Body Repair

Vintage Martin 00028 - Damaged sound hole
Replacing soundhole edge of vintage Martin guitar

Before repair After repair Martin 000-28, 1945. This photo shows a very common type of damage: the edge of the soundhole has been worn down by picking. If you're on a tight budget, there is a way of repairing this damage by filling in the gouge with resin or some other filler. But in the...

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Damaged candy apple finish - Vintage Fender guitar
Touching-up a candy apple finish

Touching up a damaged candy apple finish is one of the most difficult repairs to do. An inexperienced craftsman could turn a small scratch into a nightmare. In this case, I filled the gap first and then applied an undercoat. After the undercoat settled, I sprayed gold dust and then applied clear lacquer to cover...

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image of Martin D45
Installing new top, binding, and inlay on Martin D-45

Installing new top, binding, and inlay on Martin D-45. Popular musicians worldwide must perform under various conditions, and so do their instruments. Their guitars may be exposed to salt air one day, then stored in the cargo hold of a jet at 9,000 meters high in the sky, and then right after that played at...

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image of Martin D-45
Repairing cracks of vintage Martin D-45

Repairing cracks on top of vintage Martin D-45, 1939. The highest-value vintage guitar or most expensive guitar on the market is not always a masterpiece. Unfortunately, there were a few cracks on the top because it was not carefully book-matched. If the wood grain is not straight at the center seam, then the great force...

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Restoring damaged top of Daniel Friederich classical guitar
Restoring damaged top of Daniel Friederich classical guitar

French luthier Daniel Friederich's classical guitar. It's still a mystery how this guitar was damaged, but as we know, musical instruments can be damaged anytime and anywhere. For lack of a reliable repair person, the owner of this guitar left it sitting in its case for more than 10 years. Eventually, he asked me to...

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image of Les Paul
Repairing holes on maple top of vintage Les Paul

An old guitar can tell you a story. The three little holes shown here must have been for a Bigsby tremolo, but what are these two big holes for? They may have been for anchors of a tailpiece, but why were they needed? Maybe the person who did this had holes in his head! One...

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Damaged top and binding of Martin
Repairing top and binding of Martin guitar

When you drop a guitar, damage often happens on this part of the body called the lower bout. In this case, the binding was damaged and missing, so I had to start with making the binding. Making it the same size as the original binding, however, is not as easy as one might think. The...

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Repairing vintage Martin 000-28, 1945
Repairing vintage Martin – Transplanting from an old guitar

Repairing vintage Martin with a transplanting technique. This Martin '45 Model 000-28 was damaged and missing parts of the wood. The most difficult element involved in repairing an old instrument is not the wood or the finish. The worst headache for the person repairing vintage instruments is dealing with the effects of time, a process...

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Repairing Brazilian rosewood side of vintage Martin 000-28
Adding new section on Brazilian rosewood side of vintage Martin

This vintage Martin guitar has a typical beautiful Brazilian rosewood grain. (It's the same guitar shown on the previous page.) I used some old Brazilian rosewood from my scraps drawer for this repair, because I couldn't find the right grain pattern on the old guitar that I usually use for parts. The scrap wood had...

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