This Old Guild M20 had seen a lot of life . I’d been servicing this instrument since the owner had inherited it nearly 20 years earlier. It had been a favorite guitar of a client’s favorite uncle, who was tragically murdered in a bizarre cold-case.
I’d re-fretted it and made a new nut & saddle for it in the past. I’d watched as it’s playability slowly went from bad to worse. Besides the usual malady of slow neck shift, the mahogany soundboard had become quite bellied over time and the bridge had distorted along with it. The saddle slot in the bridge had even began to lean and curve enough under tension that it eventually cracked the bone saddle. Besides that, The soundboard had been worn down to paper thin in one spot just from playing wear, and somebody had drilled the top for electronics at one point.
Normally I would’ve like to keep that sort of wear as is and try to work with the existing top, but in this case there was just too much gone bad and I couldn’t justify the effort involved nor guarantee a great playing instrument after all the work was completed. So a decision was made to completely re-top the instrument, make a new bridge and give it a fresh neck set.
At the same time we were about to start this, the police investigating the murder of it’s former owner had caught the killer after nearly 20 years and he was about to stand trial. So as that gruesome story was unfolding for the family and the public, a new chapter in the story of this particular guitar was also unfolding. Luthiery is not without it’s dramas.