Antique Musical Instruments/Darco guitar made for C.F. Martin


cj5nutz wrote at 2009-09-16 20:21:59
I have one of these as well. Martins official response is...

" Good Morning, Thank you for contacting Martin. Not much information on the Darco guitars, just that they were experimental and we only had a few protos. The time period was early 80's. I guess you have one of a few."

Hope this helps! Mine is not and will not be for sale .

Pedro Borba wrote at 2009-11-06 06:57:13
I found one of these for sale, but it didn't have the Darco Branding in the headstock.

I noted the plug on the back strap holder, but there wasn't any kind of controls anywhere, and I did not test it.

Inside it did have the "MIJ for Martin Co", but I can't remember serial numbers.

Hope this adds a little to anybody interested

Andy wrote at 2009-11-13 14:50:27
Hello, I just found a Darco guitar at Guitar Center for $249. I played it and it sounds great. Do you know if it is worth that much? There is no marking on the headstock, but it has the Darco/Martin marking you referred to inside the soundhole. Thanks for your response.

Ray wrote at 2012-07-28 21:56:19
I own a Darco Guitar that has very similar markings like yours and the case that it came in is exactly like yours (without the stickers).  My model is a DR-28H.  I picked mine up in 1999 and it is in perfect condition as is the case.  I would be glad to share pictures..

jack wrote at 2013-09-14 23:18:37
I have a darco d-12 it appraisal was 1800 about 9 years ago I have a d28 and 18 martin and I like my darco better I play it on stage 6 days a week.

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Jim Garber


PLEASE NOTE: I will not be able to answer any questions about antique keyboards, accordions, concertinas, woodwinds, brass and percussion.

I can answer most questions on fretted instruments, my main area of expertise is in vintage mandolins, guitars and ukuleles. I also know some things about old banjos as well.

I have decided to no longer evaluate instruments -- it is very difficult without the instrument in hand. For guitars and some other American fretted instruments, I recommend the Vintage Guitar Price guide. Also, be aware that most insurance companies want written appraisals so my valuation would not work anyway.

ALSO PLEASE NOTE: it is near-impossible to accurately appraise a violin or bow remotely. If you truly want to find out what you have, you will likely need to take it to a reputable local dealer. Many of these folks will at least give you a verbal assessment of what you have after an inspection in hand and, if it is indeed worth something, can write you up a formal appraisal, usually for a fee.

If you have any questions about zithers please check the following sites: or
Between the two of them, they have it all covered for any zither-like instrument.


I have been buying, selling, collecting and playing old and antique instruments for over 30 years. My recent specialty has been in European mandolins and classical and Italian mandolin music.

Classical Mandolin Society of America, active participant on the Mandolin Cafe

Guild of American Luthiers, Sing Out Magazine,

BA, Brandeis University

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