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My luthier is excellent. He is very experienced and done some great work for me, including ingenious repairs. But... his setups have become awful. I think this is due to being too busy & rushing. 

I gave him my Hofner archtop to rewire complete & install a new pickup (I rarely touch electrics). Anyway, its all keyhole surgery through the f-holes. That all went fine. But I also threw in some 'different strings' I wanted to try out. These were to replace the d'addario 11-50 flatwounds with Thomastic 10-44 flatwounds. So anyway, he needs to set it up for the lighter strings. When I collected it, it played awful. I thought the strings were unsuitable and put it down to that. Before putting more 11s back on I thought I'd reset everything myself first.

1/ He had put the floating bridge back 'ok', but not in position for optimal intonation. I had to angle the bridge back about 3/8" to remedy intonation.

2/ I needed a 3/4 truss rod turn to straighten the neck (he said he adjusted it 1/4 turn). 

3/ Then had to raise the action slightly to lose fret buzz.

 

So the lighter Thomastics are fine. It was a poor setup.

 

A couple of years ago he returned my ES-339 with every string buzzing on the fingerboard. I was still able to check guitars at his gaff then (pre-covid) so asked him to do it again before I left. I just thought the neck had shifted since he set it up, but now I'm not so sure.

So he's still useful for all the big stuff, but is losing it in the details. Its comes hard when you lose confidence in someone like that. Great guy too. 

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Find a different guy. It is your Ric?  I remember the lady that used to set up my guitars before she retired. When I came in with my Ric 4003 bass she said many luthier's don't like to touch Ric's cause the are so finicky. I think she told me Ric necks need to be dead straight.

Edited by Sgt. Pepper
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My Luthier is an old family friend.  He closed down his shop last year and retired.

He's still does some work at his home, so I can still get stuff done.

He's a transplant survivor....so you always wear a mask in his presence.

He was the guy who sold me my first Gibson back in 1972 or so from a local music store...and he is best friends with my brother-in-law.

He still does my set-ups and just recently installed the Trinity pickup in my J-50.

I'll probably have him install the Pickup in my Dove soon.

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I find this quite strange. It’s kind of like a mechanic that can build a new engine, but has trouble doing an oil change.  
If I can’t trust someone to do a simple setup, than I am not going to trust them to do anything on my guitar.  No matter how good their past work has been or my relationship with that person. 

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I live out in the sticks, and the closest guitar tech/luthier is about a 35-40 minute drive away. Before he moved away, he did great work, but he had a couple of apprentices, one of whom does sloppy work. When the luthier moved away, and after a couple of unfortunate events, the guy who does sloppy work took over that shop. I haven't been back, since. Been doing my own setups for a while, but electronics are not my thing. I've got some pickups to put into a guitar, and as it is now, I'll have to drive the guitar an hour and a half each way to get a tech to do it, drop it off, then repeat when the guitar is finished.

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I've had work done by Luthiers in two music stores here in Toronto, and in each case, the repair department has more than one person staffing it, so my guitars have been worked on by a number of different people, rather than just one "Go-to Guy" ( guy being used generically, because one of the stores has at least one woman who does repairs), and I've never been disappointed or unsatisfied with the quality of the work.

RBSinTo

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Yes, I would call a guy who is excellent someone who does the entire guitar right. Someone who misses at any point is not excellent.  We use to lose race after race because of fuel pump diaphragms that kept reversing on us and we ran out of gas before the end of the quarter mile.  That was not excellent. We went with a different setup, and we won those races. Same deal. 

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15 hours ago, Sgt. Pepper said:

Find a different guy. It is your Ric?  I remember the lady that used to set up my guitars before she retired. When I came in with my Ric 4003 bass she said many luthier's don't like to touch Ric's cause the are so finicky. I think she told me Ric necks need to be dead straight.

No. Hofner & Gibson. The Rics are pretty solid.  He has done work on most of my guitars. 

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2 hours ago, Retired said:

Yes, I would call a guy who is excellent someone who does the entire guitar right. Someone who misses at any point is not excellent.  We use to lose race after race because of fuel pump diaphragms that kept reversing on us and we ran out of gas before the end of the quarter mile.  That was not excellent. We went with a different setup, and we won those races. Same deal. 

Yes this is what is troubling me. 

Its also why I have extended the maintenance I do. Fret levelling etc.

He also has the guitars for months. I always have to nudge him a couple of times to get on and finish the work.

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Yeah time for a new guy if he consistently takes a long time to take your money and give a subpar setup - what should be done properly after any repair IMHO. That’s what you’re paying for. How can you tell if a repair was done right if you test it on a guitar that is setup poorly? It’s at least great the guy doesn’t botch up your guitar though but sucks you have to pay for it still. Hey I’ve been there where I have my guitars brought to a guy who was not a quality craftsman. I don’t go to these guys anymore and keep looking for someone that can HELP. 

Edited by NighthawkChris
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My Luthier keeps my Guitars at least a couple days after the Set up is complete.. Why? Because everything moves… Similar to new Strings… He checks, adjusts 2nd day & checks & readjusts again 3rd day.. His work is about as perfect as it gets…

Plus, he builds Custom Shop quality Guitars.. He builds for guys like Billy Gibbons, Joe Perry, Steven Tyler etc.… Beautiful Work..

Edited by Larsongs
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11 minutes ago, Larsongs said:

My Luthier keeps my Guitars at least a couple days after the Set up is complete.. Why? Because everything moves… Similar to new Strings… He checks, adjusts 2nd day & checks & readjusts again 3rd day.. His work is about as perfect as it gets…

Plus, he builds Custom Shop quality Guitars.. He builds for guys like Billy Gibbons, Joe Perry, Steven Tyler etc.… Beautiful Work..

I think that's about as good as it gets!     My Luthier lives about 20 miles away.... so when I take him a guitar.... he has it about a week.... he's usually finished in a couple of days, but I just can't get there immediately. 

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1 hour ago, DanvillRob said:

I think that's about as good as it gets!     My Luthier lives about 20 miles away.... so when I take him a guitar.... he has it about a week.... he's usually finished in a couple of days, but I just can't get there immediately. 

That must take about a hour to get there due to how overcrowded The Bay Area is.

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13 minutes ago, Sgt. Pepper said:

That must take about a hour to get there due to how overcrowded The Bay Area is.

Yeah....you have to time your trips.... but he's in Union City, I'm in Danville....so I just catch 680 to Niles Canyon (84) and then up Mission Blvd to Union City....not too bad.....just don't go during rush hour!

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15 minutes ago, DanvillRob said:

Yeah....you have to time your trips.... but he's in Union City, I'm in Danville....so I just catch 680 to Niles Canyon (84) and then up Mission Blvd to Union City....not too bad.....just don't go during rush hour!

Yeah I lived in Pleasanton for a year in the mid 90's. A few years back driving from Pismo to SJ the traffic was bad around Morgan Hill. A place we just used to blink at zipping by on 101. The place I grew up and used where I used to live now kind of turns my stomach.

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5 minutes ago, Sgt. Pepper said:

Yeah I lived in Pleasanton for a year in the mid 90's. A few years back driving from Pismo to SJ the traffic was bad around Morgan Hill. A place we just used to blink at zipping by on 101. The place I grew up and used where I used to live now kind of turns my stomach.

That's a HUGE bottleneck there in Morgan Hill area.....I don't much mind the bumper-to-bumper when driving a car...but in the motor home it's a real beast!

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1 minute ago, DanvillRob said:

That's a HUGE bottleneck there in Morgan Hill area.....I don't much mind the bumper-to-bumper when driving a car...but in the motor home it's a real beast!

At least in stop and go traffic you got a place to take a leak.

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18 hours ago, merciful-evans said:

Yes this is what is troubling me. 

Its also why I have extended the maintenance I do. Fret levelling etc.

He also has the guitars for months. I always have to nudge him a couple of times to get on and finish the work.

Oh, Yeah, I would not mess with the frets and things like that. I see where you are  coming from.  The length of time is ridiculous too. Do you have other guitar luthier's there? I have never taken a guitar to one yet.  Before I came aboard here, I never even changed strings. Rabs has helped me do everything I have done so far. I now do all my own setups. I even bought a kit to do them.  Good luck M E. 

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10 hours ago, Sgt. Pepper said:

At least in stop and go traffic you got a place to take a leak.

True, Want to hear something funny?  Way back when I was showing Dobermans, we went up to Minnesota to a National Doberman show. Thousands of Dobies, anyway it was in winter and lots of snow and ice. My brand new, just bought it ford van which we loaded up some Dobermans in the back in crates would not start the next morning. After the show and on the way home. 2 guys were drinking beer in the back, can after can. One guy had his wife on board and the other his girlfriend. Both Steve & Mark kept telling me to pull over so they could take a leak besides the van as a windbreaker. Eventually, stop after stop the girls got fed up with both. They again said, Pull over. When both got out and unzipped, the girls said drive down ahead a half mile. I chuckled and said, OK.  So I drove ahead down the interstate leaving both outside peeing along the interstate and they had to run ahead after a ton of cars drove by honking at they laughing.  Haha, After that, Not One Drop Of Beer the rest of the way home.  Yep, It was below zero and they both froze. They didn't have coats. 

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