C.F. Martin Company, Stinger Model Guitars 1985-1996 In November of 1985, C.F. Martin unveiled its Stinger line of solid body electric guitars and basses. Most Stinger guitars were made by the world renowned Samick Piano Company located in South Korea and shipped to the C.F. Martin factory located in Nazareth, PA. for a final inspection and set-up. In 1989 Martin expanded by 10% adding 6,200 square feet to their warehouse to accommodate for the Stinger line. After final set-up some guitars received a clear decal placed on the seven digit, serial numbered neck plate that stated 'Prepared and Inspected by C. F. Martin & Co., Inc.' before being distributed to dealers. The Stinger guitar line was advertised as 'Stinger from the Martin Company'. However, not all Stinger guitars have a serial number. C.F. Martin also advertised and sold Stinger brand guitar strings also in 1989 amplifiers and effects boxes. All Stinger models had a one year warranty on the guitar and 90 days on the electronics. Stingers were built to C.F. Martin specifications and are high quality. C.F. Martin never actually produced Stinger catalogs, but they are known to be listed in some Martin catalogs, magazines and flyers. C.F. Martin claims they did not record any serial numbers so a detailed record is unavailable. Early Stingers were four basic body styles, a conventional Strat shape, a Strat-style with an arched top, a Tele and a Precision-style bass. These came in a variety of finish and pickup configuration options. Headstocks were a kind of modified Strat-style six-in-line, with a pointed throat and slightly hooked nose, with a painted (or decal) triangular Stinger logo running under the strings. All had bolt-on maple necks and fret board. Guitars were 25.4", and the basses were 34" scale. Sources other than available flyers do not mention all the fingerboard and hardware color but most appear to be Grover equipped. The basses followed a similar pattern. The SBX sported one split-coil pickup, volume, tone and black, candy apple red, white pearl and gun metal finishes, with matching colored neck and colored chrome hardware. The SBL-10 (1986-1988) offered a split neck pickup and single-coil bridge pickup, with two volumes, master tone, three-way select, cream, black, white, and black pearl finish option, with matching maple neck and hardware. The 1988 November Stinger price list contained the SWG Strat ($281), SGV ($294), SSX Strat ($308), and STX ($330) guitars and the SBX ($337) and SBL-10 ($367) basses, the black SSX and SBX now available in lefty versions (add $15). Essentially these were unchanged in options. Other known Stinger guitars are the SSX-10, SSL-20, SSZ, SPX, SRX and ST4. Three guitars and two basses were listed in the Guitar World 1990-91 Guitar Buyerﾒs Guide. Basses were the SBL and SBL-105. The SBL was a P-bass with split-coil and single-coil pickups, rosewood ﾒboard, and black hardware. The SBL-105 is a five-string version of the SBL. These later models had a 'Shark Tooth' headstock which was originally designed by Randy Rhoads for his custom built Jackson guitar. In the Guitar World 1992-93 Guitar Buyer's Guide only one Stinger guitar was listed, the ST-2, an inexpensive Strat with three single-coil pickups. No basses were listed (The ST2 was available in a guitar and bass model). In 1993 Martin Stinger sales lagged. The Stinger ST-2, tremelo Strats in black, red and white were still in the 1996 C.F. Martin catalog. Stingers are well built guitars that setup well, with a decent hefty feel. Stingers were always well made, clearly 'Martins.' However, C.F. Martin Co. claims they where only distributors the Stinger due to the Trademark. However, Martin is heavily associated with the Stinger guitar line.
Total restoration; New Pickguard; Original Electronics/Hardware.