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Old 10-07-2019, 10:17 PM
WildBill82 WildBill82 is offline
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Default Requiem for a 1951 D-28

Gents,

A couple months ago I'm at a guitar store, dropping off my D-35 to the luthier, when an older gentleman comes in with an old beat-up case and approaches the counter. What he had looked like some weird you'd see at a pawn shop, a 70's copy of a Martinesque dreadnought with a giant double pickguard reminiscent of an Everly Brothers Gibson; suffice to say it was simply awful to look at. The guy said it originally belonged to his dad and it had been kicked around their family over the years.

So it was interesting to make out the CF Martin on the headstock; "what is that thing?" It did look really old, though. The luthier puts his mirror in the guitar and the cause of the giant pickguards was immediately obvious: the top was completely destroyed, there were large areas where the pickguard was the top. Someone had added a second bridge plate over the first one and put a couple bolts through them for good measure. I saw drywall screws and baling wire in there too, and a small piece of what looked like crown molding...never saw anything like it. But the luthier takes it out of the case and the back and sides were these amazing pieces of Brazilian, with the cascading look on the back like a glass of Guinness being poured. It was starting to get interesting, we're obviously dealing with an old D-28 here.

Then he reads the serial number with a tone of astonishment. He retrieved his reference card and placed the guitar as a 1951 model, driving home the buzzkill of realizing that this true heirloom guitar would need to be retopped. I don't think the guy was a guitar player himself, or someone who knew what a good '51 D-28 would be worth, but if he has Google I'd bet that ol dude wasn't a happy camper when he got home that afternoon.

But, the story has a happy ending. Not for the D-28, but for my D-35. I just got it back from that luthier, who performed a major overhaul/retro-mod on the guitar, to my specs, which has been a fantastic success that smashed whatever expectations I had for how this guitar would sound, play, and look when the work was complete. I'll be taking pics and posting a NGD thread in the next couple days.
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2004 Martin D-28 Clarence White Edition
1980 Martin D-35 Shadetop
1983 Martin D-12-28 150th Anniversary

Last edited by Acousticado; 10-07-2019 at 10:23 PM. Reason: Removal of masked profanity
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Old 10-08-2019, 06:38 AM
Neil K Walk Neil K Walk is offline
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Bad top or not, I hope that guitar gets repaired. We’re the back and sides intact and the neck still set within tolerance?
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Old 10-08-2019, 06:41 AM
ChrisE ChrisE is offline
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What kind of mods did you do on your D-35?
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2015 Martin D-18
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Old 10-08-2019, 09:06 AM
vindibona1 vindibona1 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WildBill82 View Post

But, the story has a happy ending. Not for the D-28, but for my D-35. I just got it back from that luthier, who performed a major overhaul/retro-mod on the guitar, to my specs, which has been a fantastic success that smashed whatever expectations I had for how this guitar would sound, play, and look when the work was complete. I'll be taking pics and posting a NGD thread in the next couple days.
As the owner of a '72 D35 I am more than curious as to what mods were done.

I'm not as familiar with the specs and situation of the '79's. Had they started putting in adjustable truss rods yet? Also, had they corrected the saddle location/intonation issue yet?
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