I have a dilemma and wondered how some of my fellow repair persons handled this situation. I am restoring a 1927 Martin 0-45. It has never had a neck set so the action was way high. The neck came out clean and now I have the heel cut and the dovetail shims fitted... ready to glue in...but what to do with the fingerboard tongue. Since the neck had to tilt back considerably to get the correct action and saddle height there is a large drop off above the twelfth fret. On an unbound fret board I would just make an ebony wedge to raise the tongue. My personal 1940 00-18 is now on it's third neck reset and has a large wedge (1/8" at the soundhole end) to make the fret board straight from the nut to the sound hole but it's unbound ebony and the wedge is nearly invisible except for the difference in the fret board thickness. But the 0-45 has a beautiful thin ivoroid binding and the wedge will be very visible under it, so the question is what to do??? Wedge so it's straight or no wedge and live with the fall off.
Thanks for your thoughts.
I have always thought that the ideal procedure on a valuable vintage guitar with a bound fretboard is to remove the UTB and reshape the top of the brace so that the gap disappears when it is glued back in.
This would probably require gluing a thin sacrificial strip to the top of the brace and would undoubtedly be extremely time consuming., but would preserve the originality much more than fitting a wedge under the fretboard extension.
What is UTB?
UTB = Upper Transverse Brace .... the brace which runs side to side above the soundhole .
Thanks. Yes, I have done that a couple of times. But I made a new brace to replace the old. The ends of the brace will have to be a bit thicker to hold for the added tension, I also added a couple of "stop bits" glued on top of the ends of the brace and to the sides,
Too bad we can't compare 4 different guitars where the suggested solutions have been used.
Well many thanks to all of you who responded. After much thought I have decided to do a wedge as it is the least offensive to me personally, leaves the neck straight, can be easily removed and is the least invasive to the guitar. I had never thought of removing the brace and pushing the top up but that seems more invasive and irreversible than the wedge to me. And I'll try and remember to post some "After" photos for y'all.
On another note, what are the thoughts on that little pickguard? There is NO finish under it, just like Mr. Martin used to do them but surely (Shirley?) it's not a Nazareth native.
Apparently Martin did not add routinely pickguards to their guitars until 1929, although they could be ordered as a custom feature on some earlier instruments. It is interesting that there is no finish under the guard, which could mean that it was an original customized feature. You should definitely put that in your E-Bay resale ad. After all, as a '45 model this was a fairly fancy model, more likely to be customized.
Alternatively - and probably more likely - the guard might have been added later when a refinish job was done. Do you think it is original finish (looks a bit too good on the back?!).
Anyway, you might not be able to work that out now. I think it is a nice looking little pickguard and it has probably saved the top from some damage over all of these years. I would be inclined to keep it.
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