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FDP Forum / FDP Unplugged - Acoustic Instruments / Would you buy a 1972 Martin D18 for $400?

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Chris Greene
FDP Host

Idaho, USA

Nine mile skid on a ten mile ride
Oct 5th, 2017 05:27 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

I just did. It has a crack at the pickguard between the B and E string where it lifted up, needs a neck reset, new frets or a crown and polish, saddle and nut work but it's clean and, more importantly, playable and well intonated. It belonged to the late husband of a friend of a friend who's moving and just wanted to get rid of it.

Quick cell phone photo

Peegoo
Contributing Member
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Enjoying

the downtime
Oct 5th, 2017 06:01 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

WOW!

Have the work done and you will have a gem of a guitar that sounds fantastic.

Chris Greene
FDP Host

Idaho, USA

Nine mile skid on a ten mile ride
Oct 5th, 2017 06:01 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Stripped the strings off to finish cleaning the guitar. Here's a photo of the crack at the pickguard. Brutal.

External link

(This message was last edited by Chris Greene at 08:02 PM, Oct 5th, 2017)

Chris Greene
FDP Host

Idaho, USA

Nine mile skid on a ten mile ride
Oct 5th, 2017 06:03 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

I'm debating who to send it to. Probably Martin or?

larryguitar19
Contributing Member
*****

South Florida

larryguitar
Oct 5th, 2017 08:02 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

At first blush that crack is an 'ouch'. But I have a feeling it's an entirely fixable problem for Martin or any well regarded luthier. It looks like it's a clean crack with the grain.

twangdoodles

michigan usa

Oct 5th, 2017 08:57 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

I recently heard something about those pickguard cracks: evidently for a time in the sixties and seventies martin was sticking the guards on before the lacquer was applied. The guards then would have no way to move as they shrank, causing the cracks.

I would talk to martin first. They have a good rep for repairs and have surely done a lot of those.

info about your crack...

twangdoodles

michigan usa

Oct 5th, 2017 08:59 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Still a nice score. Also, make sure it isn't one of those "mistake" guitars that had the misplaced bridges.

jvstratman

USA

Oct 5th, 2017 09:02 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Contact Bryan Kimsey in "Technical" forum at UMGF.

A lot of 70's era Martin 14 fret Dreads had unusually large bridge plates and a mislocated bridge that resulted in annoying intonation issues. Google it.

A lot of folks send him their Martins for all levels of work. He's "THE" guy.

Good luck!

stratcowboy
Contributing Member
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USA/Taos, NM

Oct 5th, 2017 09:05 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

On a related note...

Today we out-loaded a bunch of firewood from the ranch to a neighbor who is a world-renowned builder of violins, violas and cellos (like $30K instruments--people come from around the world to play and purchase his instruments). I think he told me that in a 30+ year career he has built (only) 180 instruments. He and his wife were telling us about a recent client who needed help re-constructing a cello (that he did not build himself). As this person was a friend of theirs, they decided to take on the job.

The job consisted of re-constructing a $75K cello that the woman inadvertently backed her car over. Normally she used a hard case, but because of a recent surgery, she was using a soft case (weight savings). Other renowned luthiers around the country had refused to take the project (including Robertson & Sons in Albuquerque who are world famous classical luthiers). David took on the project and it took him over 5 months to put this thing back together. The smallest piece he had was one piece the size of a dime! He said he certainly didn't charge her enough for all the work he put in. He also said he would wake up during the night and torment over what his next step in the re-build process would be. A Herculean project to be sure. But ultimately, he claims the cello sounded better after re-construction (partially due, he says, to the fact that her care of the cello in recent years was not what it should have been).

My guess is your *new* Martin will repair just fine.

David doesn't do guitars...

(This message was last edited by stratcowboy at 11:13 PM, Oct 5th, 2017)

stratcowboy
Contributing Member
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USA/Taos, NM

Oct 5th, 2017 09:11 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

I've heard good things about...

...this guy

jvstratman

USA

Oct 5th, 2017 09:11 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Here, Bryan talks about 70's Martin Dreads. I've watched several of his vids. He seems like a real down to earth gent.

Link

Chris Greene
FDP Host

Idaho, USA

Nine mile skid on a ten mile ride
Oct 5th, 2017 09:59 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Yeah, the B string crack is pretty common on these older Martins. Not too big a deal. I stuck a straight edge on the fretboard and there must be a good 1/8-3/16" of bridge above it and no saddle left to lower so a neck reset is likely the best solution. Interesting about the intonation, to my ear, the harmonic and 12th fret note sounds good on all but the low E. Bridge pins are cheap and shot but the bridge *seems* otherwise OK.

Restrung it with Martin Lights (12-54, I think) and now the A string is buzzing like crazy at the first fret. It had mediums on there.

There's a guy up near Challis, ID called Stephen Neal Saqui who came up some years ago from San Diego (he worked at and then owned The Blue Guitar). Builds guitars and is Martin Authorized. Talked to him tonight and may visit him on my next SNRA camping trip.

I know about Bryan Kimsey and the boys at UMGF love him (I have a thread running there too). I just hate to ship a guitar. Almost as cheap to go to Challis.

No rush to do anything so I will take my time getting the necessary work but the overall appearance is good and it has that D18 punch that you don't hear in the rosewood guitars. The overall condition of the body is really good for 45 years of age. Sat in a storage locker in northern NM for 10 years and then here for another couple, all without any humidity. Frets have almost zero sprout and the finish is not checked anywhere on the body. Neck is a nice one piece without wings or issues save for a lacquer chip on the back around the third fret. Could be wear but I don't think so.

(This message was last edited by Chris Greene at 12:11 AM, Oct 6th, 2017)

Hammond101
Contributing Member
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So. Cal. USA

Oct 5th, 2017 10:46 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Very sweet guitar for the price. Once the issues are corrected that will be one fine player.

archiestone
Contributing Member
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El Californio

Oct 6th, 2017 12:41 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Definitely go 'Martin Authorized.'
The local guy here in East SF Bay is a wizard. Plus, if you ever decide to sell it you can say the work was done by a Martin-anointed repairman.

Chris Greene
FDP Host

Idaho, USA

Nine mile skid on a ten mile ride
Oct 6th, 2017 01:19 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Who's the guy, arch?

Ragtop
Contributing Member
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The older the violin

the sweeter the music.
Oct 6th, 2017 05:23 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Good on you to do right by that old guitar.

Sometimes we aren't the "owner" of old things, but rather the "curator."

You'll have yourself a stellar old player when the work is done.

I wish I would have bought a nice mahogany Martin decades ago, but I was a rosewood snob. Got one now, though.

reverend mikey
Contributing Member
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N of I-90, E of I-29

You're old. Then vintage. Then good!
Oct 6th, 2017 08:08 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

No matter where you get it repaired, if the luthier does a good job you'll have an incredible guitar! Old wood is good wood!

Peegoo
Contributing Member
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Enjoying

the downtime
Oct 6th, 2017 08:55 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

"Who's the guy, arch?"

Probably Gryphon Stringed Instruments near Palo Alto. They are world-renown for their quality work, and a Martin-authorized repair center.

Viera
Contributing Member
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Santee CA

I forgot my tagline
Oct 6th, 2017 09:21 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

I've always liked the looks of those blackguard D-18s. If you like the feel of the neck and the sound as is it might be worth the $ and effort to have it repaired, even though you seem to be more of a rosewood guy.

BTW, I read your UMGF thread. Those guys really do like Kimsey. If I were going to spend what it will take to do the repairs you have mentioned, I would spend a little extra and have the braces shaved, which Kimsey is renowned for, among other mods.

If you haven't already done so you might ask Stephen Neal Saqui if he can and will do some of the Kimsey mods. His store (The Blue Guitar) did have a good reputation for repair work while he was down here in San Diego. I had some excellent work done on a Martin by one of his protégées.

Ayns

UK

England's Sloppiest Guitarist
Oct 6th, 2017 09:34 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Wow. I paid £1k (approx $2k at the time) for a 1974 D18-12 a few years ago. I've just checked eBay and they are £2k - £3k now. Good score.

Next 20 Messages   Newest 20 Messages

FDP Forum / FDP Unplugged - Acoustic Instruments / Would you buy a 1972 Martin D18 for $400?




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