Page 4 of 5

Somebody recently told me that because lacquer detail work was the hardest part of guitar building, it shouldn't be called "finishing." It should be called "beginning" because that's where the real trouble begins. Here, it begins by masking off.
A super fancy D-50 has a plastic cup mounted inside the soundhole so no overspray lacquer will get inside the guitar.
Paste filler is applied to the back and sides
And, neck.
A bit of fingerboard cleanup.
That darlk paste filler gets all over the binding and everwhere, so the binding must be scraped clean before any finish is applied.
It takes a steady hand and a good eye to make the grade in this job.
Even the edges of a black ebony fingerboard get scraped clean.
This intergalactic visitor has just emerged from the spray rooms with another rack of freshly lacquered guitar bodies.
A great big key thing gets screwed into the end pin hole to act as a handle during the spraying and drying operations.
Clearly, the folks at Martin take a lot of pride in their work.
And, they should. Just look at this D-50. It will dry for a while, then the finish will get leveled and buffed.

More close work. No doubt about it, if you're going to get a flawless finish, you have to check it and fix any little blemishes!

Sanding between coats. Did I mention that these folks do a lot of sanding?
More detail work.
If the devil is in the details, I suppose this is his office.
Vacuum chucks allow guitar bodies to be held firmly in a variety of positions.
Final fitting of the neck is done after both the neck and body are finished
A little off the end. . .
And then the neck gets glued in place.
After the neck is attached, it's time to complete the "setup."
A special fixture locates the bridge position. Its end fits into the saddle slot.
A bridge, set in position.
Bridges are roughed out on the CNC carving machine,
and finished by hand.
Gluing and clamping the bridge.
More of the same.
Drilling the bridge pin holes through the top and bridge plate.
A couple of heavy weights are placed on the guitar top to similate the effects of string tension, as the neckrests on a support.
Then, frets get a final leveling.
Rounding hte fret ends.
Final fret rounding and smoothing.
A bit of fingerboard cleanup.
Final buffing.
Final hand polishing
Well, just a bit more here.
Stringing, tuning, inspecting, and it's on its way.

Back to Index Page