7/16/2017

1960 Martin 0-15 Flattop Guitar





0-15s are nice guitars, that's a fact. Despite being the "entry-level" Martin flattop at the time, they have a woody, folksy, midsy sort of tone that records beautifully and sits in the mix of other guitar players right in their own spot. For country-blues fingerpickers (and old-time-flavored flatpickers), they offer the sweetness and warmth of a Martin tone with more of the clarity and simplicity in the mids and lows of something like a Gibson LG-2 or Oscar Schmidt parlor.

This one was in for repair and through me it got a new bridge, new pins, a new saddle, a fret level/dress, a new pickguard, and a good setup. Previous work on it included a pumpkin-brown/orange refinish job to the body and back of the neck, and a terrible old bridge replacement. It's now playing in style and spot-on with a straight neck, 50w-11 strings, and 3/32" EA and 1/16" DGBE action at the 12th fret. The owner is a fingerpicker and I think he's going to love how it turned-out.


This 0-15 is 13 1/2" across the lower bout, has a 24 7/8" scale length, and 1 11/16" nut width. The body is all solid mahogany and the neck is, too. Both the original fretboard and replacement bridge are rosewood.


The "butterbean" Grover tuners look slick, don't they? Note the slightly irregular surface to the top of the original ebony nut -- it was chipped-out a bit, but after some patching and buffing it's looking respectable.


The original frets had some wear and the fretboard was pretty dried-out. After the level/dress, though, the frets still have a good amount of height.

The neck is interesting in that it has a shallower soft-V shape that I find more common to late 1930s and early 1940s Martins. It's super playable.




I traced the glue remains of whatever oversize replacement pickguard was on this guitar in the past and then cut this new pickguard in close to the same shape (but this one hugs the soundhole rosette more effectively). I used that nice StewMac browny-tortoise stick-on material. It's a little pricey compared to other stock but it looks excellent when it's in place.


This came with a laughable replacement bridge (coming off the top) that was glued in a particularly ugly way (hence the ick in front of the new one). My own replacement bridge is a cut-down belly-bridge that sets the pins farther aft (like on a Gibson) and thus necessitated a pin-hole fill/drill job, too... though I do that pretty standard-issue when I do bridge reglue jobs. If I can have my way with old Martins, I tend to like to move the pins a little farther back as the original bridges get funky wear-and-tear from the pins being too close to the saddle slot.


Because the guitar wasn't getting a neck reset, I had to then shave the bridge down and string-ramp behind the (new, bone) saddle. The result is a functional, drop-in-saddle bridge that looks appropriate-enough to pass muster.

The new bridge pins and endpin are ebony.











1 comment:

troy said...

Jake, you're a master, thank you so much!
In anticipation,
T