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Kimseyized '71 D-41

 
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Silverface



Joined: 23 Aug 2006
Posts: 324
Location: Hermosa Beach CA

PostPosted: Sat Oct 01, 2011 5:28 am    Post subject: Kimseyized '71 D-41 Reply with quote

Got my D-41 back from Muttcaster yesterday...or was it a week ago...or tonight? Heck, I've lost track of time.

It had a LONG over due neck reset - so as I told Bryan when I got it back, I'd never actually played THIS guitar - I'd played a good sounding, played-in D-41 with a bad setup (bought for a very good price 20+ years ago - and it needed a reset then!).

The bridge (which had been shaved) was replaced with one of the earlier style, with a compensated bone (I'm pretty sure) saddle and got rid of the old passive Thinline pickup - and located it in the right spot (which Martin fouled up in the 70's); ebony pins with abalone dots finish it off.

Bridgeplate was replaced with a smaller one with better grain orientation, and the bridge and plate set up for his slotted bridge mod, providing more downforce at the bridge.

He replaced the nut with a bone one, and it is possibly the most beautiful piece of craftsmanship I've seen in years.

I asked him to set it up pretty low, since I am not planning on trying to be heard in "parking lot picker who can play loudest" contests - I play light and pick between the soundhole and bridge parallel to the top, so action on most of my guitars is very low and I don't have buzzing problems. It worked just as planned here.

Because of my light picking I wanted to take some bulk off the top to get more of a "touch" response to my picking style; removal of the popsicle brace would have been shaky as there is a bit of a wrinkle in the upper bout on the bass side I'd forgotten about. So we talked about and Bryan did some subtle brace shaving on the lower end where it'd be most effective.

The overall result of this combination of repairs and modifications is stunning. "Bluegrass cannon" is not what I'd call it, although it is incredibly loud when you dig in. Instead it has far more balance than expected and up the neck playing is just as responsive as "cowboy chord" playing, with one exception - the lowest notes (below the 5th fret on the A and low E strings) sounds like a Steinway piano!

I put a set of Cleartone 13's on it (I recently tried these instead of my cheaper nickel strings...that I've used for 30 years...as I was given a couple sets and was pleasantly surprised). It plays like butter.

Having played full time (like 4-5 nights a week) bluegrass for over 10 years in the 70's/80's and played several prewar D-45's and a bunch of prewar D-28's I feel qualified to say this matches up pretty well to most of them and sounds/plays better than several. It's totally unique with the changes (resale value was not a concern) plus the tort pickguard it's had for years and the heavily checked lacquer - there's probably not another D-41 like it. I've been playing a lot of old and new Martins and other brands recently to "warm up" for it, and the only things close in the last year were two guitars at the Pomona vintage show - the Nobel mentioned in another thread (different but great) and a '39 herringbone, which I honestly can't say sounded better.

With my playing style the tone is very close to the sound Tony Rice gets on the Clarence D-28 on his newest homespun video - a cleaner, thundering tone completely unlike some of the "new breed" players (Bryan Sutton on his Bourgeois, with a more cutting, treble and upper mid-heavy tone is one that comes to mind).

With these results there's only one guy I'd send a Martin to for work. Bryan knows his stuff and (I've heard quite a bit about this but it was my experience that iced it) has a unique "feel" for each individual instrument.

Now I need to get some gold Grover V98-18G open tuners and throw these shot 19-pound Grover enclosed tuners (grinding, backlash...arrrgghh) off the end of the Hermosa pier...

Ok, gonna go play some more!
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Murr



Joined: 24 May 2008
Posts: 384
Location: http://www.youtube.com/user/skydogz1

PostPosted: Sat Oct 01, 2011 9:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thats the guitar I wanted to buy from Jim several years back, and now it looks/sounds like Kimsey took it to it's full potential . . .congrats ! ! !


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2JYs8EKRMxs
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Murr



Joined: 24 May 2008
Posts: 384
Location: http://www.youtube.com/user/skydogz1

PostPosted: Sat Oct 01, 2011 9:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Btw, I'm in the living room here playing along with Kimsey's vid ...it's like he's here. If you don't have someone to pick with today, this works!


Kimsey pickin' Jim's D-41 ---> http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2JYs8EKRMxs
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Brian



Joined: 22 Aug 2006
Posts: 1360
Location: Southern California

PostPosted: Sat Oct 01, 2011 9:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Congrats!!! We need an acoustic JAM Cool
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