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Old 01-27-2013, 06:28 PM
jcbmv11 jcbmv11 is offline
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Default Bridge Crack

I have a martin D-28. A small crack has occurred around the bridge. Is this a concern? Will the crack grow? What can I do about it?
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Old 01-27-2013, 06:30 PM
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Originally Posted by jcbmv11 View Post
I have a martin D-28. A small crack has occurred around the bridge. Is this a concern? Will the crack grow? What can I do about it?
Hi jcbmv...

Is the crack on the bridge, or on the guitar top? Can you post a picture or link to a picture?


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Old 01-27-2013, 06:54 PM
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Originally Posted by jcbmv11 View Post
I have a martin D-28. A small crack has occurred around the bridge. Is this a concern? Will the crack grow? What can I do about it?
If the crack is a finish crack near one or more corners of the bridge, this is a 22+ page discussion over at UMGF. Would be worth a (long) read.
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Old 01-27-2013, 08:27 PM
Wade Hampton Wade Hampton is online now
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In my experience, ANY crack near or on the bridge should get checked immediately by a professional guitar tech. If it's just a finish crack, that's usually no big deal, and usually not cost-effective to restore to a pristine uncracked condition.

But sometimes cracks that appear to be only in the finish turn out to be more serious than that, and any crack in the wood in the bridge area should be corrected immediately. From a structural standpoint, the bridge, bridgeplate, underlying braces and top are the most vulnerable part of an acoustic guitar.

The same size crack in the wood of the side or even in other parts of the top can go uncorrected for a long time with no real worries, but cracks in the bridge area can seem to be dormant, but then suddenly and dramatically fail.

At which point you're looking at a much more complex and correspondingly expensive repair than if the guitar had been taken in to the repair shop when the crack(s) were first noticed.

It may well be that the crack you've spotted is the result of cold weather on the lacquer. Which is nothing to worry about and nothing you need to spend any money getting fixed. But it's better to be safe than sorry, so take it by to let a guitar tech look at it.

Hope this helps.


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Old 01-27-2013, 08:42 PM
Russ C Russ C is offline
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The not uncommon lacquer cracks often "radiate" from the bridge corners slightly diagonally across the grain - even if they don't start out that way. That should tell you if you have just that or something more serious ie. the wood.
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Old 01-28-2013, 12:53 AM
Wade Hampton Wade Hampton is online now
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The not uncommon lacquer cracks often "radiate" from the bridge corners slightly diagonally across the grain - even if they don't start out that way. That should tell you if you have just that or something more serious ie. the wood.
Good point. Even so, get it looked at by a pro is a good idea.


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Old 01-28-2013, 01:08 AM
Daybreakdays Daybreakdays is offline
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Originally Posted by Wade Hampton View Post
Good point. Even so, get it looked at by a pro is a good idea.


whm
Posting a picture for experienced forum members also helps and may save luthier fees. Does it look something like this?

http://theunofficialmartinguitarforu...#reply-1554692

If so, it is actually quite a common problem for Martins. I guessed that this thread would be about a Martin before even opening it, and I suspect most others did too. It's just something that they unfortunately do not address in their production line.
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Old 01-28-2013, 12:25 PM
jcbmv11 jcbmv11 is offline
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It is a lot smaller than the picture referenced in the post above. But yes, it is similar. It is a crack in the finish around the bridge. It is a shame martin doesn't address the problem. Here is my main question: will it grow?
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Old 01-28-2013, 01:19 PM
DanPanther DanPanther is offline
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Most of those posted photos, appear to be finish cracks, aren't they ?
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Old 01-28-2013, 02:09 PM
Daybreakdays Daybreakdays is offline
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Originally Posted by jcbmv11 View Post
It is a lot smaller than the picture referenced in the post above. But yes, it is similar. It is a crack in the finish around the bridge. It is a shame martin doesn't address the problem. Here is my main question: will it grow?
If you read the 22 page thread above, the answer is yes. You can send it back to Martin for a full refinish but there is no guarantee the cracks will not reappear because of the method Martin uses to glue their bridges to the finish.
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Old 01-28-2013, 02:26 PM
Wade Hampton Wade Hampton is online now
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Posting a picture for experienced forum members also helps and may save luthier fees.
Perhaps where you live guitar repair techs charge for merely looking at possible problems to determine whether the guitar needs any work, but I've never encountered that in the many years and several cities where I've played music. I've never once been charged for a quick look to assess whether the guitar needs work.

Truthfully, I think relying on the perceived wisdom of "experienced forum members" to correctly diagnose a potential problem solely from photographs posted online to be an unnecessarily risky approach.

Yes, it's likely that this is nothing more than a crack in the finish, I'm not disputing that. But I also believe it would be foolish for the original poster to be so reassured by the "don't worry about it" comments in this thread that the guitar doesn't get looked at by a pro.

More than once I've taken an instrument in to get looked at for one thing, only to have the repairman find something else that actually did need immediate attention. In my view and my experience, this has been extremely helpful, as several potentially serious problems I've had with my instruments have been caught before they could get bad and become more difficult (and thus more expensive) to fix.

In my view there is no downside whatsoever to having a pro look at this guitar. But complacently accepting the general view that there's no real problem is risky for the original poster (as well as for the guitar.)

None of us posting in this thread has any accountability or responsibility if the guitar turns out to have more significant problems than can be detected from a photograph. An experienced repair tech needs to determine whether any braces are loose or if there are other problems we can't see from our omniscient view behind our computer monitors.

Short version: get a real life, genuine, experienced guitar repair tech to look at the guitar. Cracks in the bridge area should ALWAYS be looked at by a pro, even if they appear harmless to most of us viewing the situation from a safe, I-don't-have-to-pay-for-any-of-this distance.

Hope that makes sense.


Wade Hampton Miller
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Old 01-28-2013, 02:40 PM
Daybreakdays Daybreakdays is offline
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Originally Posted by Wade Hampton View Post
Perhaps where you live guitar repair techs charge for merely looking at possible problems to determine whether the guitar needs any work, but I've never encountered that in the many years and several cities where I've played music. I've never once been charged for a quick look to assess whether the guitar needs work.
Yes, but there is no harm in the OP posting a picture, rather than posting no picture at all, as well as going to a guitar tech. And unfortunately, in my experience, a guitar tech may be someone on minimum wage working at a music shop who's had half an hour of training on how to adjust a truss rod - for someone who may be new to guitars and doesn't know where all the good guitar techs are, they may be handed over to one of these people if they take it back to the store they bought it from.
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Old 01-28-2013, 02:41 PM
Wade Hampton Wade Hampton is online now
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Originally Posted by jcbmv11 View Post
It is a lot smaller than the picture referenced in the post above. But yes, it is similar. It is a crack in the finish around the bridge. It is a shame martin doesn't address the problem. Here is my main question: will it grow?
It might. But the reason that Martin "doesn't address the problem" is that they're under no obligation to keep your finish pristine. With the very rare exception of defective lacquer sprayed at the factory, 99.9% of finish problems with nitro-cellulose lacquer are due to environmental problems: the guitar gets too cold or too hot. Martin can't control where or how you use and store your guitar.

I'm not trying to imply that you've somehow been remiss and treated the guitar without sufficent attention to those factors: none of us can completely control that. Sometimes it's just the weather, and nitro-cellulose lacquer is easily checked and cracked.

But trying to keep it looking brand spanking new is neither practical or cost-effective. Even if you were willing to pay the steep cost to replace the finish on the top, there's no guarantee AT ALL that the exact same problem might not reoccur in the exact same spot. The guitar is made of wood, and it's going to expand and contract to a degree. Sometimes that affects the lacquer.

Sorry if that isn't what you want to hear, but it's the reality of the situation. It's happened to most of us who own guitars with nitro-cellulose lacquer finishes, especially those of us who live in colder climates.

Again, I may appear to be flogging a dead horse here, but you'll really be best off if you take the guitar to a repair tech to have him or her look at it. At the same time you can get a professional opinion about lacquer-checking and the feasibility of repairing it.

Hope this helps.


Wade Hampton Miller
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Old 01-28-2013, 02:51 PM
Wade Hampton Wade Hampton is online now
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Originally Posted by Daybreakdays View Post
Yes, but there is no harm in the OP posting a picture, rather than posting no picture at all, as well as going to a guitar tech. And unfortunately, in my experience, a guitar tech may be someone on minimum wage working at a music shop who's had half an hour of training on how to adjust a truss rod - for someone who may be new to guitars and doesn't know where all the good guitar techs are, they may be handed over to one of these people if they take it back to the store they bought it from.
Those are valid points, though I think I did say to find an experienced repair tech. The best option for the OP is to contact Martin to find the nearest Martin Authorized Warranty Repair station, but if there are none in his area then finding an experienced repair tech is the next best thing.

I'm not trying to be a doom-ridden Cassandra prophesying disaster if my recommendations aren't followed to the letter. And of course there's no harm in posting a photo. Where I see the danger is if there's a problem that can't be captured by a photo, and then the assumption is made that there's no problem at all.

There probably isn't, but why take that chance?


whm
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Old 01-28-2013, 03:03 PM
Daybreakdays Daybreakdays is offline
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Originally Posted by Wade Hampton View Post
It might. But the reason that Martin "doesn't address the problem" is that they're under no obligation to keep your finish pristine. With the very rare exception of defective lacquer sprayed at the factory, 99.9% of finish problems with nitro-cellulose lacquer are due to environmental problems: the guitar gets too cold or too hot. Martin can't control where or how you use and store your guitar.
Yes, your advice for the OP to take it to an experienced OP is good, and if the OP states where he lives, I'm sure many forum members will be able to recommend to him a good one.

Do be aware though that the Martin bridge finish crack issue, if you read the UMGF thread, is not due to environmental problems, and is in fact a factory fault issue. Many UMGF members will testify that they keep their guitars in the ideal environmental setting, and that the issue only occurs for their post 2009 Martin guitars, whereas the other Martin guitars they have kept in the same environment do not have this issue. Unfortunately, it is an issue Martin does not want to address, and any calls to their customer services centre will not address the issue other than to say send it back for a refinish. This is good if you are a US customer, but not so much for those on international warranties.
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