Link 12-string Dreadnought, 1973

Details: 2-piece back; 16" lower bout; 25.4" scale; 2" nut width; glossy nitrocellulose finish; Sitka spruce top; abalone and wood top purfling; Indian rosewood sides, back, headstock; ebony fingerboard with abalone binding, ebony bridge; mahogany neck; maple body bindings and end piece; maple and rosewood headstock bindings; bone end pin and bridge pins; maple, abalone and herringbone rosette; ebony heel cap with mother of pearl inlay; pre-ban elephant ivory fully compensated saddle; bone nut; 18k gold side position markers; mother of pearl fingerboard inlay; heart of green abalone and pearl headstock inlay; heart of green abalone rosette; gold plated Schaler sealed mini-tuners.

Construction

The instrument is constructed with standard X-bracing on the top, but with one ladder brace incorporated just below the sound hole that enhances treble response, and ladder bracing (slightly modified) on the back. However, the neck-body joint is Spanish style, in which the final result is the equivalent of a single piece of wood. The fingerboard, heel of the neck, sides, top, top block, fingerboard block, secondary fingerboard block, and heel cap are glued together with epoxy into a solid unit. The heel cap is actually inlaid into the top block. The fingerboard, top, and heel cap extend across both sides (top and bottom) of the neck-body joint, making it impossible for the parts to separate. Rather than an adjustable truss rod, there is a piece of 1/4" and 1/2" solid steel laminated down the center of the neck. This steel prevents the neck from changing dimensions as teperature and humidity change. Nor does it "stretch" from string tension. Because of all this, the action is more or less permananet, with exception of changing the nut and saddle heights. Some people don't like that, others love it. This neck came out fine and needs no adjustment, but to a limited extent, adjustment could be undertaken by removing frets and sanding the fingerboard. Pre-WWII Martins were built in a similar way, except less massive steel was used, and the joint was a dovetail, which is susceptible to loosening over time.

The top is voiced to emphasize the jangly, trebly sound that distinguishes 12-string from 6-string guitars. The addition of a ladder brace, such as is found in the old time blues guitars, facilitates this sound, as does the fully compensated saddle.

This instrument has been strung to full pitch with standard light guage steel strings since it was built, with no effect on the action, which is quite low.

$2,500 includes hardshell case. Additional $300 to install Lyric pickup.