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Devil got ninety thousand women - he need just one more - King Solomon Hill, Whoopee Blues

Author Topic: Repairs  (Read 2091 times)

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Offline dj

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« on: March 07, 2005, 10:53:53 AM »
Now that I've become committed to my guitars again, it's time for me to start thinking about getting them back into good playing shape.

First question:  My Gibson J-50.  It's about 35 years old.  The neck needs to be straightened and probably reset (action is high and the neck seems to twist up a bit where it meets the body).  Plus there are notches worn in some of the frets, and depressions worn in some places in the fingerboard.  Do I just take this to my friendly local music store for some work?  Or should I search for someone really qualified, and if so, how do I find that person?  .

Next question:  My c. 1930 Stella Hawaiian.  It's had some not very good repairs in the past.  I assume it would be best to find someone who really knows what he's doing to go over this, check it out, and do anything that needs to be done.  How do I find such a person?

I'd like to get the gibson fixed up soon.  the Stella can wait for a while, but I'd eventually like to get it put into good shape.

Offline waxwing

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Re: Repairs
« Reply #1 on: March 07, 2005, 11:20:15 AM »
Hey, dj,
I think having a good working relationship with a luthier who is knowledgeable and enjoys working on vintage guitars is very important, especially if you think you might be suffering GAS at any time in the future. I see you are in Poughkeepsie, so you should have no trouble discovering a topnotch shop in your area. Pat Daley (AKA poozemeister) would be a good person in the Catskll area to ask and if you post a query on some other boards ( Woodshed, IGS, etc) as well, you'll get some good leads. From the member map, it looks like we've got quite a few folks in the general area as well. I would hold off on the J-50 at least long enough to get some good recommendations and get around to talk to them, see how you feel. And NY is within striking distance for some really fine work.

As I said, you'll appreciate knowing a good luthier if you're looking at an interesting old guitar and have confidence that your guy can fix whatever issues might be bringing the price down, and to know approximately how much it will cost.

All for now.
John C.
"People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it."
George Bernard Shaw

“Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they aren't after you.”
Joseph Heller, Catch-22

Offline uncle bud

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Re: Repairs
« Reply #2 on: March 07, 2005, 11:46:52 AM »
I think it's important not just if you're purchasing, but just in general for the health and well-being of your existing guitars. Even if you have to drive a bit, it's worth getting a real pro, not just some guy in the back of the local electric guitar shop (unless you find one who's got a reputation). I don't know of one personally in your area but others here might, and if not IGS or the Woodshed will turn up good leads as waxwing said.

Offline dj

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Re: Repairs
« Reply #3 on: March 08, 2005, 03:59:29 AM »
Thanks for the suggestion, John C.  Within 15 minutes of my posting a query at the Woodshed, Pat Daley responded with a couple of recommendations right in my area.  And I got a few other responses recommending people a little further afield.  I guess I'll spend the next couple of weeks "interviewing" luthiers.  Other than just chatting, getting a feel for the person, and asking to look at some recently completed work or work in progress, is there anything in particular I should look for when checking out a luthier?

Offline Richard

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Re: Repairs
« Reply #4 on: March 08, 2005, 05:14:04 AM »
A big woodburning stove could be a bit of a clue  ;D
(That's enough of that. Ed)

Offline Slack

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Re: Repairs
« Reply #5 on: March 08, 2005, 07:17:36 AM »
is there anything in particular I should look for when checking out a luthier?

HI Dj,

What they propose to do should make sense to you - make sure you understand the reasons why - a good luthier will explain it all and it should make sense.  Since you have what might be considered a vintage Gibson or at least a desirable one (those built before 1970, before new management came in).... make sure he respects that and that he will do no alterations (like put a new Martin bridge on it) that alters the originality or without your consent(99% of luthiers are sensitive   to this - but doesn't hurt to double check).

If the neck is twisted at the body only, that is not problem (as opposed to a twist in the neck itself, which is a problem) - it sounds like you need at a minimum: a neck reset and a new fret job.  The fret job will allow him/her to take out the divets in your fretboard too.  This is in the $500-$600 range I would guess... so be prepared for that.


Offline onewent

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Re: Repairs
« Reply #6 on: March 22, 2005, 06:43:33 PM »
dj, you can get yourself up to speed at this site:? and keep in mind that the neck set and fret work are necessary for a smooth playing guitar, some players/luthiers pay no heed to the fingernail divots in the fretboard because they don't affect playability, generally speaking it's more of an aesthetic choice, kind of like whitening your teeth? :D

BTW, how do you get the hyper link thingie to work?? duh...problem solved...
« Last Edit: March 22, 2005, 07:27:44 PM by onewent »


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