Link Dreadnought, 2003

Details: 3-piece back; 16" lower bout; 25.4" scale; 1-7/8" nut width; glossy nitrocellulose lacquer finish wet sanded to 12,000; Sitka spruce top that shows some bear claw figure; herringbone purfling; Indian rosewood sides, back, fingerboard, headstock and bridge; mahogany neck; maple body bindings and end piece; maple and rosewood headstock bindings; fossilized walrus ivory with 14k gold inlay bridge pins (walrus end pin is included, but has been replaced with jack for Lyric microphone); maple and herringbone rosette; ebony heel cap with mother of pearl inlay; registered pre-ban elephant ivory partially compensated saddle and nut; 18k gold side position markers; mother of pearl fingerboard inlay; heart of green abalone headstock inlay; Tortis synthetic tortoise shell pickguard in firestripe pattern; gold plated Grover art deco sealed tuners. Baggs Lyric microphone pickup. preamp, and jack are installed.

Construction

The instrument is constructed with standard X-bracing on the top 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.

Strung with medium weight Elixer stings: neck relief at 7th fret is .002" on the treble side and .008" on the bass side. Action at 1st fret is .010" high E, .010" B, .016" G, .018" D, .020" A, and .021" low E. With capo installed at first fret, action for high E at 13th fret is .070" and low E is .086". Saddle protrusion is .108" at the crown. This results in a much lighter action than typical factory guitars.

$2,000 includes hardshell case.

History

This guitar was finished in December of 2003, but was completed in the white in 1977. The label inside dates it to 1977 because I expected to finish it that year, as well. It slept 27 years before it got its shot of nitro and final setup. By that time there were a couple of small cracks that I repaired before finishing.