Martin Flat Top Body Sizes

Martin Flat Top Body Sizes

“Size” is theĀ body size designation that Martin uses, as stamped inside the guitar on the neck block starting in October 1930. All measurements are in inches. “Frets” represents theĀ frets clear of the body. “Introduced” was the year of introduction. All sizes are in inches.

Size   Frets   Width     Depth    Body Len   Tot Len   Year Introduced
----   -----   -----     -----    -------    ------    --------------
1/4    12      6 3/16    2 7/8    12                   (early version)
1/4    12      8 15/16   3 9/16   12 1/16              (later version)
1/2    12      10 1/8    3 3/8    15 1/16
7      12      13 11/16  4 3/8    17 1/2
5      12      11 1/4    3 7/8    16
4      12      11 1/2    3 3/4    16
3 1/2  12      10 11/16  3 7/8    16 7/8
3      12      11 1/4    3 13/16  17 3/8
2 1/2  12      11 5/8    3 7/8    17 7/8
2      12      12        4        18 1/4
1      12      12 3/4    4 3/16   18 7/8
O      12      13 1/2    4 3/16   19 1/8               1852
O      14      13 1/2    4 1/4    18 3/8     38 3/8    1932
OO     12      14 1/8    4 1/16   19 5/8               1877
OO     14      14 5/16   4 1/8    18 7/8     38 5/8    1934
OOO    12      15        4 1/16   20 7/16              1902
OOO    14      15        4 1/8    19 3/8     39 3/8    1934
OM     14      15        4 1/8    19 3/8               1929
D      12      15 5/8    4 3/4    20 15/16             1931
D      14      15 5/8    4 7/8    20         40 1/4    1934

Standard       6 3/8     2 5/16   9 7/16     21
Concert        7 3/4     2 3/4    11         23 1/2
Tenor          8 15/16   2 15/16  12 1/16    26 1/4
Baritone       10        3 3/8    14         30 11/16

    Certainly the most desirable of the Martin body size is the 000, 0M, and D sizes. Many consider the 000 (and OM, which is essentially a 000) to be the ultimate guitar size, where others feel the “D” size is the best. It’s personal preference. There are some interesting facts though about the 000 and OM sizes. (In Martin’s 1934 catalogue, any flattop guitar that had a 14-fret neck was named an “Orchestra Model”, while the older 12-fret design was named a “Standard Model”.)The OM Body Size.

Martin Orchestra Model OM

    Martin’s OM, or “Orchestra Model”, available from 1929 to 1933, has a rare combination of features. The joining of a long-scale (25.4″) neck with a small body makes it an extremely responsive and playable guitar. In many ways the OM models were the first truly modern flattop guitars. They were the first Martins to have necks with 14 frets clear of the body. The OM has a wide neck (1 3/4″ as opposed to the dreadnought’s 1 11/16″) which appeals to fingerstyle players. The string spacing is slightly greater at the bridge than on other models too, although not as wide as a classical guitars. The neck shape of old OMs is a bit unique too, although this is variable since each neck was handmade. OMs have a wide but thin backshaped V-shape which is very comfortable. Finally, the OM’s smaller body size makes the guitar easy to hold, especially in the seated position. Compared this to the D dreadnought which is larger both in body depth and width (dreadnought players seem to use straps and stand up so the guitar’s size is less of a factor).The OM model came about due to Perry Bechtel, who was a virtuoso plectrum banjo player. Perry came to see the Martin family in the early summer of 1929. He wanted Martin to make him a guitar which he could easily adapt his banjo style (remember by the late 1920s guitar was the hot instrument, replacing the banjo). He requested 15 frets clear of the body and a 27″ scale in Martin’s largest standard body size (which at that time was the 000, with 12 frets clear of the neck). The 27″ scale would retain the fret spacing of the plectrum banjo, and 15 frets clear of the body would closely resemble the length of a banjo neck.

    Martin began with a 000-size guitar, which had 12 frets clear of the body. They rejected the 27″ scale idea, as this would have been impractical since the high string tension on a guitar would have made the instrument hard to play. Instead they used a 25.4″ scale length. To accommodate Bechtel’s request for 15 frets clear of the body, they squared the body’s shoulders to add 1 5/16″ to the clear part of the fingerboard. This allowed 14 frets clear of the body. Since they felt aesthetically the bridge should remain halfway between the center of the soundhole and the endblock, there really was no way to make the guitar have 15 frets clear. The bottom bout was reshaped slightly to match the new shape of the upper bout (note when the 000 went to 14 frets in 1934 it retained this initial OM body shape).

    To make the OM more suitable for banjo players, the neck was made narrower and less V-shaped than previous Martins. The fingerboard was narrowed from the then-standard 1 7/8″ to 1 3/4″ at the nut. In addition to make the OM more banjo-like and to give it a distinctive look, banjo style tuning pegs were used. To do these, the headstock had to be made solid, instead of slotted. Previously Martin headstocks had all been slotted with tuners attached to the side mounted on a single plate for three tuners. No single-unit guitar tuners were available, so banjo pegs were a natural.

    In late 1929, Martin built a prototype batch of six OM guitars. The very first of these had pyramid bridges and no pickguard. Martin soon realized that with the vigorous strumming required in a band setting, a pickguard would be required. Hence all OMs after the prototype batch had a small teardrop-shaped pickguard. The new OMs were not highly sucessful. They sold, but not as well as Martin had hoped. In 1933 the OM designation was dropped and was now called the “000” model. But infact the 1933 “000” models were the same as the 1933 “OM” models, retaining the OM body style and 14 fret neck. Then in 1934 the standard 000 models were modified to the shorter 24.9″ scale (for unknown reasons, as the 12 fret 000 body had a 25.6″ scale length its inception in 1902 to its demise in 1931). Yet the OM’s longer scale was a major factor in the OM’s tone. The strings on an OM must be tuned to a higher tension to get concert pitch. This extra tension translates into more drive on the top, hence providing more volume and tone. The OM’s scalloped braces and a small maple bridgeplate give the OM a great sound. Although these features were common to other Martin models of the time, the OM’s top brace under the fingerboard was missing. This design is unique to OMs making the top very lightly braced. This does lead to some problems with cracks in the upper bout along the side of the fingerboard, but it also contributes to the great sound of the OM models.


How To Self Learn Play Guitar

Learn to Play Guitar by Yourself

When you decide to begin a learn self guitar program whether its through reading books on the subject or taking a program that you learn all by yourself, it can be somewhat hard. However, it isn’t that hard. It’s like learning Spanish or any language.

It takes years to get good at and even more years to be able to fluently speak in the language. Music is a language that is very beneficial to have. You can express yourself without even talking.

Learning the guitar takes nothing more than dedication, passion, and an instrument. There are so many melodies and songs out there that many people try to learn. The problem is that people try to learn these songs in an inefficient way. Nevertheless, learning those songs in a good manner is not hard and can be very satisfying. Following the right guidelines one can teach self guitar and reap many noticeable improvements fast.

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How To Self Learn Play Guitar | Practicing

Practicing the guitar will make you better. Not practicing will leave you where you left off last. Practice will get your fingers stronger so you can play better songs. When you first start out your fingers may hurt from the metal or nylon strings, however, still continue to practice as the fingers will adjust to this and get stronger. If you practice every day for a month then by the end of that month you’ll not only be a much better musician but will probably enjoy it even more.

The guitar is a very exciting and beneficial hobby that anybody can do and anybody can use to reap the rewards it has. Not only does playing provide satisfaction for the guitarist but it can be used to give others enjoyment as well. Play for old folks at the retirement center, play for charities, play for free. Record a song and give it out for others to listen to. Music is a great thing to have and can benefit everyone.

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K.I.S.S Guitar Book

K.I.S.S Guitar Book

What Made the KISS Guitar Book Popular

Every hard rock fan knows the rock band legend KISS. This is the most popular rock band that shocked the music scene when they first started in the seventies. They had the trademark of wearing leather suits and face paint in their radical performances. Aside from the good music which earned them 22 gold albums and sold millions of copies, they were also known for the wild live performances where smoke comes out from their guitars and pyrotechnics firing-off everywhere. The band was very popular in that it was the first rock band that was able to make a lot of money marketing themselves with KISS merchandise.

There are a lot of original merchandise products to choose from. They offer the rock band sweatshirt, cards, t-shirts, cups, books, and even a coffin. And there are a lot of people who remain to be avid fans of the group. As I see it the numbers keep on growing as well. With the band members starting to show some age, the partying days and glamorous rock concerts might come to an end soon – this has had the effect of doubling the value of all the KISS collectibles in the market.

Among the memorabilia and merchandise of the band, the k.i.s.s guitar book seems to be the one that makes the most money for KISS.

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K.I.S.S Guitar Book | Advantages

Official KISS merchandise is offered to fans so they can show their appreciation for the band and their music; fans love it. But the real reason KISS does it is to promote the band and make more money. We fans don’t care about why they do it just as long as they keep putting out those crazy cool painted KISS designs on apparel and merchandise so we can live and relive good times. But aside from getting something that you can just simply display, why not be practical and get a memento that you can actually use? This is one of the reasons why the k.i.s.s. guitar book is doing so well as a collectible among the other KISS apparel and merchandise.

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Martin Made other brands

Martin Guitar’s Other Brands

Since 1900, Martin did make guitars, mandolins and ukes for other brands and guitar studios. No, this was not “common”. Just because your guitar looks like a Martin, doesn’t mean it is. Even if your instrument is one of the brands listed below, that does NOT mean it was necessarily made by Martin either! Just keep that in mind.

  • Bacon: a few made for Bacon Banjos in 1924.
  • Belltone: fifteen guitars, ten mandolins and twelve Style 3k ukes were made for Belltone.
  • Bitting Special: Martin made some mandolins for this Bethlehem, PA teacher in 1916 to 1919.
  • Ditson: in 1917 to 1919, and 1923 to 1930, Martin made some guitars for the Ditson company in Boston. Early models only have a “Ditson” stamp, later models have both the “Ditson” and “Martin” stamps. The 1923 to 1930 models have Martin serial numbers. Prior to this, 483 guitars of the original 1917 to 1919 series have been documented.
  • Foden: In 1912 to 1917, Martin made guitars for concert guitarist William Foden. These are similar to the standard Martin models, but have simple soundhole rings and a 20 fret fingerboard (instead of 19). Made in sizes 0 and 00, the styles were similar to Martin’s Style 18, 21, 28, and a pearl trim model. Only 27 of these guitars have been documented to date.
  • Jenkins: Martin made Style 1 and 2 ukes for this Kansas City mail order company.
  • Olcott-Bickford: 32 guitars made for this guitarist.
  • Paramount: Around 1930 Martin made about 36 guitars with strange construction. A style 2 size body mounted into a larger rim and back of rosewood, small round soundholes around a “lip” that joins the outer rims to the inner rims, no soundhole in the top, 14 frets clear, dot fingerboard inlays to the 15th fret, rounded peak peghead with standard Paramount banjo peghead inlay, banjo-style tuners, four or six strings.
  • Schoenberg: In 1987 to 1994, Martin made some guitars similar to their OM-18, OM-28 OM-45, some 12 fret 000 models, and a few D models. The last Schoenberg/Martin was made in October 1994, serial number 541742.
  • S.S. Stewart: Martin made ukes for this company in 1923 to 1925.
  • Rolando: In 1916 to 1918 Martin made 261 guitar (numbered 1 to 261), and some later guitars with standard Martin serial numbers.
  • Vega: Martin bought Vega Banjos in 1970 and moved production to their property in 1971. In 1979, Martin sold the Vega name. Some guitars were made under the Vega name during this period (but they mostly made banjos).
  • Weymann: Around 1925 Martin made some Ukes for this company, but no guitars.
  • Wurlitzer: In 1922 to 1925, Martin made 297 standard Martin models (but with a simplier soundhole rosette) for Wurlitzer. These have the Wurlitzer name and model number on the back of the peghead.

As you can see, Martin did not make very many guitars for other companies. So the chance that your non-Martin guitar is really a “Martin” is very unlikely!

History of the Banjo – Part 2 – Minstrel Era

From bluegrassbanjo.orgvintage banjo 2

White men began using blackface as a comic gimmick before the American Revolution. The banjo became a prop for these entertainers, either individually or in groups. By the early part of the 19th century, minstrelsy became a very popular form of entertainment. Joel Walker Sweeney and his Sweeney Minstrels were already popular by the 1830s. By 1843 the Virginia Minstrels began to do an entire show of this blackface entertainment and this is usually the date used to mark the beginning of the minstrel era. The Virginia Minstrels had 2 Banjo players, Dan Emmett and Billy Whitlock, a pupil of Sweeney. In addition Minstrel shows usually had a fiddler, a bones player and a drum/tambourine. We know from early Banjo instruction books by performers like Thomas Briggs, 1855, Philip Rice, 1858 and Frank Converse, 1865, that the minstrel style of playing was the “downstroke”, what we call frailing today. This style was learned from the slave performers themselves.

Briggs in Banjo Instructor of 1855 describes playing as follows: “In playing the thumb and first finger only of the right hand are used; the 5th string is touched by the thumb only; this string is always played open, the other strings are touched by the thumb and first finger…The strings are touched by the ball of the thumb and the nail of the 1st finger. The first finger should strike the strings with the back of the nail and then slide to…..”

Frank Converse in his Banjo Without a Master describes the style of playing as follows: “Partly close the hand, allowing the first finger to project a little in advance of the others. Hold the fingers firm in this position. Slightly curve the thumb. Strike the strings with the first finger (nail) and pull with the thumb.”

Vintage Martin Guitars – High Action and Neck Sets

The only right way to make a “high string action” Martin guitar play correctly is to do a “neck set”. This repair involves removing the neck on the guitar, and refitting the neck at a slightly increased angle, which lowers the string action. If done correctly, this does not affect the value of the guitar (and in fact can make it more valuable, as the guitar is much more playable). Generally speaking, most players would agree if the “string action” is more than 3/16 inch (5 mm) at the 12th fret, the guitar needs a neck set. This measurement is taken from the bottom of the low-E string, to the top of the 12th fret.

This is a somewhat expensive and delicate repair. But it is a repair often needed on many vintage Martins. A proper neck set not only makes the guitar play better, but also will make it *sound* better too.

Because a neck set is expensive, some owners/repair people will take “short cuts” to avoid doing a neck set. These short cuts are usually temporary at best, and never give the best outcome. These include lowering the bridge saddle and lowering the bridge.

    Lowering the Saddle.
    The original saddle is desirable on a vintage Martin. So when lowering the saddle, remove the original saddle (and store is safely away), and have a new lower saddle installed (removing material from the saddle is required to lower it, so don’t mess with the original saddle).
    The problem with lowering a saddle is this: the lower the saddle, the less “drive” there is across the bridge and the top of the guitar. The less “drive”, and the guitar won’t usually sound as good as it could.

    Remember, on a flat top guitar the strings “drive” the bridge, which vibrates the top of the guitar. This is where the sound and tone come from. The lower the bridge saddle, the less “drive”, and the less potential tone. The ideal bridge saddle height should be about 1/8″ to 3/16″ (4 to 5 mm) above the top surface of the bridge.

    Lowering the Bridge (yikes!)
    Again, as with the bridge saddle, too low of a bridge will decrease the “drive” of the strings. Thus the sound and tone will suffer. Also a low bridge is structurally not a good idea, as the bridge can more easily crack (and damage the top of the guitar). Most original Martin guitar bridges are about 3/8″ tall (from bottom to the highest part of the bridge).

    After lowering the bridge (usually in a failed attempt at getting lower string action), the owner will eventually realize this is not the best solution. When this happens and a neck reset is preformed, the original bridge will now be *useless* (because it is too low!) The repair guy won’t reset the neck to a low bridge, so a new replacement bridge will be installed. At this point the originality of the instrument is compromised.

Again, if a Martin guitar needs a neck set, don’t try and solve the problem of high string action any other way! Take the guitar to a *good* repair person, pay the money, and have a proper neck set done. A good neck set will make the guitar play and sound the best it can. With the correct neck set and bridge and saddle height, the guitar strings will drive the top of the guitar best, giving the best sound possible, and at the ideal playing action. And after all, isn’t that what it’s all about?

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Martin Guitar Serial Numbers, Find the Year – Lookup Martin Serial

Martin Guitar Serial Numbers: Find the Year – Lookup Martin Serial

    All Martin guitars since 1898 (except solidbody electrics from the 1970s, basses, and tiples) are numbered in consecutive order. Ukuleles do not have serial numbers. Mandolins use a different serial number system than guitars. Martin guitar serial numbers start at 8000 in 1898 because Martin estimated they made 8000 instruments before 1898. Model Numbers stamped above the Serial Number starting in 1930.
    Starting in October 1930, Martin also stamped the model number just above the serial number. Martin model numbers are straight forward too. The first set of characters are the body size. Next there is a “-“. The last set of numbers are the ornamention style.

    For example, “OO-28″ stamped above the martin guitar serial number tells use the body is “OO” size (14 5/16″ wide for a 14 fret model, 14 1/8″ wide for a 12 fret model), and the ornamention style is “28” (rosewood body, ice cream cone style neck).

Left: The model and serial numbers, as seen through the sound hole on the neck block of this 1950 D-28. Prior to October 1930, the model is NOT stamped on the neck block (you have to figure it out yourself!).
Right: The model and serial numbers, as seen through the sound hole of this 1944 D-18, serial number 90067. Notice the “1” in the “18” does somewhat look like a “2”. This confuses a lot of people who think their style 18 guitar is a style 28. Also the “D” is sometimes confused for an “0”.

    On round hole martin guitars, the serial and model numbers are stamped on the neck block inside the instrument. The number can be seen by looking inside the sound hole. Look at an angle towards the neck. All f-hole Martin archtops have their serial and model numbers stamped on the inside center of the backstripe, roughly under the shadow of the bridge (and best seen from the bass side “f” hole).

    The numbers listed here show the LAST serial number produced for that year. Martin produced all guitar serial number sequentially. These serial number apply to all Martin guitars, flat top and arch top. It does not apply to ukes (except for the first year, they do not have a serial number). Does not apply to Martin mandolins either (they have their own serial number system).

Year    Serial# Range (produced)      Year    Serial# Range (produced)
----    ------------------------      ----    ------------------------
1898    8001-8349 (347)               1950    112962-117961 (4999)
1899    8350-8716 (367)               1951    117962-122799 (4837)
1900    8717-9128 (411)               1952    122800-128436 (5636)
1901    9129-9310 (181)               1953    128437-134501 (6064)
1902    9311-9528 (217)               1954    134502-141345 (6843)
1903    9529-9810 (281)               1955    141346-147328 (5982)
1904    9811-9988 (177)               1956    147329-152775 (5446)
1905    9989-10120 (131)              1957    152776-159061 (6285)
1906    10121-10329 (208)             1958    159062-165576 (6514)
1907    10330-10727 (397)             1959    165577-171047 (5470)
1908    10728-10883 (155)             1960    171048-175689 (4641)
1909    10884-11018 (134)             1961    175690-181297 (5607)
1910    11019-11203 (184)             1962    181298-187384 (6086)
1911    11204-11413 (209)             1963    187385-193327 (5942)
1912    11414-11565 (151)             1964    193328-199626 (6298)
1913    11566-11821 (255)             1965    199627-207030 (7403)
1914    11822-12047 (225)             1966    207031-217215 (10184)
1915    12048-12209 (161)             1967    217216-230095 (12879)
1916    12210-12390 (180)             1968    230096-241925 (11829)
1917    12391-12988 (597)             1969    241926-256003 (14077)
1918    12989-13450 (461)             1970    256004-271633 (15629)
1919    13451-14512 (1061)            1971    271634-294270 (22636)
1920    14513-15484 (1335)            1972    294271-313302 (19031)
1921    15485-16758 (909)             1973    313303-333873 (20570)
1922    16759-17839 (1080)            1974    333873-353387 (19513)
1923    17840-19891 (2051)            1975    353388-371828 (18440)
1924    19892-22008 (2116)            1976    371829-388800 (16971)
1925    22009-24116 (2107)            1977    388801-399625 (10824)
1926    24117-28689 (4572)            1978    399626-407800 (8174)
1927    28690-34435 (5745)            1979    407801-419900 (12099)
1928    34436-37568 (3132)            1980    419901-430300 (10399)
1929    37569-40843 (3274)            1981    430301-436474 (6173)
1930    40844-45317 (4473)            1982    436475-439627 (3152)
1931    45318-49589 (4271)            1983    439628-446101 (6473)
1932    49590-52590 (3000)            1984    446102-453300 (7198)
1933    52591-55084 (2493)            1985    453301-460575 (7274)
1934    55085-58679 (3594)            1986    460576-468175 (7599)
1935    58680-61947 (3267)            1987    468176-476216 (8040)
1936    61948-65176 (3228)            1988    476217-483952 (7735)
1937    65177-68865 (3688)            1989    483953-493279 (9323)
1938    68866-71866 (3000)            1990    493280-503309 (10032)
1939    71867-74061 (2194)            1991    503310-512487 (9177)
1940    74062-76734 (2672)            1992    512488-522655 (10167)
1941    76735-80013 (3278)            1993    522656-535223 (12567)
1942    80014-83107 (3093)            1994    535224-551696 (16472)
1943    83108-86724 (3616)            1995    551697-570434 (18737)
1944    86725-90149 (3424)            1996    570435-592930 (22495)
1945    90150-93623 (3473)            1997    592931-624799 (31868)
1946    93624-98158 (4534)            1998    624800-668796 (43996)
1947    98159-103468 (5309)           1999    668797-724077 (55280)
1948    103469-108269 (4800)          2000    724078-780500 (56422)
1949    108270-112961 (4691)          2001    780501-845644 (65143)
----    ------------------------      ----    ------------------------
Year    Serial# Range (produced)      Year    Serial# Range (produced)

Important Serial Number Milestones.

  • 439xx to 44362: October 1930 first time both the body size & style number stamped on neckblock above the serial number (exact serial number change unknown).
  • 57305 = T frets first used and T bar first used (1934)
  • 59044-61181 = Martin stamp in back of peghead discontinued (1935)
  • 72740 = Change in nut width on 14-fret models from 1 3/4″ to 1 11/16″ (late 1939) on all non-slotted peghead models. Style 17 models with 14-fret body may have changed earlier.
  • 80585 = Ebony neck reinforcement started to be implemented during WW2 (1942)
  • 83107 = Last pre-WW2 style 45 guitar (1942).
  • 89926 = According to Martin, this is the approximate last scalloped braced guitar made (late 1944). Though some models have been seen after this number with scalloped braces, and before this number with tapered braces. (For example #90014 appears to be the last D28 with scalloped braces, and D-28 #88112 had tapered braces.)
  • 90021 = Snowflakes on D28 discontinued (1944). This is an approximate serial#.
  • 98223 = Last style 28 guitar made with Herringbone trim (early 1947).
  • 99992-100240 = Last style 28 guitars made with a “zipper back” center seam (mid 1947).
  • 197207 = Bridge pin holes moved back 1/16″ (1964).
  • 200601 = short saddle bridge (1965).
  • 205251 = 102C Grover machines on all “D” guitars (1965).
  • 211040 = Boltaron bindings on D-28 and D-35 (1966).
  • 212100 = Boltaron bindings on D-18 (1966).
  • 213775 = Boltaron rosettes (1966).
  • 215253 = New tape strips on sides (1966).
  • 216736 = Bridge pin holes moved to center (1966).
  • 217215 = Tortoise guards discontinued (1966).
  • 220467 = Last hand stamped serial/model numbers (1967).
  • 224079 = Kluson K324 tuners on all style 18 models (1967).
  • 226969 = Grover v100 tuners on all 0,00,000 models (1967).
  • 228246 = Square truss rod bar on D models (1967).
  • 235586 = Rosewood bridgeplates on all guitars (1968).
  • 242454 = Larger rosewood bridgeplates on all guitars (1969).
  • 254497 = Last style 28 guitar made with Brazilian rosewood (late 1969).
  • 254498 = East Indian rosewood introduced (1969, a model D-21).
  • 255717 = First D-41 model with Indian Roseood.
  • 256366 = First D-45 model with Indian Rosewood.
  • 350287 = Plastic saddles on D-18 models (1975).
  • 355357 = Plastic saddles on D-28 models (1975).
  • 360970-365831 = Rosewood vertical sidestrips (1975).
  • 370976 = Micarta nuts and saddles (1975).
  • 447004 = Self-adhesive pickguard trial (1984).
  • 447501 = Last glued-down pickguard in regular production (1984).
  • 453181 = Adjustable truss rods gradually implemented (1985).
  • 478093 = Maple bridgeplates on all guitars (1988).
  • 737277 = Last HD-28LSV with an Adirondack top (2000). Sitka spruce was used in regular production thereafter.