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PostPosted: Sun Sep 10, 2017 9:40 am 
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Koa
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Location: Shefford, Québec
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Some "lower market" Martin models (D-15, D-16 and others) have bolted tenon joints, rather than the traditional dovetail -- easily identified by the wood access cover on the heel block.

When installing a strap button on heel of these guitars, is there a risk of hitting the neck bolt hardware, and if so, what location is "safe"? (Yes, I have a D-16 on the bench right now that wants a strap button -- but I haven't yet seen one of these disassembled.)


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 10, 2017 10:58 am 
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Old Growth Brazilian Rosewood
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Hey Tim. I don't have any formula for these but here is what I do.

Using rare earth magnets you can check for the location of bolts just pad the face of the magnet to prevent any scratching of the heel. When in doubt pull the wooden plate (it's on there with double stick tape so don't pull too hard they can break in half (they also glue back together nicely too...) ) and observe where the bolts are. We use a putty knife that was heated and bent around an about 1" pipe so it's "U" shaped and gets under wooden plates and bridge plates great. The handle is a plus too.

There is an industry spec of 7/8th" away from the body and 7/8th" down from the fret board surface that many people use. Dave doesn't like this spec and with good reason. There can on some guitars be metal hardware in this location so it's always prudent to check either visually or with magnets.

The other reason he doesn't like this spec is with certain heel shapes and cut-aways it's not the best available place to put the strap without it interfering with playing in the cutaway region if applicable.

Hope this helps.



These users thanked the author Hesh for the post: Tim Mullin (Sun Sep 10, 2017 12:33 pm)
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 10, 2017 11:00 am 
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Koa
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Up from the bottom through the heel cap you have about zero chance of hitting any hardware. If the customer wants it on the face of the heel, that usually means at about a 45° angle relative to the neck shaft on the side away from the player, you are again screwing in across the heel not into the tenon.

Perhaps if you screwed straight on inline with the neck you could hit something, but on a Martin heel there is no flat surface there.

In short, I don't think that is something you would have to worry about.


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 10, 2017 12:49 pm 
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Koa
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Hesh wrote:
Using rare earth magnets you can check for the location of bolts

Great idea! I did exactly that -- couldn't get any response at all on the heel, do I drilled away with less trepidation. Job done -- thanks heaps!

Hesh wrote:
When in doubt pull the wooden plate (it's on there with double stick tape so don't pull too hard they can break in half (they also glue back together nicely too...) ) and observe where the bolts are.

Exactly the fiddle I was trying avoid -- and thanks to your magnet idea, I did!

Hesh wrote:
There is an industry spec of 7/8th" away from the body and 7/8th" down from the fret board surface that many people use. Dave doesn't like this spec and with good reason.

And I agree. I usually put them on the treble side of the heel, about half way down the heel. Usually still lots of wood there, straps seem to work well in that location and don't bother (most) players. I REALLY don't like them on the heel cap.

So, this guitar is just about done -- a major job with 3 major cracks (a one on top centre seam, and two full length down the back -- turned out really well with Gluboost Fill n Finish making them all but disappear), a full service/setup, swapping out the crappy sounding OE UST Pup for a Schatten, and the strap button. I'm just fiddling with the install of the pup to tone down some harshness (first time I've encountered that with a Schatten).



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These users thanked the author Tim Mullin for the post: Hesh (Sun Sep 10, 2017 2:36 pm)
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 10, 2017 4:21 pm 
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Koa
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The insert and the bolt end are in the tenon --- the tenon is inside the body of the guitar.

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PostPosted: Sun Sep 10, 2017 6:14 pm 
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Brazilian Rosewood
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also they are made of brass

We were taught at Martin to set them about 1/2 way up the neck and about 1/2 out from the body. Your chances of hitting them are slim to none. The inserts are also in the dovetail necks as they use the insert to set the necks on the belt for the finish booth.

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PostPosted: Sun Sep 10, 2017 6:28 pm 
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Koa
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bluescreek wrote:
also they are made of brass

Hmm, so much for the magnet idea.

bluescreek wrote:
We were taught at Martin to set them about 1/2 way up the neck and about 1/2 out from the body.

Exactly where I've always installed mine. First one I ever had was installed there by a Martin-authorized guy. Before that, I was tying straps to the headstock with a shoelace -- like we all did it n the 60s.



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PostPosted: Sun Sep 10, 2017 8:02 pm 
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Brazilian Rosewood
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Stew Mac used to sell a little tap for the wood strap button with an integrated screw they used to sell. I still use it for treble side heel buttons to minimize the risk of splitting something.

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PostPosted: Sun Sep 10, 2017 9:33 pm 
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Old Growth Brazilian Rosewood
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Yup the inserts are brass but the great, big honking bolt passing into the insert is steel. Presumably the neck is on when we install strap buttons......

Not every instrument is a Martin either with Taylor bolt(s) in different locations and every other bolt on brand doing their own thing too. It's always a good idea to check if not double check stuff.

Although specifics was requested for a 16 series magnets don't care what they are used on. We do Martin warranty work but work on everything else too.


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 10, 2017 9:43 pm 
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Old Growth Brazilian Rosewood
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I wanted to add that we install strap buttons at no charge and this includes a premium button, chamfering the screw hole edge, matching felt (matching binding dark or white and often while you wait and talk at us service. Be sure to put a dab of something like Howard's Feed-n-wax on the screw tip to help avoid splitting and use an appropriate drill bit. I use the masking tape method for depth stops.

Why no charge? Because it's below our minimum (service and billing) and also an opportunity for some good will. We will check to see if any of our other services are wanted, set-ups, etc. but we've been doing free strap buttons for nearly five years now and it's worked out well for us. You might call it a loss leader AND we don't have to write up a bill, pay our bookkeeper to enter it in QuickBooks or pay our accountant to account for nearly nothing.... We do receive praise, often set-up business and our greater task with the client has a jump start. What's the greater task? To be their Lutherie trusted advisor for most folks we meet. Some aren't worth it....

And all the while we don't screw up their guitar right in front of them and hit a bolt. ;) That's something.....

Lastly I speak of large, rare earth magnets, I like the 3/4" ones with 40 pounds of pull and a magnetic field that can start to pull 2" away from metal.... Be careful with these things they can launch at metal that's why I pad them when checking for bolts on finished heels.

When we first started using these high powered magnets only one in three shipments actually arrived at our shop. We believe that two out of three shipments are stuck inside some metal mail box somewhere..... Seriously. They never made it to us and had to be repeatedly replaced.


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 11, 2017 6:33 pm 
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Brazilian Rosewood
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hesh
Martin uses a brass screw not steel

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These users thanked the author bluescreek for the post: Hesh (Tue Sep 12, 2017 4:19 am)
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 11, 2017 7:35 pm 
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Koa
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Location: Shefford, Québec
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Country: Canada
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Hesh wrote:
I wanted to add that we install strap buttons at no charge and this includes a premium button, chamfering the screw hole edge, matching felt (matching binding dark or white and often while you wait and talk at us service. Be sure to put a dab of something like Howard's Feed-n-wax on the screw tip to help avoid splitting and use an appropriate drill bit. I use the masking tape method for depth stops.

Why no charge? Because it's below our minimum (service and billing) and also an opportunity for some good will. We will check to see if any of our other services are wanted, set-ups, etc. but we've been doing free strap buttons for nearly five years now and it's worked out well for us.


I really like that idea -- mind if I steal it?



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These users thanked the author Tim Mullin for the post: Hesh (Mon Sep 11, 2017 10:23 pm)
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 12, 2017 7:36 am 
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On this one the center is 2-3/8" down from the top , sorry photo is a little crappy but you get the idea.

Not sure if this dimension varies from model to model though.


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 12, 2017 8:14 am 
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Koa
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We have not seen where the standard 7/8" x 7/8" results in any interference with neck hardware on any of the Martin models, but going lower on the heel can be an issue on other brands such as Taylor, where the vertically oriented aluminum heel insert use on the NT neck system can make a lower strap button location more difficult to achieve. The 7/8" x 7/8" guide seems to result in a mount below the truss rod cavity and above any holder hardware on most makes, but we have seen a few players of cutaway instruments that see some interference with the fleshy part of their palm when playing on the fretboard extension, and more so when their hands are on the smallish/more delicate side.

Using a powerful rare earth magnet works well with carbon steel inserts or bolts; however, we have seen broad variation in insert and fastener materials across makes (stainless and brass/bronze/aluminum fasteners and inserts are non-magnetic), so familiarity with the builder's neck system is a point of emphasis here, with a file maintained on truss rod specs, neck fastener specs, and other unique features for each brand. Not something done so much for a one person shop where the master file tends to reside just below the proprietor's hat, but instead to get us hangers-on here in the habit of thinking about what is worthy of data collection and what is not.

There seems to be a number of ways to handle the bill/not bill decision for these odd little jobs and minor tweaks, and it is nice to hear how others go about their business. Most of these minor tweaks for regular/repeat customers are not charged - tightening a jack nut or tuner retaining nut, reseating a tuner bushing, or similar 30 second jobs are often handled with the boss saying something like, "We got it today - we don't want to make you late for sound check, so next time." We do charge first-timers when there is work done - primarily to establish that what we do is of value, but generally do not charge for inspection, and never charge for evaluations on approval/pending sales because we almost always see those instruments back in the shop for set-up, mods, pickup systems, and other real work.

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These users thanked the author Woodie G for the post: Hesh (Tue Sep 12, 2017 4:07 pm)
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 12, 2017 10:42 am 
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Brazilian Rosewood
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If you have a friend in health care and can sneak a guitar in for an X-ray that solves your problem. Also useful for neck resets where you are not sure of the anatomy of the joint.

I am guessing most of us have a doctor or two that owns or has had repairs done on their guitars. Most physicians or other health care professionals that have access to an X-ray machine and are guitar nuts are excited to help out.

Image

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 12, 2017 2:58 pm 
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Koa
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I was going to have that done, but insurance wouldn't cover it. It was going to cost $47,874.19 for the X-ray. I had to pass.


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