Are you nervous leaving your guitar with a tech?

Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by haggardfan1, Nov 3, 2017.

  1. haggardfan1

    haggardfan1 Friend of Leo's

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    I very seldom have occasion to use a guitar tech. I change my own strings, and do string height and intonation adjustments myself, and beyond that my guitars aren't subjected to a lot of travel or extreme conditions and therefore don't need much. Of course, as you can imagine, I feel I could get over my head really quick and I probably don't tackle projects that a lot of you do routinely.

    The last major work I had done, was a refret and sundry other upgrades (bone nut, switch and jack, etc.) on my number one Tele several years ago. I could have changed out the electronic parts myself, but opted to just have it done all at once.

    There's a guy with a little instruction studio and store in my town, that I met last week. I remember when I first moved to the area, 35 years ago, he was one of the more formidable local guitarists, and worked at the big store in a neighboring town. He's settled here, and enjoys teaching and helping provide sound for local events.

    We talked for about a half hour and I mentioned that I had replacement pickups for one of my Affinity Teles that I've never gotten around to installing, and he offered to do the swap and set it up for me. I'm going to drop it off soon as I get time, but even though it's not a guitar he could really hurt, I'm apprehensive about it. Come to think of it, I'm the same way about car repairs or things like that--afraid I'll discover a problem afterwards that I didn't have before or something will get scratched.

    Do any of you have these type thoughts, or am I just overthinking it?
     
  2. 4 Cat Slim

    4 Cat Slim Friend of Leo's

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    Things like cars and guitars are also tied to our ability to make a living, so you're not overthinking it, i'd say.
    People with an spare car or an extra guitar at least have a back-up they can rely on, but you're still entrusting it to somebody else.
     
  3. swany

    swany Tele-Meister

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    One of the nice things about a Telecaster is that I rarely have to have anything adjusted or replaced on it, after the initial setup.
    However when I do,(4 way switch, pickup change, fret work), I take it to a Tech that is simply amazing, price is reasonable and his work is impeccable, (he's also a fine player).
    The nice thing is that he is tied into a large store that will have my back if any thing was to happened to my guitar.
    Though I do miss it.
     
  4. RLM69

    RLM69 TDPRI Member

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    Swany,
    Who do you use in Colorado?
     
  5. chris m.

    chris m. Poster Extraordinaire

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    It's all about knowing the tech. If it's a really good one then I figure they're less likely to botch the job than I am. Like you, I do almost all of it myself.
    I don't have nut files (yet), and I've never done a re-fret, so I will have those done by a tech. I learned how to do a level and crown, so I can do that myself if
    I have the time. All the rest I can do myself.

    Same for bicycles. I don't know how to service front or rear shocks, but I can do everything else on a bicycle myself, including building wheels from hub, spokes, and rim.
     
  6. MrCairo46

    MrCairo46 Friend of Leo's

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    Not sure what you are afraid of. Theft ? Mishandling? poor work?All these risks can be avoided by doing proper checking of the person and verifying their information.
     
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  7. brookdalebill

    brookdalebill Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

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    Nope.
    Fortunately, Austin has always been "rich" in the skilled and brilliant luthier department.
    There were so many, most were extremely busy.
    One of the reasons I became a repairman/tech (notice I don't call myself a luthier) is I got tired of waiting.
    Anyways, vette your tech/luthier carefully, then trust him/her.
    Their reputations and future income depends on your satisfaction.
     
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2017
    Owenmoney, elihu, 4 Cat Slim and 4 others like this.
  8. Toto'sDad

    Toto'sDad Telefied Ad Free Member

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    I don't like leaving a guitar with anyone, so I usually don't. Most of the time I can fix whatever is wrong with them, barring that I trade 'em off and get something that's already running good. The few times I've left a guitar with someone to have something done to it, I was nervous. Like a lot of my experiences, one such incident turned out okay in the end, but ended up being an eight month ordeal. I won't be involved in anything like that ever again. The experience was so bad I ended up getting rid of the guitar anyway, so why go through the rest of the ordeal for nothing. I have come to the conclusion that along with my aversion to leaving a guitar for repair, I don't think I would, or could ever order a guitar, not a custom shop, not a commissioned built, nada. I'll just leave that sort of thing to the more patient.
     
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  9. jackinjax

    jackinjax Friend of Leo's

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    Doing my own handyman and renovation projects around the house, or attempting to swapping out parts, or even set up my own guitars, I've come to the realization that know how isn't the same as having the skills.
    I can do a fair job of changing strings, otherwise I now take mine to a tech.
     
    telemnemonics likes this.
  10. studio

    studio Poster Extraordinaire

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    I say, go in faith my brother!

    You'll be blessed by the experience, the pup change and the ability to trust someone
    who from your knowledge has trusted you enough to want to live in your community.

    As for me, the only guitar I'm apprehensive about repairs is my 1952 Les Paul.
    Good reason for that, wouldn't you agree?
     
  11. Doghouse_Riley

    Doghouse_Riley Tele-Afflicted

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    If I was I wouldn't leave my guitar (or car) there.
     
  12. moosie

    moosie Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    There are quite a few service people that have been doing work for us for thirty years or more. Then there are the ones that only get hired once.

    Even the one-offs are hired with the intent to begin a lifelong professional relationship. I don't like to deal with finding a person I trust, each time there's something that needs doing that I won't, or can't, do for myself.

    If the guy disappoints, it might be worth analyzing what went wrong. He was your best choice at one point. Sometimes even long-term relationships have a slightly rocky start.

    When I first started playing in 2010, I went through a few techs, one visit each. No one ruined anything, but for various reasons, they weren't people I wanted to continue to deal with.


    I do nearly all my own work at this point, but I'm happy to have a good tech five miles away. I used him a LOT over a five year period, and during that time he was nice enough to answer every question, even demonstrating techniques that he knew would ultimately cost him my business. He told me he had learned a lot in his 35 years in the field, and at times people had thwarted his progress. He knew I'd figure it all out sooner or later. He was just paying it forward, easing my path. Great guy.

    I wouldn't stress about it. Find someone who you can speak with directly, a brief conversation with the guitar in-hand, as you drop it off. Ask questions, describe the issues, but try to hold off with too much diagnosis. You've hired a pro. Let him / her suggest to you what needs to be done.

    If you can't find anyone that doesn't give you the heebie jeebies, leave your number and ask him to have a couple of his recent customers call you with a reference.
     
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  13. moosie

    moosie Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    I was just thinking this thread needed pics... :D:twisted::):)
     
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  14. jimash

    jimash Friend of Leo's

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    The last time I used someone, was when there were a couple of small things wrong on my Martin D-35 that I didn't feel comfortable doing.
    YEs, the guy was weird, and he gave me attitude, like he would prefer to only work on 1940's Gibsons or something and my guitar was "too common". I really felt this.
    Then he tried to sell me a re-fret. I like my dents, they're right where my fingers go.
    Anyway, he fixed the broken binding . I actually expected a brand new piece. He put back the piece that broke out and cleared over it. It took a bit of buffing, but its good.
    And he filled the high e string nut slot, but he didn't re-slot it. That bugged me and I did have to do it myself, with my own substandard files.
     
  15. studio

    studio Poster Extraordinaire

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    That guitar is tucked away and never on display like my other 30 guitars.
    I have no pics to show ya guys of that one, but it looks like this:

    [​IMG]
     
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  16. LGOberean

    LGOberean Doctor of Teleocity

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    Interesting timing of this thread/my reading it. I'm killing time on TDPRI waiting for a guy to come over a pick up my Logan Custom mahogany tele to work on for me. Moosie said this thread needed pics, so here ya go...


    I'm not much of a DIY guy. Of course, I change my own strings, and over the years I've tweaked the necks of my various guitars, re-attached a loose jack cup, that kind of thing. Woodworking and electronics were never a part of my livelihood or hobbies, so I don't get too ambitious trying to do work myself.

    The guy I'm using/have used as a guitar tech is an associate professor at a nearby college, so he's dropping by my house after his class to pick up my Logan tele. And the "knowing the tech" factor chris m. mentioned holds true for me.

    My guy has his day job, and is a trustworthy guy. He worked in a local store as a teenager, the first job he ever had, and eventually got into doing setups and repairs at the store. While his career took him on a different path, and keeps him busy, he always wants to have guitar projects. A couple of years ago I found out about him, and like brookdalebill said, I vetted him carefully. He doesn't even advertise anymore; he's got something like 20 clients that he'll do work for, and that's it. So I had him do a re-fret on a Breedlove acoustic/electric of mine a couple of years ago, and he did a great job. The turn around time was just a few weeks, as I recall, so that was good too.

    Another factor involved is I play a weekly gig at a seniors living community, where this guy's wife is the executive director. So I have more than one connection to this guy, and I should have no apprehensions about him taking my Logan Custom tele to work on. And yet I must confess, like haggardfan1, I get nervous, I have "these types of thoughts." But I take solace in the fact that it'd be devilish hard to harm a mahogany solidbody tele, and he really can be trusted. I just have to have faith in the guy.

    Oh, BTW, I've been in touch with Bob the builder (a.k.a., Bob Logan) about this repair job on the first guitar he ever made for me (I now have four Logan Customs). He offered his diagnosis of the symptoms I described. Bob also offered to fix it for me. I'm grateful to him for that, but didn't think that a switch replacement and setup was worth packaging up the guitar and shipping it from Corpus Christi, Texas to Delafield, Wisconsin. If in the unlikely event something goes wrong with this local arrangement, I'll take Bob up on his offer.
     
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  17. rad1

    rad1 Tele-Afflicted

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    I don’t live there; however, my tech is from Austin and learned his trade and worked there. He has worked on many of the big boys guitars and was Al De Meola’s tech on tour for awhile. I have no concerns leaving my guitars with him. Not long ago he did a refret of my Clapton sig Strat and did his typical great job.

    One other great thing about him, his stories about working with and knowing many of the big boys are fun to listen to. I’m just thrilled he does not charge by the hour because he loves to talk and I love to listen. I’m not exactly sure just how much of each story is a completely accurate or stretching the truth a bit, but they are so fun that I don’t care or even want to know.
     
  18. Fiesta Red

    Fiesta Red Friend of Leo's

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    I can do anything that requires soldering, etc. (electronic repairs) on my guitars. Simple stuff, replacing/wiring pickups, switches, etc.

    Replacing tubes (fixed bias amp) is easy.

    Pickguards and other stuff is easy-peasy as well.

    I need to learn to properly set up a guitar, do a fret job, etc. I have just never buckled down and learned to do it...and knowing that my #1 Telecaster will need a fret job at some point, I really need to learn soon.

    Leaving my guitar (or amp) somewhere gives me some trepidation, unless I personally know the person or they've been vouched for by people I trust...therefore, I generally have to drive quite a distance to get things worked on, because found a guy 60 miles to the east that I trust with guitars, and 40 miles to the west that trust with amps.
     
  19. chris m.

    chris m. Poster Extraordinaire

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    It also helps to keep things in context. It's just a guitar. Unless it's worth 10s of thousands of dollars like a '59 Les Paul, it's just a tool. I have friends whose houses burned down,
    who got flooded out, and lost everything. All of their possessions on this Earth.

    The great thing about guitars is unless they are true collector's items they are easy to replace, relatively cheaply. I keep things in this perspective
    and am okay with lending out gear, letting others work on it, having gear get dinged up at gigs, etc. Life is too short and most dings and damage can be readily repaired. My Les Paul
    is about the only guitar I own right now where I'm pretty persnicketty about it, because a) it's the most expensive guitar I own, and b) they are notorious for breaking at the headstock if
    you even look at them funny. Everything else is like a crescent wrench for me. Loaning someone a Tele is like loaning someone a baseball bat. As long as they don't use it to fungo rocks it
    is going to be in fine shape when you get it back. I hope and expect that people will give it back to me
    in the same or better condition than when I gave it to them, but at the end of the day I don't lose too much sleep over it.
     
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  20. haggardfan1

    haggardfan1 Friend of Leo's

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    To get competent setup work from this guy, three minutes from my house, would almost be too good to be true.

    I want a relationship with a shop like I have with a local garage. It recently changed ownership, but retained all the techs and service writers I knew, so far so good.

    There's a guy over in Shreveport who can do anything a guitar would ever need, but he's so temperamental that even the local musicians over there are beginning to bad-mouth him.

    I'll happily drive an hour, and spend fair money; but I'm not going to be snapped at, or have a guitar tech leering at my girlfriend. I used him a time or two, but never again.

    Life is too short to put up with certain things, plus get charged.
     
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