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Replacing a Martin DM Guitar Back

This Martin DM guitar came in with a significant

smash on the back, unfortunately at a BBQ someone had fallen over and onto the guitar! This guitar had sentimental value to the owner, having wrote and performed a song for his then girlfriend, now wife on the guitar.

Considering the smash, I decided the best course of action was a full replacement. Assuring the customer that I was up to the task, he left it with me.

First step was to remove the old back, which was quite a momentous task in itself. Having to remove the binding and then working around the back. Slowly separating the back from the sides/linings. Avoiding any further damage to the sides. Once I had the back off I decided I could save two of the original braces and the internal label.

Making the new back, solid mahogany, cut and thicknessed. I then prepared the bracing, using two of the originals and two new ones that I cut from some old stock sitka spruce. You can see on the new braced back that I managed to save the original label too.

Having prepared the new back, I then had to glue it back onto the guitar. Before I did this, I had some repairs to make internally (unfortunately I didn't get a photo of this). There was some damage to the sides which I glued up and made some internal supports, which I glued on the inside going around the full length of the sides. There was also some cracks to the top, which I glued up and again supported with cleats internally. I then fitted and glued the back. Having secured the back, I cleaned it up, replaced the bindings and then started the finishing process. Staining the back to match the sides and then applying a simple oil finish (I don't have the facilities for spraying, so don't use lacquer). You can see the final results below. The customer was over the moon, and seemed a bit loss for words.

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