Providing various repair services to classical guitar players and collectors has proved to be both a great way to make new friends in the guitar world and also a great way to learn about the various things that go wrong with guitars during their lives. Whether through neglect or luthier error, one of the best ways you can learn about creating a reliable and responsive guitar is expose yourself to the opposite.
Soundboard Upgrades - $1,800
Whether you have a great guitar that experienced an unfortunate accident or an unresponsive instrument that you would like improved, I have a smooth process for providing this service. One past customer wanted me to replace his old Japanese Asturias guitar top with my own uniquely braced top. The result was a wonderfully responsive and loud guitar. Many mass manufactured guitars are overbuilt, yet are made with the same woods of which the finest concert guitars are made. Upgrading the soundboard of an inexpensive guitar is a method through which players might own a top performing guitar for a relatively affordable price.
French Polishing - $35 /hr.
Although it's a labor intensive finishing process, a French polish of shellac finish is easy to fix when compared to other finishes. From the beginning of my luthiery career I have probably affixed an unhealthy amount of self-worth into the results I can achieve with French Polishing. There are lots of misconceptions about the French polishing technique and the standards by which one judges it are often wrongly lax. It will always take a high degree of practice and patience to create a great finish no matter what method is employed. Where French polish differs is in its organic nature and its corresponding cure time during which, depending on the technique of application, variable amounts of shrinkage occur. This leaves its once glass-like surface exposing the grain previously filled.
Re-fretting - $350
After I started using the large frets on my own guitars, I received a few refret jobs from others that wanted the upgrade in playability. Guitars that have seen many hours of use will usually show signs of flat places on the frets under each string. This fret wear is very normal especially for the soft and commonly used nickel-silver frets. Over time, when a string is fretted behind a fret that is worn down, then an increasing amount of efffort is required to acheive a clear note until finally one is pressing against the fretboard. The large fretwire I use is .057" in height and is composed of a hard metal that experiences minimal wear.
I will perform other repairs on your guitar as needed. I have experience in replacing or repairing backs, tops and even the sides of guitars. A gouge or chip in the wood can be often fixed by making a matching wood patch. A badly warped neck with excessive forward or backward bow can often have the fretboard replaned, but sometimes requires the neck to be reset. Repair jobs can sometimes be as simple or as complex as you deem necessary depending on the value of your instrument. If you have a $200-$500 instrument, then you will likely spend more than the guitar's value for repairing anything other than simple set-up work.
Starting with my second guitar, I began having a friend's wife take professional quality photos of each instrument. Eventually they moved and I was on my own, taking pictures with a very simple and old digital camera. You can notice a huge drop in the photo quality after guitar no. 25. From that point on you can witness my learning curve. I am now very happy with the photographs I take of each guitar, so if you are having me refurbish your guitar for reselling, then I am happy to provide you with a photo gallery of said guitar for a reasonable price.