Martin Acoustic Guitar Repair : D 15S Rib Repair





This Martin D 15S got into trouble on its way back from a festival.

It was loaded into a truck with the rest of the band’s gear with only a soft case for protection, the result was a crushed rib


Good News Bad News

With an extreme break such as this the good news is it can be repaired.  The bad news is that the repair will always be visible unless the complete rib is refinished. This can be very costly and, because of its “natural “finish, there is still no guarantee that the repair will not be seen. In this instant the owner is just happy to get the instrument up and working again and is not too bothered about the appearance.

Firstly the break is gently opened up on the inside of the guitar. This separates the cracked parts and disentangles the loose sections enabling glue to reach into the extremities of the cracks.

Once glue is eased into the cracks the inside of the rib is reinforced with sections of 1.5mm thickness plywood. The lamination within the 3-ply makes this a very tough but flexible choice capable of taking on the inner curve of the rib.

To ease the ply into place whilst the glue is drying a clamp is made up using a guitar string and an old machine head

The ply is patched over the inside of the break and the guitar string is threaded up through a convenient crack. The string is then threaded onto the machine head and tightened. Once tightened the plywood patch takes on the inside curve of the rib and is held firmly against the break whilst the glue dries.

Spool clamps are used to close up the cracks

Due to the length of this particular break, it is decided to repair this rib in two parts.



Once the glue has dried thoroughly the cracks are gently sanded and leveled. This inevitably removes some of the lacquer down to the bare wood.

The area is given an initial coat of stain to match in with the existing colour


Strung up and ready for collection





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3 Responses to “Martin Acoustic Guitar Repair : D 15S Rib Repair”

  1. Rich Says:

    Another beautiful repair Graham!!

  2. Graham Parker Luthier Says:

    Thanks Rich, another fine guitar saved from the scrapheap!

  3. Gibson Bill Says:

    you are, Sir,a true wizard !


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