Routing pickup cavities on a Fender Jazz Bass

We get a lot of requests for swapping pickups on guitars and basses. It is, for the most part, a quick and easy way to change the sound of your instrument without too much hassle. Usually all you have to do is remove the stock pickups, pop the new ones into place, solder them into …

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Gibson neck reset… with a twist

A request for a Gibson neck reset is something we hear all the time, and we’re very well practiced with this particular job. Acoustic guitars need a neck reset every several decades, as the guitar is constantly collapsing on itself and occasionally needs to be realigned to correct the instrument’s geometry. But this particular request …

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Katrina Rescue: 1971 Fender Telecaster Bass

We always enjoy Katrina rescues. Returning to life something the owner thought was long gone is a great feeling, and each one of these instruments we restore presents it’s own unique set of challenges. Plus they look really, really cool. We’re pretty firm believers in keeping these flood-soaked guitars as original as possible; to let …

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Replacing binding on a vintage Gretsch

This week I embarked upon a job of replacing binding on a vintage Gretsch. A lot of what we know about what works in guitar making we’ve learned from what hasn’t worked out over time. Plastic is one of those things we’ve learned a lot about over the years – now that we use it …

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Restoring a Harmony Sovereign for The Brian Jonestown Massacre

We were recently contacted by the mercurial musician Anton Newcomb of The Brian Jonestown Massacre to restore his Harmony Sovereign acoustic guitar. To say this guitar was beat up is a vast understatement: the neck was pulling almost completely off and was horribly bowed, the frets were a disaster, the back was cracked, and almost …

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Replacing a broken truss rod

Most people think of the truss rod as the smoking gun regarding an instrument’s playability. Action too high? Tighten the truss rod. Action too low? Loosen the truss rod. This kind of advice runs rampant on forums all over the internet, and it’s dead wrong. Guitar necks have an optimal relief of between .1mm (.004″) …

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Repairing A Broken Headstock Using Reinforcement Splines

One of the most common structural repairs we deal with in the shop is the case of the broken headstock. While guitars are generally pretty well designed to withstand the abuse we musicians tend to put them through, the headstock is their Achilles’ Heel. A couple of factors play into this: first, most Gibson guitars …

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Installing A Schaller Hannes Bridge System

Unlike most industries, the biggest selling electric guitars on the market have remained virtually unchanged since the 1950s, for the most part. We, the guitar players and collectors of the world are pretty well steeped in tradition and perhaps even a bit of nostalgia when it comes to this stuff. We covet our atom age …

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Repairing bad pickup routes

Regarding anything we humans do in life, there are usually two potential approaches: the quick way and the right way, with all of our actions and efforts falling somewhere in line on that┬áspectrum. This specimen fell victim to someone routing pickup cavities the quick way – with a hand held Dremel tool – so I …

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Restoring a 1970 Gibson SG Damaged By Hurricane Katrina

It’s been 12 years since New Orleans was forever scarred by the high-water mark of Hurricane Katrina. As the flood waters receded, abandoned artifacts representing about $81 billion in damage emerged. An estimated 800,000 housing units, over 200,000 cars and trucks, and an immeasurable number of personal belongings were among the wreckage. Most of what …

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