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Elevating the Art of Guitar Repair and Design for the last 4 1/2 decades.


Does your guitar always seems to be out of tune ?
Does it seem to be too hard to play ?

Text For Repairs and Setups : ( 519 275 1008 )

Precision work / Fast turn-around / Best price \m/ !

Guitar Repair / Restoration / Pricing






Contact:
For Workshop Appointments,
or Instrument Shipping
Ph / Text : 519 275 1008

To be fair; nobody intentionally messes up your guitar.
But unfortunately, under pressure,
 the combination of "lack of real experience" 
and an "unrealistic deadline", can prove to be very risky.

This is especially so, with high-end 
and valuable vintage instruments !   

This is why I regularly get customers
 showing up at my shop with valuable 
vintage instruments, that have
 languished in a state of "unplayability "
for decades. The main reason being, 
that these customers are so terrified at
the thought of handing over these instruments; 
 for fear of potential damage by unqualified "help."

 This fear, often prevents the customers
 from taking the appropriate action,
to seek out a qualified Luthier, or Technician, 
that they can trust, to fully restore
 their precious instruments to 
their former glory, or to reverse the damage done,
by previous well-intentioned-but-unqualified people. 

Here are a few recent examples :

61' Fender Jazz restoration

Vintage Telecaster Neck Restoration

1948' Martin 00-17 Restoration


MICHAEL'S WORKSHOP / WEEKLY ROSTER ....


 Back in 2006, the Long and McQuade 
store manager, had handed me
their 2001 repair price list
 to use as a general guideline. 

Ten years have past; I am still using that 

15 year old price list ( 2001 ) as a 
general guideline today.


I've never needed to raise my prices,

 because I am very proficient at my trade.

With a fully equipped, dedicated shop, 

and 2 TechDeck Workstations;
I turn out super precision work,
 in a fraction of the time,
 and at a fraction of the cost,
usually associated with this type of work.




A brand new $4700.00 ( MSRP )
Gibson LP "Slash " model.



A beautiful guitar, that really needed some attention.

This guitar needed the exact same treatment 
as the SG in this video link:





To quote Rob ( Woodstock Ont. ) 
after he got his Les Paul back; 
he sent this text.

" Hey Mike, Just wanted to let you know
that the guitar setup and 
fret dress you did is amazing.
The guitar is so easy to play
and the notes and chords 
ring out beautifully.
Best money I ever spent .....
excellent job.
I will most definitely recommend 
you to my friends who play guitar.
Thanks again !!! "



 The experienced Tech / Luthier 
 will accomplish the job 
quicker and more accurately, 
than a lesser experienced "rookie".


Personally; I tend to 
"quote by the job",
so that the customer has 
a clear idea of the cost,
before I get started.

When the local Music store in Stratford was 
bought out by a national chain store, back in 2006; 
I continued to do all of their setups and repairs.

It was during this time,
 that I first bench-tested the 
TechDeck Workstations.


By the end of that initial 18 month period
of the store "take-over ",  I had completed
 1500+ repairs and setups !



 1964 fender Jazz




Customers now search me out; 
 bringing their instruments 
( especially Vintage and valuable ones ) 
 directly to my shop.





1959 Precision






The most common instruments that I 
see coming into the shop on a regular basis, 
tend to be new Gibsons, Fenders, Taylors,
 Martins and numerous Vintage Guitars.

I still do get a lot of basic setups
 and minor fret work, on mid-priced guitars.

It's much easier for smaller guitar shops to 
provide a more personalized service,
addressing the specific preferences 
of their customer base.

 The distractions and pressures found in a busy retail environment,
are not conducive to the high level of un-interrupted concentration,
that is needed, to execute this type of work
with precision, and "attention to detail".

Understandably, for most music stores,
repairs are a "barely tolerable irritation".

They would much rather just sell you a new guitar,
close the sale, and be done with it.

Once again ... 
an all-too-common occurence... 
Please read on ... 

Recently, I've had a few more instruments come in, 
 that had been had taken in for a "free setup " 
at the music store. Well ... guess what folks ...
you get what you pay for ... you pay nothing 
and that's pretty well what you get.

I won't get into the "damage" detail 
that I needed to fix from the "free setup"  ..... 
I'll just say that both customers were 
very happy that I was here to 
reverse the damage done 
by well-intentioned, but inexperienced
 and ill-equipped, store "help". 


Realistically; you can't expect an employee
who works at a Big Box music store for a nominal wage,
to be able to supply the same level of expertise, or to dedicate
 the same amount of time and attention to
detail, as a Seasoned Pro, who is completely tooled-up,
and does this type of work routinely, as an occupation.

This is why most of the bigger stores choose ( wisely )
 to "farm out" the work, 
to a competent Luthier or Technician.

A strong 40% of the setups I perform, 
are done on brand new instruments,
that my customers buy .... and immediately
drop off at my shop, to get 
"tweaked to perfection", 
for their own preferences. 

Here are a few examples
 of brand new instruments that
desperately, needed to be setup.




Brand new Ibanez 



The frets along the edge of the neck on this Ibanez,
were sharp enough to "draw blood " !



The saddles needed to be setup to match
 the fingerboard radius, and the frets needed 
to be levelled re-crowned and polished
 at the top end of the fingerboard.






This Epiphone Master-Bilt
( Ya....  that's how they spelled it ...  he he ! )
needed fret work / a new saddle / intonation
and action adjusted, to make it playable.

This customer also requested a compensated nut. 









In the guitar repair business, 
bigger, is definitely not, better.


Both myself and my customers
thrive on that personal one-on-one relationship.
My long time (in many cases 10-20 year ) customers,
  drop off their guitars, and let me do my thing.
I've come to know all of the little idiosyncrasies
and particular preferences, that these players love.
I am just as thrilled as they are, when they come to
 pick up their guitars upon completion of the job !

This is why I encourage my customers to book an appointment,
 and come to hang out with me at the workbench, 
as we go over the instrument and it's needs;
while methodically, and calmly, determining 
what is worth doing, what is not worth doing etc ...

A large part of my business is generated by customers who reach out, 
set up an appointment, and drive up to Stratford, 
from Toronto, London, Barrie, Woodstock, Kitchener  etc ....
I set aside a good 40 minutes for each customer, 
and we go over the details
while they are here; until we both clearly understand
what is needed,  price / time-lines etc...


For all of the reasons just outlined,
it is really worth getting to know your
 Guitar Tech on a personal level.


Work  Descriptions
( Basic over-view of routine tasks )
Setup :
- Restring
-Adjust pickup height
- Clean and oil fingerboard
-Polish frets
-Adjust action at the nut and the bridge
-Check hardware .. machine heads .. loose fasteners ... screws .. etc...
-Adjust intonation
-Notch bridge pin holes if needed
-Tune up and check overall playability

Fret Dress:
- Adjust the lay of the neck in preparation for levelling
- Removing and re-seating any loose frets
- Levelling , re-crowning and polishing
- Cleaning and oiling ( when needed ) fretboard

Partial Re-Fret:

- Replacing first 3-7 frets with a similar gauge of fretwire
- Levelling, crowning and polishing new frets to level of original frets

Full Re-Fret:

- Carefully remove all frets
- Level out any inconsistencies in the lay of the neck
- Maintain fingerboard radius while levelling or change to customers preference
- Install replacement frets ( original size or customers preference )

Note: The complete refret price will vary, depending on the type of fingerboard / neck construction.
-  maple necks will oftentimes require refinishing
-  necks with bound fingerboards require more labour to overlap binding material

Planing or "Skimming" Bridges ( cheaper and mid-priced acoustic guitars )  

- This is really a quick-fix cheapie job done on inexpensive instruments
- This job is done to lower the action and /or to "tighten up" the string tension
 at the"focal point" on the tip of the bridge saddle
- With the relentless pull of the strings over a long period of time, the guitar will start to "fold up", which will raise the action to the point where the guitar becomes un-playable
- It is possible to " buy back some real estate" by shaving the bridge down to lower the action


Valuable guitars will require a neck-re-set



Cutting Nuts and Saddles: 

Cutting a nut or saddle from a bone or tusq blank is a very exacting task.

Most of my customers over the last  few years  request a compensated nut.  It is essentially as much work as a jeweller fabricating a ring from a block of silver or gold.
 ( and then tuning it to concert pitch  ... lol! )
http://mcconvilleguitars.blogspot.ca/p/compensated-nuts-in-nutshell.html


When I cut a bridge saddle, it is radiused to match the fingerboard as well as compensated for the action / string gauge / tuning that the customer uses.