Are you nervous leaving your guitar with a tech?

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

  1. titan uranus

    titan uranus Tele-Meister

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    I take my "beyond my abilities" stuff to an old and very well established LGS. Their guitar surgeon knows his stuff and if there is a problem, the owner is going to do pretty much whatever needs to be done to make it right.

    My peace of mind is also helped in that I have enough guitars to do what I need to do if any one in particular ends up missing a deadline or two three four (I have a 1868 Elite Ovation that was gonna be ready on the 26th and... you know how that goes. It'll be done when it's done).
     
  2. llamont

    llamont TDPRI Member

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    My instructor happens to be a well versed tech. He's worked on most of my guitars and I have not had any issues with him working on them.
     
  3. Donelson

    Donelson Tele-Afflicted

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    Nervous, every single time. I feel better if they will let me lurk about and make comments as needed. Best results for me achieved that way.
     
  4. Piggy Stu

    Piggy Stu Friend of Leo's

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    I think of Clint Eastwood saying the line 'a man has got to know his limitations'

    Mine varies with the value of the guitar. I wouldn't level frets on my Gibson LP, but I have some scrap acoustic in my garage that I would attempt absolutely anything with - dressing frets/steaming neck/you name it. Even if I went out and bought some new cheap scrap for £10 I can rationalise its destruction by comparing it to how much people pay in tuition fees

    Making mistakes on scrap is what gave me the confidence to change the point where I feel out of my depth

    If I trusted someone and the price was reasonable I would let others do a lot more work for me, but by the time I drove to and from the shop I could have done most things that would ever need doing

    My Dot and first ever tele have badly worn frets... every so often I wonder if I will sort them myself/pay professional/sell on
     
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  5. xStonr

    xStonr Friend of Leo's

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    Never nervous. Impatient yes.
     
  6. moosie

    moosie Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Same here. When I first attempted making bone nuts, and fretwork, I bought a B-stock Mighty Mite Telecaster neck on eBay for dirt cheap. The only 'B' issue I found was sharp fret ends - well that's just perfect! I have tortured that poor neck with repeated bone nuts, frets, level & crowns, practicing with stainless, compounding fret tops, compounding the fretless board, etc. I even practiced some inlay work and removed the ugly plastic dot markers (rosewood board) and replaced them with some MoP I had left over from something else. When I wanted to test my ability to nip tangs back for bound necks where the frets hang over, I clamped some binding strips to the board, and just practiced on frets 4-10. I had no problems beating up a perfectly good neck, because it's not. It has the worst, skinniest, hand-cramping profile I've ever seen on a Tele neck.

    When I need to mount the neck and string it up, I use my heavy, uglyish "shop body", which is a stripped MIM Strat whose nice neck now graces an MJT build.
     
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  7. Big_Bend

    Big_Bend Poster Extraordinaire

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    Hey @haggardfan1

    I suggest you drive to Houston, go see Neil Sargent, you will be very happy I promise. I've been using Neil for over 20 years, and will be seeing him again on Monday, dropping off my 2 most prized guitars for some basic maintenance.

    So ya I never worry about leaving my guitars with a tech, it works every time. :rolleyes:
     
  8. soulgeezer

    soulgeezer Poster Extraordinaire

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    If I didn't trust "my" tech, I wouldn't be leaving my guitar with him in the first place.

    Bill Baker at Dave's Sound Repair in Parsippany, NJ, is quite simply the best I've come across in almost 40 years of playing guitar. I can recommend him without reservation to anybody looking for quality work.

    I wish I had people in other areas of my life I trusted as much!
     
  9. Bill

    Bill Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

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    Been there. First I ever brought into a tech was in the 70's. I had bought my first electric, a brand new Les Paul. Brought it in to the tech (who's company is still in business) their store used for the free 3-month tuneup. Got it back with the front completely covered with scratches like from steel wool along with a pair of sharp dents at the top of the neck. Tech blamed me for the scratches. I asked what caused the dents and the tech said that's from where he clamped my guitar in place with a metal bench vise to keep the LP from wiggling around while he worked on it.

    I've also had techs go missing with original parts. And one who I told NOT to re-pot the pickup on my '66 Tele unless he unwound the cotton string on the bridge pickup first. Of course he potted it and covered the string in wax.

    So yes, I get your paranoia.

    But I have a tech here where I live now who has repaired multiple guitars of mine, including major work on a 1950 Gibson J-45. He is reasonably priced and does outstanding work and is humble as could be. (Shout out to Gerald at No. Tom Guitars in London.) He has that guitar right now to inspect it for water damage (another story). And after that he's getting my '63 Strat for a setup and to fix a high fret.

    Same thing with amps. Had one notorious guy take me for a bit of a ride. But got a great amp guy who worked out of his home and was inexpensive and great.

    It's really about checking them out, getting confirmation from other folks who have used them, and getting everything in writing. It's best if you can start them off on a small project on a less valuable guitar.
     
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  10. Paul in Colorado

    Paul in Colorado Telefied Ad Free Member

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    I've been lucky to have some great guitar techs. I have a local guy for the basics, There was a guy in Denver who sprayed a neck for me and as someone else said there's Woodsong's Repair in Boulder. There was a master craftsman in Cheyenne who died a few years ago who I dearly miss. And I had a former bandmate who had a repair shop in town, but I've had a falling out with him over other matters and I no longer use him. I've also heard some complaints about his work by other guitarists, so he's off the list.

    But I would never go to some local shop and let some random dude I've never met touch my guitars for more then a string change.
     
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  11. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    I've always assumed a customer might be wary of leaving their guitar with me, and when I worked out of my loft in NYC I was pretty amazed that anyone would leave a guitar with a stranger- not in a guitar shop.
    Part of my assumption was from stories other players had told me after I worked on their guitars; about prior techs bad or mediocre work plus long wait times.
    So my goal as a tech was to not take your guitar if i knew it would be weeks before I could get to it, and to make very very certain we both fully understood what I was going to do and what level of results were possible.

    I think much of customer dissatisfaction stems from poor communication, with the rest stemming from plain old poor tech skills.

    Personally I would not hire a sound man/ music store owner/ player to do tech work. There are exceptions, but IMO/ IME a good guitar tech is not a jack of all trades, even though they may have mad skills in multiple areas.
    Pickups swaps by a music store owner might be OK, but refretting guitars cannot be done well while operating a retail business by day and mixing bands by night IMO.

    While it could be observed that all trades have the same inconsistency of results, I would say that working on guitars has the added problem of the need to fully understand the customers wants and needs, as opposed to making what's broke work again.
    High end custom home renovations are similarly fraught with potential miscommunication leading to the customer getting other than what they expected, yet customers generally know that there is a wide range of "fixed" for their kitchen remodel, so they are less likely to end up with what the tech thinks is best.

    If a tech accepts your guitar for a setup without watching you play it first, IMO you should change your mind and ask for the guitar back.
     
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  12. Frank'n'censed

    Frank'n'censed Doctor of Teleocity

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    My tech is not only a friend of many years, but also a luthier of considerable ability...no worries here
     
  13. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Any good self respecting tech would charge you double for that.
    We have stories about your kind!
     
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  14. Kingpin

    Kingpin Friend of Leo's

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    Accidents do happen.

    The tech that does work on my guitars has been doing so for the past 17 years. I consider him a friend (and, he has even sub'd on bass in my band).

    About 5 years ago I brought a new Musikraft neck to him for installation/slotting of a nut, and drilling of mounting holes. He told me to wait while he got it done.

    After about an hour I began to wonder what the delay was, when I heard his footsteps on the stairs. With a sheepish look on his face, he said, "I owe you a new neck."

    I asked what happened, and he told me that the drill bit had slipped in his press. He hadn't bothered to re-check the depth when he re-tightened it. As a result, he drilled two of the holes completely through the fretboard. Over the past hour he had made a repair with maple dowels, but it was still slightly visible if you looked for it.

    I was certainly a bit disappointed, but told him not to worry about it. Stuff happens. He then insisted that he would feel better if he could at least give me free tech labor on my gear until he had "paid" for his slip up. Knowing that would help ease his somewhat embarrassing situation (and my initial disappointment), I accepted.

    It's all water under the bridge now. We're still friends, he still does tech work for me on occasion. And, when I look at the barely perceptible maple plugs, I have to smile. It's reminder that things don't always turn out like you hoped, but if you keep a bigger perspective, and take care of the things that count, it all works out OK.
     
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  15. brogh

    brogh Assistant Admin Staff Member

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    I'm nervous to leave my guitar with Anyone except 2 very close friends.

    I do my own guitar works so i'm good there, but i'm kinda very attached to my gear, it's not just a sentimental thing .. lot's of butchers around .. i wouldn't feel really safe after reading a couple of horror stories around.
     
  16. rand z

    rand z Friend of Leo's

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    Years ago, I lived in the Twin Cities Metro Area. I was playing a lot of gig's and my Tele badly needed a refret.

    I had a Strat for backup, but my Tele was my main guitar.

    A knowledgable friend told me of THE TECH that all of the big player's in the Cities used for repair's etc.

    He was very busy, but said he could do the refret in a week or two... it, ended up being about 6 week's, and he didn't have time to do the fret dressing. I picked it up anyway and played it thay way for 5 year's before buying (and learning) how to dress those fret's.

    The reason i picked up the guitar was that this BIG TECH didn't seem that stable... emotionally or financially. He was renting a room in the basement of a beat up, old building, and living there, as well.

    I'm a compassionate person, and felt sorry for him. But, I was also concerned about never seeing my prized Tele, ever again.
     
  17. viking

    viking Friend of Leo's

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    I do it all myself , but wouldnt be afraid to leave any of my tools with someone else. A few close friends , and a few family members can use all of my tools , if they need to.
    I would be pissed off , if I would have to live with what is the norm in the US from reading in here : leaving a guitar , or an amp , for weeks or even months at some techs place. I really cant see why that would be ok.
    I wouldn't care about celeb needing asap service , rush job fees etc.
    They should be able to know what day the job will be done
    Would you want to sit for a few weeks at the dentist , and open your mouth once in a while , if he should have the time.....
     
  18. cwinn

    cwinn TDPRI Member

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    A dentist, lawyer, doctor or other profession is very different than a repair tech.

    A correct analogy would be if the dentist had you in the chair, then asked you to leave because another patient is willing to pay double what you are willing to pay to have their teeth worked on first.

    And then when you get in the chair, the dentist finds that you don't have teeth - instead, your previous dentist removed them & replaced them with wood dowels. Now, the dentist has to make you new teeth instead of just cleaning the old ones. That takes a bit longer.

    Plus, the entire time your dentist is working on our teeth, he has to answer the phone & address new customers as they come in. So every 20 minutes he has to run away from you, address some other dental problem, then hurry back to you to address the original problem.

    That would be closer to what it is like.
     
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  19. soulgeezer

    soulgeezer Poster Extraordinaire

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    Are guitars sentient being that feel pain? (I know some of us think they are, but they're really not.)

    A guitar sitting half-finished at a tech's workstation isn't experiencing any negative effects by waiting for him to get back to work. It's just the owner's impatience that's getting inflamed, that's all.

    Guitars are intimate objects. Techs are human beings (well, most of them, anyway) who might actually benefit by looking away every now and then.

    None of which is an excuse for a tech putting other people's work first. That's just rude and bad business.

    But, guitars suffer no ill effect by spending an extra hour or two on the table, and it might even be better if the tech is distracted every once in while, so he can refocus when he comes back to it.

    YMMV, of course.
     
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  20. viking

    viking Friend of Leo's

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    I think you are a bunch of I*iots , if you really think any tech doing routine repairs on common guitars , or , say , Classic Fender amps , will have to wait for parts coming in...... Surely most of them will have it all in stock , if I can have anything I need delivered from anywhere in the eu the next day , why shouldn't any tech be able to do so too ?
    There are complicated repair work that can take a lot of thought and time , agreed.......... But normal rewiring jobs , fret leveling or fret jobs won't take many hours , far from it.....
    If this so-called tech wants to do rush jobs for certain stars , he can do it in the wee hours if he likes to , no reason for any of my stuff being there for days , weeks , or months
     
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