There’s nothing really wrong with Martin Guitars, but pretty well any guitar can be improved. A simple upgrade for any acoustic is to replace the Nut and Saddle with bone ones.
This Guitar seems to have some intonation problems. I’m not sure quite why, the action is a little high, the strings are a little old and the saddle isn’t compensated. All three of those things will be attended too.
I’m going to use this bone blank to carve a new saddle. I’ve already cut then end down to roughly the right length.
The blank was a little too thick so I ground it down roughly with the grinding wheel.
I Like to finish the job off by hand, It ensures a nice flat and even surface.
Now it fits the slot nicely
Of course the top is very tall and square so it needs to be rounded off.
I use the old saddle to get a rough idea, it’s a starting point anyway.
The grinding wheel is the easiest and quickest way to achieve that.
That’s a good starting point. I’ll need to adjust the height later, once the strings are back on.
I’m going to cut a new nut from a bone blank.
Once I’ve got it to the right thickness on the grinding wheel I need to get the right shape. This one’s rather complicated so the first thing I need to do is get the angle of the bottom so it sits in the slot.
Now it sits into the slot I need to get the shape of the end correct.
With slots cut the guitar is ready for a new set of strings.
Now I can assess the action and adjust the height of the new saddle and nut.
With the neck relief set, with a truss-rod adjustment now I can see how much I need to take off the bottom of the new saddle.
The action needs to come down by a little bit. By clamping the saddle in the sanding guide I can very accurately take just the right amount off the bottom.
Since the sanding clamp has a roller bearing at each corner it’s impossible to grind it too far. It also ensures that the bottom is perfectly flat and square.
Now that the saddle has the right height I need to just sharpen up the top, to allow for the correct intonation of each string.
That’s the new bone saddle completed….
With that done now I can better assess the action at the first fret…
To reduce the action height is a simple process of cutting the string slots a little deeper.
So there it is, better than new, and the intonation problem solved too.
A word or two from the owner:
“Hi George,Just a note to say thankyou for the great job on my Martin.It sounds a lot better and plays really well.Might even learn to play it properly!
For anything else you may need just go to: www.guitar-george.co.uk