Q. Describe the most common types of jobs you do for your clients.
A. Common set-ups are by far the most frequent tasks.
Next would be guitar amplifiers.
And last but not least, phone support.
Q. Describe three recent jobs you've completed.
A. The last three jobs were all acoustic. A Mandolin, and 2 acoustic guitars. The Fender Mandolin came in with a cracked plastic string nut and when I showed the owner the options of materials to use for nut making, he chose Fossilized Walrus Ivory. He was very satisfied with the action, sound depth and clarity of the new nut.
A custom built classical acoustic specially made for this advanced player was here for string buzzing and dead frets. The client mentioned adding side position markers on the neck and we checked out options.
He chose Mother of Pearl white and was glad he could quickly spot his position on the neck.
The third instrument was a $50 yard sale special by a mom for a daughter who wasn't sure if she wanted to play. After just a few adjustments and some new strings it played better than some $600 guitars!
Total cost $65
If a guitar plays well the student plays longer, learns more, and reaches their personal best faster.
Q. What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?
A. Ask for credentials. The qualified technicians will be certified in more than one field. Guitars take an electrician as well as a Luthier. Today's digital keyboards and pro audio gear require an electrician and a computer tech.
I possess the knowledge to excel at both these fields.
Q. If you were a customer, what do you wish you knew about your trade? Any inside secrets to share?
A. I'm willing to share some basic maintenance tips that can keep you from coming back for small problems. I truly like helping people and look forward to the day when I can give my services for free.
Q. What questions should a consumer ask to hire the right service professional?
A. Are they qualified in that field.
What are their credentials.
Are they bonded and insured.
What is the price compared to other service providers.
How long will it take.
Q. What important information should buyers have thought through before seeking you out?
A. Is the item in need of repair worth fixing. Sometimes the only way to find out is to let a qualified tech inspect it and compare the estimate against the actual value.
Q. Why does your work stand out from others who do what you do?
A. A smaller work load allows me to spend time talking with the consumer about their needs.
A smaller work loads lets me focus on the details of a task without being rushed. Most repairs are finished the same day. I have convenient hours and location.
I am Bonded with the state.
I am insured, protecting vintage and valuable items.
I am certified to perform service on most major brands.
State of the art equipment is used to ensure absolute perfection and consumer satisfaction.
Flexible pricing available according to the value of the item.
I answer the phone personally and am hapy to give helpful information.
Q. What do you like most about your job?
A. There are a couple of things that make this career interesting. Carrying on the tradition of handmade instruments is probably first.
I like the satisfaction of knowing the work performed will have inspired a musician to push their instrument to the limit possibly improving someone's ability to express themselves, which leads to better playing overall
I also like the look on peoples faces when when those re-attached head stocks are finished. There are some examples on my Thumbtack gallery and also the All Guitar Repair website that give these tasks complete perspective.
Pictures really are worth a thousand words
Q. What questions do customers most commonly ask you? What's your answer?
A. If I decide to do the work, how long will it take?
My answer is the same every time: If it's not a major repair, you can go to lunch and I'll have it done by the time you get back.
Q. Do you have a favorite story from your work?
A. A customer brought an electronic keyboard in for service.
When moving the item to the work area I noticed something was rolling around inside possibly contacting circuitry. Upon dis-assembly and inspection of this keyboard I was surprised to find a live .380 round (bullet) inside.
This bullet could have easily discharged when lifting the keyboard to the bench by just bouncing off of any high voltage source! I guess I'd be the first guy ever shot by a keyboard! I carefully removed the bullet, made the repair, returned keyboard and the ammunition to the owner, and was quite amused to see the look on his face!
Q. What do you wish customers knew about you or your profession?
A. My life is dedicated to my business.
I am the only employee so when you call you talk directly with me.
This profession requires experienced techs with good public relations skills in order to gain the trust and confidence of new customers.
Your heart must be in it to fulfill the passion needed to create something from nothing.
This profession will probably never be automated or mechanized and will always need the "Human Touch" giving each instrument it's own personality.
I look forward to the day when I'll be able to give my services for free just for the satisfaction of knowing I helped someone make music.
Q. How did you decide to get in your line of work?
A. When the first Floyd Rose tremolo systems came out in 1984, there were no techs competent enough to set them up correctly. I was getting to the point where if I wanted it done right I was going to have to do it myself. From there I studied Luthiery becoming certified by Fender Musical Instruments Corporation and many other major manufacturers. Now retailers and private customers across the country trust me with their equipment.
Q. Tell us about a recent job you did that you are particularly proud of.
A. Recently i was asked if I could re-attach the head stock to the neck of a Fender FB58 banjo. Being a tech for 20 years I've seen a lot of broken guitar head stocks. Never one like this! This instrument had the head broken off and handed to me separately! Most techs wouldn't touch it. So with the combination of some old and some new techniques the challenge was met with awesome results. The repair was undetectable! The customer got to show the work to others that were truly impressed. Even though it wasn't a vintage or very expensive instrument the sentimental attachment was worth everything to this customer, and from the look on his face, he was happy to have his old friend back.
Q. Do you do any sort of continuing education to stay up on the latest developments in your field?
A. Pro audio gear and guitars are constantly evolving, which means modifications and updates from manufacturers have to be studied and kept current.
Q. What are the latest developments in your field? Are there any exciting things coming in the next few years or decade that will change your line of business?
A. A new state of the art neck jig for re-fretting, fingerboard leveling and fret leveling gives me the ability to do the most accurate fret work anywhere. Tools like these are expensive and well worth it. They show my willingness to sacrifice everything to be the best.
Q. Describe your most recent project, what it involved, how much it cost, and how long it took.
A. Restoration of a 1975 Gibson Explorer was rewarding.
It included stripping the ugly red paint that someone had applied with a spray can, leveling the fingerboard, complete re-fretting, polishing the new frets, filling all stripped screw holes in the body, re-staining and refinishing it to match factory paint, curing the paint, polishing and buffing the new clear coat to a mirror finish, installing all new wiring, installing new gold pickup covers and all other hardware including pots, switch, jack, jack plate and tuners. (We kept the vintage pickups)
Restring and check the curvature of the neck, check the playability, set the string height at the bridge, check the string height at the nut, check the playability, adjust the truss rod, check the playability again, set the intonation, play hard check the intonation again, let sit out of the case overnight and check all adjustments the next day after a final test play.
Time spent: 8 weeks.
Total cost: $750.00
Q. If you have a complicated pricing system for your service, please give all the details here.
A. Most of the time we can give estimates of prices over the phone. If major problems exist I require a visual inspection in order to provide an accurate cost of repair.
Q. If you were advising someone who wanted to get into your profession, what would you suggest?
A. A degree in business, an education in stringed instruments of all kinds, at least an associates degree in computer tech and repair, proper tools, shop space, patience and a happy, sincere personality when interacting with the public.
Q. What is your greatest strength?
A. Customer relations is number one. Computer tech and repair has become an essential skill needed for diagnosing pro audio equipment and now even guitars.
Q. What are you currently working on improving?
A. We are frequently making changes/ improvements to the AGR website for ease of navigation/ information, and actual pictures from our shop of some featured work.
One of the most dramatic transformations would have to be the 1976 Gibson Explorer refinish.
Definitely web worthy! Check it out!
Q. Write your own question and answer it.
A. Do you play an instrument?
I play three instruments which allow me to diagnose problems effectively. A good understanding of music is important when repairing instrument to push them to their limits during testing and ensure quality control.