7/13/2015

1990s Korean-made Sigma DM-2 Dreadnought Guitar




I've had a positive experience with Martin-sold Sigma guitars (especially Korean ones), so I picked this up when it was offered to me for sale in-store. It's the ever-present DM-2 model which specs out as an all-laminate body with vaguely Martin D-18 appointments and sizing (though the shoulders are a little "softer" in shape). It handles a lot like a modern Martin D with long scale (in this case, 25 5/8") and a thinner, C/V hybrid profile neck shape. After doing work to it (fret level/dress, new bone saddle, new Martin bridge pins, new hand-cut pickguard, good setup) it plays spot-on and easy and has a good, robust tone. It kinda sounds like a crisp new Martin, to be honest!

An all-laminate body is certainly not a bad thing when the guitar that laminate is on is built correctly. In this case, Sigmas nail the design down: well-cut bracing and clean interior work show that off. That lets the very thin laminate top do its job as a sounding-board, and while the tone isn't going to "open up" and bloom like crazy over time the same way a solid-top guitar will, it hardly matters because it sounds good out of the gate. Personally -- I prefer a guitar like this far more than a sloppily-made cheap Chinese guitar with a solid-top. Design is far more important than materials, as far as I'm concerned.

The laminate also deals well with weather: I tuned this up two days ago in a cool, dry house -- took it out today in 90% humidity and tons of heat -- played it out there for a while -- then took it back in here to record a sound clip. Did I need to tune? Nope!


This guitar dates from around 1989-1992. It's very clean for its age with only a very tiny amount of play-wear right at the soundhole edge and a bit of pin-hole nicking at the bridge. It looks like it's "new old stock" from a shop.

My new pickguard (red tortoise) looks a zillion times better than the horrid printed-pickguard material that was on this when it came to me.


While I'm not a fan of the oversize buttons (typical for 90s guitars), the sealed tuners work just fine. This has a 1 11/16" nut width.


The rosewood board is bound and has pearl dots. It's wearing 54w-12 strings and the truss rod functions well with a straight neck.



The new bone saddle and string ramps have given this a lot more power over the dilapidated original plastic saddle that this came in with.






Someone had installed and then removed a strap button in the heel -- so I added a new one from my bins.






Thankfully, there's a whole site about Sigma labels and dating. I had a suspicion that this was an early 90s model, but that site confirmed it.

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