Howdy Folks,

My 1st post here. My story is that a friend of mine gave me an old Martin that someone gave him when he was 17. He's nearly 90 now so it was awhile back. We drove down to Gryphon last summer to have Frank and Richard evaluate this guitar and they concluded it was a 1906 0-30.

As you can see it's very beatup. Sorry about the picture size and shooting from the bathroom.

Somebody sanded the original finish off the top. My friend when to a repairman to fix the bridge and he replaced it with a non original bridge and kept the original Martin bridge. There's cracks in the top, big ones in the lower bout, the top of the upper bout is starting to crack and the back is forming a crack starting at the lower extremity of the body. Also much of the ivory binding is loose or missing. The action is on the high side and is gets out of tune fast as you go up the neck

My goal is to put this guitar into decent playable condition so I can use it to mess around with. My friend gave it to me because he knew I was playing it everyday. Plus he's an accordion player!

My plan of attack was to start by...

1) removing the back to get access to the major components but I'm reading from you guys that it would be a bad idea to do that. 

2) repairing the cracks in the top, back, and sides (Titebond then linen tape re-enforcement?)

3) having access to the neck block, I could remove the neck and do a neck reset. (yeah I know this sounds overly ambitious but I'm feeling cocky after doing a complete re-fret and re-installing the bridge on an old Gibson [also given to me by a friend who was given this guitar but he's a lefty so he passed it onto me)

4) putting everything back together if I ever get to the point that this could occur

5) performing a re-finish to the top, sides, and back with a French-polish type finish (unless I hear the majority of responders pleading not to do such a sacrilegious thing)

This guitar reminds me of watching Leon Redbone on SNL and being totally blown away. I wish it was a D-18 but grateful my sweet friend parted with it. Just trying to make a good home for a little bitty waif of a guitar... 

Best Regards,

David Burns

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Hi David and welcome.  Sounds like you have some nice and generous friends, and that old Martin is very sweet!  Definitely deserves some TLC and renovation.  Judging just from the photos (good images btw) it all looks fixable.  Whether to remove the back is a big question.  How is the condition of the bracing and the bridge plate?  If they need work as well then it would probably justify taking the back off, and all of the crack repairs repairs would then be a whole lot easier.  But if the  structural elements of the top are OK I am guessing you might be able to do the crack repairs with the box intact.  

I am sure you will get some good help here to workshop this one.  


Thanks for the advice... I haven't looked inside yet but that should be my next move sounds like.

I was thinking with the back off I could repair the top an side cracks easier plus inspect the bracing and do any shoring up needed.....

Get back to you when I can...


Hello Again,

I have more pictures... some of the inside. I thought Richard told me this was 0-30 was made for gut strings. I was expecting some fan bracing but don't think this has that type of bracing...


Hello again Folks,

I received an email from Martin today informing me that they don't sell replacement bridges direct but they'd be happy to fix the guitar for me. Problem is I don't think this guitar is worth enough to justify the cost of having Martin fix it.

Can anyone steer me to a place that sells old guitar parts that might have a bridge that I could replace this awful thing that's on it now? (unobtanium?)




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