. Render 02 Oct 04 - 10:21 AM
GUEST,Gary 02 Oct 04 - 11:20 AM
GUEST,S. Webb 23 Oct 04 - 05:39 AM
GUEST,T. Render 24 Oct 04 - 08:33 AM
GUEST,Daniel 26 Oct 04 - 06:30 AM
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Subject: sigma guitars
From: GUEST,Allison
Date: 25 Jul 04 - 07:42 AM

has anyone here heard of sigma guitars?.any idea of sound.quality,playability etc?.i saw a pic of one the other day and drooled over it,a dr 41.can theese guitars be purchased in the uk/ireland?any help greatly appreciated.

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Subject: RE: sigma guitars
From: Billy the Bus
Date: 25 Jul 04 - 07:53 AM


Back in the 60s Sigma Guitars were highly regarded in NZ - but that doesn't mean much. Tone etc was fine... Can;t help you on current availabilty in the UK - but would bui one - ikey probabbly cost a few quid now,,,,

Cheers - Sam

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Subject: RE: sigma guitars
From: Leadfingers
Date: 25 Jul 04 - 07:57 AM

Martin bought out the old Levin Guitars (Sweden) and carried on making Guitars there for a while under the name Sigma . A mate has one that works very well , though perhaps not up to the higher range Martins , a perfectly workmanlike instrument .

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Subject: RE: sigma guitars
From: Billy the Bus
Date: 25 Jul 04 - 07:58 AM


Sigma was an offshoot of Martin or Gibson from what I recall - someone will sort it out,,,]

LOL - Sam

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Subject: RE: sigma guitars
From: Billy the Bus
Date: 25 Jul 04 - 08:01 AM

Thanks Leadfinger!!!!!! - Sam

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Subject: RE: sigma guitars
From: early
Date: 25 Jul 04 - 08:22 AM

sigma guitars are still available in the uk - sound control in Leeds stock quite a few- the earlier models were made in the far east but assembled by Martin trained techs also the early ones were made from martin parts and were the marquis range at a higher quality - a pal has a very early one and it comes close to martin quality in sound and playabilty and IMHO they are better than some of the budget martins currently available

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Subject: RE: sigma guitars
From: HiHo_Silver
Date: 25 Jul 04 - 08:39 AM

Sigma Guitars were distributed by Martin and varied in construction from low end with laminated tops to high end solid wood such as the sigma 41 and 45 models. Thes were excellent guitars and I sold a good number of them in my store. I found them quite comparable to even the Martin in tone and quality. Hope this helps a little.

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Subject: RE: sigma guitars
From: Den
Date: 26 Jul 04 - 08:25 AM

I bought one in 1980. It was the model that was copied off the Martin D12. I liked it a lot. It was well built and had a nice tone. A friend of mine had a real D12. The only big difference I could discern between the two guitars was the Martin had a richer tone on the lower strings.

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Subject: RE: sigma guitars
From: MikeofNorthumbria
Date: 26 Jul 04 - 12:36 PM

About 15 years ago I bought a Sigma, modelled on one of the smaller-bodied Martins, and it has served me very well ever since. Its tone, volume, playability and intonation are better than a number of more expensive instruments that I have played over the years.

I believe Sigmas were (perhaps still are?) made in Taiwan, but to Martin specifications, and using Martin-supplied tools. Of course, their sound is not as rich and subtle as you can get from a well-aged Martin, but how many of us play well enough to deserve one of those? If you can get hold of a good Sigma, Allison, grab it with both hands.


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Subject: RE: sigma guitars
From: RichM
Date: 26 Jul 04 - 02:44 PM

Have a look at this site:
Blueridge Guitars

This is a fine line of guitars, equivalent in sound to others costing 3 times as much. Two of my friends who are long time bluegrass pickers, have bought these, and use them instead of their martins...


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Subject: RE: sigma guitars
From: kendall
Date: 26 Jul 04 - 03:36 PM

I've never met a Sigma that I liked. Looking for a good low priced guitar? Larrivee.

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Subject: RE: sigma guitars
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 27 Jul 04 - 03:09 AM

Sigma were the official Martin budget line.

Here in the UK you can probably get a used Sigma DM2 for about £120, DM4 about £200 - both streets better than any new guitar at the price, with quite a fair impersonation of the ringing Martin sound.

I refurbished a DM4 for my daughter with a shadow pickup and a fishman preamp and it is nice. I have told her if she ever decides to sell it I will give her £500 for it.

A very basic L'Arrivee will cost you about £500. A top of the range one, about £2,000. I don't call that "low priced"

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Subject: RE: sigma guitars
From: kendall
Date: 27 Jul 04 - 07:30 AM

EVERYTHING is relative. The question is, how low can you go in price before you hit poor quality? Yamaha makes some pretty good low end guitars.

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Subject: RE: sigma guitars
From: GUEST,Allison
Date: 27 Jul 04 - 10:28 AM

thanks for all the advice guys...............i am getting me a dr is the perfect guitar in my book......

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Subject: RE: sigma guitars
From: GUEST,kate
Date: 04 Aug 04 - 10:53 AM

i have a sigma SG-9, the label inside says Gotenborg sweden. also it says guaranteed by levin.

also it says the cf martin organisation (not Co. as i have seen on others.)

I don't know anything about this guitar but i would like to, so if anyone could help, i will really appriciate it.


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Subject: RE: sigma guitars
From: Amos
Date: 04 Aug 04 - 11:27 AM


See up above. What questions do you have?


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Subject: RE: sigma guitars
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 04 Aug 04 - 02:10 PM

Well, Kate, it looks like that one was probably made by Levin for Martin before Levin went bust, but I never heard of any such thing, so maybe it is a complete fraud...

DR 41 will probably be rosewood sides, likely laminated,

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Subject: RE: sigma guitars
From: Dharmabum
Date: 04 Aug 04 - 02:50 PM

I've recently acquired an old Sigma.
Made in Japan so I'm guessing 70's.
There are very small traces of the serial number left but not enough to read,so nailing it down to a year is pretty slim that way.
On the center strip is burned/printed "SIGMA GUITARS Made in Japan for C.F.MARTIN & CO."
The model # is a DM 3.At least I'm about 90% shure it's a 3.
Anyone here know if & when Sigma made a DM 3?

I haven't done an in depth search on the subject yet,but so far I haven't found any info on a DM 3.

This guitar was offered to me as a "parts" guitar for ten bucks.
It was stripped of all it's hardware & had spent the last 15 years of it's life sitting in a barn. Luckily,it appears that some of that time must have been in a case.
Once I cleaned off years of dirt & grime,I discovered I'd actually purchased a good solid instrument with an amazingly straight neck.

It's got plenty of character in the way of nicks/dings/scratches,but once I rounded up & installed the necessary hardware,she came back to life with a very sweet voice.

This Sigma never was & never will be a high end guitar,but I'm real happy with this old ten dollar "beater".


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Subject: RE: sigma guitars
From: GUEST,SirGalihad
Date: 05 Aug 04 - 10:50 PM

Dharmabum...Check out e-bay....there are several DM3's being auctioned today.

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Subject: RE: sigma guitars
From: GUEST,kate
Date: 16 Aug 04 - 06:52 PM

re: sigma SG-9

Amos - i suppose i wanted to know how old it is, if it is genuine and anything else anyone could tell me about it.

Richard - thanks...I hope it is a genuine model. I'll just keep looking for a record of this model number.

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Subject: RE: sigma guitars
From: GUEST,Spikeis
Date: 17 Aug 04 - 06:40 AM

For my twopennyworth, I AM the owner of the 25 year old Sigma that Early was refering to earlier, and having just had it refretted, new bone nut and bridge done by a VERY VERY competent luthier, who looks after some VERY VERY top class instruments, the result is that a) he wants mine, and has wanted an EARLY Sigma for a few years, b) he has copied the dimensions exactly to reproduce one, and c) we find out that it has a centimeter and a half LONGER neck than the Martin!!
This apparently accounts for the huge volume from the beast, but he also agrees that there's bugger all difference in the sound of mine to a Martin. As a matter of fact, I use 11 gauge martin sp phospher strings on mine, other wise if I used any heavier gauge, I woudn't be able to hear myself singing!!
I have so far over 25yrs resisted the temptation to buy a Martin!!!

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Subject: RE: sigma guitars
From: GUEST,joannes
Date: 18 Aug 04 - 12:09 AM

Same story. I bought my Sigma in 1980. Played it with joy over the years. But didn't think it was so special, regarding the money I payed back then. So my kids played it (sitting on it and all). And than I brought it to a repairer who tuned it, refretted it, cleaned it, and fell in love with it. This guy ownes a Sigma himself and was delighted to be able to restore mine. Now I am very carefull with it. Since then I've been playing other guitars. My Sigma only got beaten by some of the more expensive Martin's!
Buy one and play it, you won't be dissapointed.

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Subject: RE: sigma guitars
From: English Jon
Date: 18 Aug 04 - 03:00 PM

Some of them are great, some of them are dogs...same with all guitars I guess, but if it looks right and sounds right then go for it.

Talk to john at thrift music in frinton if you want good advice on Martins/sigma/levins etc. He's knows more about martin family instruments than just about anyone.


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Subject: RE: sigma guitars
From: robomatic
Date: 18 Aug 04 - 04:21 PM

I love my Sigma, have had several offers to buy.

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Subject: RE: sigma guitars
From: GUEST,phil
Date: 21 Aug 04 - 05:38 PM

i have a Sigma DR-28 which if Im not mistaken looks (and sounds) virtually like a Martin D-28. It says made in Japan by Sigma for C.F Martin Co., but i have no idea how old it is. My guess from what i can gather is early 80's.

It has the rosewood back and sides, but one tech told me that the backs and sides could be solid as well as the top. He really had a high praise for these jap knock-offs.

The wood has had a chance to age nicely, and when i heard it in the music store, it took the gold medal as far as sound goes. A loud/projecting sound. Bang for buck was a no brainer. The Japanese ones if you can find a good one will sound very nice. Change the bridge saddle to a Tusq or bone one, and use some good strings, and you will be amazed.

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Subject: RE: blueridge guitars
From: GUEST,cb
Date: 22 Aug 04 - 11:11 AM

These are great quality for the money.

Blueridge Reviews

has reviews of the BR160 and 140 models.

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Subject: RE: sigma guitars
Date: 23 Aug 04 - 03:24 PM

i have a dr41 sigma guitar but an not sure of the year it was made.i would be grateful if anyone could help here.the serial # is 50317218.the sticker inside says prepared and inspected by martin &co ,made in taiwan.does this mean it is better than the recent sigmas made in korea?it is a beautiful guitar with a lovely bell like tone.any help appreciated.

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Subject: RE: sigma guitars
From: GUEST,
Date: 28 Aug 04 - 11:50 AM

I have a "sigma d m 3" made for martin in the eary 70s in absloultley mint cond. with extra martin strings and original case. Any one know its value. I want to sell it

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Subject: RE: sigma guitars
From: GUEST,
Date: 28 Aug 04 - 12:24 PM

The sigma D M 3 guitar i have was made in korea for c.f.martin co. and the serial number is 258440 with extra set of martin made strings and original case and every thing in cluding case is MINT condition. Near as i understand was made about 1970 but not sure. Any one interested in buying it contact me thru my email bob bruce

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Subject: RE: sigma guitars
From: GUEST,jmac
Date: 02 Sep 04 - 07:17 AM

I own an early 70's DM-5 and it is one of the most played instruments in my arsenal ('39 Epi archtop, '69 D18, '89 J45).
Well built, easy to play, and has a huge sound, especially with Elixir medium gauge strings.
Best bang for the buck in my opinion....

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Subject: RE: sigma guitars
From: spikeis
Date: 02 Sep 04 - 08:06 AM

Well I am soooooooooooo pleased to hear from so many closet Siggy ownwers, this is the most I've heard of ANYWHERE!!
I do think however that Sigma have done themselves NO favours with the later ones, but as I said in my earlier posting the one I have kicks the hell out of ALL but very top end stuff, and most of my friends own said top end stuff!!

Keep on Sigging!!

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Subject: RE: sigma guitars
From: GUEST,Gary
Date: 02 Sep 04 - 04:43 PM

I have a Sigma DM-18. It is stamped Made in Japan by Sigma for C.F.Martin and Co. Serial number S 42319. I purchased it new in 1981. I have no idea when it was made. It is the best tonal acoustic I have ever owned.

I read somewhere once that Martin started building Sigmas in 1970. I forget exactly when they started in Japan; however I do remember that they moved the Japanese operation to Taiwan in 1984. The article said the quality suffered with the move. I played a couple of the Taiwanese Sigmas. They fall extremely short of the Japanese built ones.

I haven't payed any attention to the model numbers, years they were built, etc.; but if you find out when/where it was built, and it was built in Japan, I'm sure you'll be happy with it.

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Subject: RE: sigma guitars
From: PoppaGator
Date: 02 Sep 04 - 06:00 PM

GUEST jmac, if you weren't a "guest," I'd PM you on this:

As a fellow 1969 D-18 owner, I'm curious -- do you like your early 70's DM-5 *better* than your slightly-older Martin, or do you just consider it "better bang for the buck" than the more valuable item?

I'm pretty fond of my one-and-only guitar but I realize that it's less than perfect, in that it could sound a tad brighter on the high end.

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Subject: RE: sigma guitars
From: GUEST,steele
Date: 05 Sep 04 - 02:48 AM

I have a Japanese Sigma OM-18, #826272. It has a solid top, but I think the sides are ply. Bought it for $175.00 several years ago to travel around the hippie festivals with, so it's taken a far share of abuse, humidity/temp stress and so forth. I have always considered it a fair guitar, not outstanding in any particular area, but well rounded. It is pretty loud. Currently needs neck adjustment and new strings. Any guesses on what it's really worth?

I was going to sell it to get a more road worthy electric accoustic, but after reading this thread I think I'm going to fix it up and keep it a while more.

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Subject: RE: sigma guitars
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 05 Sep 04 - 02:04 PM

A couple of days back there was a Sigma D28 on ebay (UK) ie - may still be there. It is nicely described.

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Subject: RE: sigma guitars
From: GUEST,r chew
Date: 07 Sep 04 - 12:17 PM

i have a sigma dr-28h which i bought in 1996 in singapore.
it says, made in taiwan, prepared and inspected by the c f martin & co.
if you own a similar dr-28h and made in taiwan, i would like your view on how well this model is doing for you.

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Subject: RE: sigma guitars
From: GUEST,Pat Cooksey
Date: 07 Sep 04 - 06:15 PM

I have an old Levin and a Sigma 12 years old. I use the Sigma which
has a Martin Pickup for gig's, which everone say's sounds good, but
accoustic the Levin sounds better.
Does anyone know how much a Levin Jumbo circa 1965 is worth.

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Subject: RE: sigma guitars
From: GUEST,GUEST,T Render
Date: 07 Sep 04 - 06:46 PM

I owned an early 80's Sigma dr-35. It was stolen however, I have been on the lookout for any older Sigma dreadnaught, models Dr-18, Dr-28, DR-28H (herringbone bindings), another DR-35 or the DR-41 ever since. These were all solid spruce top replica's of the Martin dreadnaught line and the top axes of the Sigma line as well. The main difference I could see between the two (martin and sigma)was the composition of the finish. The sigma finish seemed to be heaver and tougher and not as apt to check in the cold and considerably more durable at the price of less resonance with the top. Other than that, I think they were identical to the martin counterpart except in price and re-saleability. As of this post, I cannot difinitvely say back and sides are solid or ply however, happy days are here again.
I finally found a DR-18 that some guy sat upon and broke the neck block or at least somewhere near that area. The back also started to "pop" out of it's binding at the area where the neck meets the body. Ma The guitar is in rough shape and is going to require extensive repairs, however I'm hoping it was not put together with exoxy or something that won't soften up with heat. It is also the perfect excuse to grind off all that heavy finish that made most Sigma's bulletproof and try to allow the top to resonate like it's american counterpart.
I have also had the experience of playing some of Sigma's lesser line such as the DM-3 and found the plywood top Sigma's were pretty much a beginner's guitar and not really suited to more experienced players and no amount of re-work will ever make them better.

Anyone having any experience in repairing Sigma's I would be most interested in hearing your findings on how easy they come apart.

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Subject: RE: sigma guitars
From: GUEST,Matt
Date: 20 Sep 04 - 03:29 PM


I was just curious if anyone knew what a GCS-2 Sigma woulod be worth now, I think it was made in '87 but I could be wrong

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Subject: RE: sigma guitars
From: Hand-Pulled Boy
Date: 20 Sep 04 - 04:04 PM

I have owned a Levin LR18 1965 since 1970 and no one will ever buy it off me whatever the price! Good luck with your Sigma.

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Subject: RE: sigma guitars
From: GUEST,T. Render
Date: 21 Sep 04 - 01:53 AM

Thought I'd leave an update on the busted Sigma. I since found out this busted sigma was somewhat considered a write off. The top was broken along both sides of the neck block and considered a fatal break aside from replacing the top.
Not to be swayed and what to hell..."nothing ventured nothing gained" so away I went with my wife's steam iron in my hand and a piece of clean rag. Since the back had become unglued at the neck block, I decided to remove the back to better see the "fatal wound".
After applying lots of heat,( lesson #1...don't get your iron too hot!It discolors the laquer.)I was able to get the back off with no damage to the kerfing. Applying water to the inside seam with a syringe helped considerably. Sure enough, the lower side of the top was broken right through and the upper side of the neck block was broken as well. To compound things, one of the cracks extended right under the neck block and was inaccessable without removing the neck/fingerboard.
Gently pulling the neck of the guitar in a lateral motion, I was able to get the broken top back into it's original position and set it with a couple small dabs of superglue. The upper brace had also broken away from the top.
After several hours of pondering the problem ( I have too much time on my hands), I finally decided that the only way to regain integrity was to "extend" the portion of neck block to include more top area. My reasoning was that 99% of the guitars sound comes from the larger body area near the bridge, I may be able to distribute some of the neck pressure across a larger area of the top with minimum ill effects to the sound. A strip of spruce top reinforcement had to be shortened to accomodate the "wings" I was about to add to the neck block. The "wings were made out of a piece of pine similar to doorstop material. It was sanded into 2 pieces about 3/8 " thick, 3/4"wide and approx 2.5 " long. these were glued to the neck block and the top at the same time with the 3/4 inch side on the inside of the top. Next I had to secure the main brace to the top again. To give it some added strength, I cut two small triangular pieces to repair the cracks extending down to the sound hole. These were made from a piece of eastern white cedar which was split down to approx 1/16" thickness, then sanded smooth then glued cross-grained to the underside of the top once again. Two pieces were used to ensure access to the truss rod adjustment but 1 piece could have worked as well.
Satisfied I had done all I could to keep the neck from moving, I turned my attention to the rest of the guitar. I was right about it being bulletproof. As a side note, this sigma had a mahogany plywood back and sides and was not given the designate DR-18. I still think the Dr-18,28,35,& I can't remember a 41 or 42 all had the solid back and sides as well as solid top.
Anyhow I digress....the glue job was sloppy with drips left all over the place, the gause support at the cross brace junction was extremely large and extended down on to the bridge plate. The bracing was pretty much standard martin braces and don't spare the glue. A support was placed down the center of the top like a running cleat to avoid the top from ever splitting or cracking. The bridgeplate was made from rosewood plywood once again dripping with glue when it was applied originally. This will never do so I took my trusty knife and proceded to cut away any cheesecloth support that was in contact with the top or bridgeplate and cleaned any large drips of glue that was visible. Then with a dremel tool I proceeded to scallop the braces into something like a cross between the old pre-war martins and thier more modern design.I took out a considerable amount of wood all the while wondering am I doing the right thing. I had some examples of pre-war martins and current bracing patterns but I had to adapt the slightly different brace style in my scallops to fit the newer style of brace. Satisfied that I had taken all I dared to out of the braces, I turned my attention to the bridge plate. Well, fools walk where wise men fear to tread and I was jogging pretty good so out came the dremel again with the sanding drum and on to the bridge plate. I didn't think it should be glued to the X braces as well as the top so the whole bridge plate got a bevel job except for the strip where the strings poke through. I left a piece untouched about 1.5"wide along the whole length of the bridge plate directly under where the bridge glues on. Whoops....the grinder hit the center support cleat that run the whole length of the top. And then it hit it again. I own a guitar made by luthier Marc Beneteau and it don't have those cleats so off they come.A little hand sanding along the braces to skinny them a little more and it's time to replace the back before I go too far...if I havn't already. Ok...back is glued on but I still am not satisfied with the resonance to guitar makes when the top is lightly tapped with my fingers around the bridge. Time to get rid of that glossy plastic finish. I get my sanding block and see it has a used piece of #80 grit sandpaper in it. Now it took a real act of courage to take a perfectly good looking guitar and run a piece of sandpaper across it. I closed my eyes and decided to scuff the top once so I couldn't chicken out. As the sanding block hit the top of the guitar, it was very much like hitting a piece of window glass. I opened my eyes and looked in amazement at the tiny little scratch this sandpaper left on the guitar face. With a renewed vigor I attacked the top once again only this time with my eyes open. It was like trying to sand lexan or plexiglass. About an hour later and a couple sheets of sandpaper I managed to take off about 2 cups of plastic off the front of the guitar. Tapping the top once again, success, the guitar was starting to sound like a drum and not a block of wood. With a renewed enthusiam but still guarded that this thing was not going to fold up after I put the strings on it, I went at the back of the guitar. I think I got about 2 cups of shavings off it as well. A small increase in the resonance was noticed but not near as dramatic as when the top was done.
Off to town I go to get new strings and hope this thing works out. After all, I've put quite a few hours cutting, sanding, glueing etc.
By my calculations, the strings are going to be way too high to play comfortably and the slot in the bridge don't appear to be deep enough for me although I don't have a spec to how close the saddle should be to the actual guitar top itself. This one looks like the slot is cut too shallow in the bridge. Oh well I can't wait I'll shave the bone down to get the correct height and maybe after
i get a spec someplace I'll modify as needed. The neck releif looks pretty good so time to string it up and see how it sounds.

I am happy to report that the guitar does not go out of tune, is still holding (3 days now)and I am tickled pink with the tonal response and volume. Not very much bass ( I'm used to rosewood bodys)but very well balanced all the way up to the 14 fret. It is very much like playing a new guitar and over the last 3 days the tone has improved noticeably as well. I'm sure it would fool the most passionate D-18 fan into thinking it was the "real thing".
Anyhow...I don't know how long this stripped down "hotrod" will hold together but I'm sure enjoying it until then.
No Guts ...No Glory.
Thanks all...I'll post again sometime to give you an update.

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Subject: RE: sigma guitars
From: Hamish
Date: 21 Sep 04 - 02:21 AM

Thought this was headed "stigma guitars" and I was going to say something disparaging about Ovations.   ;-)

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Subject: RE: sigma guitars
Date: 25 Sep 04 - 12:34 PM

I need help, I recently recieved an older Sigma from a friend who passed away. It is an SE-36 model and appears to be in good condition. From the research I have done I believe it was produced in the early 1980's but other than that I have no clue as to what it's value is. Can anyone give me an idea what this guitar is worth? I don't play guitar and I want to sell it to someone who has expressed interest in it but I am not sure what is a fair price to sell it at. Please help, you can reply here or email me at

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Subject: RE: sigma guitars
From: Mooh
Date: 26 Sep 04 - 09:24 AM

A Sigma showed up this season in the hands of a young student, apparently it had been his mother's. It is well intonated, has decent action, but the sound is no better than a million others from the import market. Young ears don't much care about that though, they just wanna rock. And there's the rub, how to balance all the properties of playability, durability, sound, and appearance. If a guitar such as this pleases someone, there's a market. Maybe in time those young ears will want something better. Hook 'em with something cheap, the big money comes later.

There's a part of me which sometimes likes a funky old rotten sleezy guitar sound, but not often. Maybe there's a place in every collection...

Peace, Mooh.

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Subject: RE: sigma guitars
From: spikeis
Date: 26 Sep 04 - 04:47 PM

Yes, good point Mooh, but As my earlier posts say, SOMETIMES you don't need to move on to something better, and it breaks my heart to see young 'uns desperate to buy a "name" on a guitar, thinking it will make them better players!! That's another can of worms, the "I must have a Martin,Taylor, Guld, Santa Cruz, Collins to be a proper musician" mind set, which bugs the nuts off me as well, as my Sigma is owned by choice, not by price, and it would be interesting to hear others views on this. (no biting now children, play nice!!!) ;)



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Subject: RE: sigma guitars
From: GUEST,T. Render
Date: 02 Oct 04 - 10:21 AM

I agree with you Spike. Perhaps too many students think that if they trade thier Chevette for a Corvette, they can travel along at a nicer pace (they still make chevettes?). I think if the axe does what the person wants it to do, brand or price should not play a factor. As a player progresses and thier style develops, they will find that thier needs of the guitar will change as well. One secret I use when determining a good guitar (aside from action, intonation etc.) is to try to feel the back vibrate against my stomach when playing at a moderate level. I guess resonance would be what I look for. Of course this only applies to acoustic axe's. When I have good resonance, I don't have to work near so hard to get the sounds I'm looking for and can get a better dynamic range out of the instrument.


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Subject: RE: sigma guitars
From: GUEST,Gary
Date: 02 Oct 04 - 11:20 AM

I concur, Spike. (Just some background information) I owned a couple of guitars through my teen age years (Fender and an Ovation), but they had been purchased second hand. When I was in the service and could afford to buy my own toys, I saved specifically for, and purchased, my first (as I thought) "real" guitar, a D-28 Martin. It was a great guitar I have to admit; however, it did NOT make me a better player. The guitar, along with every other thing that was of value to me was lost in a fire in '81. I had decided to purchase another Martin, but, quite by accident, I mistakenly picked up a Sigma sitting next to a Martin. I played it and thoroughly enjoyed it. I hadn't realized that I wasn't playing a Martin until the owner came back to me and said, "For a knock-off, they're pretty good, aren't they?" I looked at him like he had three heads or something. (It should be obvious to you now that I am not a professional.) I know I play well, but the only person I've ever entended on entertaining was myself. It hit me right then and there that, if I couldn't tell the differance between this and a guitar that cost $2000 more, why should I pay that? I played a few of the Sigmas and ended up purchasing the DR-18. Everyone that has heard me play it (Mostly family) thinks its a great sounding guitar. I think so too. ...just some imput from a non-professional who enjoys playing.

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Subject: RE: sigma guitars
From: GUEST,S. Webb
Date: 23 Oct 04 - 05:39 AM

I can't help contibuting to a thread about my favorite obsession: Sigma guitars. In the late 1960's there was a strong increase in demand for guitars in the U.S. Martin could not increase production of U.S. made guitars because of the time lag imposed by the need to season hardwoods. The Japanese manufacturers, having saturated their domestic market early in the 1960's, had abundant stocks of seasoned wood on hand. Martin began selling the Sigma line of Japanese made guitars in January of 1970. Sigma guitars made in Japan from 1970 through 1979 can be distinguished by a headstock logo consisting of the single word "SIGMA" surmounted with a greek letter sigma ("sideways M") and an inner paper label giving model and serial numbers. These early models are almost always solid wood guitars, and tonewood of a high grade at that. The early models are encoded by size, wood, and quality-grade number; that is, a DR-7 (the top of the line) is a rosewood dreadnought of top grade, the DM-5 a mahogany dreadnought of lesser grade, and so on. In 1980, the model lines and designations were changed to capitalize on Martin model names: the DM-18, DM-19, DR-28, DR-28H, DR-35, DR-41, DR-45. But the older model types were also continued as well. The headstock logo was changed to the present day form ("SigmaGuitars / EST. 1970"). The models made between 1980 and 1984 in Japan are almost always solid top with laminate back and sides (like Shannendoahs), as the Japanese manufacturers had used up their stock of seasoned woods by 1980. The paper labels were dropped in favor of stamping the back brace. In 1984, production was shifted to Korea, and in 1993-4 to Taiwan, where it continues to the present day. In general, the quality of the guitars declined in Korea to a medium or lesser grade level. A few Taiwanese (like the DR-28) are surprizingly good, but they're rare. It is worth noting that all the currently produced Sigmas except the DR-41 are designated with the quality grade of 1, meaning there is is no lower quality possible, a curous honesty on Martin's part! Which old Sigmas are worth buying? Here's a guide. The most desirable vintage Sigmas are almost any of the "old logo" Japanese made models: the DR-7 (a D-21 clone), the GCR-7 (a rosewood 00-21 clone), the DM-5, the CR-7 classical, the DR12-7 12-string. The first Sigma catalog (1970) also shows a DJ-7, made of jacaranda or Brazilian rosewood, but I know of no one who has ever seen one in the flesh! Secondly, 1980-84 Japanese made DM-18, DM-19, DR-28, DR-28H, DR-35, DR-41, DR-45 are all excellent guitars but are sometimes inconsistent: 1981-83 DR-41's are laminate; the 1984 DR-41 was solid woods! Where they are laminate construction, the veneers are of high quality and it's often hard to distinguish their sound quality from solid wood. (When in doubt, remove the end pin which will expose the edge of the side wood to inspection.) In 1980, Martin produced 100 Anniversary Sigmas (model 10), a solid mahogany dreadnought; equip one of these with a brass or ivory saddle, ebony bridge pins and medium strings and you can hunt down D-18's in the heaviest brush and stomp them to death --- it's a very loud and impressive guitar! In 1981-82, Martin produced a small number of models labelled "MartinSigma / USA" and designated by an "N" at the end of the model name: DR-28N, DR-35N, etc. These were made in the Martin factory in Nazareth, PA. If Martin makes a Martin clone in the Martin factory with Martin serial numbers stamped on the neck block, does the word "clone" have any meaning anymore? They are just re-labelled Shannendoahs, a pretty good guitar. The DR-7 model was also continued through 1980-84 in Japan, with the addition of a DR-9 and DR-11, all made in very small quantities. They sound about as good as an average Martin D-28 of the same time period (not their best period, I admit). Also made in small numbers in 1979-81 were Sigma models with the prefix 52S, as in 52SDR-7. Curiously, they are made entirely from some very strange laminates. The 52S series were sold as "professional" instruments; they have a pure clean resonant tone (like a high-end maple Gibson) which combines well with the human voice and records cleanly without a fuss. (I've had three of these, and all had thoroughly rigid construction, dead straight necks that had not moved in 25 years, low fast action, and great playing ease, as well as fine sound.) I have have owned, played, bought, sold, traded about 30 Sigmas, which include most of the models mentioned above. Because the high-quality Sigmas were made in small lots by a variety of Japanese manufacturers, there is considerable variation from one instrument to another, not in quality but in character. I have two 1980-84 DR-7's. One sounds pretty much like a slightly sweeter version of a D-28. The other sounds like a 1930's Custom Shop guitar (like that B&D Senorita that keeps popping up or an old Vega). My first "bought new" guitar was a Sigma DR-7 purchased in March, 1970 from a Martin dealer and one of the first 100 Sigmas sold. (Martin shipped exactly 100 Sigmas to dealers in 1970!) It cost $139.95 plus tax. It sounds better (to me, at any rate) than all the other Sigmas I've owned, save one. It has a number of construction details not in common with later DR-7's, so it's possible that it would be worthwhile to search for the lowest serial number when shopping for a DR-7. If by the Martin sound, you mean (and most people do) that crisp percussive snap of attack on the bass strings, the only Sigmas that approach that particular quality are the early DR-7's.

Sterling Webb

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Subject: RE: sigma guitars
From: GUEST,T. Render
Date: 24 Oct 04 - 08:33 AM

Mr. Webb. Your history lesson on Sigma's is most informative. It is the most complete anthology I have read to date. Thank you for taking the time to post. Sigma appears to have a varied history with a large "window" of different construction methods and wood grades used. Was the DR-7 a dreadnaught "replica", as I was told the DR designate stood for? Do you know anything about the composition of the different finishes used throughout the history of the line?
Thanks again for the info.
Terry Render

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Subject: RE: sigma guitars
From: GUEST,Daniel
Date: 26 Oct 04 - 06:30 AM

Hi everyone, I'll try and add my two pence in! I presume the D in DR 7 stands for dreadnaught. The R will stand for Rosewood and therefore if you have a DM model the M will stand for Mahogany. I could be wrong but I'm pretty sure that's what it all means.

Now I've got to ask for some help. I've a a DR 14 , it has a three piece Rosewood back, and Rosewood sides of course. It is stamped/burnt made in Japan with a serial number of s21713 but also another serial number of n060100 inside on the neck. If any of that makes any sense. It has Mother of Pearl (the multi coloured kind) inlays, and also round the hole of the guitar and edging round the guitar. The machine heads also have Sigma stamped on then.

It's very similar to the DR 11

I can't find any information on the DR 14 and it's driving me mad. Harmony central has lots of reviews on guitars but alas not the DR 14. I would love to know if anyone else owns one or knows anything about it. Please.

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