I'm a fixer, not a builder. I work for 2 music stores in the area... and I'd like to compare what types of repairs you most often see, particularly since the economy has tanked.

The number of refrets and neck resets, lately, has dropped considerably. Most of my work these days consists of loose or pulling bridges, set-ups and the inevitable "whoops, I dropped it and made a boo-boo".

On one hand, I would have expected an increase in repair work since buying a new guitar is getting stiffer, but that hasn't actually been my experience, other than an increase in fret-dressings along with the decrease in complete refrets.

What shifts have you seen lately? What constitutes the majority of the jobs that arrive at your bench? ... just curious.

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Most obvious increase here has been guitar set-ups.... " Can you make it play better / deal with just this little buzz here" under $100 NZ (about US$60). OTOH, we are underneath a local venue. So there are also touring bands who have discovered a problem mid-tour, want it fixed overnight, and are willing to pay a decent price for the trouble. The price of a good refret is making some folks put it off as long as possible; I think someone else in town does cheaper refrets - and that's fine with me......
I'm expecting the usual run of christmas stock supermarket guitars to arrive in January, needing more work than they are worth to make them playable. I don 't like being hard-hearted - I'm well aware some lower-socio families can't afford better, but if I fix them all, I don't pay the rent. I've pretty much decided to do only hardship cases in my own local community and I'll have to say no to the others.
Kudos on the local hardship repairs!! I do low budget kids learning guitars on the cheap just to help keep kids interested in learning to play.Lower the action,saddle,nut ,bridge work for the price of a basic setup.Broken headstocks cheap..keep a guitar in those eager hands..Myself,I wanted the Kingston with 14 knobs and 6 pickups and a wiggly bar when I was young...Mom said "I'll get you a Sears guitar..,,they stand behind thier products " So I got the amp in case two pickup dano style that you could actually play...I've been repairing for over 30 years, and most of those necks are still playable..I'm sure that if I had the Kingston I would have given up quite early, altho you can fix them now after the wood has finally quit twisting..Thanks to my mom's insistance, I am the best guitar player in the world,altho I prefer to mostly fix them..Thanks Mom !!!
Most of what I do is refrets, nuts & saddles, crack repair, binding repairs,loose braces and pickguards. Intonation & action on electrics. Occasional neck reset.
Lots of set ups. Not a repair, but mostly intonation and truss rod adjustments. Broken nuts, lifting bridges and wiring on electrics. I'm sure glad that a lot of players don't know how to intonate an adjustable bridge or set a truss rod. Not to mention string changes. Before I got involved in this racket I thought everybody changed their own strings.
I've been doing some custom wiring on strats and teles using 5-way switches to get different pickup settings. Really popular. Of course my electrics all have standard wiring setups, but lots of folks seem to like the customized wiring.
Switching the tone knob on a strat from the middle pickup to the bridge pickup seems pretty hot these days.
Other than that the usual boo-boos and broken headstocks and body cracks. Fret dressing more than refretting jobs.

Rev George

Rev George
Ive had the usual set up type work and alike, but I had a person that came to me and wanted some advice on buying a guitar for their young aspiring player .... I told therm not to buy a guitar from the same place that they buy their groceries and not to but based on the price alone..
in this piticular case I went to a music store with this person and picked out a nice baby Taylor for them ...
I'm half and half buider/repairs. Most jobs would be bridge adjustments and rod(action), fix harmonic, fret dress, complete fret jobs, structural problem (broken/unglued bars, cracks),basic solder/switch replacement, replace tuners. Occasionnaly a broken headstock, major refinish (mostly french polish on classicals and older instruments), replace neck etc. I try to be really accomodant to local pros, keep them happy as they are my bread and butter. I also answer a lot of question about how to become a luthier!!!


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