Museum: Martin Guitars

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1953 Martin D-28

Serial # 133867. An Adirondack topped '53, with exceptional rosewood back and sides, excellent playability, big tone, great looks, and a number of repairs -- both old and new. Replacement bridge, saddle, bridgeplate and set up by our shop have brought life to the guitar; the original bridgeplate had been repaired and re-repaired and needed to go, and a non-original bridge had cracked as a result. The new plate and bridge are to 1953 specs, hide-glued, and aged to blend in. From what we can determine, a number of different repair people have worked on the guitar over the years, and some of the repairs may well be Martin factory work. Here's the list:

Back removed and re-installed, a few back cracks glued and reinforced; top has a 5/8" wide splice between the bridge and the binding that matches quite nicely with the surrounding wood (looks like very old factory work); lower tone bar has been more recently replaced, and a secondary 'popsicle' brace has been added alongside. The pickguard has been removed and reinstalled, and a pickguard crack spliced; a couple of repaired side cracks are invisible from the outside; neck reset and refretted (likely a couple of times as evidenced by repaired chips in the fingerboard). Neck refinished a long, long, time ago, the back corners of the headstock are somewhat rounded and the neck shape feels a hair small for a '53. The guitar's body has likely been oversprayed, but also a long, long time ago. It looks fantastic now -- with all kinds of craze-lines and patina, and the various repaired cracks are largely not noticeable from the outside of the guitar with thanks to the finish. Despite the long menu of repairs, the guitar is intact, structurally sound, and in good health. The top shows no distortion or deflection, and the guitar has relatively few cracks. The bridge and plate footprints are exact matches of the guitar's originals, the neck angle is perfect, and newer frets play well with easy action. The original Kluson waffle-back tuners work well, too. We have the guitar set up with medium strings and an action of 4-6 64ths at the 12th fret. It's a lovely sounding guitar with expressive basses, and open mid tones. With 1970's hardshell case

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