6/30/2018

1971 Martin D-28 Dreadnought Guitar




I think the '70s Martin "slump" opinion is mostly a myth associated with guitars that are out-of-whack. It's true that a lot of them (this one included) had misplaced saddles and a good many feel really stiff as-is, but generally once the work is done they bloom into folksy old monsters that can do plenty of 'grassy picking.

This one's in via a consignor and while it's had old work done to it (crack cleats and a not-very-pretty bridge shave), it needed a bit more to get it playing 100%. My work included a fret level/dress, general cleaning, a replacement tuner button, and widening of the saddle slot and a new compensated bone saddle install. I also filled/redrilled the pinholes and gave it a good setup with 54w-12 strings, too.

Action's now spot-on with 3/32" EA and 1/16" DGBE height at the 12th fret, a straight neck, and an easy feel. It's mostly-original, though one tuner button is a replacement, the saddle is new, the pickguard is an oversize replacement, and the pins are newer.

Specs are: 25 3/8" scale, 1 11/16" nut width, 1 7/16" string spacing at the nut, 2 1/8" spacing at the bridge, 15 5/8" lower bout, 11 1/2" upper bout, and 5" depth at the endblock. The board has a ~16" radius to it and the neck has a medium, C/V rear profile.

Woods are: solid spruce top with wider rosewood bridge plate, solid Indian rosewood back and sides, mahogany neck, and ebony fretboard and bridge. The headstock veneer is rosewood, too, and the binding is the usual, fancier, 28-style trim for the era.



The Grover tuners still serve just fine.






While the bridge is shaved a bit, its profile is no lower than a '70s Gibson bridge from the same era, so it's got plenty of meat left. I cleaned-up its look a lot, too, via sanding its top back into "curvy" wing-tops and fine-sanding and polishing-up. At a glance, you wouldn't notice anything out of the norm other than the saddle width.


Said saddle width was necessary to get the compensation right -- this was originally a 3/32" saddle installed too-far-forward. It's a drop-in slot, however, so action adjustment via shims is easy-peasy.


Down here on the lower bout there's a repaired hairline crack.



The rosewood on the back is beautiful stuff. I love the almost "river rock" pebbly look to the grain along the backstrip.











It comes with its (presumably) original hard case, too.

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