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FDP Forum / FDP Unplugged - Acoustic Instruments / Would you buy a 1972 Martin D18 for $400? End of story at post #118.

Previous 20 Messages  
Chris Greene
FDP Host

Idaho, USA

Nine mile skid on a ten mile ride
Dec 23rd, 2017 03:51 PM   Edit   Profile  

$2500 now...

I'll overnight it to you as soon as the bitcoin clears.

;o)

Foggy1
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Murrells Inlet, SC

So, so you think you can tell?
Dec 23rd, 2017 03:56 PM   Edit   Profile  

LOL!

Ragtop
Contributing Member
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The older the violin

the sweeter the music.
Dec 26th, 2017 05:44 AM   Edit   Profile  

CG, thanks for the play-by-play and the photos. This has all been very interesting to me as a lover of the D-18.

And good on you for doing right by that old guitar.

Chris Greene
FDP Host

Idaho, USA

Nine mile skid on a ten mile ride
Apr 12th, 2018 05:13 PM   Edit   Profile  

So, after a few months, I'm not really happy with the action after the reset. I talked to the luthier about a couple times and he's willing to redo it to my satisfaction. I compared it to my D-42 and HD-28V and the action on these two guitars (both of which I adjusted by taking down the saddles a wee bit) and it's showing the same signs as it did before the reset although nothing buzzes or rattles anymore.

Anyway, the luthier feels like maybe, for my playing style and taste, the neck angle is underset. I have no doubt that's exactly what it is. Sometime in the next couple weeks, when I can make a day of it, I'm going to drop it back off but bring one of my other Martins to show him what I want in terms of action and playability. These guys know what they're doing based on the other repairs to this old D-18 so I'm hopeful that a little bit more neck angle will make this guitar what I want. For a bluegrasser, it's probably fine as is.

hushnel
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North Florida

A Friend of Bill W.
Apr 12th, 2018 05:26 PM   Edit   Profile  

Back in the day higher action was the norm. It’ll be even cooler once it’s done to modern standards, and your specs.

I’ve never re-set an acoustic neck, doesn’t sound like fun.

Leftee
Contributing Member
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VA

Apr 12th, 2018 05:49 PM   Edit   Profile  

I won’t be in Boise this time.

Chris Greene
FDP Host

Idaho, USA

Nine mile skid on a ten mile ride
Apr 12th, 2018 05:54 PM   Edit   Profile  

hush, that's something the luthier discussed with me. I guess we won't know what's doable until he sees what I want (should have done that initially...) and what he can do to get close without putting other strains on, say, the bridge plate, etc. A little more backbend on the neck angle can have consequences elsewhere as I understand it.

hushnel
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North Florida

A Friend of Bill W.
Apr 12th, 2018 07:52 PM   Edit   Profile  

I guess depending on how much bone is above the saddle, there could be some adjustment there. How’s the action at the nut?

Chris Greene
FDP Host

Idaho, USA

Nine mile skid on a ten mile ride
Apr 12th, 2018 09:01 PM   Edit   Profile  

It's higher than I like but OK. The problem is typical you see in guitars that need resets - the strings start climbing towards the saddle and there's not enough saddle to fix it. I know he reset it but we didn't discuss things like neck angle and that's something we should have done.

budg
Contributing Member
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ohio

Home of the Goodyear blimp
Apr 13th, 2018 04:29 AM   Edit   Profile  

I like my action just a click higher than 6/64ths . Martins at 7/64ths are supposedly still in spec. Have you by any chance measured yours with a machinists rule? I had one that was a bit high and all he did was tweak the truss rod and we were back in business. I would definitely have the luthier check it out.

I have seen "used "vintage guitars selling at GC that had high action and had hardly any saddle showing . When I pointed it out they didnt think the guitar was in need of a reset . I just had to roll my eyes.

Hammond101
Contributing Member
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So. Cal. USA

Apr 13th, 2018 09:53 AM   Edit   Profile  

Dang, unfortunate.

CG, the link here is from Reverb and gives a rundown of 70s Martin strengths and weaknesses.

The biggest thing here is that Martin didn't use adjustable truss rods until 1985 or so. Some know this, some don't. If you have too much forward relief in your neck the only way adjust this is with a compression re-fret that will add pressure to the fingerboard from the fret tangs effectively making it longer reversing the forward bow.

If you check the relief on you guitar, this may be part of the issue. Your tech should look at this.

IMO when a Martin neck is reset you really should have full saddle height to work with allowing slight downward adjustment in the future.

Is the saddle is shortened the guitar will loose some volume and power.

It sounds to me like your guy missed the mark a bit unless there are other reasons the neck angle is still low that were not noted on your repair order.
Edit to add:

If your guitar is dry. You will have less fret tang compression of the fingerboard and relief can grow. As the nut rises you can get higher action all the way up the neck. Sometimes the top of the guitar doesn't sink when dry making this worse.

A wet guitar can also be problematic. The top rises causing high action.

IMO 45-55% in case humidity is best.

70s Martin Info

(This message was last edited by Hammond101 at 12:03 PM, Apr 13th, 2018)

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

You're old. Then vintage. Then good!
Apr 13th, 2018 04:01 PM   Edit   Profile  

Lots of good suggestions here, especially from Hammond.

I also thought of the compression frets, but your luthier will know whether that will address your issue or not.

Hammond101
Contributing Member
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So. Cal. USA

Apr 13th, 2018 05:09 PM   Edit   Profile  

After a neck reset a guitar should be good for a good long time. Given all the crack repair on the top of this guitar I'd guess things have changed or the neck got dry.

I can't tell from CG's post whether the action got higher with time of it was high from the time of the reset. Older Martins are finicky. All but one or two of the new ones I've played in the last two years of trying to buy one were what I would consider too high.

Chris Greene
FDP Host

Idaho, USA

Nine mile skid on a ten mile ride
Apr 13th, 2018 06:04 PM   Edit   Profile  

The guitar is not dry. It spent a few weeks in a humidified case before I brought it in and it's not dry now. The short of it, IMO, is that the guy underset the neck and it needs to be redone with a steeper neck angle (which he is more than willing to do). My belief is that it was wrong from the getgo. The nut was filled and refiled so it doesn't buzz and rattle like it did. I have not checked the measurements at the first and 12th fret as I know it's off, especially compared to my other two Martins.

The truss rod on this model is not adjustable but the relief was spot on when I bought the guitar.

Bottom line, the guitar needs another look and I think a steeper neck angle. The other work they did was pretty impressive (there was also a chunk of varnish chipped off (I don't think it was wear considering how good the frets and fretboard looked otherwise) the back of the neck somewhere around the 3rd fret. It was repaired to the point that I had trouble finding the repair. The pickguard crack and replacement pickguard was as good a job as I could have hoped for. It was just too shallow an angle on the neck reset. At least, that's my judgement.

(This message was last edited by Chris Greene at 03:35 PM, May 3rd, 2018)

Chris Greene
FDP Host

Idaho, USA

I miss Kelbo's
May 3rd, 2018 01:36 PM   Edit   Profile  

I'm bringing it in on Monday along with my HD-28V so he can see what I want and if it's doable on the D-18.

Bubbalou

USA

THE LOW END OF UPPER TEJAS
May 3rd, 2018 06:07 PM   Edit   Profile  

Good idea Chris. Can’t wait to see the outcome when finished

hushnel
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North Florida

A Friend of Bill W.
May 4th, 2018 07:50 AM   Edit   Profile  

It’ll be interesting to hear what he says. I’ll be heading up to Nashville next week. I should be able to follow the progress though. Most of the time I’ll be camping at Wootenwoods.

Chris Greene
FDP Host

Idaho, USA

I miss Kelbo's
May 9th, 2018 09:21 PM   Edit   Profile  

Went to Boise on Monday for a couple errands including the D-18. I brought in my HD28V to show them what I had expected. He thought the action was really low (turns out he seems to be more of a bluegrass, flatpicking guy). I told him that I either wanted him to reset the neck to my specs or maybe he should buy it (I left the guitar there). He called me tonight and told me he'd buy it. Honestly, it's a win-win. I had not bonded with the guitar but wanted to save it. I did my part and am now passing it on to someone who has bonded with the guitar (he'd done the crack repair, pickguard, and reset).

Frankly, as good as the D-18 sounded, I preferred my D-42 and HD-28V in terms of sound and playability. So I'm even on the deal and the guitar moves on to someone who appreciates it for what it is. I might have sold it online for a little more but so many risks of selling a vintage acoustic guitar and I would not have wanted the guitar back if the buyer didn't care for the action or whatever.

Anyway, a long journey but it's done. Finally!

(This message was last edited by Chris Greene at 01:22 AM, May 10th, 2018)

stratcowboy
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USA/Taos, NM

May 9th, 2018 09:53 PM   Edit   Profile  

It's all cool. A neat journey to have witnessed from this end. And you did save a worthwhile guitar. That's a great thing. He'll be happy with having it, playing it, and it will have a new life going forward. Pretty good all around, I'd say.

budg
Contributing Member
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ohio

Home of the Goodyear blimp
May 10th, 2018 04:02 AM   Edit   Profile  

Great journey and a win win for everyone. I too lean more toward the bluegrass side when it comes to playability. My last D18 came setup at just shy of 7/64ths which is just right for me. I had a D35 that came in at just under 6/64 and was surprised at how just a tiny bit can affect the tone. Glad it all worked out.

Previous 20 Messages  

FDP Forum / FDP Unplugged - Acoustic Instruments / Would you buy a 1972 Martin D18 for $400? End of story at post #118.




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