When Should I Repair My Stringed Instrument?

When should I repair my instrument? This question gets asked frequently: from action work to major cracks and repairs.  Of course the best answer is when it’s discovered, but reality is many times not the case.  Money, need of use, availability to a repairman, is some different reasons immediate repair is not accomplished.

Action work gets put off for many reasons. The number one reason is that I just bought the guitar what could it possible need. Also if a player has never experienced great action they don’t understand just how much of a difference action work provides in playability.

Fret work gets put off for such reasons as: I need the guitar right now for gigs, I cannot afford repair at the present time, I can live with the buzzing sound.

Crack damage falls into many different categories. Some want them fixed immediately, others ask does it really need repaired or will it make a difference. Bridges re-glued has similar reactions as cracks from clients.

Now that we discussed the questions, action work has little effect on the instrument except, a completely loose truss rod could allow the neck to become set in a up-bow position making it harder to adjust in future years.  Outside of this the only thing that suffers with action work is the player.

Fret work will buzz normally and could make bending strings difficult. Fret work left unattended will just continue to get worse causing buzzing as the frets wear.  Also the more it wears, it slowly wears the next fret above and then the fret above this one so finally the buzzing is everywhere. If re-fretted sooner than later, a partial re-fret would allow less frets to be replaced, less stress on the fingerboard and less cost to the consumer.  Great fret work also improves playability.

Cracks and loose bridges are the real question on when to repair. The sooner a crack is repaired upon discovery the better the repair will be. Once a crack appears it is a dirt catcher. Also small chips and larger chips can get knocked away leaving larger areas that need to be filled, making the repair more difficult and costly, and less invisible. Cracks can cause buzzing, poor tone and even change the action of an instrument.  A small crack an inch long over time can become longer and again more difficult to repair with added expense.

Loose bridges can affect sound causing buzzing and bad action. Though pin bridges won’t fall completely off the longer the repair is put off the more difficult to fix, because the bridge will usually warp. If a non pin bridge or classical bridge becomes loose it will eventually come off leaving the instrument unplayable, and possibly with finish damage.

The decision to repair is always the consumers and I try to give an honest evaluation to the repairs needed and the consequences if put off for a time, and of course free cost quotes.

A musical instrument needing repair is like an automobile.  Repairs are made according to what we feel we need and can live with and what you can put up with in operation and looks.

Play daily and Enjoy


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