The world’s best known acoustic guitar company took a couple of stabs at marketing electric guitars, first in the early to mid-sixties, then again in the late seventies through into the early eighties. However the latter period was their only attempt at solid body models.
One of Martin’s E-series electrics came with phase switching, another with coil-tap, but they also produced at least one model, without the electronics bonus features, under their Sigma brand. We’re not entirely certain of the Sigma* model number, so we’ll stick with calling this by Martin’s E-18 model designation.
Built in Japan to Martin’s exacting standards, and with an expensively produced 9-piece Maple and Mahogany body, set Maple neck, plus a pair of specially commissioned DiMarzio ‘Wide Range’ pickups, these were serious - and seriously good – electric guitars. The combination of the elaborately set neck and the Maple/Mahogany bands provide virtually identical structural strength and tone results as neck-thru construction.
Designer, Dick Boak’s E-series concept seems to owe a degree of credit to some of Alembic’s models of the time, especially with the natural timbers and smooth, sculpted lines. The Gibson “harmonica bridge” has perhaps been added to further the Alembic similarity.
Also added is a period Bigsby. While not original to the guitar, it is an original, vintage Bigsby B-5, worth $300 or more on its own! Someone has put some real effort into making this a full-on, balls-to-the-wall rock & blues machine – but one that cleans up beautifully, too. Our soundfile attempts to cram as many of this guitar’s dynamic sounds in as possible, but, really, there’s heaps more!
A 12” radius fingerboard makes for effortless playing, as does the medium-low action. The original Grovers keep you nicely in tune, while a brass nut adds a touch of Telecaster twang when you need it. Numerous changes, adjustments and dings throughout, but all for the good - instant vintage cred! We feel highly confident in suggesting that this is the most incredible sounding vintage guitar you’ll ever buy for such a minimal outlay.
Production numbers for both the Martin and Sigma branded models is believed to be similar – somewhere in the three-hundred range for each model – so, with serial number 0000277, our example here is likely to have been one of the last produced. The guitar comes in the shaped Ibanez hard case, shown above right and in pic # 8.
Free courier delivery
Free courier delivery is included to any address in Australia, or $100 airfreight to New Zealand, $175 to the US, Canada, UK and mainstream European countries
Weight: 7lb 14oz / 3.6kg
*Martin were not alone in offering similar – or identical – products under different badges. Fender did it with Squire, Gibson with Epiphone. The system originally came into being as a means of getting more “product” into certain markets. One town might have one store, exclusively licensed to retail Martin guitars, but there was no reason why another business in town couldn’t sell the exact same guitars with a different name on the headstock!