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Author Topic: Martin D12-28 Neck Bow - What would U do?  (Read 895 times)
rwskaggs
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« on: January 24, 2011, 08:19:28 PM »

I'm the original owner of a 1976 Martin D12-28 - twelve string.  Had it back for warranty work to Martin in the late 70's (frets, neck relief, etc.)  This particular guitar doesn't have an adjustable truss rod - they didn't come along until later.

Had a local luthier do a setup with bone nut and saddle which improved the tone but didn't help the relief.  Looking at it closely, it's easy to see a slight bow midway down the neck that prevents a good setup without buzzing.

I've always used light gauge Martin strings at full pitch with this instrument - many years of good playing time!  Anyway, it needs help - probably a neck reset.  I checked with a GOOD luthier in Columbus, OH and the estimate is quite high - they want to totally refret as well..... wacko

Martin won't consider any warranty work w/o a receipt - I haven't had the original 3 x 5" handwritten receipt from Manny's in NY for many years.

My question - would you have a reputable luthier do the work for you or would you return it to Nazareth for the work, if it was your guitar?  Thankx!
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« Reply #1 on: January 24, 2011, 08:29:02 PM »


Martin won't consider any warranty work w/o a receipt - I haven't had the original 3 x 5" handwritten receipt from Manny's in NY for many years.

My question - would you have a reputable luthier do the work for you or would you return it to Nazareth for the work, if it was your guitar?  Thankx!

Either or you can't go wrong so long reputable capable and local likely be most economical
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« Reply #2 on: January 24, 2011, 08:48:00 PM »

Either way would be good.The guitar doesn't need a neck reset but It would need to be clapped and heated slowly to remove the extra relief it has developed.I now that in the past some have had the frets removed and the fingerboard planed down some and then refretted but the cost is out there.A clapping and heating is the best way to go.This should take a while so no undue stress to the glue that holds the fingerboard on  is caused.Then a fret dressing{leveling} will need to be done  plus a new setup.Another route you can take is to have a trussrod installed but this too is costly.
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« Reply #3 on: January 24, 2011, 10:51:56 PM »

Seems to me I read somewhere that they can remove the bow by refretting. If I remember correctly the fret tangs are adjusted to stiffen the neck and take out the bow. I could have this wrong though.
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« Reply #4 on: January 25, 2011, 02:37:25 AM »

No real way to fret a guitar to compensate for neck releif that I know of.I have refretted necks to change the radious.
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« Reply #5 on: January 25, 2011, 03:52:38 AM »

Seems to me I read somewhere that they can remove the bow by refretting. If I remember correctly the fret tangs are adjusted to stiffen the neck and take out the bow. I could have this wrong though.

The frets do affect the relief/bow of a neck to a certain degree. It can be a problem when building a guitar because the installation of the frets effectively lengthens the fret side of the board causing a back bow which may or may not be noticeable once everything is glued up. I can see how someone could use different size tangs to adjust the bow but it sounds kinda risky that it would be effective in a significantly positive way.
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« Reply #6 on: January 25, 2011, 04:39:01 AM »

Seems to me I read somewhere that they can remove the bow by refretting. If I remember correctly the fret tangs are adjusted to stiffen the neck and take out the bow. I could have this wrong though.

I had read it in Dan Earlwines book, its referred to as compression fretting. They either widen the tangs or use wider fret wire to remove some up bow on the neck, if it is extreme they plane back bow into the neck along with the compression fretting. It states that in the 70's Martin developed several different sizes of fret wire just for this purpose. This method was used on necks that were not stiff enough and had no adjustable truss rod.  I'm sure you can find more info about it on the internet.
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rwskaggs
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« Reply #7 on: January 25, 2011, 12:47:29 PM »

Owner here - I appreciate the info from you folks; had no idea there are alternatives to a total neck reset/replacement.  The forward bow isn't much, but it's enough to make the 12 difficult to play anywhere but at the first couple of frets, and it really needs to be addressed before it gets worse.

One of the guys at the AGF suggested having carbon rods installed under the fretboard to prevent this in the future.  Does Martin do all of these innovative approaches, or is it SOP all the way with their techs?

After the warranty issue with them, I'm unsure whether to send it there or just go with a luthier I trust (J. Thomas Davis) in Columbus, OH.  He's expensive, but I wouldn't worry about the end result...
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« Reply #8 on: January 25, 2011, 01:00:00 PM »

Martin keeps excellent records of ownership! Since the guitar has been returned once for warranty work there should be ample evidence of warranty. Check with one of their service reps again before you commit to anything. Martin has (or will soon) cease doing neck resets on pre 70 model guitars, but that will not affect you. They are very, very good at standing behind their product. Also try going on the UMGF and seek advice there!
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« Reply #9 on: January 25, 2011, 02:47:29 PM »

I'd go with your luthier.Rods are a nice added extra but I would still have it fitted with a truss rod.Once done you'll get another 50 or so years out of her.
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« Reply #10 on: January 26, 2011, 01:01:13 AM »




A re-fret can straighten the neck - if he uses a bigger tang it forces the neck bow backwards. I have had it done on three guitars now, a 1949 Martin, a 1954 Martin and a 1932 Dobro, whereas the only guitar with bar frets that i own - i had a new FB with tang frets installed, and a carbon rod underneath... it over 117 years old now tho, and it's a daily player...

I would give Martin's customer service another shot... this;
"Martin won't consider any warranty work w/o a receipt"
Is not what many others have been told... i would ask Martin again, and then ask Carmen Cortez one more time directly if you are not happy with the answer.. there's many people who have had the warrentee honered dispite not having any paperwork.

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rwskaggs
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« Reply #11 on: January 26, 2011, 03:41:09 AM »

I guess I'll have to give Carmen Cortez a call since I just got off the phone with customer service again. No joy in Martinville - they said the same thing, i.e...."Martin leaves it up to the customer to maintain proof of ownership for validating any warranty work".

The service rep admitted that they COULD have worked on my guitar [per my claim] in the late 70's / early 80's, but that Martin did not keep records or serial numbers on repairs/service performed then. They would honor anyone who presented a Martin guitar for warranty work.

Not any more...

He even went on to say if I could offer any proof at all that I was the original owner, they would work with me. Apart from the living testimony of hundreds of people who've known me over the years, I can't do that.

His other observation was that AGF, Larrivee and UMGF members might want to believe that records were available from Martin, but again that the burden of proof of original ownership rests on the owner.

So don't lose those receipts and warranty cards and letters, boys and girls!
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