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"Do It Yerself" -hands on, or hands off?-Are guitars sacred objects?

Hands ON-All's fair in music and warfare,D.I.Myself,anything could go...
16 (69.6%)
Hands OFF-Get it right the first time, like it like it is, off-the-shelf
3 (13%)
Little of both, Drac... (explain, if ye would...)
4 (17.4%)

Total Members Voted: 20

Voting closed: June 27, 2005, 01:30:37 PM

Author Topic: Is Nothing Sacred?  (Read 8329 times)


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Is Nothing Sacred?
« Reply #15 on: June 30, 2005, 10:13:38 AM »
I do everything, build and repair, coz it's my day job.
I do have to disagree with Ratrod about tool quantities though, when you're dealing with all sorts of guitars, of all qualities, conditions and required jobs you end up with heaps of special tools and jigs which you have to hold on to just in case that situation ever pops up again.
Repairs and restorations utilise all the building tools plus more!


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Is Nothing Sacred?
« Reply #16 on: June 30, 2005, 12:35:32 PM »
I know what you mean about tools.  I started with a set of fret files, soldering iron, screwdrivers, allen (hex) keys and some different pliers (including end-cutters for fret removal!).  Now I have so many others, dremmel, diamond fret files, fret edge plane, gibson switch tool (to tighten the knurled screw), desoldering iron, many different screwdrivers, pliers, chisels and planes.  I think it helps that my dad is a joiner (carpenter for all the americans out there), so I grew up around wood and tools.  I also built my first guitar in woodwork at school (it was a piece of cr@p - but i think i had the first pointy headstock  :lol: ).

I too am someone who likes to take things apart and build things.  I think all this goes together.  I build my own computers and work on my amps and pedals (I am just upgrading a CS-3).  I also have set up pa systems and my studio, and I have always done work on my friends guitars too.  I guess I know I will never be a guitar guru, I am more of a journeyman, so perhaps this is where it comes from too.
So many pickups, so little time


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Is Nothing Sacred?
« Reply #17 on: July 01, 2005, 09:22:22 AM »
I'd love to do all the work on my own guitar, I think it would be very rewarding and ultimately cheaper than getting a tech to do the work for me. I would actually be very interested to learn all about this and become a Tech?Luthier, how does one go about this? I guess this is aimed mostly at R/2e and Feline Guitars, as I know they are both UK based luthiers.

Kemra, I started about 40 years ago when I was at school and couldn't afford to buy a guitar so made one. It was a disaster so I made another, then another, and so on, all the time searching for info, until I managed to make one that was actually playable (with the assistance of the woodwork teacher) which saw me through a lot of bands. From there I obviously did my own repairs, did repairs for friends, all the time learning, mainly how to sort out the c--k ups I made! This was fairly low key for many years, though I continued gigging, and about 8 years ago, having moved into a house where at last I had room for a workshop, I obtained a 67 SG which needed restoration. This was such a success that I started getting other guitars brought to me for restoration, and the repair work increased as well, until it became obvious the taxman would be taking an interest in me if I didn't do something about it, so made it official. Over this period I gathered an unbelievable number of special tools from fret tang nippers to acoustic neck steamer and removal jig and invested in a considerable amount of stock. I only do the guitar business part time at the moment and because of this concentrate mainly on restoration and repairs, specialising in nitro refins of vintage guitars.  My website, and referrals from existing customers, have been my best advertising and the business continues to grow. I might add that I am very practical, having restored cars and motorbikes, including respraying, done a load of carpentry, etc, long before I started the guitar business.

So, to sum up, all you need to start is the interest, talent and abilities - woodworking for example, some basic tools which you add to as you go, and friends who will trust you with their precious axes. It also helps to buy some cheapo or scr@p guitars to practice on, fretting for example requires a lot of practice before you get it right. Additionally, get hold of some books, the ones from the Stewart MacDonald website ( are a very good start, particularly the ones on setup, fretting and refinishing.

A final word of warning, doing your own guitar will probably not be cheaper than getting a techie to do it. The tools you need for a refret for example, or to cut a nut, will cost considerably more than getting the job done professionally, so unless you're serious about it there's not a lot of point in spending loadsamoney on tools.
Just 'cos you're paranoid doesn't mean they're not out to get you


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« Reply #18 on: July 02, 2005, 05:02:38 PM »
I see a lot of botched jobs on guitars as working tech, but i started off just messing and pulling my own guitars to bits, just to see how they worked. more often than not i broke it and needed help, but i got there in the end.And now its turned into a career!
so you never no!
can you do it while i wait?


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Is Nothing Sacred?
« Reply #19 on: July 08, 2005, 02:58:07 PM »
I've voted for a little of both.

I've spent a fair few hours, over the time I've been playing, to simply mucking about with my guitars. Taking bolt-on necks off & shimming them to get a nice action (instead of either putting more strain on/off the truss rod), intonating, changing bits of hardware, installing pickups etc.

I've even had a go at refinishing one of my guitars. When I bought it, someone had stripped it, and hand painted it red. I sanded it down, went to Halfords and bought a load of cans of Gloss Black (luckily they had a 3 for 2 offer on) and some cans of clear lacquer. Sprayed it up giving it a couple of coats, leaving it to dry, flat off, another couple of coats, dry, flat, couple of coats, etc etc until it had quite a few coats, left it to dry for a couple of weeks, flatted it off again, and then lacquered it. Left that to dry for a couple of weeks, flatted and then used a cutting compound. It's nowhere near a pro finish, but it looks half decent and means I can use the guitar. The only thing to do to it now is to save some pennies and whack a BKP in there!
BKP's: Black Dog set, Emerald set, & Crawler set.


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Is Nothing Sacred?
« Reply #20 on: July 09, 2005, 03:24:32 PM »
Hey man. Nice thread!

If I had the time, space and expertise I wouldnt buy another guitar. Or amp.

As it is I do all the electroncs work (one of my 4 electrics is as it was from the factory [or custom shop in one case], in terms of vols, tones and selection options), though I only have a vague idea what I'm doing, things turn out alright.

I have no problem re-fretting (damn thin frets!) and fret dressing. I'll cut new routings if its for the greater good.

I do all my own setup work, I never let anyone else touch it :evil:

Basically the only thing I'll take to the shop for work is my amp, but I plan to learn to at least bias tubes so I dont have to do that any more. I'm a firm believer that if one person can do it, so can you :)

big steve

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« Reply #21 on: July 22, 2005, 11:38:29 PM »
i've done pretty much everything to my poor richwood strat - i would be more wary of working on a more expensive guitar though - wouldn't trust myself.
down from the glens came the marching men...


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Is Nothing Sacred?
« Reply #22 on: July 28, 2005, 07:21:31 AM »
If I've got the tools anything goes nuts, fret stoning, electrics, setups.....although I've never refretted and not brave enough to route! Major surgery eg broken truss rod, would go to a tech!