This information is presented in the hope it will be useful. I make no guarantees of accuracy.

Please PM me on the U MGF if you have any comments/additions/corrections/requests.

-Mike (AKA elephantfan85)

                             Martin Timeline

* Bryan Kimsey

1920's Martin transitions away from pyramid long bridge to standard
       long bridge on 18 & 28 series.  Happens gradually starting in the 
       early 1920's.  17 series either never had pyramid bridge or 
       transitioned earlier.

1922-1923, Martin makes guitars for Wurlitzer.  Some lack Martin 
           Serial #'s or markings of any kind.

1929 18+ series Martins fully switched over to nitro cellulose laquer
     finish. Transition started in 1926 with O-17H according to 
1929 Martin switches from long to belly bridge (Longworth 2nd ed page

1930 Oct, first time size & model number stamped on neckblock.  Happens at 
     or before serial number 44362

1932 Some 17 series models transition to 14 frets clear of body & non

1934 Most models switch to 14 fret clear of body and non slothead.
     Sometime around here Martin starts putting the Matin decal on 
     the front of the peghead.  For a short period of time they
     continue to stamp the back of the peghead as well.

1934 Martin ends their use of bar frets on most models. (Most other 
     guitar makers had done so around the end of the 19th century)
     Martins Hawain style guitars retain bar frets until at least

* 1938 D-18 #71539 has the rear-shifted X-brace with no popsicle brace
* 1938 change to rear-shifted X-brace

* 1939 D-28 #71968 has the rear-shifted X-brace with no popsicle brace
* 1939 D-18 #72618 and has a 1 3/4 nut with no popsicle brace
* 1939 switch to narrow necks (1 & 11/16ths) at serial #72740
1939 The #1 brace, inside near the neck block changes from 5/16ths of an 
     inch wide to 1/2 inch wide, making it roughly twice as wide. 

* 1944 last scalloped brace guitar was #89926

* 1946 Sitka replaces Adirondack on the tops

* 1947 Last Herringbone D-28 #98233 in 1947
* 1947 Kluson deluxe tuners appear

* 1948 Sealed Kluson tuners appear

1953 "magic" spruce? (Stolen from "Jack"/JDE1776 of the UMGF)

     Then, in reading the UMGF Vintage section today, I noticed that 
     luthier John Arnold has provided a copy of a short piece by luthier 
     Dana Bourgeois concerning an interview with C. F. Martin III in 1984. 
     The interview was in preparation for an article by Eric Schoenberg 
     and Bob Green on the history of the OM model and was published in 
     the March 1985 issue of Guitar Player.

     Bourgeois was asked to sit in on the interview, and I found the last 
     two paragraphs of his recollections especially interesting:

     "One footnote that I do remember distinctly is that Mr. Martin said 
     that in '52 or '53 the Martin Co. bought a large supply of Engelmann 
     spruce in the form of government surplus of building material. Though 
     he preferred Red Spruce, it was no longer available after the mid-40s 
     because all of the large stands had been decimated. Mr. Martin would 
     have liked to switch from Sitka to Engelmann because he felt that 
     Engelmann was closer to Red Spruce than Sitka was. He could not, however, 
     find anyone who was cutting Engelmann commercially, so they went back to 

     This nugget of information caught my attention because for many years I 
     have owned a '53 D-28. I have always puzzled over the rich golden color 
     of its top. I have also seen a few Martins from that year on various 
     dealers price lists labeled as having tops made of Appalachian or 
     Adirondack spruce.

     Of course, aside from the color of the tops, the anecdote does not in 
     itself prove anything. But it at least suggests how the story might have 
     gotten started.

     More from gabarnier at the UMGF

     "Aircraft spruce must meet these specifics:
     For Sitka spruce to meet government specification MIL-S-6073, it goes 
     through a series of inspections, starting with experts who supervise the 
     sawing and milling of the lumber at the source. The lumber is kiln-dried 
     to another government specification, AN-W-2. This spec says the wood must 
     is that the bridge plate change did not apply to smaller body instruments 
     (at least not universally). I've had several 000-18, 000-28 and 00-18 
     instruments from 1968 into the early 70s and all of them had SMALL MAPLE 
     bridge plates. I recently had a '71 000-28 in that had a large rosewood 
     plate, but it appeared to be a replacement."

1965 Martin switches to short drop-in saddle (On D-18's, likely others as well)

1966 Boltaron binding started. White replaced ivoroid and black replaced tortoise.

1967 Black acetate pickguards first used.  Replace tortoise colored celluloid

Following two entries from 1988 Longworth pages 57-58
"1968 rosewood bridgeplates on all guitars #235586" and
"1969 rosewood bridgeplates are larger on "D" guitars #242454

* 1969 Brazillian rosewood is replaced by Indian. The first Indian guitars 
  were 4 D-28's ser# 243644-47. The change in regular production started 
  with #254498

  John Arnold on the UMGF made the following observation in regards to 
  BRW on 6/24/05 at 12:27 am

  Re: Any 1970 Brazillians?? 
  I have personal knowledge of two 1970 Brazilian 
  rosewood D-28's.  The first one I saw was #265783, which I retopped with red 
  spruce in 1993. I showed the guitar to Mike Longworth around that time, since 
  he claimed to have never seen one. He noted the serial number.
  I saw the second one about a year later. It is serial number 265941.
  There are reportedly several D-35's with mixed woods in the 3-piece back. 
  I saw D-35 #258962, which has a Brazilian rosewood center wedge in the back.

  FWIW, many post-1969 Martins have some Brazilian the bridge, 
  bridgeplate, fingerboard, or peghead veneer.


1972 Starting in 1972 Martin includes cases in the base price of most/all of their 
     guitars.  Prior to this they cost extra, and thus you'll see many different
     cases with Martins before this time.  It is possible that the thermoplastic
     cases were the first ones Martin offered as part of the base price as they
     were first offered around this time.

1985 Martin finishes phasing in adjustable truss rods.

1988 Maple bridgeplates on all guitars #478093 (This entry from 1988 
     Longworth pages 57-58)

2001 (From mac1588 on the UMGF 3/12/2005)

Here's my unbderstanding about the first use of Micarta fingerboards and bridges 
on standard production 16 Series GT models:

 Unbound fingerboard: serial no. 832338, a D-16GT.
 Bound fingerboard: serial no. 836629

 Both were made in 2001.

 As far as I know, the full gloss models such as the SP's have never used Micarta.

2003 Martin converts from glued in to drop in long saddles.  Happens 
     before serail # 942xxx

     Glued in saddles have square/straight ends, dropin have rounded.

~2003 Martin starts producing guitar necks with "wings".  Basically
      The pegheads have wood splices on the portions that stick
      out.  This is not easily visible from the front due to
      the peghead veneer.  As with many other changes, this one is 
      made to preserve dwindling wood supplies.  In this case 

2005 Martin switches to bone nuts and saddles as of the following 
  serial numbers.
  OOO18        1017801
  OOO28        1015735
  D18          1014107
  D28          1014117
  D35          1014309
  D40          1014167
  D41          1013985
  D41SPEC      1015921
  D42          1014360
  D42K         1016124
  D42K2        1014177
  D45          1014362
  D1228        1015871
  HD28         1014131
  HD35         1014145
  J40          1014181
  J41SPEC      1025243
  OM21         1016278
  OM35         1021237
  OM42         1015753
  OO18V        1016465
  OOO28EC      1014184
  OOO28VS      1014345
  D18V         1014297
  D18VS        1017372
  D45V         1014364
  HD28V        1014138
  HD28VS       1018703
  OM18V        1014156
  OM28V        1015728
  MINI         1013968

2005 Martin starts using Spanish Ceder in many necks rather then Mahogany.