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guitar repair(attn: Twang, Musikron)


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I wanted to get some advice from the more knowledgable members here on a possible repair I was thinking of doing.


First, this is a mexican made martin 000x1, I know, not an epi, but this sort of thing could happen to any guitar.

This will most likely be the only Martin acoustic that I will ever own, so I'm trying to make the most of it.








The tale:


Bought this at my local GC, I think it was a good deal. Normal list on this was $500.00 give or take.

I know one of the members here works at a GC, so he could confirm.

They took the guitar out of its' packaging, and the sound board below the saddle was cracked. The crack does not extend to the bottem of the bout, and stops at the glued on saddle.

They decided not to send it back to Martin, and I picked it up (as is, of course) for $200.00, cash and carry.



So the guitar plays wonderful, great martin tone and playablilty.

Fortunately they had 2 others there, and I had to drag the little misses with to get an approved by the spouse purchase. this thing sold itself. [cool]

I played 3 chords on about 20 different guitars there in the acoustic room to prove the point to her, and needless to say I now own it.

[cool] Good tip for those of us with GAS, and trying to make the argument for, Just one More Please!!!!:-$[biggrin] [biggrin]



Now what I would like to do is prevent the crack from growing and possibly popping the bridge saddle from the sound board. (Priority #1)


Ideally, I would like to close the gap. (Priority #2)




The plan:



Cut some plywood forms that fit the two body sides with squared off placements for pipe clamps.

protective material between the plywood and body of guitar to prevent dents, damage, etc.

Gently apply pressure to close the gap. Watching for bowing or warping of the soundboard during the process. A level will be placed ontop of the guitar so I can monitor this.


The tech at the store suggested spruce repair material for gluing on the underside of the soundhole. Approx 1/2"wide by 1' long.


His recommeded pattern for placement along the length of the crack was something like -------------


I had thought that something like ---|---|----|----|----


would offer more strength to the repair.




My Questions for the experts here:


What kind of glue?

shape of repair blanks? (i was thinking bowtie shape)

how do I apply some pressure to the blanks during the cure process? obviously, I only have the soundhole to work through.

I should add, that if I detect bowing of the sound board, I'll abandon the clamp part of the repair, and simply add the blanks to prevent further spreading of the crack.



Thanks in advance for any and all advice.

Jeffrey Smith (#2 i guess)

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It can be fixed, you are going about it a little wrong. I'll get back to you, I have to finish up some stuff around the shop first. But you'll need these items.

Tite-Bond glue


Soundhole clamps


a sharp knife.


Get these things together and I'll get back to you.

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Another thought. martin has a great warranty and stand behind their products. I would send it in for warranty repair. I just looked at your pics, you may have to do some dis assembly to fix it. Do you have a mirror you can fit it in there? I need a good look at the inside of the top where the separation is. Are there any bracings in the area, strips of wood covering the area of the crack? Need a look in there.

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I have only dealt with them on their American instruments, but imagine their customer service is the same, second to none. Maybe Taylor is a little better in that respect.

That isn't so much a crack as it appears to be the seam separating. There is probably bracings crossing that seam. To fix it I would need to open the back of the guitar, dis assemble the top, glue the top back together, and replace the bracing. Just gluing and clamping as you mentioned will only result in further damage of the guitar. Seriously, Martin will replace that guitar for you, I would opt for that if it were me.

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That may be, however the question that remains for me is, why didn't GC do exactly that? They would have made money on the instrument in that scenario.


Anyway, this is one of those hybrid earth friendly guitars that martin sells, similar to the takamine NEX material. I would be dubious about taking it apart. The only real wood on this thing is the soundboard.


I was told by the tech, if the guitar is kept warm, humidified, etc, there won't be any growing problems.

What is your opinion?

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Having visited the Martin factory twice this year, and once with two guitars in tow for minor repairs/adjustments, I'd have to say their warranty service is pretty dang good. We just dropped in unannounced, and they took care of both guitars with only a few minutes wait, no hassles at all. One of the guitars got a new bridge, and both got TRC adjustments. In fact they never even looked at the receipts, although we did have them with us.


I think they'd either repair it for free or send a replacement. Their warranty service is integral to their highly regarded reputation.

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Nose around Frets.com. You should find a few articles on cleating a cracked top.


The cleats are normally square / diamond shaped and made from solid spruce. The 1/8" thick cleats have all four edges on one side champhered so it resembles a squat, four sided pyramid. For a crack such as this, I wonder if a cleat similar to the cleats used to back up a book matched back (on the inside) would be appropriate? i.e. a long narrow rectangle, the length of the crack... with the grain running across the width of the stock as opposed to the length as one would see on a popsicle stick.


Line up two opposing corners with the crack so that the grain of the wooden cleat is perpendicular to the crack, thus:



Natural hide glue (not the liquid in a squeeze bottle 'hide glue') is the glue of choice. Frets.com also has an article about purchasing small amounts of hide glue at the grocery store and how to use it. I've used it and it works great for those of us who cannot justify buying 10 to 50 pound bags of the stuff sold to luthiers.

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Yup, just as I had feared, Martin politely directed me to return an "as is" purchased instrument back to the seller for satisfaction, and GC is of course not interested in my satisfaction, so back to square one. I'll follow up with Musikron on this project. Just wanted to follow up with my friends here.

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