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Brought a Guitar to the Luthier

Some days ago, I contacted a luthier and explained that I have an issue with one of my guitars. My Vintage V100 Lemon Drop had a little issue right after I purchased it back then. And if I would have ordered the guitar in Germany, I would just have asked for a replacement. But I bought it outside of Germany, and I didn’t want to go through the trouble of sending it back, especially since the guitar was playable and did sound nice apart from the mentioned issue. At that time, the issue was that the body binding was a little bit loose in a 1-2 cm area near the bottom guitar strap pin. But I still feared that the binding would loosen further. Well, and almost two years later, that was now the case…

So, I got a reply from the luthier and he told me to visit him with my guitar but not without wearing a mask. I’ve done that and he started to inspect the guitar. Like I’ve noticed too, the binding had too much tension at the bottom, it’s a production fault. They either used a little bit too much binding length in production or maybe it’s also that the wood shrank or that the channel was not cut right. Who knows, but he said that he could fix it. I was afraid that he would have to replace the binding entirely but he told me that he will basically cut some spare binding material into tiny pieces and dissolve it with some kind of glue if I understood it right. Then he will use that stuff to attach the binding and fill gaps, I guess. After that, the attached binding will be fixed with tape so that it can cure. I think I’ve seen a luthier on YouTube doing exactly that, so what he said made sense to me.

That will cost me €120 once it is finished but my repair budget was a little higher and thus I mentioned some other things that I don’t like. As I said, the guitar was definitely playable but it has a little bit sharper frets than my other guitars. He will file and polish it for me. Apart from that, the low E string was a little bit buzzing and dead. It’s something that I rather felt or only heard when the guitar was unplugged. While this is something I maybe could have solved myself by just raising it a little, I thought it would be fun to get a professional guitar setup too, and of course, a fresh set of strings. So, we settled for all this combined at the total costs of €175 and that’s ok for me. He told me that I can pay once the guitar is finished as he wants to see if I am happy with the repair work.

He then pointed at a guitar rack where I noticed more than 10 guitars and then he said “The only issue is this queue, your guitar will be here for 3 weeks because there are others before yours”. I then replied, “Don’t worry, I have other electric guitars at home”. We continued to talk about other things, like work, home recording and of course guitars! I enjoyed the conversation. It felt like bringing my guitar to someone who is passionate, friendly, and also chatty. I like that. I might write about it again once I got the guitar back in a few weeks.

4 Comments »

    • When I translated it to German, it seems it is a word describing a person that builds violins. But somehow, all guitarists on the English speaking internet use the word “luthier” also for a guitar repair person. Maybe because many luthiers might be able to build or repair many string instruments made of wood. I don’t know.

      Yes, I will write about that in a few weeks.

  1. It sounds like you will be pleased with the results of work done by someone who understands that guitar is a living thing, where subtle adjustments will take it from “playable” to enjoyable to play”! Best wishes for your reunion with your guitar, Dennis! Perhaps you can make a video for us to enjoy the repaired instrument.

    • Agreed. One of the things I told him was that the neck of the guitar somehow feels different compared to my other guitars, in a slightly negative way. It took him no time to diagnose that the fret ends (the metal thingies on the neck) are not done nicely from the factory. Same with the E string problem, he did inspect it for a moment and told me that he can easily improve that by adjusting some things. He seems to know his work very well 🙂 I am already curious 🙂

      Yes, maybe I will do a video 🙂

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