Well, I obtained my 1st Martin 2 weeks ago and though the bridge needed re-gluing, the action was really high and it had some cosmetic issues, I feel that I made a good trade for a solid wood US Martin.

I re-glued the bridge successfully with Titebond Original, lowered and intonated the saddle and strung it with Martin 80/20 lights and was drooling in anticipation for that Martin "sound". It sounds and plays OK but it's not what I was hoping for as far as projection and that "ring" just isn't there.

I had an Epiphone Masterbilt solid rosewood dreadnaught and it sounded incredible and never should've traded it off but the Blues Junior I got for it was a fair trade considering I only had $100 into the Epi.


ANYWHO...anyone have/had/played a DC-1E and noticed the same qualities as I?

-would hide glue have REALLY made a big difference?

-bone nut and saddle absolutely neccessary instead of corian and Tusq?

-bone bridge pins perhaps?

-shaving the top braces perhaps?

-all the above?

-OR is it just the sapele cannot compete with rosewood?

-while were at ants sleep?


It's been ages since I participated here and I appreciate any input to help me feel better about the Series 1 Martins and trade I made. Thanks and best holiday wishes!


Model: DC-1E
Construction: Mortise/Tenon Neck Joint
Body Size: D-14 Fret Cutaway
Top: Solid Sitka Spruce
Top Bracing Pattern: Modified Hybrid ''x'' Scalloped
Top Braces: Solid Sitka Spruce 5/16''
Back Material: Solid Sapele
Side Material: Solid Sapele
Neck Material: Rust Stratabond
Neck Shape: Modified Low Oval
Nut Material: White Corian
Headstock: Solid/Standard Taper
Headplate: Indian Rosewood Pattern Hpl
Fingerboard Material: Solid Morado
Scale Length: 25.4''
- # Of Frets Clear: 14
- # Of Frets Total: 20
Finish Back & Sides: Satin
Finish Top: Satin
Finish Neck: None
Bridge Material: Solid Morado
Bridge Style: Belly
Saddle: 16'' Radius/Compensated/White Tusq
Bridge & End Pins: White W/ Black Dots
Electronics: Fishman Presys Plus

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Don't avoid just playing the guitar.  Every ax is different but sometimes they just need waking up.  I have a mandolin that after 10 years of life still takes a half hour of playing before it goes from good to great in all registers.


"lowered .. the saddle"  <-- Is it possible that the "muffled and lifeless" comes from a low string break angle?

Some useful resources.

Watch this from about three quarters of the way through.

Four Pressure points applied on the Top of the Bridge here, with a C.F. Martin Guitar at the Factory. I saw a Lovely D-18 the other day, I would have loved to Own.



Think about a Bridge Plate Wide, cast metal surface, to spread equal pressure from below upwards as well as a Bridge Upper Plate, to apply equal pressure downwards, and a strong cast metal caul or cauls to Facilitate That. The better the Tooling, the less caul's you need. But you need a Perfect way to Distribute that Pressure over the Required Area. Without properly milled Tooling, use more cauls to compensate.



Watch this from about a third of the of the way through.

I like Super Jumbo Acoustic Guitars more than Dreadnoughts.

There are Eight Top Pressure Points on this SJ-200 Moustache Bridge.

You always need to take a clean thin piece of paper with you when you buy an SJ-200. If any Employee has skipped the Side Pressure Point Stage on the Whiskers of the Bridge during Construction, you can find him out by slipping the paper between the Guitar Top and the Whiskers. And then, don't buy the Guitar.

Get the Shop to Return the Guitar to Gibson. This Highlights the Problem and makes sure Gibson Management see this process stage is Properly Enacted.  The Bridge should Transfer the String Vibration working efficiently throughout its Structure, and you really don't want the sides of the Whiskers to rattle and vibrate on the Top.



In Factories, there are always some employees that think they are clever.

They  try to make their lives easier by skipping what they consider to be unimportant parts of the process. 

It's a Management Issue and should be noticed by them being closely in touch with the Factory Floor, but often isn't. Or it should be picked up by Quality Validation at the end of Production, prior to Shipping to Dealers, but often isn't.

Manufacturing Jigs are Designed and Created by Highly Skilled Experts that fully understand all the essential elements of the Build Process. But fully engaging all the paraphernalia involved in doing a thoroughly proper job, can sometimes seem unnecessary to a very busy or slightly lazy individual.

But every Clamp is Important, it's there for a reason, and there may be a history of Prototype Tools that were Designed, Made and Trialled before they finally arrived at the Tool they provide to the Factory Production Worker.  The point is, if they don't use all the Clamps provided, they way they were Designed and Intended to be used, then unforeseen problems can later arise as a result. Learn all you can about how Martin have determined the Job should be done, and make that method the  MINIMAL methodology, you choose to use to do the job yourself.

This is the SAFE approach to take, and the job will be done at least as well as Martin will do it, all things being equal.

If you can improve on C. F. Martins Manufacturing Methods, then that is all well and good.


Minimising Overall Bridge Mass whilst Increasing Vibrational Transfer to a Wider Area of the Top is a Design Area that could be more Greatly Researched and Developed by Manufacturers.

Most simply follow well Established Traditions, that are conveniently easy to implement in terms of Manufacturing Processes, and we have become used to their Standardisation, but does that mean that they really have Optimised the Design of The Guitar?

Do both sides of the Bridge really need to Equal in Mass? Could the Overall Mass of the Bridge be Reduced, by Innovative  Design,  thus Increasing Vibrational Efficiency to the Top? Strength needs to be placed where it is Structurally Required, but could it be Trimmed to create a Higher Vibration to Mass Coefficient?

Early Guitars (but not by any means all) feature extensively Ornate Whiskers either side of the Bridge, many of which are clearly intended on Instruments of Historical Interest, to Display the Incredible Skill of the Craftsmen making Premium Market Products, usually for Aristocracy or Rich Traders. But is there a Salient Point to be learnt about the purpose of them there?

A Design of Optimal Performance? Could the Responsiveness of Guitars be Further Improved?  Companies I have "an interest" in, have over recent years, Improved Performance in Certain Components by 14%, Optimised Performance Further in other Components by Weight Reduction, maintaining Mass where it is Definitely Required whilst Reducing Mass where it really doesn't make any genuine difference. Furthermore, we have  even Invented a Completely New Design. Simply by using Scientific Studies of the way in Nature, Water Flows in Ravines. How Trees Grow, Placing and Strengthening Reinforcement solely in those Areas where its Presence, will make a Significant Contribution to Supportive Efficiency.



The better understanding we have of Creation and Nature around us.

The better we can Design Instruments that Work with the Same Wonderful Attributes of Creation.

The Component that Improved by 14% by Studying Water Flow in Ravines, is the most Efficient of its Type in the World.

It's as real as that! A Scientific Topic that anyone with any common sense. Would say was completely unrelated to the Industry and Design Problem under consideration, showed the way, when everyone, everywhere, was at a Point of Impasse.

However, the main problem today, as I see it. Is where Manufacturers introduce New Technology or Institute Changes or Different Processes, trying to Eliminate Certain Stages in Production, to Reduce Costs.  When they have Neither Fully Consulted their own Production Expertise or Properly Researched the Ultimate Effect of those Changes on the Experience of their Customers of the  Product,  BEFORE they enact Implement of the Process Policy Change.


The Axiom "Look Before You Leap" comes to mind.

Hesh earlier mentioned a statement, often used in his Shop.

Here's a Statement that I use far too often these days for my own liking.

When I encounter problems with Famous Standard Instruments of the Music Industry.


I say, "How Long have they been making these now?

They began making this Instrument Model  in 1934 or 1951. (or whatever it was).

So have been making this same Product for 79 Years, and still don't know how to make it properly yet!"


It's what I call an Inconvenient Truth.



More Resources.




I just repaired 2005 HD-28. The complaint was that it poorly intonated and sounded dull. 

Everything looked pristine inside and the neck angle was perfect. I tapped the frets and there were many hollow sounding ones. I superglued the frets to increase neck stiffness and leveled a few high frets. Next I pulled the saddle. Someone had filed it oddly and underneath it I found a wooden matchstick used to raise the saddle height - "aha!." Then I measured the saddle slot.  It was 7/64+ and the bottom of the slot was uneven. I leveled the slot and made a new bone saddle. I strung it up with Elixir Lights expecting a profound change and - wait for it - it lacked definition and low end.

Medium strings may have helped, but I think the real moral of the story is to never buy an acoustic without playing it. Most players can't judge whether a guitar's sound can be improved and not all guitars respond to the usual remedies. My client purchased his off the internet and he is now putting it up for sale on eBay.

Thank your Peter, Larry, Steve, Robbie et al. That is a GREAT Martin factory tour and I have to say that I'm very impressed that the majority of the guitar build process is strictly done by hand. I would've thought the majority would be robotic. I have to sit down and watch all those episodes.

As an update, I just picked up the DC-1E this morning after my bridge re-glue and saddle lowering a week ago...and it sounds MUCH MO BETTA now. I suppose because it has settled in a bit and the humidity levels are different it now projects louder and has more brightness to the tone. I'm not doing a thing to it for awhile and just enjoy playing it. I do notice a less than paper thin gap on the end of the neck heel and if I have to do a reset, I'll probably have it done by a pro.

I know that I broke some rules in my bridge glue-up and if I have to redo it later I will revisit this thread and all the much appreciated info. I'm a novice player and a bit of a guitar repair dabbler. I have learned quite a bit in the short time here with this thread and I will continue to lurk here for info. You guys are great!

When I wrote about just playing it a lot, I forgot to mention that many instruments unstrung for some time will take a while to get their legs again, even if they were good before.  I've fitted and replaced bridges on several mandolins and an archtop and all sounded thin and quiet after being restrung.  It took a while for them to really sound as they should--anywhere from a week to three.  The Red Spruce topped mandolin I mentioned before took the longest, and it needs waking up every time I play it after a layoff.  An Engelmann topped mando I did this with only took about 4 days to come back.

Also, if you have access to a tone guard, it might hasten the process.  Results vary with the instrument.



PS: Does the the DC-1E have a set neck or some version of a bolt on?  Maybe something is loose.

My '55 D-28 was playing muffley once til' I remembered I had recently refinished it but forgot to remove a towel I had stuffed in there to protect it from overspray.Towel was all the way in the lower bout...duh!

A '55 D-28? I bet it sounds like a dream. You must be a proud owner. I'd love to hear a clip or 2 of it.

I'm still trying to find the time to record a clip of my DC-1E, but I'll get one up here soon. Thanks again guys for your interests and input.


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