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PostPosted: Thu Jan 05, 2017 4:13 am 
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I need an official C. F. Martin & Co. logo decal for an 1937 R-17 I just repaired the headstock on, and am in somewhat of a bind:

I got the guitar in to repair a bad repair: The headstock broke off in the early 70's, and was repaired by its owner using Elmer's glue. It held up for nearly 30 years, but slowly worked it's way apart again and was near snapping back off again. The guitar is otherwise in good shape where it counts and sounded pretty good even with strings that were on it for a few years (Yikes).

It was quite a mess, and I had to do some surgery and graft in new wood. Since it was broke all the way through, and has a huge clamp dent in it, I would like to replace the headstock capping. I contacted Martin about getting a logo, and they said that they only give them to "Authorized" repair people. So I asked them to become authorized, but they said that they are not looking to expand in that area at the moment. I pleaded with them, offered to send them pictures of my perfect fit grafts... but no deal. The representative suggested I try to get one from an authorised repair shop.

The key word here is "TRY". I have heard that they do not look kindly to unauthorized people using their logo, not even on their own guitars, no matter how good the craftsman, which I find to be rather unfair. So either they are pointing out a loophole or trying to set me up for a lawsuit, and possibly catch an authorized repair shop in the act... I have no way of knowing for sure.

I do not want to let my client down, devalue the instrument (~$2000 to $4000) by not having a logo, and do not want to put my name on a half ass repair by having it look near perfect in the back, and messed up in the front. I also do not want a fake logo, as I myself frown upon cheating and copyright infringement.

I could try and call every Authorized shop I can find individually and ask, but before I do, here I may have a better chance of finding a few, all at once. If any of you is authorized by Martin, and can furbish a Logo on the up n' up, I would be giddy. Of course I will pay for it within reason, but can not shell out the "I can charge whatever I want, because you need it" price.


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 05, 2017 8:04 am 
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you cannot get one it has to be placed by an authorized shop.
If you know an authorized shop that shouldn't be a problem.
A true martin logo will be a solvent based decal and not water.

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 05, 2017 8:22 am 
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Thanks John,

Do you think I will be turned down if I ask an authorized shop to just place the decal on the instrument, and nothing else? Would you, and what would you charge for the decal and the application if so. This is for information only, you are quite far away. I do understand that it does not go on to bare wood but between clear coats.

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 05, 2017 1:13 pm 
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I think your specific questions would be better handled through a phone call.... Several people posting on these threads are Martin Factory Authorized Luthier's....

My guess is that the "Official Answer" published on the web will remain "No. You can't do that.."

On the headplate itself... That's an old original BRW headplate... Why not try to steam out the clamp dents and keep it if possible... The advantage is that it keeps the patina of the original guitar intact.



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PostPosted: Thu Jan 05, 2017 1:47 pm 
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You could try steaming out the dent, touching up the crack and respraying over the original finish. Repairs on dark wood are usually easier to hide than repairs on light wood. That would keep the guitar more original.

"I also do not want a fake logo, as I myself frown upon cheating and copyright infringement."

??? Why would an original looking reproduction Martin sticker be any more "fake" than putting an "authorized" sticker on a replacement peghead veneer?



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PostPosted: Thu Jan 05, 2017 3:22 pm 
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As John Hall pointed out "It has to be applied by an authorized Martin repair shop".

The clamp dents are way deep, the lacquer is crushed into them, and it was broken through and not cleanly either, as well as glued back together badly. A new headstock capping will look much better. It is for someone who wants a well playing instrument, not a collector who wants "factory original". Since he does want the finish of the whole instrument restored too, I think it better to refinish the whole instrument, as it needs so many small finish repairs it will be less work, and stay within budget. Nitrocellulose darkens over age, so if I only do finish repairs, it may take a while for the repairs to catch up if at all, and if I tint it to fake the patina, then the repairs will get too dark over time and stand out like a sore thumb.

The instrument has a mahogany top, and the guitar snobs see that as unacceptable, so the collectors value is only between $2,000 and $4,000 in great survivor condition. Similar models with spruce tops can fetch up to $10,000 or more. The strap pin and Pick guard are missing and the tail piece is not original. I am going to make a tortoise shell pick guard to match the binding, not a black one like the original (no turtles will be hurt!). The strings do not align well with the fingerboard, the bridge is too high and can not be adjusted any further down without shaving it down. and my client has no problem with it looking like new, and neither do I. It is way past being a contender for the Smithsonian.

I also don't think that a slightly different grain pattern and color of rosewood is a big issue, and just nitpicking for nitpicking sake. There is no magic in the original headstock overlay. I wonder what Everyone at Martin, their luthiers and the elite collectors would say if I just replace it and omit the logo? Would it cease to be a Martin? It is a Martin, and if it deserves anything it is their logo, the one thing people may give a closer look at when they hear it.

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 05, 2017 4:58 pm 
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No way would I replace that faceplate. It can be made to look very presentable rather easily and you have the original parts/value etc. If the owner insisted I would refuse the job.



These users thanked the author Clinchriver for the post (total 2): John Lewis (Thu Jan 05, 2017 8:37 pm) • dpetrzelka (Thu Jan 05, 2017 5:52 pm)
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 05, 2017 9:04 pm 
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If the instrument has a lot of dings and scratches, I can understand the owner's desire to make it more presentable. Although I may not personally want to take it that far, the owner has the right to do with it as he wants. My point is - if you are renewing parts anyway what difference does it make if the sticker is "authorized" or a photoshopped duplicate that looks exactly the same?


"I do not want to let my client down, devalue the instrument (~$2000 to $4000) by not having a logo"

Refinishing the instrument is going to hurt the value much more than it not having a logo.


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 05, 2017 9:17 pm 
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Clay S. wrote:
??? Why would an original looking reproduction Martin sticker be any more "fake" than putting an "authorized" sticker on a replacement peghead veneer?

So by replacing a headstock veneer, I am faking the whole instrument? It will still have the stamped logo inside have you know, am I to sand it out and nullify it too? A fake logo made on a fake guitar, is not nearly the same as a real logo on the real thing that has a few non original parts, but no loss in function. Will your parents shun and disown you because you got a kidney implant from an unknown donor, rather than paying uncle Earnie's price for his spare to keep it in the family??

You might as well take it all the way Clay: How dare Martin make guitars, they didn't invent them, nor the volute, peg head veneer...!

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 05, 2017 9:25 pm 
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I would rather have martin's blessing. I don't cater to those who control the market and grant themselves the right to be the ones to determin what is and is not valuable. I wash the sweater my grandmother knitted for me, and It has a few patches she did not make or apply, but it is still my grandma's sweater, with some added history, a value in itself.

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 06, 2017 2:14 pm 
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The part of the head veneer with the logo on it looks pretty good in the photo. Why not cut that off, and graft it onto the head with a new piece where needed? You could make it look 'artistic'. In reality, though, I'd save the whole surface, even if there's new wood under it. Yes, there's a clamp dent there, but that can be filled in to level so that the finish looks decent.

Part of owning a trademark is defending it. If Martin allowed just anyone to use their decals pretty soon they would not own the trademark, and there would be no way of knowing what was real and what was fake. They're not trying to be stinkers; they're protecting themselves from counterfeiters. As you point out, the serial numbers on the head block and neck, and the brand on the back center reinforcement, are proof enough that this is a Martin. It's too bad to lose the logo on the head, but not tragic.


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 06, 2017 3:06 pm 
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Hi Bob,
Your words:
"I also do not want a fake logo, as I myself frown upon cheating and copyright infringement."

My replies:
??? Why would an original looking reproduction Martin sticker be any more "fake" than putting an "authorized" sticker on a replacement peghead veneer?

My point is - if you are renewing parts anyway what difference does it make if the sticker is "authorized" or a photoshopped duplicate that looks exactly the same?

Your words:
"So by replacing a headstock veneer, I am faking the whole instrument? It will still have the stamped logo inside have you know, am I to sand it out and nullify it too? A fake logo made on a fake guitar, is not nearly the same as a real logo on the real thing that has a few non original parts, but no loss in function. Will your parents shun and disown you because you got a kidney implant from an unknown donor, rather than paying uncle Earnie's price for his spare to keep it in the family??

You might as well take it all the way Clay: How dare Martin make guitars, they didn't invent them, nor the volute, peg head veneer...!"

Bob,
I think you are misunderstanding my intentions. What I am trying to say is that to me a "non-authorized" decal is no more fake than an "authorized" decal. A high quality repair should not be immediately noticeable to the casual observer. If you feel the repair is best served by replacing the peghead veneer and putting on a new decal, that is your choice, by why get hung up on the decal being "authorized"? Again, to me, a well done reproduction decal is equally valid to a new decal supplied by Martin.

P.S. I have transmogrified enough old guitars in the past that I now hesitate to make a lot of "upgrades" to old instruments. Things like putting some nice closed back Grovers with plastic pearloid buttons on an old Gibson "O" after refinishing it with Truoil still comes to mind. It looked a lot nicer and held tune a lot better, but today most would say it was not the best course of action. Oh well!
Good luck with your project,
Clay


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 06, 2017 3:32 pm 
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There are a few ways to approach the repair, but none as atheistically pleasing as a new veneer and logo.

I am trying to preserve the trademark, and why I asked in the first place, and I am not just anyone, I am a great craftsman. Martin owns the trademark, but not the guitar, what happens to it after it leaves the factory may be of concern to them, but in reality they can not actually control more than their trademark. I think they are taking it a little too far, in this case. Maybe they should have got into the rental business, instead of selling them.

I am sure that there are lots of martins that have been modified in one way or another, even a paisley paint job in rainbow colors does not take away the fact that an instrument was made by them. So someone got artistic with it, maybe because they did not know what they had, maybe because they wanted to take it a step further and celebrate it. But if someone decides to make one of their instruments like new, possibly last much longer, I can not see good reason to frown upon it. Keeping it all original, down to a worn out finish, tuners that bind and don't hold tuning, warped necks, gouged frets... is just silly. And even if Martin themselves do a complete restoration, it is still not original any more, so why does it matter so much?

This whole instrument is past the point of preservation, but still has a lot of life left, and I'd rather see and hear someone playing it joyfully, than stashing it away as an untouchable commodity for no one to enjoy.

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 06, 2017 3:40 pm 
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Well Clay, I personally don't get caught up in what others think, when it relates to something where varying opinions can all be viable. If someone does not like the way I do something, does not automatically make them right.

I do not want an "Authorized" decal, I want a real one, authorised or not.

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 06, 2017 6:42 pm 
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What this guitar and most well played 1937 instruments have is "mojo" lightly polish that headstock at the very most and hand it back



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PostPosted: Sat Jan 07, 2017 12:01 pm 
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Guitarizzmo wrote:
The instrument has a mahogany top, and the guitar snobs see that as unacceptable,



Altho they were the bottom of Martin's line in the '30's there are a number of people (including myself) who really prize the old 17 series guitars with their mahogany tops

Guitarizzmo wrote:
The strings do not align well with the fingerboard, the bridge is too high and can not be adjusted any further down without shaving it down...



Please don't shave the bridge. Reset the neck if it needs it



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PostPosted: Sat Jan 07, 2017 12:26 pm 
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Does sound good, and Mahogany is not bad, if constructed with it in mind. We are talking 1/16" or so off of the bridge base (needs better fit to arch), relief is great (no truss rod) and the neck is in there firmly. A neck reset is a lot more work, and again: My client is on a budget. I can not spend other peoples money any which way I feel, and do a neck reset, possibly some fret tweaking for a slightly better action, at a much higher price.

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 11, 2017 2:47 pm 
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I do not want an "Authorized" decal, I want a real one, authorized or not.

The new Martin decals are not that close to the prewar ones. For one thing, the gold on the old ones was very bright, not dull like the new ones. Look at the originals at a low angle, and you will see a big difference in brightness. Also, there are subtle differences in the decal design over the years.

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 11, 2017 3:35 pm 
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John Arnold wrote:
The new Martin decals are not that close to the prewar ones.

You are right John, and I have noticed that. Most companies change their logo at least slightly somewhere down the line in their history, and some so often and drastically that they jeopardize name recognition, and it confuses people (Kramer for one). Something tells me that the older and brighter logo's may be of gold lief, as gold and metallic finishes in general did not become "real" looking until the mid to late 60's, and still not very convincing until more recently. It has a reflective quality not found in paints of the era. Chrome paint only started looking like chrome a few years ago.

I was hoping that Martin can and would furbish period correct ones, or as close as possible within EPA restrictions... depending on year and model of manufacture. There are a few different sizes too, notably smaller ones for slotted peg heads.

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 11, 2017 9:29 pm 
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"There are a few ways to approach the repair, but none as atheistically pleasing as a new veneer and logo."

I just caught that. [:Y:] Puts a whole new slant on things. laughing6-hehe

I think Martin's warranty work is more about keeping the instrument in good playing condition and less about keeping things historically correct. Again, photoshop might get you closer.


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 11, 2017 10:43 pm 
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Thanks Clay, bliss

Photoshop runs on Windows, My OS of choice is Linux, and I use the GIMP. I freed myself from everything Micro$oft a few years back, when they changed their user agreement to give them the right to spy on their users in any way they see fit. :x :x I am really good with computer graphics, and know I can pull it off, but I am not sure of the legality of it.

I would think you are right about Martin rather having playable instruments than wall hangers. When I rebuilt the fuel system on my 1979 Mercedes Benz 450 SEL, they strongly recommended upgrades, not stock. I had to agree, as it added ~30hp and better fuel economy with less impact on the environment.

When done the guitar will not sound any different, but it's owner will not have to fear the headstock snapping off mid song. :o I do wonder why Martin designed that one without a volute, it may have saved it from breaking in the first place.

On a lighter note: Today someone asked me to install a Floyd Rose tremolo without fine tuners, as well as a locking nut to go along with it! laughing6-hehe

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 12, 2017 12:01 pm 
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I am not a lawyer but as long as you are not trying to defraud someone I don't believe it would be illegal. Replacing the logo as it was originally made is only identifying what it actually is.


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 12, 2017 2:37 pm 
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One out might be getting some decal paper from a place like Micromark. They make it for both inkjet and laser printers. You could scan in the one you have and print out a copy. Then you have to figure out how to do the gold leaf. It's probably a water slide decal, and thus not as authentic as the original, but since it's going on a repair anyway maybe that's less of a deal.

Again, my understanding is that Martin is legally bound to defend their copyright, and can't simply release their logo to just anybody lest they lose it. There's no animus involved.


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 14, 2017 2:22 pm 
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Alan Carruth wrote:
One out might be getting some decal paper from a place like Micromark. They make it for both inkjet and laser printers. You could scan in the one you have and print out a copy. Then you have to figure out how to do the gold leaf. It's probably a water slide decal, and thus not as authentic as the original, but since it's going on a repair anyway maybe that's less of a deal.


The OP could try taking the finished digital artwork to a local print shop and ask if they'll create a new metallic gold decal. They might balk because of copyright infringement. Ditto for online decal-making services.

I've been making my own decals for years.

Most inkjet and laser printers assume that the results will be printed on white paper and the toners are transparent, not opaque. The printing of gold foil, in this case, metallic gold can be accomplished by the home user only one of two ways. The first involves using an ALPS dry toner printer. (I have an MD-5000) The other is to use the DecalPro system. (See: http://www.decalprofx.com/)

I've used both to create gold foil and metallic gold head stock decals for Ovations I've restored. Both systems have their advantages and disadvantages. Of the two, I prefer using my ALPS printer.

You also have to be careful with decal papers. Not all are created equal. The had the best results with Papilio.


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 14, 2017 5:01 pm 
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I would love an ALPS [:Y:], wanted one for decades, but I would not use it enough to justify the cost of the printer, and even more so the various cartridges, their shelf life would be of concern. I always inlay my logo, and made it simple for just that reason, no one could decipher my signature anyhow.

I may find someone locally who can do a one off for me, and there is a Martin authorized shop near enough worth the trip who I need to get a hold of (not easy), but from the reviews I have read on him, he does great work but does not always show up himself to appointments he schedules for people, and can sit on a minor repair for weeks or even months, without even keeping people up to date on progress.

While here, there is one more thing I could use: A trace of the pick guard. I have a few pictures to go by, but a trace is more accurate and much easier to work with of course. A few models share the same design with the R-17 like the R-18 below, both on f and round hole models. If anyone has one of those guitars or a trace of the Pick guard on file, I would be a happy camper. This is the one (best picture I have, actually not a bad shot):


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