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1972 Martin D-35

Q: I have a 1972 Martin D-35 that has sat in it's case for over a year and a half  and really needs some of your attention.It needs the binding on the neck ...either reglued or replaced. I've had (paid) the local luthier repair it twice and it still comes off. I know replacing the binding completely might affect the value, but it's been repaired in a few places and I don't really trust the workmanship, so I would definately like to get your opinion on the appropriate way to solve the problem.  I wouldn't mind having you adjust the truss rod  too, and I'm sure  some of the frets could be dressed or replaced if need be also. 

A: That would be fine, bring it on over. Presuming that your luthier was using the proper esoteric binding glue, there is some mechanical reason that the binding keeps falling off. On a bound guitar, the fret tang must be clipped or filed off to allow the fret bead to come over the binding to the edge of the fingerboard. If you don't get the tang filed short enough or if the fingerboard shrinks with age, the end of the fret tang pushes on the binding. When the binding is young and soft it will conform to the tang end. As it gets old and brittle it will crack or push off.  Martin, though true paragons of virtue, never got the hang of bound fingerboards until much later than 1972.
        You make a fine comedic statement about adjusting the truss rod on a 1972 Martin. Adjusting truss rods is so quick and easy that we don't charge for it separately but lump it in with the rest of an action set. Martin did not start using truss rods until 1983. Straightening your neck involves major surgery. If you are the original owner, Martin warrants the neck to stay straight. But, they don't warrant the frets, which must be replaced during any neck straightening.
Steve Mason

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