4/10/2014

c.1975 Japan-made Madeira A30M Dreadnought Guitar


Update: This guitar is now strung with 50w-11 strings (happy with them) and has a K&K pickup installed for live use.

This down-on-its-luck square-shouldered dreadnought came in to the shop via a partial trade for some work I did on a customer's instrument. At the time it arrived, half the main x-bracing had come unglued (with an appreciable "dip" to the whole middle of the guitar), the original bridge was totally unglued and held on by some tiny bolts, the frets needed leveling and dressing, and the top had severe bellying behind the bridge as well.

I originally intended to take it in to pass on to someone wanting a free project for art use or something like that but in the end I started doing the repairs here and there while working on other projects. I finished it up on Wednesday morning and was happily surprised to have it come out a fantastic player with a sound that's actually not bad at all. It's firmly in the tone-region of 70s and 80s laminate Yamahas... which is to say... practical, functional and fairly loud with just enough sonic pleasure to get you playing.


Because of the 25 1/2" scale and earlier top distortions (it's still got a pretty big belly behind the bridge) I strung this up really light with a set of 10s. It's a perfect strumming guitar with these on it and I think because of the really thin laminate top it has a surprising amount of lower-mid warmth.

Check out the 4 ugly bolts on the bridge (plus under-bridge washers and nuts on the other side) -- necessary evils due to the bridge bellying and also the fact that I didn't trust that top layer of somewhat compromised laminate to hold the bridge firmly glued. My fear was justified as I heard the "ticking" of bits of that first layer coming loose here and there under the bridge as this thing settled in at pitch.

This is not a repair I like seeing but it gets the job done for an otherwise destined-for-the-bin guitar. This way the jam group has another "house guitar" on hand which has become a bit necessary these days. Personally, I'm not a huge fan of unknown heavy-strummers banging out chords and adding battle scars to my (borrowed) depression-era pets.




Flamed/curly maple veneer back and sides give this a "blondie" look.

Other fun notes: the neck is bolted (cool!) and the whole guitar is actually extremely lightweight. I'm not used to that on most ply guitars from this time.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

I still have my A-30M, and actual sales receipt from May 1978. Just restrung mine w/light weight Martin strings and installed a pick-up and jack. Still looks like new, no damage or seperations

Anonymous said...

I still have my A-30M also, love the sound this guitar has developed over the years.
Just noticed some slight separation at the neck, off to the shop tomorrow.
Was wondering if Anonymous would share what he originally paid for guitar?
I can't for the life of me remember what I paid for mine at my local music store back in the day.