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PAlien
02-06-2010, 09:35 PM
I need a little help. I posted on one of Bruce Taylor's threads about my grandfather's guitar which I inherited when I was 16. I sure wish my folks would have kept it away from me until I was old enough to recognize what a treasure it is. At any rate, I haven't been great to it in the 20 some years since then, and the guitar needs some help. It's an old 000-18, best guess is '23-'27 or so. About 15 years ago I took it to a luthier and had a neck reset. In doing so they determined it needed a bridge and tuners, and some neck shaping.
I was 20 or so and didn't know any better, now I think they took advantage of me and took the original pyramid bridge and tuners for themselves. :mad: At any rate, I'm now fairly competent with wood and adhesives, and a bit untrusting of any local luthiers, so unless it needs another reset or similar major repair I'll try to take care of it myself.

I have two issues I would like to address currently. Fistly, the "new" bridge is lifting and I would like to either reattach it or replace it with a suitable "pyramid" replica. Can anybody here provide any guidance in this? Adhesives, techniques, etc. Should I try to get this one all the way off and get her back to at least looking original or just re-glue the one that's on there now?

Secondly, the guitar is showing some wear and tear, and at the back bottom of the lower bout there is some damage that goes through the finish and is showing bare wood. What would be appropriate to seal this area? It could use a little filling as the damage has created a bit of a void at the edge there. It's very small, but I would like to address it before it gets worse.

So, I thought I would ask here since you folks have been really helpful to me in the past, not to mention the combined knowledge here constantly amazes me. Thanks in advance!
matt

pefjr
02-06-2010, 09:49 PM
Is that a Martin? If so, it could be too valuable to alter in any way. Get a professional estimate before doing anything. Consider sending to Martin factory. I have a 000-19c but not nearly that old.

Harbormaster
02-06-2010, 09:56 PM
I'm sure that there are some good and trustworthy guitar guys out there, getting their advice is the best route. But it doesn't hurt to come armed with some knowledge - these guys have the tools and parts if you decided to do it yourself.

http://www.stewmac.com/

PAlien
02-06-2010, 10:53 PM
Thanks for the responses. It is too valuable to modify but it's also too late, as I was a naive youngster when I got the guitar. I tried to do right by it, and spent a lot of money at a reputable, Martin certified luthier. I have never attempted repairs myself on this guitar, and like I said, certainly wouldn't attempt anything serious. I do want to re-glue the existing bridge where it is releasing at the outside corners, at the very least. I came here because I know at least Bruce and Chase and probably others have lots of experience and may be willing to share. Mostly, I would like to know specifically what kind of glue would be appropriate. I know not to use anything permanent, and it has a recent bridge on it so I'm not going to be making any drastic changes. I just want to keep it playable for a while longer before it goes in for another $1000 overhaul. It sparked a great interest in me in both playing and owning classic guitars, so I'm not new to the vintage guitar world. Thanks again, and thanks for the link. Great stuff there.
matt

Oh, and nice guitar Pefjr.

pefjr
02-06-2010, 11:19 PM
Hide glue maybe , I am not sure

Chip-skiff
02-07-2010, 01:07 AM
I think the Martin bridges of that era were put on with hide glue. To remove them, I used to make a foil mask with a cutout for the bridge and apply gentle heat with a lamp, then work round the edges with a thin palette knife. Lifted several Martin bridges (although none on a guitar that old) without damaging the spruce tops.

It pays to look inside with a mirror and inspection light to make sure there are no fasteners through the top (usually concealed under pearl dots). I don't think Martin used them, but I did run into a few on other makes, with hardwood backing plates under the spruce of the top.

If you've not done this sort of thing, take it to a good repairman/restorer. Ask if you can watch (promise to keep quiet).

If you want a replica of the original bridge, they can likely make one.

Sounds like a wonderful instrument- good luck.

ChaseKenyon
02-07-2010, 05:17 AM
Thanks for the responses. It is too valuable to modify but it's also too late, as I was a naive youngster when I got the guitar. I tried to do right by it, and spent a lot of money at a reputable, Martin certified luthier. I have never attempted repairs myself on this guitar, and like I said, certainly wouldn't attempt anything serious. I do want to re-glue the existing bridge where it is releasing at the outside corners, at the very least. I came here because I know at least Bruce and Chase and probably others have lots of experience and may be willing to share. Mostly, I would like to know specifically what kind of glue would be appropriate. I know not to use anything permanent, and it has a recent bridge on it so I'm not going to be making any drastic changes. I just want to keep it playable for a while longer before it goes in for another $1000 overhaul. It sparked a great interest in me in both playing and owning classic guitars, so I'm not new to the vintage guitar world. Thanks again, and thanks for the link. Great stuff there.
matt


CAll me at the shop phone even tomorrow but after noon time. We can set a time to talk more and I will talk ou through an exam of the guitar over the phone. In the meantime get a bunch of good digital pictures and email them to me at the shop.

Son't worry about size I have DSL and if alot you can send them in batches. also don't forget a google Picasa download is free and It is a great photo editor the best I have found and i have HP and gimp and Adobe also for photo sand never use them except the HP for OCR.

you can go to google picasa web and upload pictures even to max digiatl size and it's free. o can set you albums as public or password or private as you choose for each folder.

That way Bruce and I can both look at you guitar and give you what advice is within our capabilities.

Chase

ChaseKenyon
02-07-2010, 05:18 AM
Oops Kenyon@thefiddlefixer.net

and 603 938 5282

Bruce Taylor
02-07-2010, 09:02 AM
It's a shame the pyramid bridge was replaced, but "modernizing" old Martins was a common practice, at one time. I wouldn't necessarily assume that the repair luthiers were scavenging parts from your instrument. A "belly bridge" has a larger surface area and can be expected to hold up better under tension (which is why Martin adopted the belly bridge in the early thirties). The repairman might have thought the change would help stabilize the top. Also, the larger bridge provides a convenient way to cover up any ragged edges left by the repair. If you put a new pyramid bridge on the guitar, it will not cover the entire footprint of the current bridge, so you'll have some refinishing to do. If there's any tear-out under there, you'll have some tricky cosmetic work to do.

While a 20s era bridge would have been attached with hide glue, it's quite possible the repairman used PVA / aliphatic resin. No matter what glue was used, the bridge can be removed with heat. Re-seating the belly bridge would be a lot easier than attempting to restore the pyramid; but, either way, this isn't a trivial repair. Even if it's not in original condition, it's a nice old guitar, and deserves careful work, and I'm not sure I'd choose a 20s Martin for my first bridge repair ;).

If you're sure you want to do the work yourself, Stew Mac carries readymade pyramid pin bridges and (more importantly) books and videos on repair techniques. If the string spacing on Stew Mac's pin bridge is identical to that on your 000, you might be able to use one of those (assuming the bridge plate and string holes are in good condition). Otherwise, you'll have to make your own from an ebony blank.

If you decide to re-seat the existing bridge, it will have to be thoroughly cleaned up before it is re-glued. Tears in the top will have to be fixed. If the bridge plate needs to be replaced, now is the time to do that.

Without seeing the guitar, it's hard to comment on the damaged finish, but talk of "filling" voids in the top rings all sorts of alarms. Missing wood needs to be replaced with matching wood.

If it were my guitar, I'd probably look for a competent, experienced repair luthier and have him do the work. I'm all for DIY (it's a way of life, for me ;) ) but it'll take a fair bit of research to get up to speed; might be better to practice on a less valuable instrument.

To put that in perspective, my FIL used to be conservator of musical instruments at the Smithsonian. He's a top-flight harpsichord builder, and knows as much about restoring and maintaining instruments as anyone on the planet. Anyway, he has a battered Epiphone from the fifties that needs a neck reset...and even he is talking about taking it to an experienced guitar luthier.

Harbormaster
02-07-2010, 09:12 AM
Cutting in on this thread for a second - Bruce your father in law was at the Smithsonian? When we'd go to Washington to march against the war I'd always stop in at the Smithsonian and spend hours with the instruments. What a great collection, he must be a remarkable craftsman.

Bruce Taylor
02-07-2010, 09:13 AM
he must be a remarkable craftsman.

And a master mariner. :)

They moved to Belfast, Maine a couple of years ago and keep a Bristol Channel Cutter there.

John Smith
02-07-2010, 09:24 AM
Not guitar; a dulcimer.

Many might enjoy:

http://www.timothyseaman.com/

PAlien
02-07-2010, 01:38 PM
Well fellows, I knew I came to the right place. Thank you so much for the thoughtful responses. Chase, your offer is incredibly kind. I will get some photos together and give you a call. Bruce, that is great advice and information. I didn't mean to slight the luthier, and that is why I didn't name names. You are probably correct in that it was a justified repair. I do not remember it cracked or damaged in any way though and through the fog of time I don't recall why I wasn't at least given the old bridge to stick in the case. Oh well, I'm less interested in restoring originality than I am in keeping it playable. It gives my father great joy to hear his dad's guitar, and I intend to allow him that pleasure as long as possible.

I'm all for going to a competent luthier, however where I live is quite isolated and budget at this time does not allow a trip to the city and a hefty repair bill. If that is the best course of action I will certainly put the guitar away and wait until such repair is possible. For now though, I am interested in exploring what I might do, or not, as the case may be.

I promise to proceed with all due respect and caution for the instrument. I realize this thread most likely comes perilously close to the ones you all love so much where the OP has a nice old boat which needs attention and proposes to get a chop gun and 55 gallons of 5200. I assure you that's not the case. I am merely in research mode at this point.

Here's grandpa at the Jersey shore with the guitar...
http://www.dubtrain.com/remine/two/photos/sml/030.jpg

Bruce Taylor
02-07-2010, 03:42 PM
You are probably correct in that it was a justified repair.

By the standards of an earlier time, that is...current practice is to keep original parts, and to make sure that all repairs are easily reversible.


I am merely in research mode at this point.

Dan Erlewine's repair videos are nicely done. Vol. 1 of Bridge Repairs might be worth the investment (with luck, you won't need the stuff in vol 2 covering repairs to a damaged sounboard ;) ).

http://www.stewmac.com/shop/Video,_DVD/Dan_Erlewines_Repair_Series/Dan_Erlewines_Bridge_Repairs.html

And do post or send pics, as Chase suggested.

Scot L T
02-07-2010, 04:13 PM
Bruce has some very good advice to which I can add only very little.

I'm with those that recommend a qualified luthier. Being a Luthier/repair person myself, I've had a major issue, more than once, reversing and repairing "fixes" by well meaning guitar owners.

I certainly mean no insult to anyones wood working skill but even the best often don't have the experience or access to the knowledge to work on a classic instrument like yours. And I will also add, neither does every very competent luthier. Just make sure that the one you choose has experience with the particular kind of instrument you have. To explain what I mean, if I might use myself as an example...I have completely restored a good number of near to priceless instruments in my years but the bulk of my experience is in the "Classical Guitar" realm. I'm (sorry to say) not particularly experienced nor interested in steel string guitars so I'd not be the luthier I'd trust my antique Martin to.

If you do decide to do a quick fix yourself the first rule when restoring an instrument (or anything else) is "Whatever you do to an object, it must be reversible leaving no evidence of having been done. Because at some future date it may need attention as it does now. At this future date, the piece would not be able to be properly conserved or restored if the materials and/or techniques used were not reversible and therefore have permanently altered the object. Someone in the future who may be more knowledgeable can correct the mistake without sacrificing the object in any way."

Here's a link to some martin dating material that might be of interest to you. http://home.provide.net/~cfh/style18.html

Good luck and keep us posted.

PAlien
02-07-2010, 09:05 PM
Thank you again Bruce. I will get pics posted to a hosting site tonight hopefully. Scot, thank you very much for the info. I may pm you for more info as you are actually the closest city to me, and I sail there often. There are no competent luthiers that I know of over here, and perhaps could use some guidance locating one on your side of the water. She's getting close to needing frets as well so at some point no matter what happens here I will need to locate a competent repair person. I hadn't considered the Victoria option, and ruled out Seattle as I've been through a couple of highly recommended shops over there with less than satisfactory results. Not to mention it's a pain in the butt to travel there. Fwiw, the last guys left a bit of a mess with the finish around the bridge replacement. It's not terrible, but it is obvious things have been messed with in the bridge area.

Flying Orca
02-07-2010, 09:38 PM
I don't know if David Iannone does repair work, but he builds magnificent guitars under the name Morgan (I'm a very happy owner of one). It might be worth looking him up and asking whether he does repairs; I think he's in Vancouver or thereabouts.