Repairs


Repair Schedule

Top of the list = nearing completion as of April 11, 2014:
  • 1940s Harmony Roy Smeck concert-size uke
  • 1930s Regal tiple
  • 1950s Japanese MOTS archtop guitar
  • 1920s Regal rosewood tenor guitar
  • 1990s Fernandes ac/elec dreadnought cutaway guitar
  • 1950s Harmony hollowbody electric archtop guitar
  • 1960s Kay x-braced dreadnought guitar
  • 1900s carved 1/2 bass
  • 1970s "Craviola" nylon guitar
  • 1980s Daion doubleneck guitar
  • 1950s Japanese black soprano ukulele
  • 1920s Harmony-made 2-pt mandolin
  • 1920s Oscar Schmidt tiple
Stuff ready to pick up:
  • 1940s Kay flamed maple archtop guitar
  • 1940s pearloid lap steel
  • 1880s French/Spanish nylon/gut guitar

Repair Information

Yes, I certainly do repair work for customers...
and as of recently (August 2013) I've started taking in a lot of out-of-state (and out-of-country) work, so please get in touch if you feel like having me work on something so I can get it "in line" for you!

My strong suit is that I'm very familiar with older (1890s-1950s) instruments (as well as downright obscure ones) and will have insights as far as setup, stringing, and repair processes to suit those guys best. I can work on anything fretted and bowed, though, and do a lot of local general setup and repair of modern acoustic and electric instruments as well.

So? Will you take my repair on? For local customers, please drop by the shop during store hours (Wed-Fri 10-5, Sun 12-5) for me to take a look at your instrument and give you a ballpark estimate on the cost of repair.

For non-local customers... feel free to email me with digital photos of the instrument in question. Please note that turnaround time for out-of-state customers can be really quick or it can also stretch to be several months or more before it gets back to you. This is dictated by where the instrument is received "in line" with the rest of the instruments awaiting repair and the needs of the instrument being fixed up. Also, please figure in that you will have a shipping cost both ways.

So? How much does this stuff cost? Basic repair rates are as follows and rates vary depending on instrument types. I will not do "partial" repair jobs if the end result is an instrument that plays poorly. I wouldn't drive in a car that only had half its brake pads intact and two flat tires... and the same applies to instruments. I do, however, do "what an instrument needs to play well" rather than heaping on all sorts of extra, unnecessary work. I try to keep everything as affordable as possible.


SETUP: $15-35 for basic adjustments (truss if applicable, nut and saddle work, tuner lube, etc.) and cleaning, no fret work, new strings not included. Figure the lower price is for ukes and the higher price is for something like a 12 string guitar.

FRET LEVEL AND DRESS: $25-85 plus setup. If your frets are worn or not seated properly, proper playability is more or less impossible. I do a level and dress on every old instrument I work on for resale because it is so necessary to an instrument's playability. The lower end of the pricing is for instruments like ukes while the higher end would be for instruments like guitars or banjos with troublesome fret seating.

NEW NUT: $10-25, bone nut standard, ebony or rosewood as alternate options, Tusq or other material may need to be ordered if I don't have it on hand.

NEW GUITAR SADDLE: $15-45 depending on what else needs done at the bridge. Bone is standard, ebony or rosewood are options, Tusq or other material may need ordering.

NEW FLOATING BRIDGE: $10-45, for mandolin, guitar, or other similar instruments -- bone or rosewood standard, ebony an option. Lower end prices are for standard parts that are fitted, higher end prices are for custom-cut or fancier parts plus fitting costs.

BRIDGE REGLUE: Ukuleles $20-35, guitars $30-55 depending on what else needs doing in the bridge area at the same time. If I have to reshape the bridge for proper action or saddle fit, expect the cost to be a little higher.

NEW BRIDGE: For pin-bridge or tie-block instruments it's the cost of a bridge reglue plus a part cost that varies depending on what the customer wants. For odd-sized bridges that must be made to fit, the cost is scaled to the job and the level of decorative touches or styling of the new bridge. Generally, gluing on a new uke bridge runs in the $

BRIDGE SEATING/FLOATING BRIDGE WORK: For mandolins and other floating-bridge instruments (archtop guitars), properly-fitted bridges are a must. Depending on what's necessary -- fitting or reshaping of an existing bridge, crafting an entirely new bridge from scratch, or fitting a new bridge that's a standard replacement part -- the cost will go up or down. This work is generally pretty straightforward, though.

REFRET JOB: This is totally scaled to what the instrument needs, but generally I won't do a refret job under $100. Old ukuleles (12-fret) would be an exception. On older instruments, replacing frets can be very time-consuming if the board itself is dried-out or prone to chipping, since much cosmetic touchup work may be necessary, so if a customer can live with original frets that function but are slightly lower, I generally suggest fret leveling and dressing over an entire refret.

ELECTRIC/PICKUP WORK: This work is time-based rather than job-based because figuring out what's going wrong "under the hood" or customizing for a certain customer preference can be quick or very lengthy depending on how an instrument is built or wired and also how much "modding" has been done to an instrument in the past. Parts costs will apply if anything needs replacing but I try to keep good-quality, but affordable parts on hand. Simple things (pickup swap-outs, resoldering bad jacks, etc.) will be in line with the lower setup costs.

ACOUSTIC PICKUP INSTALL: For K&K-style piezo sensor (not undersaddle) pickups, cost of the pickup + $15-25. For undersaddle or more complicated pickups, time plus equipment cost is charged. Generally not too much, though, if you have a modern instrument that will accept aftermarket pickups easily.

NECK RESETS: This varies entirely from instrument to instrument, so you'll have to ask for a quote. Old ukes tend to be pretty inexpensive ($30-45) due to the way the heels are attached and many old guitars just need regluing of their necks and bulking-up of the joint ($65-85 depending on time invested) rather than a full reshaping which can be much more time-consuming and costly. I also have alternative methods to traditional reshaping the heel, etc. that I use for cheaper and more low-end instruments which are not worth the money to do the full job but are worth the "cool" factor.

CRACK REPAIRS & SEAM REGLUES: Ask for quote. This can be quite inexpensive or (if badly damaged) quite a task. Simple hairline top crack cleating is not time consuming for me and pretty inexpensive.

WHEW! I think that's it. Let me know if you have any other questions! I generally provide a ballpark figure that is over what I will wind up charging you, but will let you know before I go ahead with work if I find any rat's nests to untangle.