1974 Martin D-35 Dreadnought Guitar

This box was a "here today, gone tomorrow" job for a local customer. He just needed the frets leveled/dressed, a replacement pickguard, and the instrument setup as best as it could be. I had to take some shots because his first question was, "should we make a pickguard to cover-up the wear?" My answer: "...of course not! People pay for that!"

Besides, it's over bracing. A hole in that area is not a biggie the pickwear wears through the top.

Martin dreadnoughts from the '70s are often lamented by forum-goers but I don't think they sound shabby at all. This one certainly sounded the business after it was done. The owner uses 56w-13 medium gauges on it, though, so the extra tension certainly helps the stiffer bracing of the period to sound its best. My biggest complain about '70s Martins is that the fretboard radius is very shallow. It's almost flat. I much prefer the older ~14" radius boards in my left hand.

The guitar itself should have a neck reset in the soonish future, but with a little extra string-ramping at the bridge I was able to cut the saddle down almost to the deck and get 3/32" bass, 1/16" treble action height out of it. Where there's a will, there's a way!

The 3-panel Indian rosewood back on this one looks quite nice, too.


Claude said…
My first good guitar was the 1973 D-35 I bought new. It still sounds like a whole orchestra. I understand there were some bridge misplacement issues at Martin then, but the intonation on mine is perfect, thank goodness. These D-35s are not highly-prized today, making good used ones (IMHO) a steal.