The legendary Sigma story
Sigma guitars - remember them? The former low-priced division of Martin Guitars sold quite well from 1970 to 2002 and had a really good reputation among guitarists around the globe. Then Martin discontinued this line and it became quiet around Sigma.
Since 2011, however, the guitars are available again, as AMI, a Munich-based instrument distributor, acquired the still-good brand name, won back the old producer and since then supplies those who want to buy a quality acoustic guitar without breaking their budget . But now let's go back to the beginning. How it all began...
U.S. guitar manufacturers faced a difficult situation in the late 1960s: Guitars were being produced in Japan that looked very similar to U.S. guitars and were offered at a much lower price. These guitars increasingly threatened the dominance of U.S. manufacturers in the market. Some American companies reacted appropriately to this development and launched a counteroffensive instead of taking legal action. In 1970, "SIGMA", the brand name for acoustic guitars was introduced, founded by the American company C.F. Martin.
Sigma launched a wide series of acoustic and classical guitars, initially built by various manufacturers/factories in Japan from 1970 to 1983. The dreadnought acoustic guitars were typically the first Sigmas, although Grand Concert Series (GCS) and classical models were also made starting in the early 1970s (1971?).
Although other models were also made, the two most common in the 1970s were the DM-5 (DM12-5) and DR-7 (DR12-7) dreadnought models. D stands for dreadnought, R for rosewood, M for mahogany and the number for the wood type, 5, 7, 9, 11 or 15.
In 1978, they added Martin model numbers to the model designations to capitalize on them. These "Second Generation" C.F. Martin Sigmas with solid wood tops (DM-18, DM-19, DR-28, DR-28H, DR-35, DR-41, and DR45) are considered particularly compelling. The "First Generation" DM5 and DR7 (laminate body and top) and other early models (for example, GCS7/CS7) continued to be produced at this time.
Sigma guitars gained an excellent reputation soon after their launch. Many musicians swear by the instruments to this day, as both the construction and the sound are excellent. Certainly one of the reasons why there are hardly any used Sigma guitars left to buy. Most owners would never part with their beloved guitar. There are even collectors who specialize exclusively in Sigma guitars.
"I am honored to continue the tradition of "Sigma Guitars Est. 1970". As a guitar builder and repairer of top quality acoustic and concert guitars for over 40 years, I am honored to have been able to acquire the rights to the cherished name "Sigma Guitars Est. 1970" as well as the distinctive Sigma logo in various locations around the world. Our business partner and guitar manufacturer is one of the most renowned producers, building outstanding quality guitars for almost half a century. It's come full circle: "Sigma Guitars Est. 1970", has returned, and I am proud to be part of the legend."
- Günther Lutz
Sigma Custom Guitars
Sigma Custom models are guitars with different specifications that are available in limited quantities. They are divided into Limited Run, 28-35 Custom, 40-45 Custom and SG Custom.
With the SGJR-SG200, for example, Sigma Guitars has introduced a Grand Jumbo that knows how to convince with its powerful sound and massive construction. The mixture of an Adirondack spruce top and a body made of high-quality solid rosewood gives the SGJR-SG200 a voluminous sound, which is characterized by round, powerful basses, nuanced mids and clear trebles.
Set in the specialist workshop
All Sigma guitars are fully adjusted in our professional workshop before safe guitar shipment. The neck curvature is adjusted, the nut notches and bridge inlays are adjusted. We pay attention to a very good playability of the instruments. We will gladly take your preferences into account when adjusting your new Sigma acoustic guitar. For this you can contact us after your order.
Interesting facts about Sigma guitars
Sigma Standard Series
The Sigma Standard Series is here to stay. With solid spruce tops carefully selected and an ultra-thin high gloss finish, these guitars are something special. The Style 41, 42 and 45 models go a step further than the existing fingerboard work and rosettes with extensive abalone inlays. They offer something for those who have the most elegant taste in acoustic guitars. Backs and sides are available in mahogany and tilia throughout the series, depending on the model. The acoustic-electric guitars are equipped with a Fishman or L.R. Baggs pickup system. Soft shell cases as well as pre-mounted D'Addario strings are included. The Standard Series leaves virtually nothing to be desired.
The SG series from Sigma is unique and beautiful. It features a custom solid spruce top (Adirondack on the SJM-SG45) and mahogany or flamed maple for the back and sides, depending on the model. Each guitar has at least one exclusive feature. Solid tops or all-solid construction, satin sunburst, vintage & heritage cherry burst, eye-catching pickguards... the entire line is packed with the best features Sigma has to offer. The choice is yours! All guitars in the series are equipped with pickups, either the Sigma SE-PT, Fishman Sonitone or LR Baggs EAS-VTC , depending on the design as well as D'Addario strings for a perfect composition of an acoustic guitar. All models except GJM-SGE , JM - SGE and LM - SGE are supplied with a softshell case . Also available in 12 - string models (DM12 - SG5 and GJA12 - SG200).
Sigma Special Edition Series
The Sigma Special Edition series is a line of ever-changing guitars made for special musicians. It offers a wide selection of different tonewoods, cosmetics and reinterpretations of classic models. All guitars come with high-quality soft shell cases, D'Addario strings and matching pickup systems for acoustic electronics from Fishman, LR Baggs or Sigma - depending on the model. Don't miss your chance at something unique and check out Sigma Special Edition acoustic guitars today!
The "Limited Edition" series from Sigma Guitars is an exclusive collection that presents interesting combinations of high-quality and sometimes exotic tonewoods. The series is constantly changing and thus always unique - a snapshot in time. Only a select few have access to the choicest specifications of our chapter. These guitars are perfect for collectors and musicians who are looking for something different from all others.
Sigma VS. Martin - or "Really good Sigmas!"
Those who know about the history of guitars under the Sigma label expect Sigma quality and a sound that is close to the original. Two examples should be representative of the range of Sigma acoustic guitars.
The Sigma S000R-28V acoustic guitar is a counterpart of the Martin Signature-000-28EC. The model sounds powerful and authentic.
The Sigma SDM-18 from the Standard Series is a copy of the Martin D18, developing the most pressure in the low end, which, when tested, evoked associations with "Body And Soul", a classic by the Sisters Of Mercy. Quality and workmanship are right, as is the playability.
The new Sigmas are tonally based on the good sounds of their predecessors from the 1970s and thus form the foundation for a pleasant sound of the guitars. The AMI or Sigma company should be commended for this, as the acoustic guitars, which have been on the market since 2011, are not aimed at nostalgics who mourn the colorful 70s. Instead, they are really good Sigmas that offer more choice to the market.