Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Guitar Repair -- Before and After


In a recent post, I explained how this guitar, which was found in a high school storage closet, had taken a beating.  The badly warped top had separated from the body and the fingerboard was loose on the neck. Other than these two issues, the guitar was in pretty favorable condition.


Here is the same guitar with a new top and an overall reconditioning.

On the outside, it looks like a new 000 Martin cutaway guitar with pre-amp, which works beautifully since the corroded contacts were cleaned and the old battery replaced with a new one.

But, on the inside it is very different.  I chose to replace the limited bracing with a full-on pre-war D18 style hand formed scalloped brace design for the top.  The internal lining and back braces were reinforced with super glue to stabilize the composite body. The ebony fingerboard was re-glued to the neck, and the warped ebony bridge was flat sanded and re-positioned on the new Martin top, which has six hand-applied coats of TruOil finish.  A new tortoise shell-style scratch guard matches the sound hole inlay, and Ernie Ball light gauge acoustic strings finish off the re-build.

Ian took it for a test run, and I think he likes his 'new' guitar.
By the way, he is a great fingerstyle picker.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Why Would Someone Trash A Martin Guitar?

My young friend Ian found this Martin guitar in a closet at his school.  He asked someone if he could have it,. and the rest is history.  We're repairing it.

Sure, it's not an expensive model, but why would anyone trash a Martin guitar, or any musical instrument for that matter?

This particular guitar is a Martin custom created especially for Guitar Center stores to sell.  It has composite sides and back.  Spruce top with inlay surrounding the sound hole.  The bolt-on neck is one-piece made from thin strips of wood stock laminated together.  The fretboard and bridge are ebony, with bone nut and saddle.  And, it has a Fishman equalizer with Piezo bridge pickup, and Martin closed-gear tuners.

Now, for the not so good stuff.  The top is so warped, from (I think) extreme temperature and humidity change, that it's not salvageable.  And, as you can see in the photos, it has come apart from the interior lining, and the bracing is shot.  The back has also lifted from its lining in several places.

Aside from the top, everything else can be salvaged, and I'm confident that Ian and I can repair it with no problem.  

My friends at the Martin factory came through for me, as usual.  They had a replacement top and scratch guard in stock, and it's on its way to me as I write this missal. I'll need to profile the top and fit it with bracing (modified of course for more stability), but that's no big deal.

When we get done with the repair, it's going to be a better-than-new rig.  Maybe Ian will let me play it.