Martin d-15 project guitar

Discussion in 'Restoration & Repair' started by gborelli, Jul 17, 2013.

  1. gborelli

    gborelli Active Member

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2013
    Messages:
    463
    Likes Received:
    73
    Location:
    Stocktn, CA US
    Hi,

    I am new to this forum and an aspiring luthier with enough knowledge to really mess things up if I am not extremely careful. I just purchased a Martin D-15 acoustic that has a hole in its side and I am asking for ideas on how to go about fixing it. I have attached a photo of the problem area. Any, and I do mean any help with this would be greatly appreciated.

    Thank you,

    Gary
     

    Attached Files:

  2. jcsimons

    jcsimons New Member

    Joined:
    May 29, 2013
    Messages:
    191
    Likes Received:
    36
    Location:
    San Francisco
    wow, thats an ambitious first (?) repair project. I can't really see how you're going to do that except by taking the back off... I've got a 000-15 and have been looking at that very plain guitar for years thinking about how to make it look better (it plays great). I've always thought that putting black binding on it would do wonders - which leads me back to your problem - cutting a binding channel would allow you to get a hot knife in there to work the back off.

    Is the missing piece completly separated or is it hanging inside? If its gone I'll be waiting for other to jump in here to give their opinions on how to proceed. I guess I'd be thinking of some creative inlay.

    Have you been to MIMF to check with boys there? They're much more into accoustics than here
     
  3. jkes01

    jkes01 Active Member

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2013
    Messages:
    297
    Likes Received:
    73
    Location:
    KCMO
    Hi Gary, welcome. :wave: I was thinking exactly the same thing, pretty ambitious for a first project. Those Martin M's are really nice playing and sounding guitars for their price range, you wouldn't want to make things worse.

    The fact that there's a sizable hole and assuming you don't have the piece that goes in there, puts this up there on the difficulty scale. If it were mine, I would try and repair it without removing the back. I personally love these guitars with tortoise binding, but I wouldn't try that either without some experience doing it first hand and I wouldn't want to practice that on a Martin.

    Research, research, and more research. Google is your friend here, there are many talented luthiers out there who have documented this type of repair. Check out Frank Fords site, frets.com, especially the crack repair section. Also, check out anything by Dan Erlewine, his books and videos are the greatest, highly recommended.

    You'll need some Titebond wood glue, clamps, more clamps and a piece mahogany to fill that hole and to make some splints to stabilize the cracks once glued. That should get you started, please post updates on your progress and good luck.

    -John
     
  4. gborelli

    gborelli Active Member

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2013
    Messages:
    463
    Likes Received:
    73
    Location:
    Stocktn, CA US
    Hi guys,

    Thank you for the replies. My first thought was to add electronics to it. I did this with one of my nylon acoustics and it worked out great. I use something like a fishman pickup with an equalizer, I would have to cut a hole for that piece and then I could used the piece of cut out wood for the fill for the damaged part. BUT after doing some reading on this guitar, I am hesitant to do that for fear of ruining the sound. From what I understand from person I bought it from, it plays great even the with hole in it. I got the serial number and this guitar was made in 2000.

    My second idea was to buy some a piece of mahogany, trace the hole on a piece of paper to create a template and cut the wood to match the hole. Glue a couple of cross pieces vertically in side the guitar and then fit the new wood into the hole and then glue it to the cross pieces. Then sand the heck out of another piece of mahogany and use the sawdust and glue as a putty to fill any gaps or cracks and then sand the area and stain it to match. Which I just noticed is basically what you said at the bottom of your post John, Duh! I do intend to shoot pictures of this project from start to finish whether it turns out great or bad. Either way should help others. I hope good is the final. If you guys have more to add, please do so without hesitation. I will review the links that have been suggested. This is not my "first project, so to speak" I have an 45 year old Ovation that snapped the head off the neck and I restored it using wood dowls, plastic wood putty stain and gloss varnish. I have attached 4 shots of that one. Not a fantastic finiish, but, the neck is totally solid and everything works great especially since I had to fill missing chucks of the neck with the wood putty.
     

    Attached Files:

    • ov1.jpg
      ov1.jpg
      File size:
      93.1 KB
      Views:
      26
    • ov2.jpg
      ov2.jpg
      File size:
      80.7 KB
      Views:
      23
    • ov3.jpg
      ov3.jpg
      File size:
      23.4 KB
      Views:
      23
    • ov4.jpg
      ov4.jpg
      File size:
      53.5 KB
      Views:
      25
  5. gborelli

    gborelli Active Member

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2013
    Messages:
    463
    Likes Received:
    73
    Location:
    Stocktn, CA US
    Amazing link to crack repair and the videos. What wonderful treasure you gave me. I also bought a Martin Sigma that is in rough shape. I have a post in the finishing section asking about removing the coating. Thank you so much.
     
  6. gborelli

    gborelli Active Member

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2013
    Messages:
    463
    Likes Received:
    73
    Location:
    Stocktn, CA US
    Another question? What would be the best glue to use for this? My first thought was Elmer's wood glue. Good or bad idea?

    Thanks,

    Gary
     
  7. TKOjams

    TKOjams Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2013
    Messages:
    1,259
    Likes Received:
    573
    Location:
    Connecticut
    You've got your work cut out for you on this one, Gary:shock:
    I hope it goes well for you.
    I wouldn't use elmer's glue, that's more for arts & crafts. Use hot hide glue, or even CA glue (super glue). I've seen another member do an amazing job on a '54 O-18 but can't remember what type of glue he used.
    PM Freddy G and ask. He's a great guy and is always willing to help out.

    [ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jnP7Qjmh_0k]Fixing a Hole in a 1954 Martin 0-18.mpg - YouTube[/ame]
     
    SMP Artizan, gborelli and jkes01 like this.
  8. jkes01

    jkes01 Active Member

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2013
    Messages:
    297
    Likes Received:
    73
    Location:
    KCMO
    You are quite welcome. Freddy's video is a perfect example of how to do it right.

    -John
     
  9. gborelli

    gborelli Active Member

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2013
    Messages:
    463
    Likes Received:
    73
    Location:
    Stocktn, CA US
    Wow!!! What an incredible job on the video. This is going to get really intersting.

    Thanks,

    Gary
     
  10. gborelli

    gborelli Active Member

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2013
    Messages:
    463
    Likes Received:
    73
    Location:
    Stocktn, CA US
    Need advice PLEASE. I just opened the Martin and it is pretty much as described except the string sit really high when the guitar is tuned. ( I messed with truss rod or anything yet) But at the first fret they measure 1/8", at the 12 fret they measure 3/16" + and at the last fret, 21st, the measure 5/16", they are really really stiff. Old strings and I do not know what they are. My guess is .010 or .012 - . So, my question, is this guitar going to be worth messing with? I have a 10 day window left to return it for a full refund. Let me know what you all think.

    Thanks,

    Gary
     
  11. Murkar

    Murkar Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2013
    Messages:
    579
    Likes Received:
    294
    If the strings are too high at both the nut and the saddle, you should check to see that it is not simply a problem with both of them being a little too high. You can lower the action at the nut using nut slotting files; the saddle can be removed and either shortened or re-made. If the bridge is lifting or the neck is not set at the correct angle, though, that would make it a lot more work.

    It is hard to tell from your post what the real issue is - can you provide any pictures? If the strings are 1/8" above the first fret when it's strung up and tuned to pitch, that's quite a bit!

    Personally though I would think about whether to keep it or not - depending on how much it cost you. If you don't have a lot of experience you might want to have a go at fixing several less expensive instruments first. If it were me I wouldn't send it back unless it was super expensive - I'd hold onto it and wait until I knew without a doubt that I could do a nearly seamless fix, and then fix it when that day comes :)
     
  12. gborelli

    gborelli Active Member

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2013
    Messages:
    463
    Likes Received:
    73
    Location:
    Stocktn, CA US
    Thanks for the insight. I took another look at it and the truss rod is tightened about as tight as a person could make it. That might be the first problem. The hole in the side I am pretty comfortable with and I have decided to go ahead and add electronics to it and use the wood I remove to install the equalizer to fix the hole. Should work out pretty cool. (gulp) LOL. I was just concerned about a warped neck, but it doesn't look out when I look done the frets. When i get home tonight, I am going to go ahead and loosen the truss rod and see what kind of difference that makes. If not a significant one then I may consider sending it back. I paid $390 for it, so, its not like it was a fortune. New they are selling for $1100+ at a sale price and you can fine one in near mint condition used on Ebay for $700-$900.

    Thanks,

    G
     
  13. jcsimons

    jcsimons New Member

    Joined:
    May 29, 2013
    Messages:
    191
    Likes Received:
    36
    Location:
    San Francisco
    Hi - Try adjusting the truss rod so it makes the neck straight when sighting down the frets from the peghead. If its way off you'll be better off taking a couple of days to so as its dicey to try more than a 1/4 turn at once and you should let it set because the wood takes awhile to move in the direction you want it to. Once you get that done re-measure the height at the 1st fret. If its still .125" something is weird unless the prior owner was an aspiring dobro player. I would think that the distance to the high E string at the first string should be somewhere between .012" to .020". Martin, like most big makers set the strings high so they don't get complaints about buzzing strings, but it would not be anywhere near that far off. Once its in the ball park you can either file the slots deeper or knock the nut out and file the bottom. Which ever way you go, do it slowly....
     
  14. gborelli

    gborelli Active Member

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2013
    Messages:
    463
    Likes Received:
    73
    Location:
    Stocktn, CA US
    Well I loosened the truss rod and if I put a straight edge on the frets it is as level as you can get. But still riding high, so what I see is a bridge and saddle too high and a nut that may need some filing. One cool thing, the hole in lower bout is exactly where the battery/input jack will need to go, so, the hole repair may end up a much easier fix since it isn't all that much bigger than electronics that will go there. Found a really cool set up ( made in China, but, I had really good luck with their stuff ) it has a piezo and a mic for pickups. The controls allow for bass, mids, treble, presence and a mix. You can set the mix slider to be all piezo - all mic or a mix of both. $28.00 - free shipping. Won the bid then saw the same thing buy it now for a few $ less. Have to learn to look more before I leap. Pictures attached.
     

    Attached Files:

  15. gborelli

    gborelli Active Member

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2013
    Messages:
    463
    Likes Received:
    73
    Location:
    Stocktn, CA US
    Sage and wise advice without a doubt. That is my plan. I have no reason to rush this project and I am going to take as much time as it needs to do it right. I do appreciate the post and I intend to record this project- photo wise - and post as It moves along. Just doing that and stopping and waiting for input at each step sounds like a wise move to me. I did, stupidly, release truss all the way to loose ( forgot about a doing only a 1/4 turn at a time )
    so i will probably just let it sit for a few days and let it settle and see where it stands. The strings on are just old pieces of s**t and of no value other than, for, now showing me just how high everything is sitting.
     
  16. gborelli

    gborelli Active Member

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2013
    Messages:
    463
    Likes Received:
    73
    Location:
    Stocktn, CA US
    I went to guitar center today and they just happened to have a d-15M in stock. I brought the guitar their instore repair guy, very very nice and knows what he is talking about and i showed him the gap increase on the 1st and 12th frets. He look at and played the guitar, brother did it sound nice, and said Martin does set up a little high at the factory, but, he said they do have a pretty high space on the 12 the fret. So I am not going to push the envelope on this just yet.
     
  17. jkes01

    jkes01 Active Member

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2013
    Messages:
    297
    Likes Received:
    73
    Location:
    KCMO
    Gary, if you have a long stright edge, you should check the neck angle by placing the straight edge on the fretboard extending to the bridge. The straight edge should be just resting on the top of the bridge. If it is lower or higher it requires a neck reset to adjust the angle.

    If the straight edge is resting on the bridge, which is ideal, the string height can be adjusted on both ends to make it play right. Adjust the neck absolutely straight using the stright edge as a guide, level and recrown the frests. Once the frets a level you can adjust the nut slots for the optimal height off the fretboard and remove a little at a time off the saddle until it plays comfortably without buzzing.

    -John
     
  18. gborelli

    gborelli Active Member

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2013
    Messages:
    463
    Likes Received:
    73
    Location:
    Stocktn, CA US
    Very nice advice and very much appreciated. Just a bit of clarification for me. We, are, talking about resting on the bridge, not the saddle, right?
     
  19. jkes01

    jkes01 Active Member

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2013
    Messages:
    297
    Likes Received:
    73
    Location:
    KCMO
    Yes, resting on the bridge.

    Here is some info w/screenshots

    FRETS.COM
     
  20. gborelli

    gborelli Active Member

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2013
    Messages:
    463
    Likes Received:
    73
    Location:
    Stocktn, CA US
    Ok, I have a problem... From the link you sent me it looks like my guitar may need a neck reset, but, the saddle is really high, so, is it feasible to shorten the saddle to compensate? The other thing that concerns me is the damage to it may be the cause of everything being off. The hole in the lower bout along with crack is offset and down, meaning I need to put a scissor jack in the cavity of the guitar and gently move the top up so the cracked piece can slide back into place when I get ready to fix and glue it. This making sense?

    Thanks,

    Gary
     

Share This Page