Has anyone run into anything this, augh, stupid before? The owner said he took it to someone to have the action lowered, the “repair person” instead of doing a neck set evidently chiseled out a hole in the top to lower the bridge… this stuff really upsets me… anyway, as you can image, there is just a wisp of the spruce top left and he actually went all the way thru to the plate in one area, you can see the grain lines of the plate on the treble side in the bridge footprint. I told him I would take the bridge off and see what I found. There is also a pronounced belly behind the bridge…duh,.. well I just had to vent a bit and see if anyone has possibly run into something similar. I guess any specific questions would be
1. should this guitar just be re-toped?
2. If it is to be patched would you just cut a patch to fill the hole or would you feather out the edges of the hole to make a scarf type joint?
My first thought is to patch and then make a slightly bigger plate and bridge to cover all this stupidity. I guess my main concern is the belly. Honestly I’m too bugged to think it thru right now.
Many thanks in advance for any priceless experience.

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new bridge


Nice save, Fritz. I hope it holds up. Did you scrape the existing finish so the entire replacement bridge is glued to bare wood? If not, the problem may reappear.

Judging by the ultra low, but finely crafted, compensated saddle, it appears that it badly needs a neck re-set. That saddle is WAY to low to adequately drive the top to get the best sound out of the body. There's not enough string break.

What I'm doing a very poor job of conveying is that 'if you're going to resurrect the guitar, go all the way & do it right'. We're rooting for ya.

Again, a very nice job and best of luck with the re-set :)

thanks Paul... yes of course most of the glue surface for the new bridge was the spruce patch but I did clean a sliver of finish around the perimeter for a clean bridge footprint, and yes it still needs the neck set, I just put a temporary saddle in to get some string pressure and see if everything was going to hold together. Also wanted to see how much relief I had in the neck and how much underset the neck actually is. The action is high (.140" at the low E 12 fret) I will leave it strung up for a few days and if all goes well I will neck set and re-fret in a week or so. Funny thing is the guitar sounds fantastic already even with the poor break angle ect. One more question if I may..  where do you guys get Martin fret wire with different size tangs for compression fretting? I've read about them but have never been able to find them for sale anywhere.

Ok I'll stop littering up the place with all the pictures and say thank you to all for the great help and support.


That's ALL great news Fitz.

Again, great job on what I considered likely unfix-able. My hat is off to you :) And again, very nice craftsmanship on the comp saddle. Like several others around here, I love to see highly polished bone and you brought it home.

And pic's? Keep 'em comin', brother. We enjoy them.

Keep doin' what you're doing so well :)

While your structural work looks like it should stabilize the top, I wish you had taken more care to copy the crisp contours of the original Martin bridge. This is the only part of your repair that shows, and the non-original appearance of the bridge is disappointing.

Regarding your question about fretwire, Jescar 37080 is Martin fretwire, available in various tang widths. I use .0205" tang width and modify it further with Frank Ford's designed tang-squishing pliers.

wow.. well I guess I'll consider my clock cleaned.. but thank you for the info on the fret wire... i will work on the bridge

fritz out


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