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1958 Martin 00-18 restoration

'58 Martin 00-18

This beautiful old Martin was brought in with duct tape holding the hole in the side together. The owner had the guitar a long time and it was very special to him. It also needed a neck reset and a new bridge.

The first thing I did was remove the neck from the body...we'd deal with that later. I loosened up the binding on one side so I could remove the broken pieces of mahogany without damaging more than I had to. I removed about a third of the body on the bass side from the end pin to top of the bout and cut a V so that I could match the new wood to it and make it fit nice and fine. I made a template of that part of the body and thickness sanded and bent a new piece of mahogany to replace the broken and removed section. After a tremendous amount of work I got it to fit perfectly and glued it into place.

The next day I cleaned it up, scraped and sanded it and glued the binding back into place. I then began to refinish that section of the body, gently trying to blend the two pieces together.

The bridge had been sanded down to compensate for the fact that it needed a neck reset, so I made a new bridge and saddle for it at the proper height.

Once that was all glued together, I began the process of resetting the angle of the neck. This is a very slow process of "slip-sanding"...pulling the sandpaper between the neck and body to get a perfect angle and fit. You also have to take into account the alignment of the neck to the bridge. Needless to say it's slightly harrowing.

With the neck back on I was able to mark and cut the saddle slot in the bridge, as well as make a new saddle.

Once everything was back together I took the frets out, filled any divots, then leveled and refret the fretboard. A set of new tuners and she was ready to go.

After a fresh set of strings and a setup she was playing better than new and sounding the way an old small body Martin should! The client was happy to get his old friend back in better shape than he'd ever had her.

Big hole in the side with LOTS of cracks.

Loosening on side of the binding.

Scary part 1: Cutting into the side of a '58 Martin.

Removing old wood...

...up to the end pin binding.

Bending a piece of mahogany.

The template of the curve of the guitar.

New mahogany cut to fit.

Gluing up the side.


Scraped and sanded and primed for paint.

After paint.

New bridge ready to install

Gluing bridge

Slip sanding the neck to fit the body.

Checking my alignment.

Neck glued and clamped.

Checking alignment again...we're good!


Truing the neck - Look truss rod!

Half done


New tuners.

Finished side repair.

Neck joint nice and tight.

Bridge recut with closed ends.

Happy client gets his baby back in excellent shape.

This guitar came in held together with duct tape. New quarter-panel, bridge, and neck reset later and it's solid and sounds excellent and shouldn't need servicing for another 20 years...unless he wears out the frets!

The client was ecstatic to have his old friend back and in much better shape than when he last saw it.

Other mods, repair, and custom work available as well.

To find out more, email me!

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