1967 Martin D-21 Customized Dreadnought Guitar

Yeah, this gal is definitely not stock. Obvious alterations include a huge recut of the soundhole, replacement bridge, a shot of overspray, and a lot of extra inlay on the fretboard. Inside it wasn't mucked-about, but the guitar was due a neck reset at the minimum. The owner wanted to go whole-hog and so I also shaved its braces, too, to open-up the glorious voice that I knew was hiding inside. To be fair, though -- this had a pretty good tone to begin with. Afterall, it's a Brazilian rosewood D-21 from the mid-'60s. Post-work, though, it's like that good tone but turned-up a few notches.

This box is loud. It can play bluegrass and cut like the devil. I mean -- it's really loud. If you lean into it, it can pace a decent resonator guitar. It also has enough mwah and round bottom to soothe your folkie side, too. With its flower-child alterations to the looks, it might as well flit between all of that, anyhow. Someone went to a lot of trouble to put all that on the guitar and while you might think I'm a purist, let's admit it -- these are factory guitars and it's pretty charming to imagine someone bent-over a bench giving it some full-on bling back in the '70s when it was probably done. Who knows, too -- maybe this had a soundhole pickup mounted that slammed into the top and necessitated some changes?

Work included: a neck reset, fret level/dress, new bone saddle, mild cleaning, and shave of some lower-bout bracing (I thinned-up and half-scalloped the main x-braces below the bridge and thinned-up the tonebars, too). It plays bang-on with 3/32" EA and 1/16" DGBE action at the 12th fret, strung with 56w-13 gauges. The neck adds ~1/64" of relief tuned to pitch, but that's bog-standard for a non-adjustable Martin. You don't even notice it.

Scale length: 25 3/8"
Nut width: 1 11/16"
String spacing at nut: 1 7/16"
String spacing at saddle: 2 1/8"
Body length: 19 7/8"
Lower bout width: 15 5/8"
Upper bout width: 11 1/2"
Side depth at endpin: 4 7/8"
Top wood: solid spruce
Back/sides: solid Brazilian rosewood
Neck wood: mahogany
Fretboard: ebony
Neck shape: 16" radius board, medium C/V rear shape
Bridge: rosewood
Nut: original
Saddle: new bone

Condition notes: very modified soundhole, bridge, and fretboard. It has one shot of overspray on the whole instrument. Otherwise it's original and has only one, long, top hairline crack (that was previously repaired and to which I added cleats where possible).

The abalone-and-silver inlay in the board is pretty smart.

That soundhole is wild, huh? As a general rule, the larger the soundhole, the more mids and highs you push. That seems illogical but it's true, and it's part of the reason this one pushes so much volume in the midrange. It's saucy.


Ivan said…
. Thanks so much Jake!!
Emmylou, Grahm Parsons, John Denver and acoustic Doobies and Allmans are on the menu.