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FDP Forum / FDP Unplugged - Acoustic Instruments / Looking at a vintage Martin... What to look for?

Previous 20 Messages  
budg
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ohio

Home of the Goodyear blimp
Jun 25th, 2019 04:11 AM   Edit   Profile  

"Take it to someone who knows Martins N O W !!
Before your 72 hrs is up."

" I have 3 days to decide once I get it. My plan is to take it to Lays once it arrives and let them assess it for me. If everything looks good I’ll keep it . I don’t know too many people more knowledgeable about vintage guitars than Dan and especially Martins . "

Yep thats the plan as soon as it comes in. The place I am taking it has restored and repair many Martins of just about every era. If I dont like what I see , it goes back. There are plenty of things to look for with the 70s era Martins for sure.

The one thing that was in the description was “ no neck reset needed at this time”. We’ll see if that is the case, but if it ends up being a solid guitar I’ll know it.

(This message was last edited by budg at 08:40 AM, Jun 25th, 2019)

larryguitar19
Contributing Member
*****

South Florida

larryguitar
Jun 25th, 2019 07:57 AM   Edit   Profile  

Wow. I find it hard to accept a guitar that was made while I was around and already playing is 'vintage'.

I feel old.

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

You're old. Then vintage. Then good!
Jun 26th, 2019 12:25 PM   Edit   Profile  

Yeah, the word "vintage" is usually applied most accurately to Martins from the 30's, 40's and *maybe* 50's.

Martins from the 1970's can still be wonderful instruments if their necks and bridge issues are addressed. And fortunately, since they're NOT YET considered "vintage" by the guitar snob crowd, you can get away with doing mods on them to make them better, like scalloping braces, shaving the back braces, removing the popcycle brace, replacing the heavy Grover tuners, etc.

I saw a 72 D-35 at Dave's guitar shop in LaCrosse, WI yesterday...messed with it for a few strums. It definitely needed a neck reset; didn't really check the intonation. I don't remember if it was on consignment, but the strings on it were ancient - so it was hard to tell what kind of tone it could actually produce. But at the right price, it could be an interesting project...

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

You're old. Then vintage. Then good!
Jun 26th, 2019 12:27 PM   Edit   Profile  

P.S. There were several NEW Authentic Martins hanging on the wall at Dave's that were miles better than that '72. They were priced accordingly ($4.5K and up), but wow, there were 3 that I would have gladly taken home if money was no object...

budg
Contributing Member
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ohio

Home of the Goodyear blimp
Jun 26th, 2019 12:38 PM   Edit   Profile  

For 4.5 k they better be better. Since I’m only paying a third of that I’m ok with that. Someday maybe.

larryguitar19
Contributing Member
*****

South Florida

larryguitar
Jun 26th, 2019 01:39 PM   Edit   Profile  

Years ago I started by GAS with a Martin HD-28. I think I paid about $2100 and maybe another $150 for the Fishman UST.

I have never looked back or regretted that decision.

I had the good luck to meet Brian Sutton and play his '38 D-28. I will admit it did sound better. The story is that some family in Kentucky owned it and worked out a deal it should go to Gruhn's with the proviso it go to somebody who will do it justice.

To my way thinking Brian is one of the finest bluegrass flatpickers and, being a professional touring, it's only right that he should have that guitar. That guitar found exactly 'the guy'.

And for me as a weekend warrior my HD28 is the right guitar for me and I'm really pretty much done in my search.

I also bought a Gibson J-45 about the same time. Frankly it was more of an after thought. But now it is the preferred choice as I walk out the door to my next open mic.

The Martin is therefore that precise stuff. The Gibson is what you want if you want to thump the chest of the guy in the back row.

budg
Contributing Member
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ohio

Home of the Goodyear blimp
Jun 27th, 2019 06:20 AM   Edit   Profile  

Well it arrived yesterday , but I didn’t have a ton of time to play it. These are my first impressions.

The action in nice, even a little on the low side for me. The pickguard will need replaced at some point . Showing the very beginning stages of lifting. The bridge looks good. There is no lifting whatsoever. I love the V neck. The guitar stays in tune and sounds great. Cosmetically it’s as described. Checking with some buckle rash and a few dings and scratches.

Taking it to the guitar shop to have them assess its condition. There is a fair amount of fret sprout. I’ll see if properly humidifying it will help or if the ends need filed.

(This message was last edited by budg at 08:35 AM, Jun 27th, 2019)

jefe46
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State of Jefferson

Jun 27th, 2019 08:04 AM   Edit   Profile  

At first glance, how much saddle is showing?

Have you measured from the nut to the 12th and the 12th to the saddle ?

Looking forward to a positive report.



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

You're old. Then vintage. Then good!
Jun 27th, 2019 09:56 AM   Edit   Profile  

Looking forward to the shop's RX. Hopefully it won't need too much work. "Sounds" like a keeper!

budg
Contributing Member
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ohio

Home of the Goodyear blimp
Jun 27th, 2019 02:02 PM   Edit   Profile  

So I went to the guitar shop and had him look over the guitar and he said for what I paid for it , it was a no brainer. He said if someone brought that guitar in as a trade he would put it upstairs and tag it for 2500 and would easily be able to sell it for 2100 without thinking hard.

The frets are in good shape , the neck is straight as an arrow , saddle height looks good , action and relief looks good . He says it looks like a neck reset has been done , but cant tell for sure. He said guitars this age with out a reset have much less saddle left than this. He said I could probably call Martin to verify. The pickgard looks good, no cracks and all the binding is intact.

The bad.... The bridge is in the wrong place , which I suspected when I tuned it and checked it at the 12th fret. He is going to fill in the original spot with a plug and rout another place in the correct position . That will cost me about 100 dollars . He will take care of the fret sprout at this time. All in all pretty happy with this one . 100 dollar repair into a 1500 dollar 47 year old guitar is a no brainer in my book.

FlyonNylon
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East Tennessee

Jun 27th, 2019 02:17 PM   Edit   Profile  

Congrats! Something to look forward to.

I played a really nice 1976 D18 with a recent neck reset and set-up, and it played surprisingly well.

Had a tone similar to my vintage acoustic (grandfather's Marwin Star from 1937) and I was looking for a modern playing "canon" type instrument so got a brand new D18 which I'm very pleased with, but they only wanted $1500 for the vintage D18 so this thread makes me think I should've just got 'em both lol.

budg
Contributing Member
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ohio

Home of the Goodyear blimp
Jun 27th, 2019 02:32 PM   Edit   Profile  

Flyon congrats on the D18.I have a 2013 D18 and it is a great guitar. I have always had a special love for the D35. I do like the fact that it is so different than my D18 though.

jefe46
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State of Jefferson

Jun 27th, 2019 04:14 PM   Edit   Profile  

Good News, Congrats !.

budg
Contributing Member
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ohio

Home of the Goodyear blimp
Jun 27th, 2019 04:25 PM   Edit   Profile  

Revs right about the vintage tag being applied to 30s-40s and maybe 50s. Funny ,in car hobbies my 72 Oldsmobile has Historical plates on it. I’m sure more guitars than cars still around from 72 I guess.

Leftee
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VA

The Escalator
Jun 27th, 2019 04:30 PM   Edit   Profile  

Great outcome!

Mountie
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Apple Town, NS

Former Mountie now......
Jun 27th, 2019 04:46 PM   Edit   Profile  

Love to hear success stories...


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

You're old. Then vintage. Then good!
Jun 28th, 2019 09:55 AM   Edit   Profile  

Yeah, glad the guitar was as represented. The bridge placement is minor (even if he had to move it). Those get fixed all the time.

So let me repeat one of my favorite lines from the movie, "Dances with Wolves":

"Good trade."

jefe46
Contributing Member
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State of Jefferson

Jun 28th, 2019 05:06 PM   Edit   Profile  

A bit of information on 70s bridges from :

Bryan Kimsey

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

You're old. Then vintage. Then good!
Jun 28th, 2019 09:30 PM   Edit   Profile  

Bryan seems to be a go-to guy for Martins.

I'll be sending him my Martin J-40 next week for some tone modifications (no structural work, as it's a 2018 in great condition).

Having him enlarge the soundhole, slot the bridge pin holes and put in unslotted pins, remove the popsicle brace and shave down the tall lower rear back braces.

The guitar sounds great already - these mods should "kick it up a notch".

budg
Contributing Member
**********
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ohio

Home of the Goodyear blimp
Jun 29th, 2019 06:01 AM   Edit   Profile  

Thanks for that info about Brian . I have read his stuff before. Great reputation and explains the options pretty clearly. Its exactly how Dan at Lays explained it. Not a complicated fix from what I understand.

Previous 20 Messages  

FDP Forum / FDP Unplugged - Acoustic Instruments / Looking at a vintage Martin... What to look for?




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