Repairs

on . Posted in Repairs

Repairs seem to be (at least for the present) the heart of my business. I have been repairing stringed instruments since 1982, when I apprenticed with Luthier Rod Fitts.

 

I remember being a little frightened of taking a sharp chisel to a guitar, but my teacher assured me that if I was to cause any damage to the instrument that it would only end up back on my bench to be repaired. After that I seemed to find a way to suppress all my fears.

I was taught repairs such as neck resets, refrets, bridge replacements, pickup installations, nut adjustments and replacement, finish touchups and full refinishes, fixing top cracks, regluing loose braces, etc.

In the past few years I have seen a few excellent websites such as Mr. Frank Fords site Frets.com, and Hoffman guitars.com.These sites have been helpful to me in many cases when I was doing research on my own repairs.

Having said that it leads me into this page, with the hopes of my experiences helping someone else along there way in repairing or creating a jig or tool to successfully fix whatever problem they may encounter with their musical instruments.

Another wise statement that my "mentor" passed on to me was that "a good repairman will make a better builder because he or she will of had to learn how to fix the problems that may occurr to any instrument and that should reflect in his or her bulding skills." Some prominant guitar companies have made some unorthodox decisions on there designs, maybe due to manufacturing or quality control issues.Whatever the case, I'm sure I am not the only repair person out there that has run across some things that we notice that structurely or perhaps toneally just don't work.

Some of the more noticeable problems may include bridge pads that are to thin, or made of some undesireable laminates causing the belly of the guitar to warp or loosen a brace. Replacing the bridge pad can be a somewhat difficult repair. Too much heat can be applied to the pad, rendering a bubble in the finish, or releasing the glue of the bridge or adjacent braces. In most cases (not all), the bridge should be removed to ensure that you a large flat caul is achieved on top of the guitar to be able to glue the pad on properly.

My goal is to try to explain with words and pictures that may guide any willing an able repair person the proper road to take to ensure a good repair (lending the skill level of the repairee). I must say that if your hand skills are limited, it might very well be to your advantage to let an authorized repairmen do the tasks that you're not comfortable with. (you know who you are!)