Instrument Repair F.A.Q.




Fine Handcrafted Electric Guitars - Music Instrument Repair and Restoration



ns for Musical Instrument Repair



Does your repair work carry guarantee?


The short answer is Yes.  All of my repair work is covered and guaranteed but there are certain conditions.  Setups may be brought in for a small tweak up to 3 months after the work was performed.  This would include a quick truss rod adjustment or a quick action adjustment to help compensate for seasonal and humidity changes.  If it is determined that a full setup is required, unfortunately it would not be covered.  Shifts in humidity and weather can cause instruments to move quite a bit.  In the case of fret work, wiring, crack repair and other structural repairs my workmanship is covered 100%.  If it is determined that extremes in humidity or temperature caused repair failure the work is not covered.


How long is the repair turnaround time?


The average repair is completed in under a week.  This includes setups, fret levels, electronics, nuts, saddles and other small jobs.  Some larger jobs like crack repair, Re-Frets, Neck sets etc. can take much longer.  Please call or email for a solid estimate on time as the current repair back log changes almost daily.


What is included in a setup?


A setup includes all of the basic adjustments that make your guitar or other stringed instrument play the way it should.  These adjustments are - Neck Relief (Truss Rod Adjustment), Action and Intonation (Saddle adjustment).  The nut is also checked for the proper string height off of the first fret and if needed cut down.  Fingerboards, with the exception of a finished maple board, and all non finished wooden parts get oiled with bore oil to keep them from drying out and cracking.  Also included is a full cleaning of the instrument, electronics, and the frets are buffed to a mirror shine.  Other work (like a fret level) may be required in order to maximize the benefit of a setup.


How often do I need a setup?


The basic answer to this question is simply “when your guitar plays poorly”, but I generally I recommend that you have your instruments setup at least once a year.  If you play on a regular basis I may recommend a regular setup twice a year or more.  Your instruments WILL move with the seasons, especially here in New England and if you find the action is getting high, or you are experiencing excessive buzz then it is time for a setup.  Bringing your instrument in at least once a year will also allow a full inspection and may pinpoint other potential problems that can be corrected before major damage is done.


What is a fret level, crown, and polish?


Before any fret work takes place the whole fingerboard is taped up in order to protect the wood on unfinished boards and to protect the finish on maple boards.  The frets are first leveled using a precision steel bar and a high grit sandpaper.  This slightly grinds the tops of all the frets so they are all level and on the same plane again.  After the frets are leveled then they are each re-crowned, by hand, one at a time. The crowning files away the flat top created from the leveling process but leaves the peak of the fret even with all of the others.  When the crowning is complete all of the frets are then polished and buffed to a mirror finish.


Why do I need a fret level, crown, and polish?


The frets on your guitar are one of the most important parts of the instrument.  In order for your fretted instrument to play well with low action each fret needs to be the exact same height.  The first and most obvious reason for needing a fret level is fret wear.  Flat topped worn frets or severely pitted frets effect the intonation and playability of your guitar.  Flat topped frets also require the action to be raised in order to minimize buzz.  Secondly humidity can and will effect your frets.  If your fingerboard dries out and shrinks, the fret ends will stick out and the frets may become loose and pop out of the fingerboard.  When there is too much moisture the fingerboard can swell and also pop out frets.  When this happens loose frets are easily glued back in place and then a fret level will bring the instrument back normal.  In most cases a fret level will greatly improve the feel and playability of an instrument.


Is my guitar worth repairing?


I get this question a lot.  The value of an instrument is often a strong factor in the type of work that is performed on it.  For example I wouldn’t take a $200 guitar and perform a $300 re-fret on it.  Setups on the other hand are like regular maintenance for your guitar, similar to a tune up or oil change on your car and are always worth it.  I often will look at repair work on a case by case basis and have no problem telling you flat out that a repair is not worth it.  In the case of vintage or valuable instruments, repair and maintenance will almost always be worth it.  In most cases the instruments will hold their value or the repair may even increase it.  All other things being equal an instrument in disrepair will always be worth less than an instrument in good playing condition.