Results 1 to 12 of 12

Thread: Martin Style 15 repair

  1. #1
    Registered User Steve 2E's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2019
    Location
    PA
    Posts
    196

    Default Martin Style 15 repair

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	2170ECC5-6E11-4999-98ED-15BA9A0E0B9E.jpg 
Views:	83 
Size:	974.8 KB 
ID:	186728Click image for larger version. 

Name:	D084E97B-A373-40BD-9FA1-48E244361ECD.jpg 
Views:	73 
Size:	970.3 KB 
ID:	186729

    I aquired this Martin from the classifieds last week and I’m quite smitten. Rare, but not too valuable. It plays nice with a light touch, but the frets are quite worn so there’s some buzzing when I push it. It has a two piece unoriginal adjustable rosewood bridge that’s sagging a bit.

    I’d like to get a one piece ebony bridge that’s similar to what was originally used, get the frets leveled and dressed and have it set up to play. I’m not a collector and not looking to resell. I just want this to play as best as possible. I’m in the Philadelphia, PA suburbs and was thinking of calling Vintage Instruments to do the work.

    Any advice welcome. I don’t want to ship for repairs, but I’m willing to drive a couple/few hours.

  2. #2
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    40.1646į N, 74.2083į W
    Posts
    23,903

    Default Re: Martin Style 15 repair

    I would assume Fred can do that in house and if not he would tell you who to take it to. He's nice guy. If not then I'd call Brother's up in Windgap. Dave and Rich both worked at Martin and they are good at what they do.

    https://www.brothersmusicshop.com/
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

  3. The following members say thank you to MikeEdgerton for this post:


  4. #3
    Registered User Steve 2E's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2019
    Location
    PA
    Posts
    196

    Default Re: Martin Style 15 repair

    Thanks Mike! I value your opinion. Iíve browsed at Vintage Instruments for guitars in the past, but havenít been there in a long while. Iíll keep Brothers in my sights. Thanks!

  5. #4
    Registered User Steve 2E's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2019
    Location
    PA
    Posts
    196

    Default Re: Martin Style 15 repair

    I talked to Fred at Vintage Instruments over the phone about a month ago. We had a nice little conversation and I couldnít help but imagine that we were on the set of Antiqueís Roadshow. He is a very nice guy. In the end he suggested that I get in touch with Brotherís to do the work.

    I contacted Brothers and talked to Rich and he politely told me that they are focusing on guitars and not working on mandolins or banjos or anything other than guitars. I was a little bummed, but we talked a little more about what I wanted done and Rich talked it over with Dave and they agreed to do the work! Rich said to call him back in August.

    In the meantime I started to think about doing the work myself. I wasnít going to do anything structural, so the worst that could happen is I make a non functioning bridge and might possibly need a refret if I canít get them right. I figured the Brothers could bail me out!

    After a lot of research and some tool gathering I finally dove in and gave it my best shot. Instead of trying to build a bridge I decided to use an economy ebony two piece for now. I ended up with a pretty good fit although it ended up being full contact because of the extreme arch on the top. It works for now, but I do eventually want to make a one piece bridge.The frets needed quite a bit of leveling and I was worried that they might be too far gone, but in the end they turned out fine.

    After stringing it up and playing for a while Iím quite happy with the results. I can play as hard as I want and thereís no buzzing anywhere! I really surprised myself! My thanks to everyone in the Cafe community and especially to the builders and repair persons who share their techniques and secrets.

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	CB108042-3661-4304-B9A3-2125414B13F6.jpg 
Views:	27 
Size:	578.7 KB 
ID:	187876

  6. #5
    Teacher, luthier
    Join Date
    Oct 2017
    Location
    Southeast Tennessee
    Posts
    1,874

    Default Re: Martin Style 15 repair

    There's nothing wrong with a full contact bridge base.

    If you want to go a step further and carve your own bridge, pm me and I'll send you a piece of ebony big enough for the job. It can be done with hand tools, although a belt sander or a spindle sander is nice to have. If you have a drill press, a Micro-Plane rotary cutter [available at Woodcraft] makes short work out of roughing out the curves. Don't use one in a hand drill though, or you'll cut your finger to the bone. Practice on a piece of scrap first. Just start carving away everything that doesn't look like a mandolin bridge.

  7. The following members say thank you to rcc56 for this post:


  8. #6
    Registered User Steve 2E's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2019
    Location
    PA
    Posts
    196

    Default Re: Martin Style 15 repair

    I really appreciate the offer. For now I just want to celebrate the fact that I was able to make it more playable. My long term plan is to make a one piece bridge. My dad is a cabinet/furniture maker and has a good assortment of power tools in his shop. He removes most guards, so I usually tell him what I want and let him do it. I like having all of my digits. Surprisingly at 76, he still has all of his.

    Iíve been thinking about getting a hunk of ebony for bridges and nuts Do you know of a good source? Anything specific to look for as far as a certain species or a certain grade for musical instruments?

  9. #7
    Teacher, luthier
    Join Date
    Oct 2017
    Location
    Southeast Tennessee
    Posts
    1,874

    Default Re: Martin Style 15 repair

    I was going to suggest buying a flat top bridge blank from Stew-mac, but I see they have raised their price to nearly $10, which is absolutely ludicrous. You can certainly find them cheaper from other sources. It looks like Stew-mac is trying really hard to price themselves out of business.

    Here we go: A quick look at International Violin Company's catalog shows ebony guitar bridge blanks for $4.50. The part number is 5460. For some reason, I can't find it on their website.

    Or, sometimes your local Woodcraft store will have a chunk of ebony for a good price.

    The best ebony is Gaboon ebony, which is getting expensive and hard to find, but any decent piece of any of the common species should be suitable. It wouldn't hurt to ask for a heavy piece. If what you find is not as black as you would wish for, it can always be dyed with leather dye or India ink or aniline dye.

  10. #8
    Registered User Steve 2E's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2019
    Location
    PA
    Posts
    196

    Default Re: Martin Style 15 repair

    Thanks for the information. I was looking at Gaboon and wasn’t sure if that would work. Fortunately I have access to a planer, band saw, and a lot of other good tools so I don’t need to find something that’s cut down for a specific use. It certainly isn’t cheap, but it seems that if I can get a bigger piece that’s not for a specific use I can get a pretty good price. Thanks so much for your help.
    Last edited by Steve 2E; Aug-09-2020 at 3:56pm. Reason: grammar

  11. #9
    Teacher, luthier
    Join Date
    Oct 2017
    Location
    Southeast Tennessee
    Posts
    1,874

    Default Re: Martin Style 15 repair

    There's probably no need to pay the extra bucks for Gaboon unless you just absolutely want to have the top of the line. Any nice dense chunk of one of the other species should be good enough to meet your needs.

  12. #10
    Registered User Steve 2E's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2019
    Location
    PA
    Posts
    196

    Default Re: Martin Style 15 repair

    Well, I would consider myself a bottom dweller when it comes to mandolins. For the most part I’m looking at and buying instruments in the $500-1000 range. I don’t mind spending the money on Gaboon if I can get a few bridges and nuts. Are there other species that you would recommend?

  13. #11
    Teacher, luthier
    Join Date
    Oct 2017
    Location
    Southeast Tennessee
    Posts
    1,874

    Default Re: Martin Style 15 repair

    Just about any African variety should be fine. I haven't handled Indian, so I can't say either way about that.
    If you are able to talk to a human being on the phone, you can request a heavy piece. Heavy means dense, which is more important than color or probably even variety.

    Lots of folks seem to be obsessed with species these days, but we are more interested in the characteristics of a single piece of wood. For ebony bridges and nuts, dense is good.

    Let's put it this way: If you took 3 pieces of spruce, one from Canada, one from Europe, and one from the eastern US and put them side by side; one of those pieces would make a better top than the others, but the deciding factor would be its stiffness and tap tone, not where it came from. The best builders would flex and tap the wood, and perhaps look at the grain, and make their choice. Most players would stare at the color, try to figure out which piece was red spruce, and choose that one even if it wasn't any good, because red spruce is "in" right now.
    Last edited by rcc56; Aug-09-2020 at 5:33pm.

  14. #12
    Registered User Steve 2E's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2019
    Location
    PA
    Posts
    196

    Default Re: Martin Style 15 repair

    Thanks, I think it get. Density over origin. Seems like an easy choice to me. Thanks so much for your help.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •