I Am So Frustrated With Guitar Repair People - Just A Rant

sax4blues

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Due to my lack of care when moving to arid Colorado the top of my acoustic split. I humidified for a month then took to luthier at local guitar shop and was quoted 2-1/2 weeks for repair. I call today, 3-1/2 weeks, and I am not surprised in the least that he tells me nothing started, trying to catch up. When asked what timeframe he just won't say. Absolutely will not commit to any time.

I have never had any guitar repair person ever 1) come close to the original time & 2)come close to the rescheduled time. Ever. I will probably go pick it up tomorrow and take to another place to sit for two months without action. I'm online now looking to just buy a new guitar which I can't afford, is 10x the repair price. But my personalty just can't take it.
 

Lowspeid

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I feel your pain, and can commiserate. I've had the same issues with every shop I've ever taken my guitars to. The worst part is you wait for several weeks and 9/10 times they didn't do the work correctly but ALWAYS want to be paid for whatever crap work was performed. "Professional" Guitar Repair is HARD to come by. It's why I started learning how to work on guitars (beyond simple set-ups), and have spent over $1k on StewMac tools over the last 6 months.
 

Spox

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The guy who works on my guitars is in his eighties, I gave him one last Tuesday to put back to stock, he'd done the mods a few years ago, and he told me it would be ready today and it was. He worked on other guitars throughout this period, I believe it is just a work ethic which he has had for all of his working life. I gave him another today and he said it'll be ready next Tuesday and I have no reason to believe otherwise, Tuesdays are the day he travels into the city to pick up/drop off work at the shop he works for.
 

Texicaster

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Yep!

I had one luthier tell me he would charge me $100 to call the guitar maker to find out what glue they used on a lifting bridge! I said I'll call them and...nope he had to call and it takes an hour! I called anyways...guess what? Titebond! Who'da guessed! Took me 2 minutes to call and ask! I did the work myself!

I had a real cool "lawsuit" Takamine that the solid top had split at the seam. Took it to another highly rated repair shop and you would have thought I dropped a dead rat on the counter! They didn't want to touch it! I never figured that one out. Simplest of repairs and charge me what you want and they were like snobs....
 

Freeman Keller

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I have had two dehydrated guitars cross my work bench this spring. In one case I put a super humidifier in it, shimmed the saddle so it would be playable, and gave it back to the owner. Told him to dampen the sponges every two weeks and bring it back in a month. The other one I simply kept under my work bench while I rehumidified it. In both cases it took about a month before I was ready to work on it - there simply is no point in pushing it. In both cases it took me a couple of days to do the fretwork, make a nut and saddle, do the setup. I told the owners their guitars were ready but asked if I could keep them for a few days and do a little tweak if they changed any more. Both guitars have been returned and after about a month I called both owners to make sure everything was good.

When I take on a project I give the owner a realistic estimate of how long its going to take. If it needs a part or time to stabilize or something like that I tell them up front. I have a guitar under my bench right now that needs a ten dollar switch but I told the owner I wanted to wait until I had a larger order to avoid shipping, he said fine. If for some reason a project is going over the time I estimated I tell the owner. Otherwise I do the work and return the instrument.

I'll add that I am not a professional, this is a hobby for me. I don't get paid, people give me swag or a nice bottle of wine or tickets to their gig. I only work on instruments belonging to friends. Its just the way it should be done.
 

Milspec

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I have a great luthier, but he does prioritize according to the owner. If you are somebody....first in line. Active gigging....next up. Home player....you wait until things get slow.

I understand that and accept it. He always sends me an email when things slow down in case I need something done. Then it is normally complete in a week. I really don't get upset over it, he is very good at his craft and is often picked up by touring groups to be their guitar tech for a few months while on tour.

Just have to accept it for what it is.
 

That Cal Webway

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Taking my Strat tomorrow to the great repairman about 30 miles south of me.
Level/crown.
He always tells when he will have it back,. Sometimes not the exact day of course but he's 100% the way a repair person should be.
 

nojazzhere

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Due to my lack of care when moving to arid Colorado the top of my acoustic split. I humidified for a month then took to luthier at local guitar shop and was quoted 2-1/2 weeks for repair. I call today, 3-1/2 weeks, and I am not surprised in the least that he tells me nothing started, trying to catch up. When asked what timeframe he just won't say. Absolutely will not commit to any time.

I have never had any guitar repair person ever 1) come close to the original time & 2)come close to the rescheduled time. Ever. I will probably go pick it up tomorrow and take to another place to sit for two months without action. I'm online now looking to just buy a new guitar which I can't afford, is 10x the repair price. But my personalty just can't take it.
I guess I better not mention my guy's name....although I've told a few of you folks here....but he's usually pretty good at getting work done when he says it will be ready. He's super busy, but he'll be within a day or two of estimate. He's great if you have a rush job (like a looming gig) but I'm diligent NOT to abuse that. I know the story of the little boy who cried wolf! ;)
 

Frontman

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It surely won't help you, but I take my guitars to the ESP shop in Ochanomizu in Tokyo. The staff at the repair section are the best I have ever seen, and they are fast, they have never taken more than a week to finish a repair. The first guitar I brought them was a Gibson Les Paul, which had the frets worn to the fretboard, not to mention divots in the fretboard itself. When the guitar came back, I could have sworn they had replaced the fretboard, the rosewood looked new. The other job was a neck reset on a D28, which they did just as good a job on. The guy who runs the shop also builds Navigator guitars, and knows his stuff. Not only did my guitars come back with the problems fixed, the bodies are cleaned, minor scratches polished out of the paint or lacquer, the tuners, bridge pieces, and other metal parts cleaned and polished. Unfortunately, this place is ungodly expensive (almost $800 to re-fret my Les Paul), but you get what you pay for.
 

mike stanger

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Oddly, the guys I use here in Phoenix seem to be able to accurately define when work will be done….so they do exist.
Yup.
I'm lucky to have such a guy here. When he's swamped, he always says so, but if he agrees to take only of my jobs, he will get it done close to his promise date.

As long as I agree to let him do only what I request. If I give him an opening to look over a guitar, he does, and will often find something else that may need repair. And sometimes, that will put my guitar back in the line for a while. He always calls me, though, so taking the guitar after he fixes what I saw or leaving it for him is always at my option.

I learned it was better for me to simply ask when he thought the backed up work would start thinning out and then call him again later on.

I can hold off because I have other guitars I can always play instead, but that's not the same for everyone. Spares cost money, for sure.

regards,
stanger
 

1955

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The guys I used did great work, and fast, but they were on the east coast.
 

ReverendRevolver

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I've got a good local shop and a guy that's been building guitars for about 30 years. If something was really off I'd take it to the builder to fix as time allows. Otherwise if I can't do it myself, the shop will get it.

I've never built a partscaster because deep down I know I could have the guy build me a $2500 guitar for $1500, and it'd probably be $1200 in parts. Good to know who lives nearby.
 

sax4blues

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I have a great luthier, but he does prioritize according to the owner. If you are somebody....first in line. Active gigging....next up. Home player....you wait until things get slow.
I know this is the case with the shops I've used and I am #3 on the list, that's why I'm not surprised when I just continually get pushed out. Probably the most frustrating part of this current situation is I created it myself by ignoring all of the advice about caring for the guitar. Now I'm hostage to a system I could have easily avoided.
 

Killing Floor

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I went through a couple goofballs and found 2 great repair people here. Had a bridge re glued and a truss fixed in under a week.
 

Tonetele

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My friend and luthier, Craig Sampson, was the best. He did PERFECT set ups. Forced out of business as his landlord raised the rent on his inner city shop. His fatherwas also good and a jazz guitarist since the 40s. He had a 1937 Gibson l??? archtop but he got old as Craig grew up and took over the business. All luthies in Adelaide owe their skills to the Sampsons.
He did set up of 1mm and 1.5 mm. That's 0/040" on the high E at 12th, fret nd 0.060" on the 6th. string. You could shred on it ( if you wanted to).
I believe I'll have to send my guitars to ted Woodford in Canada the way things are with these youngster luthiers.Crikey- even I can tell them things. There's my rant.
 




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