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PostPosted: Wed Mar 09, 2016 12:53 pm 

Joined: Wed Mar 02, 2016 9:50 am
Posts: 23
Location: Northern Virginia
Before I started building ukuleles (now working on my first guitar) I performed a few repairs, all of which turned out favorably. The most rewarding one was repairing a Martin Guitar for a disabled veteran (double amputee) who belonged to the same American Legion Post in Louisiana as my brother. His Martin had been practically destroyed when his mobile home burned and he could not afford the cost of having it professionally restored, so my brother, feeling charitable, offered my services. Living in Virginia, I picked it up on my next trip to Louisiana. It was bound together with duct tape and in really bad condition from fire and water damage, with warping, cracks, charring and holes in the body. My techniques were homespun and perhaps unorthodox, but since neither the owner nor I had anything to lose, I gave it my best shot. It needed a neck reset in a bad way, and I wasn't knowledgeable enough to attempt it, but I noticed from fret board wear that the owner only played in the first three or four frets, and the action wasn't bad in that part of the neck. I made body repairs by removing the back. I had to replace a section of rosewood by inlaying some pieces cut from some scraps. Some areas required refinishing, while other areas required only cleaning and polishing. It was quite a thrill to rub through the charred surface of the headstock to find a blistered but readable CF Martin decal intact. When finished, I went to the local UPS store to have it shipped back to my brother. There was no case for it, so special packaging was required to ship. When I told the store manager the story behind the guitar, she volunteered to package and ship it for free. My brother passed the hat and bought the old veteran a case for his guitar and presented it to him at a gathering of his friends at the American Legion post. The vet was so touched that he broke into tears--thus my reward. I was thrilled at his reaction, especially when learning a few months later that he had passed away. Some before and after photos attached.

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 09, 2016 1:20 pm 

Joined: Mon Jul 28, 2014 7:50 am
Posts: 603
Location: Chadds Ford, PA
Wow, that's a great story and gift of restoration. Thanks for telling (and showing) it.

PostPosted: Wed Mar 09, 2016 1:25 pm 

Joined: Sun Mar 09, 2014 8:13 pm
Posts: 1720
You did a very VERY good thing.

There is a program called Guitars for Vets. The medical center that I go to, the Louis A Johnson VA Medical Center, participates. It's a therapeutic way to help Vets with a variety of issues, whether from wounds or PTSD, etc.

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