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 Post subject: New Martin Neck Joint
PostPosted: Sun Jan 19, 2020 10:25 am 
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Ran across a video promoting Martins S series specifically SC-13E and am intrigued by the neck joint. From what I can gather a hybrid linear dovetail/bolt on with shims to adjust the neck angle and a system that allows the neck to be adjusted for intonation. I am in planning stages of my next project #10 and was debating with myself the dovetail/bolt on merits, now something else to ponder. The entire guitar in very unmartin like and interesting. It is made in mexico and I am wondering if the factory is anything like there PA factory in maybe more hitech equipment and less skilled workers.


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 19, 2020 11:03 am 
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All sorts of opportunities open up when you loose the heel. The guitar does have an interesting neck joint.

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 19, 2020 11:35 am 
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Wow, a $1,500 plywood guitar from Mexico. But hey, it's got a gloss finish!

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 19, 2020 1:21 pm 
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Pmaj7 wrote:
Wow, a $1,500 plywood guitar from Mexico. But hey, it's got a gloss finish!

Pat


I suppose it’s better than the Martin plywood neck and the Martin Formica Guitars.


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 19, 2020 1:39 pm 
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How about a $30000+ dollar plywood and balsa wood guitar from Australia?
I'm glad to see someone else leaves the insides a bit messy on their guitars.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=idit9C8esUk

The Martin guitar looks like it is meant to appeal to finger stylists. Maybe they are trying to increase their market share by offering something a little different. That's not really a new thing, when you think about all the different instruments they have built in the past.


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 19, 2020 2:16 pm 
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Clay S. wrote:
How about a $30000+ dollar plywood and balsa wood guitar from Australia?
I'm glad to see someone else leaves the insides a bit messy on their guitars.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=idit9C8esUk


Wow the clarity and separations of the voices in the counterpoint lines was amazing in the recording not to mention gorgeous voice. I might some day try to make a Smallman style classical.

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 19, 2020 2:17 pm 
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The glued mortice and tenon neck joint found on some Mexican Martins did leave something to be desired.

But on balance Martin is a VERY good company and they always in our considerable.... experience with them go the extra mile for the clients.

As what has been described to us by our friends at Martin as Martin's ears and eyes in the field and first line of customer service for warranty claims Dave and I do a lot of Martin warranty work. Out of the major players, minor ones too no one, no one is as customer centric and supportive of our mutual clients as Martin is.

We dropped another major player in the biz some years back in terms of warranty work because their methods left a lot to be desired in our view. When a bridge lifts you don't advise your warranty repair center to squirt some glue under the wings, clamp the **** out of if and next. That's bs and that's what we were advised to do. It's going to be our reputation on the line when that bridge lifts again and possibly tears up the top too. We may be slow and methodical but we do very good work and will always do very good work or we won't play at all. So we dropped the other major player and only do Martin warranty work.

I've seen Martin honor an unregistered warranty over 50 years after the toothless kid got his D-35. It needed a neck reset and he had never registered his Martin over 50 years ago. Martin and us both worked with our mutual client to find some way, any way to justify helping the now old man out.

Martin accepted a photograph of the kid back then with front teeth knocked out holding his D-35 and grinning like an idiot and they covered a very expensive warranty repair for him, again..... over 50 years later.

Now who would do this???

Anyway I'm reluctant to be critical of Martin for anything really because I know many of the folks there and they are not only our friends they are the most supporting of the customer industry people we know.

So new neck joint on a Mexican Martin. It's an effort to increase serviceability and ease of serviceability in time cutting the costs of uber expensive neck resets and I'll add very time consuming too. This is a very worthy pursuit for Martin and I think may very well represent some real value if you own one of these and find that you didn't humidify it correctly and it prematurely needs an expensive neck reset.

Lastly other companies who I won't mention say they have a warranty and nothing will ever be honored. The customer is sol the vast majority of the time or they have to hire Alan Dershowitz to get a warranty claim accepted. Martin is the opposite and very keen to get he job done for our clients and that means a lot to us as well as Martin's clients.

And really lastly every Monday, tomorrow morning some of the local stars will be coming in with the casualties of the weekend gigs. Mondays are very busy for us. We know from our experience that anyone who needs the maker of their Martin to stand behind the instrument sometimes many decades later that Martin will be there for them AND us. That's real pleasure to see and be a part of.

How ever this new neck joint does over time one thing is for sure - Martin will stand behind it and so will we.

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Last edited by Hesh on Sun Jan 19, 2020 3:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.


These users thanked the author Hesh for the post: dpetrzelka (Mon Jan 20, 2020 10:19 am)
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 19, 2020 2:24 pm 
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johnparchem wrote:
Clay S. wrote:
How about a $30000+ dollar plywood and balsa wood guitar from Australia?
I'm glad to see someone else leaves the insides a bit messy on their guitars.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=idit9C8esUk


Wow the clarity and separations of the voices in the counterpoint lines was amazing in the recording not to mention gorgeous voice. I might some day try to make a Smallman style classical.


Smallman's stuff is superb and in addition to what you noticed John my friend the projection is as good as it gets. We see a lot of classical guitars and most are not notable, the small builder ones. But the Smallmans that I've had the pleasure to play and hear were superb.

Also I'll never hold it against anyone if they can get what they wish for their creations regardless of how much this is. After all we are not communists..............

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 19, 2020 3:45 pm 
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It looks like a really interesting guitar to me. I like the heelless neck joint and the assymetric body shape. I would like to know more about the inner workings of the neck joint. I did some searching of the US patent and patent application databases but the only recent Martin patent I found was for an automated system for routing standard dovetail mortises. It surprises me that I couldn't find one for this new neck joint.

I know laminated backs and sides are widely associated with cheap guitars, but is there an actual functional downside to them? Are they truly an inherently bad feature across the board?

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 19, 2020 4:27 pm 
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J De Rocher wrote:
It looks like a really interesting guitar to me. I like the heelless neck joint and the assymetric body shape. I would like to know more about the inner workings of the neck joint. I did some searching of the US patent and patent application databases but the only recent Martin patent I found was for an automated system for routing standard dovetail mortises. It surprises me that I couldn't find one for this new neck joint.

I know laminated backs and sides are widely associated with cheap guitars, but is there an actual functional downside to them? Are they truly an inherently bad feature across the board?


I think if you say *laminated sides* you’re cool! Don’t say *plywood*! Big difference! beehive

I’m planning to give laminated sides a go at some point.



These users thanked the author Michaeldc for the post: Pmaj7 (Sun Jan 19, 2020 6:13 pm)
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 19, 2020 5:00 pm 
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Just off the top of my head, Michael Greenfield laminates his sides and they sell in the $20,000 price range. I don't see any downsides and they are more structurally sound.


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 19, 2020 6:12 pm 
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I am sure a lot of research went into their new joint, and they definitely have a track record of customer support. I hope it works out better than the Tacoma joint that I've seen failed, also saw one on an Oscar Schmidt that looked to be the same design. Also failed.

Usually when someone's lower end or imported line gets the laminated version, is a pretty clear indicator of decision making. Given that, I've played some laminated back side guitars that anyone would be hard-pressed to identify as such.

I too am planning to try some laminated sides in the future. Intrigued by all the good reports. I'm on the lookout for a new name. "Double sides" was pretty good. Maybe "double solid", or "solid²". Maybe borrow from my helmet, "SCLC" (super complex laminate construction)

Pat

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Last edited by Pmaj7 on Mon Jan 20, 2020 1:43 am, edited 1 time in total.


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 19, 2020 6:38 pm 
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I do a similar neck joint on my electric lap steel builds,
and I'm happy with it. They are glued, so not adjustable.
I used biscuits on this one, but usually make the part out of maple, instead of a biscuit.
Lazy I guess. I'll try to get the pic reduced for posting.
Alan


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 19, 2020 8:07 pm 
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Interestingly I recently sent a pro musician whose D-42's bridge was starting to lift a bit to one of the top repair shops in the Twin Cities for some warrantee work.

I called the guys later to see what they did and they said for smaller partial lifts Martin had instructed them to squirt some glue in and clamp the first time around. They (and I) were skeptical but said it seems to hold up.

Have you heard that from Martin Hesh?

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 20, 2020 12:37 am 
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Brazilian Rosewood
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J De Rocher wrote:
"I know laminated backs and sides are widely associated with cheap guitars, but is there an actual functional downside to them? Are they truly an inherently bad feature across the board?"

I have been laminating backs and sides for more than 15 years using my own peculiar method - regluing matched veneers back in the order it was cut. I haven't noticed any difference between these guitars and those I build from solid wood. done this way the laminate looks and works and sounds the same as solid wood. I originally did it for economic reasons. Using "off fall" veneers I could laminate a first quality all Brazilian rosewood set for under $100 when a marginal looking set of stump wood was $500 -$600. I use matched veneer for all the layers rather than using a "filler" veneer that may not behave the same, which also means that any "thin spots" from oversanding won't show any differently under finish.
You can make laminations that will give you a responsive back, or make them heavier for a reflective back. You can also make them so they will be less responsive, which I believe is what Martin is doing on the new model so it can be played louder acoustically when amplified without feeding back.
I would encourage everyone to try laminating back and side sets. Much of the fanciest wood is turned into veneer and if used properly can make a fine sounding guitar.

Please don't think I was being critical of Smallmans's guitar or it's price. I was just pointing out that plywood, laminations and unconventional materials don't necessarily reflect a lower price point. And yes - his guitar is as messy on the inside as mine. pizza



These users thanked the author Clay S. for the post: Pmaj7 (Mon Jan 20, 2020 2:01 am)
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 20, 2020 4:52 am 
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Terence Kennedy wrote:
Interestingly I recently sent a pro musician whose D-42's bridge was starting to lift a bit to one of the top repair shops in the Twin Cities for some warrantee work.

I called the guys later to see what they did and they said for smaller partial lifts Martin had instructed them to squirt some glue in and clamp the first time around. They (and I) were skeptical but said it seems to hold up.

Have you heard that from Martin Hesh?


No I've never heard that and I would be skeptical too.

Martin does not dictate how we are to repair Martin guitars. There is guidance offered at times in various forms such as videos but there is no requirement that we or anyone repair Martin guitars in a specific prescribed manner.

Now this is an entirely different thing than a repair shop on their own using practices that others in the trade may deem unsound. With the maker that we dropped we had the option to do our whole nine yards bridge removal, clean up both sides, use HHG etc and lose our asses when that maker reimbursed us $25.... We actually did this for a while, the proper job for peanuts and then said the heck with that and our time now earns our shop rate all of the time we are so busy.

So someone's experience with any warranty repair center is going to have some dependency on who the center is, what their chops are, if someone is having a bad day, etc. Martin warranty repair centers are privately held business most of the time and subject to the same various management styles as any private business, all over the place.

PS: Never a need to take a Martin that needs repair to a Martin certified repair center even though we are one. The only thing that gets you is warranty coverage if warranty coverage is due. I don't think we've ever covered a lifting bridge on a Martin without spotting some form of RH abuse such as fret sprout. So the guitar could have gone any where for the repair provided that the steward was not seeking warranty coverage.

Lastly with no disrespect intended some warranty repair centers are just that because it's a music store and Martin dealer and often has been in business for a long time. They may do repairs and they may do most if not all repairs but not everyone specializes in heavy lifting guitar repair. I know we have many capabilities that most with one exception of the area Martin dealers who are music stores don't have. From a three state area we have other Martin repair centers who are dealers sending us work for warranty coverage.

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 20, 2020 5:05 am 
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There is nothing wrong with laminated guitars, period.

Folks came to think that laminated guitars are cheap because many of the inexpensive imports are laminated.

But as someone who sees a 50 year old laminated guitar from time to time it's doing far better usually than a 50 year old non-laminated guitar.

I just paid out my my personal pocket $6,000 for a laminated guitar for myself... A Collings I-35 LC which is a small bodied 335ish style guitar with superb build quality from Collings and killer Lollar low wind PAF pups. It's the finest electric guitar I've ever owned and now hanging in my studio next to my g*bson 335 I bough a couple of months ago made by the g*bson custom shop and also laminated construction.

Somogyi has a guitar in the White House, a national guitar if you will and it's laminated.

I've never been keen to get into this semantics argument about double sides, laminated, whatever. There is nothing wrong with a laminated guitar and there actually are structural and other advantages.

When I sat with Ervin in his booth at Healburg and played his guitars they were superb. I'll never forget the illusion of the bass notes spooling up not unlike my turbo on my car and gaining energy as they ring out with authority with a tight, beautiful bass. Back then two of his that I played were clearly in the top five guitars I had ever played and heard in terms of tone, projection, fidelity, etc. Both of these guitars had double sides or if you will laminated sides. The idea of taking the rim completely out of play even making it tonally inert produced some killer guitars.

Lastly what does Mexico have that might make solid wood guitar construction dicey? It's very dry there making it ideal for Martin's counter top material models and laminated ones too. The instruments have to leave the f*ctory and get shipped where they are going but Mexico's climate leaves a lot to be desired when considering average temps and the the average RH.

So for me I see these new Martin offerings as likely cool guitars and good values and also a sign that someone in our industry is expanding their model line, all good things for Luthiers and our industry.

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Last edited by Hesh on Mon Jan 20, 2020 3:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 20, 2020 11:52 am 
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Thanks Hesh. This was a warranty repair and the shop is absolutely top notch. The old Hoffman people that started their own storefront. They have been doing Martin warranty work for probably 30+ years.

Next time I talk to them I will get more details.

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These users thanked the author Terence Kennedy for the post: Hesh (Mon Jan 20, 2020 3:45 pm)
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 20, 2020 4:01 pm 
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Terence Kennedy wrote:
Thanks Hesh. This was a warranty repair and the shop is absolutely top notch. The old Hoffman people that started their own storefront. They have been doing Martin warranty work for probably 30+ years.

Next time I talk to them I will get more details.


Very cool Terry. For our lifted bridge we remove carefully, clean up both surfaces, fit so that only finger pressure is required to seat the bridge and wings everywhere, we rabbit the pocket often greatly expanding the wood-to-wood surfaces and then we carefully clamp in 15 seconds or less and use HHG. The bridge is preheated in the microwave along with my bean Burrito too. :)

Our process in involved as you can see and there is still even more. We are also always looking for contributing factors and we often find them too with lifting bridges. One example is a bridge plate that has pin hole damage and a crease is starting to form. That crease translates into tenting of the top under the bridge and that breaks the glue joint. Not being humidified often results in bridges lifting too.

A guitar that is due for a neck reset may have a lifting bridge as well, it goes with the territory so very much that bridge reglues are often included with our neck resets because they need to be done.

Martins of certain ages also get a look for other things that we know to have been issues back in those days. Early 70's 18's, 28's and 35's may have the saddle slot milled in the incorrect location. We can easily fix these too with our saddle mill first plugging and then recutting. This is a covered Martin warranty repair and not very many folks have saddle mills so again we see the warranty repair center doing their own best practices so long as the results are.... stellar.

With all this said we have many processes that are even proprietary and not done elsewhere that we employ with Martin warranty work. Loose binding we have methods and tools that we developed because we could not buy what we believed we wanted and needed.

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These users thanked the author Hesh for the post (total 2): Pmaj7 (Mon Jan 20, 2020 10:33 pm) • Terence Kennedy (Mon Jan 20, 2020 8:33 pm)
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