Martin OMCPA4 Setup

Had the opportunity to work on a Martin OMCPA4 during the week.

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Owner is a very polite young man who is very passionate about guitars and likes to keep his stuff in tip-top condition.

I almost bought the dreadnought DCPA4 in the same Performance Artiste series late last year. This series features Fishman Aura+ electronics and come with nice cutaways. The big plus here is that the PA series guitars are USA made, and the PA4 guitars are all solid. But fate would render the guitar “out of stock” as I settled for a Mexcian made DRSGT instead.

In the case of the OMCPA4, the top is sitka spruce and b/s are sapele. Nothing spectacular or flamboyant, but does the job tone-wise.

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A quick check on the string height at 12th fret reads about 1/8 inch so I figured there is ample room to lower it to 7/64. Nut height and neck relief are fine so this is easy.

Let’s start with the Bearclaw Special.

Fret polish

For this guitar, the fret polish has to be a little special because of the richlite fretboard. Richlite is a proprietary material that mimics ebony wood. But it isn’t wood so we are not going to sand it and take away any material. In fact, Martin claims that this material is so hardy that you don’t need to do any maintenance.

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I used 1000 grit sandpaper wrapped around a battery to do light polishing on the frets. This way, the abrasives do not touch the fretboard.

Fretboard and bridge cleaning

Again, these parts are not made of wood, so there is no need for oiling or sanding. Official word from Martin here is “use a warm damp cloth to wipe off dirt”. And that’s exactly what I did.

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Guitarbear doesn’t think the fingerboard is that dirty. Looks more like colour coming off the richlite.

Pencil over the nut slots and saddle.

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A lil bit just to lubricate the points which strings come into contact with.

Cleanup and body polish/waxing

Cleaned up the guitar thoroughly with attention given to machine heads and the gloss top. The satin back and sides DO NOT need wax or polish. This guitar was already very well taken of to begin with. No issues at all.

Next, I worked on the saddle. The sanding part, not fun at all.

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I use 100 grit sandpaper here. Any higher grit would be quite useless and a waste of time.

Restrung with owner’s favourite Martin Lifespans… and added bone pins that owner brought along. Bone pins with abalone dots. Really nice.

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Action is now 7/64.

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Edward says OK!

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