Few topics are as important (or as painful) as guitar repair. Let's face it. No matter how much you try to protect your instruments from harm, eventually you will need to enlist the services of a qualified repairman. Hopefully, our series of articles will help you make smart, educated choices.
Players generally seek a repairman for one of two scenarios - either
there is an inherent defect in the instrument or there was "user
error," which is a nice way of saying you screwed up your own
If there's a problem with your guitar that wasn't
of your own making, you want to check the warranty and make sure that
you still have (or can find) a copy of the original receipt. Many top
guitar makers include a lifetime limited warranty. And limited is
definitely the most important word here! Just like a car manufacturer
doesn't provide a warranty for normal wear and tear, a guitar maker
isn't going to warranty fret wear or tarnished hardware. They will,
though, usually cover major repair problems that arise due to defects.
few years ago, I owned a Taylor 614-CE, a really nice guitar. The
problem, though, was that the truss rod just didn't seem to work the way
it should. I took it to a shop that was an authorized Taylor dealer,
and they agreed - a neck reset was in order. I didn't have to pay a
dime, not even for shipping. It was all covered under Taylor's lifetime
warranty. So, make sure to save your receipts and warranty information
if you buy a new guitar. It might save you a lot of money in the future, since most repair shops will only honor a warranty with a copy of the original receipt.
times, though, you'll visit a repairman because of a problem that isn't
covered by warranty or due to damage that you caused yourself. There
are some things you can do to make sure you don't overpay. Before you
commit to a specific repairman, do a little Internet research on prices
for the type of repair you need. Granted, the prices will vary
considerably depending upon the area, but you can still have a ballpark
Also, don't be afraid to take your guitar to different repair shops in your area so you can compare quotes. Make sure you do research on the repair shop's reputation. And make sure the research is current! I took a couple of my own guitars to a rather popular guitar shop in Dallas a couple of years ago, where I had good luck in the past, only to be severely disappointed with their current work. Things change! So, be sure you pick a well-respected repair facility that offers a guarantee on all work done.