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How to Tell if a Martin Guitar is Real (6 Things to Look Out For)

Martin guitars are known for their superb build and their rich and unique sound. Because of their quality, this makes them a hot ticket item for counterfeiting. How do you know if the guitar you purchased thinking it was a Martin truly is the real deal and not a fake model?

In this article, we will be discussing the things you need to look out for to make sure your Martin acoustic guitar is the real deal.

Let’s get to it.

How to Tell if a Martin Guitar is Real

If you want to see if your Martin guitar is real then the first thing thing you will want to do is check out the features of your guitar. 

Take a look at these features when trying to identify a real Martin:

The Finish

If your guitar looks too shiny with grain lifting or you notice grainy streaks in its finish, chances are your guitar is not real, and you have your hands on a knockoff. Real Martin guitar finishes have a smooth and deep look to their finish. 


A counterfeit Martin guitar may feature very crudely cut soundholes, a real authentic model will feature smooth edges and shapely forms in the sound holes.

Brand Markings

Although you may initially think the guitar features the correct label for the brand or interior markings, upon closer inspection, you will see some abnormalities. If the bodywork looks to be poorly made, you’re looking at a fake. 

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Knockoff models are made with inexpensive laminate wood. You can tell the wood is laminate by looking at the inside and outside grain color. The color should be consistent in both locations, if they appear different this means the wood is, in fact, laminate and not solid. 

The Bridge and Bridge Plate 

The finish of the bridge saddle will not seem to fit consistent with the guitar. Martin guitars have rounded off corners with the bridge saddle fitting tight, a counterfeit model will have sharp edges which have been crudely cut.

The bridge plate of an authentic Martin has a solid piece of wood right underneath the bridge. On a counterfeit model, you may see color disfiguration on the neck dot markers, alerting you to a fake.

Other Key Features of Martin Guitars

Authentic Martin guitars use mother of pearl in their logo, which has a sparkle to it that cannot be duplicated. The Stain of a Mahogany neck will be a deep, dark color. This is one feature of Martin guitars that counterfeit designs have not been able to copy.

Martin Acoustic Guitar

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s)

The most asked questions about how to identify a counterfeit Martin guitar.

Do all Martin Guitars Have Serial Numbers?

Yes, one of the key identifiers of a true, authentic Martin guitar is the serial number.

Where is the Serial Number on a Martin Guitar?

The serial numbers on a Martin guitar can be located on the neck block. You will want to look inside the soundhole and look in the direction of the neck, here you will find the serial number and model of the guitar.

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How are Martin Guitars Numbered?

Martin Guitars are numbered by body and shape. The first numbers or letters you see indicate the body shape followed by their style number. The style numbers are an indicator of their construction materials. This type of system allows for many different combinations. 


Hopefully, this guide serves to identify a counterfeit Martin guitar. When making a purchase such as this one, you will want to do your research ahead of time so you can ensure you are prepared to make the right purchasing decision and get your hands on the real deal!

Jason Braswell

Monday 1st of August 2022

I have a Martin D45s with the serial number of 091672. Can anyone tell by the serial number if it is a real Martin?


Sunday 5th of March 2023

I have one with that number too


Wednesday 8th of June 2022

I have a Martin DC 16re Premium serial #997280 is this a real Martin Guitar.


Sunday 26th of December 2021

Hi, how can I remove the Martin name off the tuning head of the guitar .. the name runs down between the tuners? I found out it was a fake Martin guitar.