Sunday, April 3, 2011

Guitar Repair and Re-stringing-for students

by Greg Shelley

Recently, I have had many students inquire about guitar repair and re-stringing. Not long ago virtually any music store was prepared to do minor and even major repairs on guitars. However, recently many stores have stopped doing such things as re-stringing guitars and minor fixes.

REPAIRS: The stores I have talked to cite difficulties in handling the volume of repairs and a lack of financial incentive. Most of the guitars people bring in for repair have a value that is near or is less than the actual cost of requested repairs.

Guitars are made of wood products, usually, and so repairs to fine finishes that are factory mass produced can take time and so be costly. Customers are becoming increasingly disgruntled by the cost of a repair as
compared to the cost of buying a new instrument altogether. And so the desired effect of providing a positive service is lost.

This problem is further compounded by the increase of high quality, but low cost guitars which have flooded the market in recent years. Here again, why do repairs when simply buying a new guitar would not cost much more?

The last difficulty for Music Stores in providing repairs has become the liability factor. If a customer feels that there is a mistake in the repair, or that damage was done during the repair, the music store then faces the messy business of rectifying this new problem.

WHAT TO DO ? ? It is still worth a try to contact music stores or even your guitar instructor--me for instance.  However, you may not always get the response you wish for.  When it comes to repairs, you may want to contact a Luthier. In the yellow pages under Musical Instrument Repair, you may find a variety of guitar repair and manufacturing experts.

FOR MY PERSONAL REPAIRS I have always utilized Jack Pimentel of JP GUITARS. His phone number is 841-2954. Jack is an accomplished Luthier and guitar repair expert. He hand makes his own line of guitars and has done work on guitars owned by a host of well known celebrity guitarists.

Jack has customized three of my guitar necks and repaired a lacquer chip or two for me. I once saw a guitar brought to him as a pile of wood and when he was done reconstructing it—well—it looked like it was ready for the showroom floor.  A good Luthier like Jack is worth the cost.

Today, guitars come with a wide variety of tuning and bridge mechanisms. Finding employees that can keep up with the skills and information needed can be difficult or impossible. With such a new wide variety of guitars, tuning machines, nuts and bridges, it is a daunting task to affordably retrain new employees.
Considering the strings for most guitars cost less than $15.00 per set, and re-stringing the guitar can take a half hour or so, re-stringing guitars can detract from the music store’s other business. Time is taken away from a music store’s ability to be selling products that would produce far more income for them—even if they have employees able to keep up with the latest guitar innovations.

For my guitar students I suggest that we take a lesson during which I will show you how to install a string or two. I will have you do most of the work.

First, you need to get a good set of strings at a local music store--Or, I carry strings for my students and they can buy them from me as well.  Second, you have to come prepared to work on your own guitar.
During the lesson, I will talk you through changing a string and let you get the feel of it. Then after one or two tries you can take the rest home and give it a go. Or, you can bring the guitar back to the next lesson and I will talk you through the remaining strings.

Copyright Ó 2010 Greg Shelley,  all rights reserved

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