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Pocketmags Digital Magazines
Pocketmags Digital Magazines


Turning our attention back to our Martin kit build, it’s time to look at the all-important top and back bracing. HUW PRICE has some important decisions to make and takes inspiration from a pre-war design…

Martin Guitar Kit Build Pt 3 WORKSHOP

The spruce strips provided for the back grafts will need a lot of cleaning up before they can be used

When we last looked at our Martin acoustic kit build back at the tail end of 2017, I joined the back, levelled the kerfing and even popped the bracing in the oven for a bit of at-home torrefaction. Now it’s time to return to the bracing, and with that comes a few important decisions that I’ll have to make. Few guitar builders will take the risk of leaving the joined back plates without back graft strips – strips of wood with the grain running perpendicular to the back plates are glued over the back’s join line for reinforcement.

To avoid wastage, the Martin kit’s back graft strips have been rough cut from scrapped spruce tops, and it’s possible to see pencil marks for brace positioning on a few of them. The edges are very rough, so my first task is to try and clean them up using a sanding block. Once the edges are smooth, I roll over them and line up the selected strips on the back.

Gluing back grafts can be problematic, because several clamps with very deep jaws would be needed. Instead it’s common to use something called a ‘go bar deck’, which usually comprises rigid top and bottom plates held together by long corner pieces. The work is placed on the bottom plate and flexible rods – also known as go bars – are fitted between the work and the top plate to press down on the pieces being glued.

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About Guitar Magazine

The March 2018 issue of The Guitar Magazine is on sale now, featuring Fender’s brand new 2018 flagships and a with free Taylor Guitars supplement for every reader! This month inside the UK’s best-loved and most affordable guitar magazine, we get to grips with Fender’s brand new for 2018 American Originals guitars in a UK exclusive first review. Find out if Fender’s reimagined golden era electrics will need to be on your must try list inside, and chose from our two special collector’s edition covers - will you pick Strat or Tele, or get the set? As if that wasn’t enough of a big deal, the March issue also comes with a free 24-page magazine dedicated to Taylor Guitar’s brand new V-Class bracing system – a hugely innovative way of making acoustic guitars that made serious waves when it was launched at last month’s NAMM show. Inside, we sat down with Taylor design guru Andy Powers to find out just what makes the new bracing system so remarkable, and got our hands on one of the first V-Class guitars Powers has built for an in-depth review. But we’re not all about shiny new gear here at The Guitar Magazine, and we’ve got plenty in store for vintage fanatics inside, too. For starters, we had the rare privilege of getting up close with a £230,000 1960 Gibson Les Paul Standard in Vintage Bench Test, while we also spent some time with a gorgeous 1963 ES-335 made famous in the hands of Sweet guitarist Andy Scott. If vintage guitar speculation is more your game, however, then take a trip with Huw Price to Paris as he wanders through the incredible vintage guitar shops of the City of Love’s ‘Music Village’ area - you might want to book a trip yourself. For all that and much more - including new gear from the likes of Vigier, Rivolta, Swart, Danelectro, Joe Satriani’s essential gear and the latest in our DIY Martin acoustic build project – pick up your print or digital copy of the March 2018 edition of The Guitar Magazine today.