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Protecting the finish on a new Martin?

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Mark Cohen 15 Dec 01 - 07:52 AM
Jeri 15 Dec 01 - 09:55 AM
catspaw49 15 Dec 01 - 10:53 AM
Rick Fielding 15 Dec 01 - 11:55 AM
breezy 15 Dec 01 - 12:03 PM
Mark Cohen 17 Dec 01 - 07:16 PM
53 17 Dec 01 - 07:30 PM
53 17 Dec 01 - 09:28 PM
GUEST,Be real careful with a 'dehumidifier' 17 Dec 01 - 11:21 PM
Mark Cohen 18 Dec 01 - 05:40 AM
Rick Fielding 18 Dec 01 - 12:37 PM
Mark Cohen 18 Dec 01 - 12:44 PM
catspaw49 18 Dec 01 - 12:56 PM
Rick Fielding 18 Dec 01 - 01:01 PM
Wesley S 18 Dec 01 - 01:21 PM
catspaw49 18 Dec 01 - 01:33 PM
GUEST,Claymore 18 Dec 01 - 02:39 PM
Rick Fielding 18 Dec 01 - 06:50 PM
53 18 Dec 01 - 08:12 PM
catspaw49 18 Dec 01 - 08:31 PM
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Subject: Protecting the finish on a new Martin?
From: Mark Cohen
Date: 15 Dec 01 - 07:52 AM

I finally gave up hope of ever getting my 1970 D-18 back, and bought myself a present: a new Martin OOO-X1. It's comfortable to hold and to play, and sounds really good (when somebody else is playing it!) But I live in the wettest town in the U.S., averaging around 150 inches of rain a year (by contrast, Seattle averages 40...but we see the sun here a lot more than they do in Seattle). Everything here sooner or later gets soggy or rusty or covered with mildew (or all of the above). Does anybody have a suggestion on the best way to preserve the finish of this sweet little instrument? (Instead of shiny lacquer this one has a silky, matte sort of finish. The top is solid spruce.) I'm sure somebody out there has the answer--probably several different answers, I'd expect! I do know that I need to keep it out of the tropical sun!

By the way, I've heard a lot about how Martin is putting out a lot of guitars that don't come near what used to be Martin quality, and I played some of them in the music store. But this one sounds quite nice, and I'm also wondering what some of our experts have to say about this model. And you won't offend me if you tell me how terrible it is; I enjoy playing it, so it's not terrible for me, though I do miss my D-18.

Aloha,
Mark


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Subject: RE: Protecting the finish on a new Martin?
From: Jeri
Date: 15 Dec 01 - 09:55 AM

Perhaps too simple: they have those guitar case humidifiers, you'd think they'd have dehumidifiers. Little bags of dessicant or something. Hey, you work in a hospital - see what the pharmacy does with the dessicant when they unload the big bottles of pills.


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Subject: RE: Protecting the finish on a new Martin?
From: catspaw49
Date: 15 Dec 01 - 10:53 AM

Mark, the finish is syill lacquer, hust with an additive which is a filler/leveler and means they factory can by-pass the buffing needed on high gloss to level the finish. Treat it pretty much the same as you would any high gloss. Go see Frank Ford at Frets.com to get some great info on finishes and maintenance.

And if you like the ax, what else matters? The 000 is a great size too!

Spaw


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Subject: RE: Protecting the finish on a new Martin?
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 15 Dec 01 - 11:55 AM

Mark. These guitars are GREAT. Martin HAS gone through tough periods, but this ain't one of them. Every couple of weeks I drop by the 12th Fret (OK, every week!) and always play new axes as they come into the store. I don't think I've played a questionable new Martin in weeks, from the top of the line to the bottom.

By questionable, I mean a potentially troublesome neck angle, or diabolical set up, or even a 'tone dead' one.

New Gibsons are another story. They're ranging from good to atrocious sound....some with literally no sustain or power at all. The inside finishing often is really bad, but I think they're really marketing super-flashy inlaying to folks who have a 'nostalgia thing' for the Gibson name.

Hang on to your Martin...those prices are goin' up!

Cheers

Rick


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Subject: RE: Protecting the finish on a new Martin?
From: breezy
Date: 15 Dec 01 - 12:03 PM

Keep it in the case mate, mine's in mint condition after 12 years, but you should see the state of the Chris Cross guitars I work with.


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Subject: RE: Protecting the finish on a new Martin?
From: Mark Cohen
Date: 17 Dec 01 - 07:16 PM

Thanks, guys, I knew you'd come through. 'Spaw, that Frets site is outstanding! But I'm still trying to figure out what kind of a finish "hust" is. :-) And Rick, that was my general impression, as a non-expert. The action is very smooth all the way up the neck (not that I play up there very much, but I'm learning to!), the intonation is right on, and it has a beautiful sustain. It doesn't have the powerful bass of my D-18....but it's a lot easier to hold! I'm amazed that they can get that much sound with such a shallow body. Yeah, I think I picked a winner.

And thanks, Jeri, for the idea about the pharmacy. (I don't work in a hospital, but I play one on TV. No, I mean, I go to the hospital just about every day--I'll check with the staff there.)

Also, somebody gave me a bottle of lemon oil that says it's for the fingerboard. Good idea, harmless-but-why-bother, or throw it far away?

And one other question: Would it be safe to put medium gauge strings on this puppy?

Aloha,
Mark


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Subject: RE: Protecting the finish on a new Martin?
From: 53
Date: 17 Dec 01 - 07:30 PM

a lot of martins recommend medium gauge strings check your info pack that came with it and it should tell you. BOB


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Subject: RE: Protecting the finish on a new Martin?
From: 53
Date: 17 Dec 01 - 09:28 PM

what do you think rick? BOB


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Subject: RE: Protecting the finish on a new Martin?
From: GUEST,Be real careful with a 'dehumidifier'
Date: 17 Dec 01 - 11:21 PM

I absolutely agree with the case thing. Spend whatever you have to for a good case to protect it if u love it. Consider the case's ability to look out the atmosphere and the wet.

A little damp is a good thing, witness all the humidifiers for guitars. I would worry more that a drying agent in the case would be uneven and could cause warping.
Play it often and you'll know whats going on with it. An unfortunate turn or an unwelcome knock will probably be much more dangerous. If you store it for longer than you want\intended to, and every musician has done this, just make sure its in a good case away from extreme heat or cold.

Best of luck, and remember no matter what happens your guitar always wants you back and it's _always_ the best time to learn, no matter how good\bad you are.

Bo


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Subject: RE: Protecting the finish on a new Martin?
From: Mark Cohen
Date: 18 Dec 01 - 05:40 AM

Info pack? As we say in the islands, "Nevah get!" I'll ask at the store. And thanks for the suggestions, Guest...but calling Hilo "a little damp" is like calling Fairbanks in the winter "a bit nippy". Add to that the delightful but instrument-unfriendly fact that I live about 50 yards from the ocean...Oh, well, can't worry about everything! If guitars were meant to last forever, they'd make them out of rock.

Aloha,
Mark


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Subject: RE: Protecting the finish on a new Martin?
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 18 Dec 01 - 12:37 PM

Regarding company reccommendations: I take a bit of a jaundiced view as far as string guages go. Any guage of strings that "raises" the action noticeably may be too heavy. Some of the new martins have pretty flexible necks and you DON'T want to start messin' with the adjustable rod. Most repairpeople will tell you that once you start with that, you'll never stop.

I'm really big on "Split-sets". Medium bass and light treble. Means you gotta buy two sets, but I've found it to be worthwhile. I play a lot of bass runs and find the "split" set works great without adding too much tension to the neck.....but of course as you all know, I'm totally obsessive about stuff like that Ha Ha!

Rick


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Subject: RE: Protecting the finish on a new Martin?
From: Mark Cohen
Date: 18 Dec 01 - 12:44 PM

Rick, is that split 3-3, or 4-2, or 2-4? Not that I'm obsessive enough to do that, of course, just curious...

Aloha,
Mark


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Subject: RE: Protecting the finish on a new Martin?
From: catspaw49
Date: 18 Dec 01 - 12:56 PM

DAMN! Just the other day I was looking at someone's site and they had a lot of mixed string sets as Rick was describing........now who the hell was that!?!?!?!?

A lot depends on your style too Mark...I mean as to whether you get the benefit out of mixing strings. If I were a better picker, I think I'd do as Rick does but any real benefit for me would be marginal.

BTW....Have you tried the Elixir's yet? If you like them, seems to me they'd be pretty beneficial in your environment there.

Spaw


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Subject: RE: Protecting the finish on a new Martin?
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 18 Dec 01 - 01:01 PM

Three and Three Mark. I've been using Masterclass strings (also called Newtone) for three years now, and they make a custom set for me with a lighter treble and heavier bass.

I often play in dropped D, so in fact my sixth is even heavier. My set is 56, 45, 35, 22, 15, 12.

That's for my little Martin though. On my recently acquired Gibson J-50 I'm still experimenting.

Never ends does it?

Rick


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Subject: RE: Protecting the finish on a new Martin?
From: Wesley S
Date: 18 Dec 01 - 01:21 PM

Rick - I had the idea that the new Martin "Bluegrass" strings WERE split already. I could swear that I have some at home that are mediums on the bottom and lights on the top. I think Elixer makes a set like that too.

And Mark - sorry about the loss of your D-18. Mine is a 1967 and I'll never part with it so I "feel your pain". If you'ld like to play mine you can. Anytime. Just send me three round trip tickets and a Carlton case and the whole family will be on the next plane.


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Subject: RE: Protecting the finish on a new Martin?
From: catspaw49
Date: 18 Dec 01 - 01:33 PM

Mark....I notice that you received no info packet with your guitar and you really do need to go get one! A lot of good information along with suggestions and such.

Also important is that most of the major manufacturers have now joined in a new "Guaranteed Happiness" program that assures you will get the best possible instrument. Martin, Larrivee, Taylor, Santa Cruz, Collings, Breedlove, Lakewood, Guild, and many others have joined in opening a central return center where new instruments that are in any way less than satisfactory can be sent and upon arrival will be checked and a new replacement instrument sent from whichever factory. You should have received this info in the warranty packet of any new instrument purchased within the past 19 months from any of the above manufacturers. If not, and you are dissatisfied with your new Martin, Larrivee, Taylor, etc., send the instrument to the:

General Defect Instrument Return Center
PO Box 411/Purvis
Bremen, Ohio 43107-0411

I guess you should include any notes which you feel relevant. You may send the instruments postage due.

Spaw


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Subject: RE: Protecting the finish on a new Martin?
From: GUEST,Claymore
Date: 18 Dec 01 - 02:39 PM

As one who lived in Hawaii from 59-64 (lived in Aiea, went to Radford) and played guitars, banjo's and ukes (Martins and Vegas mostly) don't worry about the humidity. Forty to fifty percent is ideal and up to seventy isn't bad. You'll do more harm trying to dehumidify, which would happen more rapidly than what your Martin has gradually become accustomed to before you bought it. If it sounds good now, and the neck is holding it's set, your guitar is "home".

Try the Martin SP mediums which I use on my Martin 2K and match Rick's gauges almost exactly. Test the lemon oil on the guitars finish in a un-noticed spot before using it on your fretboard and bridge (I try the end of a Q-tip under one of the tuning gear arms in the middle two tuners for my tests). Then use a cheap paint brush to lightly paint on a thin coat over both fretboard and bridge about once a year. Clean the finished areas on the back of the neck and sound board of the overflow oil and let the rest set for about ten minutes. Then wipe it semi-dry and set aside overnight. You'll know you need to do it again when little white streaks appear in the grain of the exposed wood.

A bad sign of too much humidity (usually from not wiping down your fret board after sweating all over it, or a poor job of setting the frets) is when the wood between the frets begins to buckle up where each fret crosses the fretboard. Red oil or lemon oil prevents the sweat from being absorbed deep into the wood, and becomes more necessary as the instrument ages, and the surface finish of the fretboard is worn away by your flying fingers. Good Luck!


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Subject: RE: Protecting the finish on a new Martin?
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 18 Dec 01 - 06:50 PM

Think you may be right Wesley. There are probably a few sets that match my guages. A lot of folks in the Toronto area started using newtone/Masterclass a couple of years ago, and 'cause the (British) company that makes them was so helpful with customer suggestions, several of us just asked them to make custom sets. I haven't looked at that "bluegrass" set. I will though. Thanks.

Rick


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Subject: RE: Protecting the finish on a new Martin?
From: 53
Date: 18 Dec 01 - 08:12 PM

lemon oil is a great treatment for a dry fingerboard but ihaven't tried it on the bridge though, thanks for the info, BOB


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Subject: RE: Protecting the finish on a new Martin?
From: catspaw49
Date: 18 Dec 01 - 08:31 PM

I got it! Came to me driving back from Cub Scouts......GHS has been doing some odd matches for quite awhile...Bluegrass, True Lights, True Mediums, Lite Mediums, etc....but I knew that already....and so did you all probably. But what I noticed the other day was that Elixir is mixing some strings but mainly using heavier trebles to lighter basses. That's what caught my eye and I wondered then what the deal was as they had some problems initially with breakage....or are they after something else because of the slightly different sound and the fact they do last longer. Any ideas group?

Spaw


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