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Sigma Solidbody Bass

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by ZylaGuitars, Apr 29, 2010.

  1. ZylaGuitars


    Apr 29, 2010
    I have just acquired a Martin Sigma bass through a trade. I was wondering if anyone knows history on when this would have been made, there are no numbers visible on the outside of the bass.

    On the headstock there is a sidways M with SIGMA directly under it. This is as if you were holding the bass upright. There are metal covers over the bridge & neck pickup which looks to be a lipstick style. Bridge pickup is a humbucker also metal like the lipstick style pickup. It has 4 screws across the middle.

    On the metal place where the neck is attached on the back of the bass reads "Made in Japan."

    I will take the pickguard off later today and see what I can figure out inside the instrument. I have searched for a few hours online and have not been able to find history on this bass.

    Can anyone help?
  2. Rockman


    Mar 2, 2006
    Just a comment, the sideways M is more than likely not an M but a Sigma. Anyway back to the topic on hand.
  3. ZylaGuitars


    Apr 29, 2010
    The "M" is not a sigma clearly. We'll say there is a font it is printed in where the middle part of the "M" is tucked very low and slightly curved. I will try to grab some AAA batteries today also so I can post a picture of this.
  4. cdef


    Jul 18, 2003
    The Martin "Sigma" acoustics and solidbodies were built at the Tokai factory in Hamamatsu, Japan, starting in 1972 or 1973.
  5. ZylaGuitars


    Apr 29, 2010
    Does anyone know where I could find some more depth information about this bass online? The neck is a very light wood, not mohogony, the body is about the same shade. It is laminated with solid top/bottom.

    any direction would be appreciated!
  6. Research Tokai.
  7. GeneralElectric


    Dec 26, 2007
    NY, NY
    I had a Sigma Acoustic from the early 70s. The line carried well into the 2000s but by then it was all acoustics. I new a guy who had one from the early 70s (75?) and had his strung with Rotosound electric guitar strings.
  8. ZylaGuitars


    Apr 29, 2010

    Ok so there she is, thanks for the direction. It looks as if there were very few of these made. After a fret job and some new strings, a little polishing it plays wonderful.
  9. ZylaGuitars


    Apr 29, 2010
    Just wondering. The cover over the neck-pickup - does this change the tone significantly? I have removed it because it DEFINITELY gets in the way of my playing style (You might say I break a lot of strings).
  10. timmarks

    timmarks Supporting Member

    Jan 26, 2005
    Nashville, TN
    Endorsing Artist: Lakland, D'Addario, Mesa
    looks like an Ampeg Big Stud bass
  11. Pickup covers improve the tone---when you take them off.

    If they get in the way of playing technique, into the spare parts bin ASAP.

    The pickguard looks sloppy, as if it wanted to follow the bass's outline but was drunk, so it swerved a bit.
    Cool looking, otherwise.
  12. cdef


    Jul 18, 2003
    Same bass, only the headstock is slightly different. Gretsch had it in their Dorado line, too. - All of these may actually have been built at the Kasuga facory, which had a joint operation with Tokai (Kasuga International).
  13. ZylaGuitars


    Apr 29, 2010
    I found the picture in reference with the Tokai factory. It stated that there was 4 models of solid-body sigma instruments made. This bass along with a few solid-body electric guitars. I can not stress how beautiful the inlays in the fretboard are IRL. Also the fretboard itsself being 30+ yrs old is in VERY good condition. I did a fretjob on the instrument the night I acquired it and it plays wonderfully.

    I am using strings from a 5-string set, using the 4 thickest strings. Hopefully this will help keep me from breaking strings so often. I consistantly break a string every two or three months.

    I can't wait to hear it running through my bass rig!! It's too bad that my rig is too big to bring back from my drummers without taking 30 minutes +.

    The Amp I am using is a 80's marshall 200x2 watt bi-amp with two separate mosfet setups, it is the first mosfet amp put out by marshall. I will also try to get pictures of the inside of this amplifier. It is amazing how heavy the transformer is compared to newer amps, let me tell you the components in this amp are HUGE and the chipboard has hand written schematics on it.

    Oh on another note, I can not use the input on the front of my amp due to the fact that it has bad pots. The pots on the amp are called "smart pots" and are very expensive to replace so I run through the line input on the back and play through a mixer.
  14. ZylaGuitars


    Apr 29, 2010
    props to me for getting way off topic consistantly!! Woohoo!

    BTW: Zylaguitars will be back in business soon!

    If anyone feels inclined research "the zyla method" for installing b-band under-saddle pups. My father passed my graduation day of high school, he tested pickups and strings along with building guitars, I started learning the art at the age of 8. Miss you dad!
  15. ZylaGuitars


    Apr 29, 2010
  16. ZylaGuitars


    Apr 29, 2010
    my 1'st build. Sad that I don't have a complete picture. All got lost in my reformat. I will take a picture when I have a chance to make it across town
  17. tgvc


    Nov 25, 2011
    Does anybody know if this is an older Sigma Bass manufactured during the joint venture with Martin?

    Attached Files:

  18. GM60466


    May 20, 2006
    Land of Lakland
    according to the folks at CF Martin there are no records of production numbers or models. Years ago, Mike Longworth told me that the earliest acoustics had two serial numbers. One when it left Japan and a black marker pen number when they were set up in the USA.

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