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Hi, fellows. I don't make guitars, so you may ignore me if I'm out-place, However, I have an issue that is Very important to me an I need some Experienced/Expert/luthier type feedback!

I recently purchased a Martin D35. Always wanted one, since '68...... Anyway, after about 4 days I noticed the Fret Wires had Burrs an extended beyond the Boltron Binding, it hurt to slide up an down the Neck ( could cut yourself ). It was the Fret wire Ends on all Frets! Martin referred me to someone local an he worked on it while I watched.

I saw him file down the ends of the Wire, but then he spent considerable time with a flat fine file rubbing the length of the fretboard. I asked about this an he said he was rounding/adjusting the fretwires? ( nice guy). I played his Gibson some while this was going on.

When I got home, boy it felt a Lot better as I would slide up & down the Neck. An I was a happy camper!

Till, I soon noticed it was more difficult to Barre an then I noticed buzzing noises on some Notes/frets! Now, at this point I may have had the d35 approx a week an really hadnt had the opportunity to play it that much, but I can recall when I first got it how I really enjoyed the Action/Playability ( except for the sharp unfinished ends to the fret wires)

Now, I have begun to wonder, how much of the frets he filed off an Why ( the issue was the Ends) with the flat file, going up an down the fingerboard an would that make the Action Higher an cause the buzz, since now it seems more difficult to hold down a Barre Chord an crates Buzz.

Will, I get used to this with practice an muscle strenth, or does the Bridge, now, need adjusting .
I have seen stats on how high off the fretboard the strings should be at different intervals, yet I never saw him make any measurements an still Wonder why he was flat filing the Entire fretboard?
Am I being overly sensitive /cautious because it's my New $3000 Martin or do you think, he knew what he was doing, an I'm just ignorant. See, I really don't under stand the whole Adjustments System? Seems like if this were done often, someone eventually would need to Replace the Wires? And/or he could have discussed the additional adjustment with me an me try it out, then make any complimentary adjustments to compensate for the Lowered Fret Wires? What am I to think?/Do? Or am I just being Fussy about my New $3000 Martin? I just can't figure, why he filed the entire fingerboard down? Seemed explicit, to me ,that it was the Ends, not the entire Fretwire!

What do you think? Thank you!

Tags: 35, D, D35, Frets, Martin, new, repair

Views: 677

Replies to This Discussion

It isn't unusual for the fret ends to extend off the fretboard. It sometimes happens after a guitar is a few years old and the fretboard has shrunk a little or if the guitar has been taken from a more humid climate to a dryer one. It would be very rare to find it on a new guitar, though. As for your luthier,  it sounds like he thought the frets needed to be leveled and took it on himself to do it for you. I can't imagine he would do that without asking you first. No way I would do that, myself. You may have fret height problems now, if it seems to play differently than it did before. I would confront the luthier about it and contact Martin about their referral.

Micheal and cody, if your concerned about whether he did a good job or not,you can check his work your self or get another luthier to. You can check the frets with a straight edge like a drafting straight edge , one long enough too reach the full length of the fret board.remove the strings first. then put the straight edge on the frets edge down,get eye level with the fret board, and look and see if any frets are lower than the others. this what luthiers do when they replace frets or file the frets down.check too see if your neck needs adjustment could be all you need is to adjust the truss rod. if you've never done this before it might be better to get a professional too.most of the time they very rarely file any more than 1/32 to 1/64 of an inch off the fret. just becuse its new doesn't mean you won't have too make adjustments.        lots luck and joyful playing on your new D35. I hope this helps you some.        Rob           

Hi Robert ,When I got the Guitar an opened the box, it appeared it had never been touched since leaving the Martin Factory. When I contacted Martin, Customer Service, Leslie she said it needed "Dressing". I don't know what that means exactly, then she gave me 3 service Ctrs in the area, I contacted the closest one, he was Not a Luthier, only experienced, cause I asked if he had any Certification, he said, oh I been repairing an playing for years, an since he was on Martins list, I accepted that as, OK. He began work on it.......see I just don't know enough about how it leaves the Factory and / Or if your responsible to set it up like you want it?.......don't know, do you? I did know that the unfinished ends of the Frets couldn't be acceptable, that's all I knew and so here I sit! Still, appears to me Adjustments are needed, seems hard to play, the Action is painful. It would seem that I should be able to Barre an F7 an sound each note (arpeggio ), then slide to a Bm an back without breaking my hand, seems like that's why I paid the Big Bucks an purchased a Martin. Just seems like it does need adjusting somewhere so that it's more "playable/Action" Buzz an All Notes ring out Clear, right. That leaves the question though, I'm I responsible for this "Set-Up" or is Martin. Quite possibly a dealer does this once receiving it from the Factory. Mine looked/smelt Factory fresh though, as though no one had touched it....... What are your thoughts on this? Was it to be "set-up" by the Factory, Dealer, or Me. I'm just ignorant about it,since I didn't go to the store an play it an bring it home, got it on line at an excellent price. I could call Martin an see if they would foot the bill for a Luthier to make the necessary adjustments, but this is what i thought I was doing originally.........I should have checked it out more before leaving the guys home that worked on it in his garage without any credentials, yea, Dumb me! I should just find a Luthier and have him look at it, or go to one of the other 2 Martin referred me to an let them inspect it an possibly they would fix everything an do it under Warranty, right. ( I do realize this F Barre chord
is nasty, but a good guitar ought to ring out clear notes, even on an F Barre, I shouldn't need to use a capo, cause of guitar buzz on the low end). how will I ever emulate John Fahey............Thanks Robert ( an Jon)
Hello micheal, I agree with Jon. The first quesion i would ask you did you register your D35 with CF Martin . The reason i ask is that in order to have your martin registered , they know your the orginal owner. and the reason they tell you to use certfied martin dealer an luthiers so you would stay with in the rules of the limited lifetime warranty. If you go outside that circle and some one messes up the guitar there not responsible for it. I have a 00015 mahaogany and did the same thing you had done on your D35 and this is what he told me , but he was a certified dealer and didn't charge me  a dime. the guitar sounds great and told me if i had any trouble to bring it back.that was about 10 yrs ago. hope this helps some. you can register it on line with CF martin web page.              Rob               
Thanks for the input Rob. Oh, yeh, no way I would Risk losing a Lifetime Warranty. That's a large Reason to pay the Big bucks!

Your very welcome, micheal. It was my pleasure help in anyway i can . I hope everything works out for you and your D35.                   In christ                       Rob

Thank you, Jon .


I don't think you're being unreasonable, a $3000 guitar should play  decently no matter where it comes from. I see a couple issues here. You don't mention where you live, but the initial description suggests the fretboard is drying out very quickly. I don't know what humidity Martin maintains at the factory, but most luthiers shoot for around 50% (I prefer 40%, fwiw). It's winter time and it gets pretty dry inside our homes, often well below 40%. Frets sticking out over the fretboard are a first sign that you'd better get some humidity back into the guitar or worse can happen (cracks).


There are a couple issues with the fret flattening. Normally it shouldn't make that big a difference in the action. If it was done unevenly or if he left the frets flat it would result in the problems you mention. A flat fret that hasn't been crowned will have a high likelihood of buzzing and it doesn't really matter how much pressure you apply. Did he round the frets or leave them flat on top?  If the action is too low it will buzz as well, but you don't mention it buzzing before the repair, so probably not a factor unless you are still be having issues related to humidity changes and the wood movement that results.

On a couple of your other comments. You don't get a certification to be a Luthier. I am not it that circle, business wise so I don't know if there is a "Martin certified" accreditation or not. It might be worth checking out as you pursue this. I'd definitely do this stuff under warranty and if it doesn't work out I'd send it back.
Charles, thank you for taking the time to help me, I'm looking to see if the Frets he filed are Rounded or Flattened. Anyway, I have been playing/practicing and now leaning towards the position that it may just be my own Paranoia.........I come to believe, nothing really harmful has occurred that can't be resolved. It could be my Aged Philangies an Not the work that was done ( not having had it but a few days prior to the Fretwire/Burrs observation an Fix) quite possibly, I just haven't had enough time to get the Feel for it. The Love/Bonding. I just need to give it a Rest an next time I'm in the City, if still concerned have a 2nd Opinion/Fix. The Guitar is So Beautiful in All respects and the payout is good as well, actually I have another 30 days from now to Return. But, as mentioned, I'm going to Play,Play, Play an try an determine if it's just me! The Main objection that I had has been fixed an covered under Waranty. So that is a Good thing. What seems to be missing in this scenario is this personal "set-up" I here about an that may be where I'm at at this point. ( along with the Aging fingers).

I'm going to give it a rest, see what transpires.........thanks So Much for taking the Time to assist, I truly appreciate all's a Comforting Phenomena, having others to discuss these situation with, thanks All............( keeping an Eye on the Humidity, in the Jungles/river-side, Alabama)


I can't help you much... however... is there a particular area of the fret board, where the buzzing occurs? Did you, or the luthier use the truss rod??

Anyway, I'm curious to know how did this story end up!


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