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Thread: Martin style 20

  1. #1
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    I recently purchased a Style 20 Martin mando which I believe is first year made, 1929, but I can't find the serial number anywhere on the instrument to confirm. The CF Martin stamp is inside on the back in the proper location but no serial number on the neck block or anywhere else.
    Does anyone out there have any ideas?
    Thanks.
    Rob

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    Just to check, you DO mean an oval-hole 13"-scale Style 20, not an f-hole longer-scale Style 2-20, yes?

    If it's a first-year model, which BTW were the most produced, its pickguard, assuming it's there and original, will be ebony.

    Not trying to insult your observational skills, but are you absolutely sure there's nothing on the neck block? #On my later year Style 20 I had to look very carefully with a flashlight, lower on the block than I would have guessed, to spot the SN.

    Got a picture? Thanks.

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    On my Martin C, which was made in 1926 according to Martin, the serial number is burned onto the center strip of wood (cleat? brace? New to terminology) way up near the neck. It might be hard to see.
    Steve
    Steve

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    Registered User Zigeuner's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by (sweeks @ May 19 2008, 09:23)
    On my Martin C, which was made in 1926 according to Martin, the serial number is burned onto the center strip of wood (cleat? brace? New to terminology) way up near the neck. It might be hard to see.
    Steve
    My 1964 Martin "A" also has the serial number on the centerstip way up close to the neck inside. You have to look way in there with a flashlight to see it.



    1917 Gibson A-3, '64 Martin A

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  6. #5
    Some Ability - No Talent MikeZito's Avatar
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    Default Re: Martin style 20

    Okay - I'm 8 years late for the game, but my Style 20 also has no serial number that I can find.

    From what I have been able to gather, it looks like most of the Style 20's were made in 1929, with a few models being made in 1930 or 1931. The 1930 instruments seem to be easily discernible by the plastic pickguard and the Martin logo on the back of the headstock, while the 1931 models also had a plastic pickguard, but the Martin logo was on the front of the headstock.

    Any corrections to my observations would be appreciated.
    - 1929 Martin Style 20
    - 2015 Washburn M1SDL
    - 2016 Kentucky KM-272
    - 2017 Gretsch 9350 Park Avenue

  7. #6
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    Default Re: Martin style 20

    It would have been extremely irregular for any Martin instrument, except for ukuleles and employee instruments, to leave the factory without a serial number during the 20th century. Look again, this time with a flashlight.

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    Default Re: Martin style 20

    Like the OP, I have looked high, low, forward, backwards, upside down and all the around again - on NUMEROUS occasions . . . so, unless the number was put in a highly irregular place that is almost impossible see, I can say with 99% confidence that there is no serial number. Mistake? Prototype? Employee mandolin? Or perhaps, since I just bought my Style 20 last summer - maybe it was the same one that the OP had back in 2008!
    - 1929 Martin Style 20
    - 2015 Washburn M1SDL
    - 2016 Kentucky KM-272
    - 2017 Gretsch 9350 Park Avenue

  9. #8
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    Default Re: Martin style 20

    If there is a Martin stamp or decal, it is not an employee instrument. It is possible that the serial number could have been removed.

  10. #9
    Some Ability - No Talent MikeZito's Avatar
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    Default Re: Martin style 20

    In 1929, would the serial number be stamped or on a decal? As I recall, (I don't have the mandolin in front of me), it looks like there may have been some sort of sticker/decal near the Martin stamp, inside the sound hole. The Martin stamp on this mandolin is still VERY clear, so I can't imagine that an equally stamped serial number would have faded so much as to make it totally unrecognizable.
    - 1929 Martin Style 20
    - 2015 Washburn M1SDL
    - 2016 Kentucky KM-272
    - 2017 Gretsch 9350 Park Avenue

  11. #10
    Mando accumulator allenhopkins's Avatar
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    Default Re: Martin style 20

    Martin serial numbers, to my knowledge, are never on decals, or written on labels. My Style A (1919) has the serial number stamped into the backstrip just "south" of the neck block. It also has the "C F Martin Co. Nazareth PA" stamp on the back of the headstock.

    I looked at Longworth's Martin Guitars: A History book, specifically at the Style 20 mandolin but also at mandolins and serial numbers in general, and found no information on either non-numbered instruments, or unusual locations for serial numbers.

    On the other hand, no manufacturing process is perfect -- surely not Martin's -- and it's possible that an instrument got out the door without properly being numbered.
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    Default Re: Martin style 20

    Quote Originally Posted by rcc56 View Post
    If there is a Martin stamp or decal, it is not an employee instrument. It is possible that the serial number could have been removed.
    It seems I should clarify this. 20th century Martin mandolins and guitars have the Martin name either stamped into the wood, or on a decal, or both. The serial numbers are stamped into the wood, usually on the back strip on mandolins, and almost always on the neck block on guitars. Some of the modern budget model guitars have a serial number on a removable wooden plate that is affixed to the neck block.

    If a mandolin or guitar with the Martin brand surfaces without a serial number, it is highly likely that the serial number has been removed. Martin was extremely consistent about their use of serial numbers on all mandolins and guitars manufactured for retail sale.

    Ukeleles generally do not have serial numbers.

    Employee model instruments from the first half of the 20th century do not have the Martin name or a standard serial number anywhere on the instrument.
    Many employee model instruments have a date stamped inside the instrument.

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