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  #1  
Old 10-16-2012, 07:19 PM
brothers brothers is offline
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Default Martin D-28 conversion recently completed...

Here's a link to some pics and video of a D-28 conversion that was just finished a few weeks ago...

It sounds beautiful and it was a lot of fun to work on!

http://brothersmusicshop.com/ToddsConversion.html

A 1966 Martin D-28 that was converted to a pre-war spec D-28 - with the exception of the neck profile on a new neck - which was customized for the customer's preference and also included a two-way adjustable truss rod. This D-28 includes the original Brazilian rosewood back and sides, all hide glue construction, new Adirondack spruce top, forward-shifted hand-carved scalloped bracing, herringbone top binding, slotted ebony bridge with glued-in bone long saddle, non-slotted bridge pins, bone nut, thin nitrocellulose lacquer finish, an under-the-finish pickguard, and Waverly butterbean knob tuners.

- Rich
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Old 10-17-2012, 06:40 AM
rspeer rspeer is offline
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I saw TSP's post over on the UMGF about this project and am very intrigued. Beautiful work guys!

Short of winning the lottery, I doubt I'll ever have the means for a pre-war bone, but a conversion such as this could be the next-best thing.

Count me in as officially on the lookout for a potential conversion guitar!
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Old 10-17-2012, 06:50 AM
Dirk Hofman Dirk Hofman is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brothers View Post
Here's a link to some pics and video of a D-28 conversion that was just finished a few weeks ago...

It sounds beautiful and it was a lot of fun to work on!

http://brothersmusicshop.com/ToddsConversion.html

A 1966 Martin D-28 that was converted to a pre-war spec D-28 - with the exception of the neck profile on a new neck - which was customized for the customer's preference and also included a two-way adjustable truss rod. This D-28 includes the original Brazilian rosewood back and sides, all hide glue construction, new Adirondack spruce top, forward-shifted hand-carved scalloped bracing, herringbone top binding, slotted ebony bridge with glued-in bone long saddle, non-slotted bridge pins, bone nut, thin nitrocellulose lacquer finish, an under-the-finish pickguard, and Waverly butterbean knob tuners.

- Rich
What's left of the 1966 specs that make it a conversion, the back & sides?
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Old 10-17-2012, 07:00 AM
MaurysMusic MaurysMusic is offline
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VERY cool! It was so neat to see this guitar in person- and in pieces before completion. Congratulations on a job well done! If I'm lucky TSP will let me goof around on it next time I see him
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  #5  
Old 10-17-2012, 07:23 AM
brothers brothers is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dirk Hofman View Post
What's left of the 1966 specs that make it a conversion, the back & sides?
Yes, as you can see in the initial pics, the back, sides, front block, rear block, back bracing, and kerfed ribbon lining remain intact. It has a new top and a new neck. Conversions have been around a while now and it's commonly understood that this is what is usually assigned to a conversion.


Here's a response to a similar inquiry that someone had on another forum...

The original question was... "That's a lovely looking guitar, Todd, and I enjoyed reading the account of its rebirth. But, I do have to ask - should it really be labeled a Martin, when all that remains of the original are the back and sides?"

Todd's response...

"You can ask anything you wish. And your question is quite valid.

But if your Martin had the neck break off in an accident, you could have a new neck put on...

Besides, the custom of converting or restoring Martins in this manner and still putting Martin logos on them is at least as old as the 1960s, when Mike Longworth was converting D-28s to D-45s, before Martin hired him to do the pearl work on the actual D-45s when they re-introduced them in 1968.

But in all such cases, be the conversion done at the factory or by an independent craftsman, the guitar retains its original Martin model stamp and serial number. Someone just needs to look in the sound hole to see it is actually a D-28, not a 45, or see that my guitar is a 1966 D-28, and not some magically preserved 1940 D-28.

While many non-Martin personnel do this kind of work, my guitar is still a Martin in pedigree more than most.

Few people know how to make an Authentic-style Martin like Dave Strunk. He was part of the team of three or four craftsman who personally made the first batch of D-18 Authentics at the factory, and trained the employees who make them now.

The fingerboard and neck blank were purchased from Martin. The neck wasn't shaped and put on the guitar at the factory. But the work was done by someone who worked there longer than most of the people working there today.

So as far as I am concerned, it is accurate to say my guitar is still a Martin D-28 that has been converted to pre-war specs." - Todd

- Rich

Last edited by brothers; 10-17-2012 at 07:45 AM.
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  #6  
Old 10-17-2012, 07:44 AM
HHP HHP is offline
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Just a thought on conversions. While I don't think anyone is doing this to deceive, down the road somewhere someone else could well try and promote something like this as a vintage instrument. Might be nice if conversions had an additional label added to indicate they were modified and even better, if Martin would accept the information from converters and annotate their serial number records to indicate conversion. Probably not possible but it would be useful 20-30 years down the road.
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Old 10-17-2012, 08:32 AM
Zigeuner Zigeuner is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HHP View Post
Just a thought on conversions. While I don't think anyone is doing this to deceive, down the road somewhere someone else could well try and promote something like this as a vintage instrument. Might be nice if conversions had an additional label added to indicate they were modified and even better, if Martin would accept the information from converters and annotate their serial number records to indicate conversion. Probably not possible but it would be useful 20-30 years down the road.
No one with any knowledge of vintage Martins would be fooled by this as anything other than a rebuilt (converted) 1966 Martin guitar. It does appear to be very nice work, however and when an instrument gets to be in unplayable or bad condition, all the bets are off.

As to buying parts from C.F. Martin, that's a thing of the past unless you own a Martin repair station. They won't sell to us commoners anymore. I needed a fingerboard recently for my 1962 Martin D-28 that I'm refurbishing. I called Martin a couple of months ago, where I had bought parts for many years and was told that as of October 1, 2011, they no longer supply parts for us outsiders.

That fact, coupled with their recent cancellation of any neck reset work on Martin guitars more than 40 years old has left me on my own. I now buy parts from Stewart-Macdonald and Luthier's Mercantile International (LMI), both of which are great sources for Martin-like replacement parts. What's not to like?
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Old 10-17-2012, 09:10 AM
Davis Webb Davis Webb is offline
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All I can say is ...WoW!!!

What a tone ... stunning.
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Old 10-17-2012, 09:20 AM
brothers brothers is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HHP View Post
Just a thought on conversions. While I don't think anyone is doing this to deceive, down the road somewhere someone else could well try and promote something like this as a vintage instrument. Might be nice if conversions had an additional label added to indicate they were modified and even better, if Martin would accept the information from converters and annotate their serial number records to indicate conversion. Probably not possible but it would be useful 20-30 years down the road.
A serious-minded enthusiast and avid collector of vintage Martins will be doing their homework if they're interested in purchasing a vintage Martin (I hope - even if it's twenty years from now!) A conversion will have very easily identifiable components that will call it out as a conversion. The hand-carved forward-shifted scalloped bracing, along with herringbone top binding, would not be on a D-28 that has a serial number that shows it to be a 1966 Martin. Also, luthiers usually sign the underside of the top and denote it as a conversion. Most serious-minded collectors can even tell if any finish has been altered on a vintage Martin. I hope this helps out with understanding the unlikeliness of someone trying to pawn off a conversion as an original vintage Martin. If someone does try this - shame on them for not being honest (and the buyer has no reason/excuse to NOT do their homework.)

- Rich
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Old 10-17-2012, 09:50 AM
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thetoymeister thetoymeister is offline
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Beautiful work and a great sounding conversion!
Todd is very luckey and you guys did a stellar job.
I have heard several of these from a couple of builders and each one, while different, was an incredible guitar.
I am extremely happy with my '66 Conversion (by someone else) which brought an abused, unplayable guitar back from the dead.
Congratulations to everyone involved!
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Old 10-17-2012, 11:50 AM
Glennwillow Glennwillow is offline
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Hi Rich,

I think this is a great story, great thread, and very interesting concept. I realize this is not a pre-war Martin, but as a player rather than a collector, I find this approach quite intriguing.

Thanks for the heads-up on this project. The guitar looks and sounds terrific!

- Glenn
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Old 10-17-2012, 01:20 PM
tpbiii tpbiii is offline
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This kind of thing has been done since at least the 1970s. We have a couple. Here is a '68 D-12-35 converted long ago -- at some time, it passed through the hands of both Randy Woods and John Arnold. Braces souped up -- my wife calls it the Alabama Jubilee.



Here is a retopped '67 D-35 -- with mid 30s braces. The original top had collapsed.





These are both great guitars that play a real role in our lives. BUT -- historically, they have not been valuable guitars. I have not seen any indication that that has changed.

Let's pick,

-Tom
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Old 10-17-2012, 01:36 PM
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it certainly looks to be gorgeous work and the sound in the videos seems to be very, very nice... my question is why? Was the original guitar damaged so that it required such major surgery? If not, I have difficulty feeling good about this... of course, the guitar wasn't mine so my opinion isn't worth anything, but to destroy the '66, which is not a bad guitar by any stretch of the imagination, simply to obtain the sides and back seems a bit much to me.
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Old 10-17-2012, 07:21 PM
brothers brothers is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by royd View Post
it certainly looks to be gorgeous work and the sound in the videos seems to be very, very nice... my question is why? Was the original guitar damaged so that it required such major surgery? If not, I have difficulty feeling good about this... of course, the guitar wasn't mine so my opinion isn't worth anything, but to destroy the '66, which is not a bad guitar by any stretch of the imagination, simply to obtain the sides and back seems a bit much to me.
Yeah, the top was in very rough shape (cracked, pickguard missing) and the neck was gone. By "gone" I mean it was not on the body! Generally, conversions are done to guitars that are in similar condition.

There's quite a difference in tone, resonance, feel, etc... when the 50's and 60's Martin Brazilians are converted to Adirondack..., forward-shifted..., etc... (sanding the back and sides thinner contributes to that) Also, as mentioned earlier, to get a new Martin with Brazilian is big $$$ and this provides an opportunity to get a beautiful looking and sounding instrument for much less cost than new.

I worked at Martin for 15 years and my business partner, Dave Strunk, worked in the Repair Department at Martin for 20 years - I can assure you that we do not haphazardly approach conversions. There are definitely "candidates" for conversions. It's sort of like breast augmentation - some are nice enough to leave alone!

- Rich

Last edited by brothers; 10-17-2012 at 08:15 PM.
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Old 10-17-2012, 08:03 PM
Zigeuner Zigeuner is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by royd View Post
it certainly looks to be gorgeous work and the sound in the videos seems to be very, very nice... my question is why? Was the original guitar damaged so that it required such major surgery? If not, I have difficulty feeling good about this... of course, the guitar wasn't mine so my opinion isn't worth anything, but to destroy the '66, which is not a bad guitar by any stretch of the imagination, simply to obtain the sides and back seems a bit much to me.
I agree. If it were my instrument, I would have restored it to standard specifications. To each his or her own.
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