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Iboney Saddle & Electronic Work

Here’s some before and after shots of a vintage Martin D-35 that I recently set up.

Notice how a good looking saddle has poor functionality: the gap between the string and the saddle isn’t problematic until you vibrate the string.  That gap lends itself to buzzing of a sitar, but only at certain levels of humidity (this can also be the case scenario with Taylor guitars, but on the opposite side of the saddle).  I measure the thickness and length of the old saddle with my digital dial calipers and proceed to create a new blank to those dimensions.


After the fretboard was cleaned, frets glossed, soundboard hand buffed, and ebony fingerboard & bridge oiled, the saddle was fitted and I proceeded to adjust the action (at both ends), then the intonation.  The latter is a fairly involved process of stringing, measuring accuracy, taking strings off again to notch the saddle to get to the mark of sparkly overtones.  This guitar was not too difficult, as I managed to get it dead on by the third guesstimation.


Martin frets before restoration….


…and after!

After that, I continued to fix the input connection.  There was a bunch of old epoxy around the base of the jack that had to be removed.  A simple stripping of the wires and a clean solder connection got the jack ready to be reinstalled.

Final stages included buffing the rest of the body and the back of the neck, but only after I removed the green and tarnished strap button to shine it up like new again.

Overall, this guitar’s clarity, sustain, playability, electronics, and looks greatly improved.  Here’s the itemized receipt for this job:

$55.00      SETUP

$5.00        STRINGS

$60.00      NUT ($10 upcharge for oversized saddle)

$40.00      HAND POLISHING/BUFFING (extremely dull finish)

$25.00      ELECTRONIC WORK (minimum charge)

$185.00 Total.


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