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I really like these smaller-bodied Martins. Although a lot of people think they're really for fingerpicking only, they work well for a wide range of styles from hard single note flatpicking to blues and ragtime.
This one is in pretty good shape and sounds great. There's some old compression damage on the edge of the top, but the repair is holding up well. But as is so often the case with older Martins it was in urgent need of a neck reset. Fortunately the bridge had not been shaved down in an attempt to lower the action, though the cut-through saddle was sanded down as low as possible. It was suffering from another problem characteristic of old Martins - the pickguard was loose around the edges and curling up. Both needed sorting out to give it a fresh lease of life.
The pictures show the neck removal. As usual, the fingerboard extension has been loosened - I use LMI's shaped heat blankets to soften the hide glue - and the 13th fret removed so that I can drill 2 small holes into the dovetail pocket. Then it's time for the steam jet.
If only they always came off this cleanly! I like to leave neck and body for a week or more to settle down before re-working the fit. It only wants a small alteration in the neck angle, so this part of the process needs a lot of care. Some shimming of the dovetail is also required to ensure a good fit. Then it's time to get out the hot hide glue and clamp everything up. Measure lots, glue once, is always the best way here!
Old pickguards tend to shrink and curl, and either crack the top or give up around the edges. Where possible, I like to re-use the original guard on vintage instruments, so I removed this one and used a heat gun (carefully!) to flatten it. Then I prepared a set of clamping cauls to match the bracing pattern and re-attached it. As you can see, there was a pale 'witness line' around the edge where the guard had shrunk. A bit of careful touching up with amber nitrocellulose made this virtually invisible.
Finally, I had to fit a taller saddle. Cut-through saddles on old Martins were glued in, and as this one had been sanded down it was very difficult to get a purchase on it. However, another of LMI's heated blankets loosened the glue and I was able to complete the setup.