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Project Information

Well, not exactly a Martin, but…
I decided that it was about time to try my hand at making an acoustic steel-string guitar, and being a bluegrasser from way back, I immediately thought, "Martin." I called the factory and found out they offered "kits," which are really packages of wood, binding, and fretwire, not to much more that you can get out of a luthier's supply catalog, so I ordered one. Except, my "kit" isn't one of their "kits." It contains certain upgrades, such as the abalone inlay purfling and rosettes. As one might expect, the body literally flew together, and then come the details… each length of abalone needs to be mitered by hand (file and sandpaper) to the next length. Making the tight corners is the real chore, where a single length needs to be mitered several times to make the radius. Right now I'm working up the nerve to do some peghead inlay work, but I'm not really sure what it is I want up there.
I did get Martin to pre-bend the sides for me, but in retrospect I wish I would have bit the bullet and come up with some sort of bending iron to do the job. It would have saved me money. Incidentally, the top is Sitka Spuce, the back, sides, and peghead veneer are Indian Rosewood, and the neck mahogany. All hand tools except for the binding and rosette routing, which was done with a Dremel. Any suggestions for the peghead inlay?

Gallery

Comments

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335 Posts
The fretboard inlay looks great! Just go for it. This is something I want to tackle soon. An acoustic for myself and a Les Paul clone for my daughter.
 

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689 Posts
That's sweet! Is the fretboard ebony? I've been contemplating shell inlay on a greene piece. Been doing some research.
 

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This looks pretty good. My musical abilities are in tune with my artistic ones- both being non-existent but I do appreciate the woodworking efforts.

This is a beautiful piece. Thanks for sharing.
 

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Nice work. I admire the detail that goes into a project like this. Very impressive.
 

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505 Posts
Nice job!! I'm not bold enough to try acoustic instruments yet…
One day I'll tackle an acoustic double bass, but I'm sticking to solid body instruments for now.
As for the headstock maybe try using the Dremel to inlay your initials or something like that. That's a classy way to make someone wonder "wow, who made THAT ??"
 

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Awesome! I JUST bought Guitarmaking: Tradition and Technology by Cumpiano/Natelson and I'm really enjoying it so far. I told myself that I'd read that book and then decide if I wanted to drop the coin on a kit from Luthier's Mercantile or not.

I've only been playing guitar for a few months now and I enjoy it very much. As soon as I discovered that it was possible to make my guitar sing I decided that I wanted to build one. I doubt that I'll be able to build a prettier one than mine though; it's solid quilted mahogany! DROOOOOL.

Your D-28 is looking great! Keep us updated!
 

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Looks great so far! This is definitely on my "one day" list.
 

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a fine looking flat top . ive looked thru martins kits on several occasions but never had the courage to take it on . you did a great job
 

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Wow! Great job on this D. I have a D size under construction as well. But right now I'm very heavily buried in building a new shop, so will not be working on the next guitar for awhile. Keep up the great work and let us know how it's going.
 

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Awesome guitar, inspiring, I need to take on inlay work.
 

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Fantastic job on the inlays! I'm in the processing of getting the book by Cumpiano/Natelson and am really looking forward to learning all about this art.
 

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Looks terrific. Once I get my shop finished, I'll finally get to finish the guitars I'm working on.

I really need to learn inlay work as well.
 

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Wow. That looks great so far. I didn't know Martin sold kits.

I have toyed with the idea of making a guitar but it looks like to takes talent and time. I'm low on both.

I can't wait to see yours when you get done. Keep us updated.

Thanks for posting that.

Bothus
 

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Greetings Texasgaloot…..there is nothing quite like the feeling of building an instrument, especially an acoustic "geetar".... I use to build resophonic guitars (most call them DoBros) with a guy in Ok. years ago. Me and my wife both worked there. I built them, she did all the inlay work on the neck and peghead, and he finished them…. lots of fun. Being originally from Texas myself, I've been playing bluegrass music all my life. Had 3 bluegrass bands, and am a collector of vintage Martin guitars, that range from the 40's-50's. Nothing past the 50's. I've also built a mandolin (F-5 style), and play upright bass, along with the guitar. I've built DoBros for
Jerry Douglas, Mike Auldridge, Uncle Josh Graves, and other great dobro pickers…. so yea… I know the feeling.
The guitar that we built for Josh Graves is in the Country Music Hall of Fame… keep picking that "grass:...later
 

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Beautifully crafted, would love to see a blog on how you do the inlay purfling and rosette!
For years I've longed to build an accoustic guitar, maybe after my skills catch up to my ideas I'll tackle making one. Awesome guitar !!! Thanks for posting. God Bless.
 
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