Workshop: Bye Bye 1969 Braces

Mr. Cliff, owner of the 1969 D-28 I featured recently, wanted to go all-in on cutting-down the braces in his guitar to get a bigger voice. Well, he's got it! It's now sounding bigger, fatter, and with a much more aggressive bass presence. It's much more like a good '50s D-28 in scope.

The thing about late '60s and '70s Martin dreadnoughts is that they're over-braced a bit to handle period-fashion medium strings and so they can keep on ticking after a zillion gigs in bars and sweaty nightclubs. The problem with that is that they tend to sound punchy and forward but not wide. Some sound downright "just OK."

My modification to this guitar's bracing (so far) involved shaving-down and semi-scalloping the main x-braces behind the bridge on the lower bout, cutting the long tonebar down to less than half its height and weight, and removing almost half of the 2nd, smaller tonebar just aft of the bridgeplate. That last bit is because the long bridgeplate serves the same structural need on one side of that brace, so the guitar can "get away" with a lot less of it.

So -- that's what you're hearing in the clip above. All braces forward of the bridge have remained the same as I consider that area of the top more useful stiff and stable than wobbly and generating an eensy-teensy extra bit of "tone."

Hopefully he'll like it! Hacking away with a carving-knife and 100-grit sandpaper through the soundhole is not for those wanting a 100% beautiful look inside, but it does get the job done.


Phillips said…
Well done doc you can definitely hear the difference, WOW, can you shave a little off my
Unknown said…
Boy I would wind up cutting off my finger. Great work!