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Dimensions of a Standard Martin Headstock

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A couple of questions.

First, what are the dimensions of a standard, Martin headstock? The headstock on my Hannalei-Moon neck is oversized so you can create your own headstock design. I think I will stick with the Martin standard for now so I need the dimensions to trim it correctly.

Second, I had John Hall send me EIR that matches my back/sides to use as headstock veneer. Recently, I read that it's easier to inlay in ebony. I plan to inlay my last name in the should I stick with ebony since this is my first inlay attempt or will I be fine with the EIR? I'm curious, what Martin would have used for headstock veneer on a pre-war, OM or 000 with Herringbone, 28 style trim? Ebony?


Jan 10, 10 | 4:58 pm

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Total Posts: 67
Hiya Adaboy,

Can't comment on your first question but for the EIR inlay, my first build was a standard Stew Mac with rosewood veneer. Here's how mine turned out (it was my first time doing inlay):

I found rosewood quite straight forward to use.



Jan 11, 10 | 12:09 am

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Total Posts: 668
You should have a set of plans for whatever it is you are going to build, use that to make a tracing of the headstock. As you might know, Martin headstocks varied a little over the years, there was a time when the jigs used to lay them out were actually worn out and some guitars are a little undersized (they also have much more rounded corners)

Most Martins will have a rosewood veneer over the mahonany headstock. In the prewar days it would have been Braz, you and I will have to settle for EIR. Guitars at the style 28 level of trim would have the stadard "CF Martin" gold decal, when you get up to style 41 and higher you get the actual inlay - almost alway pearl (abalone).

Doing inlay is not all that hard, but it it does take time an patience. Here are my first (the 000 on the right), third (OM 12 on left) and my daughters little parlor.

I buy my pearl precut from Andy DePaule in Eugene Oregon, use a dentist burr in a dremel router and set the pearl in epoxy mixed with rosewood dust. If this is what you want to do I can post some pictures of the process.

Ebony is acually a little more brittle, here is the inlay that I did on my mandolin. Unless you want to carry the ebony theme thru to the headstock I would recommend the EIR - ebony is harder to pore fill and finish.

Jan 11, 10 | 11:36 am

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Total Posts: 509
Freeman, unfortunatley I don't have a set of plans that show the dimensions of a Martin headstock.......and that is the size/shape I would like to use.

Jan 11, 10 | 3:52 pm
Bill Cory

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Darrell -- Here are two pix of the sheet from the Martin kits -- not "flat" but the dimensions show.
Hope they help.

Jan 12, 10 | 5:29 am

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THe reason Ebony is said to be easier is because of the dark color. Its easier to match the black than to match the rosewood. If you fill any gaps with epoxy mixed with ebony dust, it is black and difficult to see the repair. If you make a small mistake in rosewood, it will be hard to detect too if you fill it properly. However, if you go slow, you should not have many gaps to fill...unless you are inlaying a very hard shape to copy. I had stars put on my fretboard by Dave Nichols at Custom Pearl. I practiced on walnut for weeks and could not get the pockets perfect enough consistently. The points of the stars made it too hard for me.

Jan 12, 10 | 7:47 am

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Total Posts: 509
Thanks everyone! Bill's dimensions were what I needed.

Jan 12, 10 | 4:15 pm

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