Update 2/10/24 -- I now have several apprentices working with me but we are still backed-up over two years for major work like neck resets and the like. We have enough bandwidth to deal with the usual "day to day" repairs like fret level/dress jobs, refrets, setups, and whatnot as they come in, but if you're seeking help with major repairs and are planning to ship your instrument in, you may be waiting a very long time to get it turned-around. I'm working hard to get to my backlog and make everyone happy but it's an intense struggle as there is far more demand than our output can resolve.

Repair Information

Yes, I certainly do repair work for customers...
so please get in touch if you feel like having me work on something so I can get it "in line" for you! I can often do "light work" while you wait. Just schedule a visit.

My strong suit is that I'm very familiar with older (1800s-1970s) instruments (as well as downright obscure ones) and will have insights as far as setup, stringing, and repair processes to suit those guys best. I also play almost everything I work on so I understand what each critter needs. I can work on anything fretted and do a lot of local general setup and repair of modern acoustic and electric instruments as well. While I work on bowed instruments, it is not my main line of work, and so we now have Andy Lake specializing in bowed instruments with us here at the shop and he's doing an incredibly good job and is ready for as much work as can be thrown at him.

So? Will you take my repair on? For local customers, please drop by the shop during store hours (click here for those) for me to take a look at your instrument and give you a ballpark estimate on the cost of repair.

For non-local customers... feel free to call, text, or email me with digital photos of the instrument in question. Please note that turnaround time for out-of-state customers can stretch for a long time because I have an overwhelming demand from local customers as well. The turnaround time is dictated by where the instrument is received "in line" with the rest of the instruments awaiting repair and the needs of the instrument being fixed up (triage, sadly). Also, please figure in that you will have a shipping cost both ways.

So? How much does this stuff cost? Basic repair rates vary depending on instrument types and time associated. I charge a basic $70/hr shop rate for work as of 2019 (still the same in 2024). I will not do "partial" repair jobs if the end result is an instrument that plays poorly. I wouldn't drive in a car with only three of its four wheels, would you? I do, however, tend to do "what an instrument needs to play well" rather than heaping on all sorts of extra, unnecessary work. I try to keep everything as affordable as possible and often throw in a lot of free time if I'm working on difficult patients.

General Costs

SETUP: $30-45 for basic minor adjustments (truss if applicable, nut and saddle work and/or compensation, tuner lube, etc.) and cleaning, no fret work, new strings not included. Figure the lower price is for ukes and the higher price is for something like a 12 string guitar.

FRET LEVEL AND DRESS: $30-980, sometimes setup included. If your frets are worn or not seated properly, proper playability is more or less impossible. I do a level and dress on every old instrument I work on for resale because it is so necessary to an instrument's playability. The lower-end of the pricing is for instruments like ukes with minor needs while the higher end would be for instruments like guitars or banjos with troublesome fret seating. Average cost in time for this job on guitars is between $40-60.

NEW NUT: $10-30, generally -- bone nut standard with ebony or rosewood as alternate options -- materials included. Odd materials at cost plus time.

NEW GUITAR SADDLE: $10-45 depending on what else needs done at the bridge. Bone is standard while ebony or rosewood are options. Odd materials at cost plus time.

NEW FLOATING BRIDGE: $10-60, for mandolin, guitar, or other similar instruments -- bone or rosewood standard, ebony an option. Lower end prices are for standard parts that are fitted while higher-end prices are for custom-cut or fancier parts plus fitting costs. It's all about the time. The materials are usually very cheap.

BRIDGE REGLUE: Ukuleles $20-30, guitars $30-60 depending on what else needs doing in the bridge area at the same time. If I have to reshape the bridge for proper action or saddle fit expect the cost to be a little higher.

NEW BRIDGE: Whatever the cost of the part is, unless a custom bridge is needed. In that case I charge for the time making it as the material cost is low, generally, unless something fancy is requested.

BRIDGE SEATING/FLOATING BRIDGE WORK: For mandolins and other floating-bridge instruments (archtop guitars) properly-fitted bridges are a must. Depending on what's necessary -- fitting or reshaping of an existing bridge, crafting an entirely new bridge from scratch, or fitting a new bridge that's a standard replacement part -- the cost will go up or down. Usually this is pretty cheap, though.

REFRET JOB: This is totally scaled to what the instrument needs but generally refrets on guitars run in the $120-180 range depending on what they need. Old ukuleles (12-fret) would be an exception. On older instruments replacing frets can be very time-consuming if the board itself is dried-out or prone to chipping since much cosmetic touchup work may be necessary. If a customer can live with original frets that function but are slightly lower I generally suggest fret leveling and dressing over an entire refret. That said, refrets feel wonderful once they're done.

ELECTRIC/PICKUP WORK: This work is time-based rather than job-based because figuring out what's going wrong "under the hood" or customizing for a certain customer preference can be quick or very lengthy depending on how an instrument is built or wired and also how much "modding" has been done to an instrument in the past. Parts costs will apply if anything needs replacing but I try to keep good-quality but affordable parts on hand. Simple things (pickup swap-outs, resoldering bad jacks, etc.) can be in the $10-30 range. Keep in mind that it's often more expensive (time-wise) for me to save inferior components on import guitars than it is to freshly wire new ones when customizing wiring.

ACOUSTIC PICKUP INSTALL: For K&K-style piezo sensor (not undersaddle) pickups, cost of the pickup + $10-30. For undersaddle or more complicated pickups with preamps and all the bells and whistles, expect more labor for the fuss of it all.

NECK RESETS: This varies entirely from instrument to instrument, so you'll have to ask for a quote when I see the instrument. Some instruments simply need the neck pulled and reglued with shim-ups and that can be around an hour's work ($70 or so), while others need the full steam-out, reshape, and reset which can run from $200-400 depending on the job and its associated repairs. There are also plenty of cheaper instruments with terrible neck joints (lower-end Harmony, Kay, Regal, Yamahas, etc. from any era) that can be done on the cheap (with just-as-functional repairs) to keep them going and secure -- with the job on the affordable side.

CRACK REPAIRS & SEAM REGLUES: This can be quite inexpensive or (if badly damaged) quite a task. Simple hairline top crack cleating is not time consuming for me and pretty inexpensive.

REFINISHING: This is something I simply do not do unless you're a good friend (I detest refinishing work), though I often do spot-refinishing on things like bridges that were originally sprayed. I can also do simple "speed neck" work and the like, no problem.

OTHER REPAIRS: What, there's more? We'll have to talk...