2003 Martin D-45 "Wolf" Dreadnought Guitar

I'm finding myself working, a lot of times, on guitars for resource-rich ($4500+ D-45) but cash-poor folks. I guess that comes with the "gigging" life! The story behind this one is great -- it's owned by a fellow who did barbarian-style films in the 80s, was gifted the guitar (as I recall), and then had the questionably awesome (do I like it or hate it?) wolf painted on the instrument when it was used as a prop in some movie or another.

Over time, the thing racked-up all sorts of damage. There were 4 bad cracks that needed repair, the bridge was pulling up, the neck needed a reset, the frets needed a level/dress, and to top it all off the instrument appears to have suffered a drop that "pinched" the neck joint (we all know that one with the associated crushed-in binding around the top of the joint). It's all been dealt with and now the guitar is positively excellent despite the wear and tear -- with the big, round, full, booming sound one wants out of a rosewood dreadnought -- and the tall saddle a bluegrass picker would be happy to see.

I know, right? It's not often that one sees a fancy guitar get such a full personalization.

The headstock has the classic Martin script inlaid into a nice, thick, slab of rosewood veneer.

The neck profile on this is distinctly modern and quick -- especially when compared to more vintage-themed D-45 variants.

The pearl, of course, looks grand.

The funniest bit about the guitar is that Martin heaped-on the pearl purfling but then used a printed pickguard. It doesn't look out-of-place from a ways back, but when you get up close to it you realize it's the same OK-but-not-great guard you'd find on lower-end early-2000s Martins (the kind I like to yank off and replace with a more 60s-looking type).

The pearl is doubled-up on every edge.

The ebony bridge was, originally, glued with a bit of "clearance room" of finish under it (typical factory stuff) -- which is why I'm assuming it came up. When I reglued it I made sure the entire footing of the bridge got glue so it will hopefully stay put.

Frankly, I like the wolf, despite myself. It reminds me of 90s Western tourist t-shirts in a retro-familiar way.

I'm very used to seeing this sort of finish wear and tear on Martins. The left-hand sweat seems to muck-up the finish to the point where it flakes-off.

Look -- I'm not heavily into "bling" on my personal instruments -- but I can always appreciate the luxury and restraint of style 45 Martins.

There's a Fishman pickup of some sort in there. If I had my druthers, I'd replace it with a K&K in a heartbeat -- though these 9V-powered undersaddle pickups do have their place on a loud, rock-band stage.


Warren said…
Wow, well atleast the wolf and feather was done well!
Jeff Todd Titon said…
Beautiful restoration job. Wish you could have compressed that wolf-head down a little so the bridge didn't seem to rest on its cranium like an ill-fitting hat! --Jeff
Unknown said…
the wolf is a pretty famous part of a movie called "faith street corner tavern" it was brought to jake wildwood because he's one of the only guys locally i would trust this restoration with..go see jake! hes the stringed things wizard for sure! thanks my friend:o)