Restoration and repair

Restoration covers many aspects of luthiery from overhauling tuners and hardware, repairing body cracks and loose braces, securing and reinforcing broken headstocks and necks, sourcing and replacing missing or incorrect parts, making any unobtainable parts, fixing or replacing broken truss rods, mending and making pickguards, filling in extra body routs, curing warped necks, rewiring, fretwork, replacing missing binding, purfling, inlays, headstock logos and decals, repainting, touching in damaged areas, replacing missing body sections, to complete rebuilds.....the list is endless!

The information below highlights some common problems.....

Age related problems

 Old acoustics often deteriorate with age due to prolonged constant string tension often causing bellied tops, damaged bridge plates, warpage to necks and altered neck to body angles.  Old glue can fail, leading to loose braces and other structural issues. Sadly many old instruments end up stored in attics which can cause severe or additional problems.

Bindings deteriorate too, and electric guitars and basses can suffer from corrosion of electronic components and hardware tarnishing along with seized adjusting screws.

The first 4 pictures show a 1937 Gibson J35 that needed extensive repairs to restore the integrity of the top which had been sanded too thin during a previous refinish and was bellying badly. There had also been some reinforcement work attempted at some point, which hadn't worked.

The 1960's Gretsch country gent in the next 4 pics, was suffering from crumbling binding which was not salvagable. We replaced all the body binding then tinted it to match the existing "aged yellowed" binding on the neck.

1937 Gibson J35 rebuild © 2017 Guitar Angel
1937 Gibson J35 rebuild © 2017 Guitar Angel
1937 Gibson J35 rebuild © 2017 Guitar Angel
1937 Gibson J35 rebuild © 2017 Guitar Angel
60's Getsch country gent, binding repair and refurb © 2017 Guitar Angel
60's Getsch country gent, binding repair and refurb © 2017 Guitar Angel
60's Getsch country gent, binding repair and refurb © 2017 Guitar Angel
60's Getsch country gent, binding repair and refurb © 2017 Guitar Angel

Returning an instrument to original spec

It was quite fashionable during the 70's to customise, modernise and modify guitars, perhaps by adding routs to accomodate the latest hot pickups and coil split switches. Bass de-frets were popular too. Fretboards often got a coat of lacquer and bodies got repainted in wild colours and graphics.

As 60's and 70's guitars gradually gained vintage status, many customers wish to restore their guitars back to original spec.

These 2 Fender precision basses are  from 1966. Both had added routs which the customers wanted filling. The Daphne blue one had an extra pickup rout which once filled was touched in with carefully colour matched paint. We aged the area in keeping with the rest of the original paintwork.

The other one arrived stripped and had added routs under the pickguard. We wood-filled them and routed back to standard. Fiesta red nitro was chosen for the refinish which we  lightly aged to blend in with the look of the neck and hardware.

Fender Precision bass 1966 daphne blue, rout repairs © 2017 Guitar Angel
Fender Precision bass 1966 daphne blue, rout repairs © 2017 Guitar Angel
Fender Precision bass 1966 daphne blue, rout repairs © 2017 Guitar Angel
Fender Precision bass 1966 daphne blue, rout repairs © 2017 Guitar Angel
Fender Precision bass 1966, rout repairs © 2017 Guitar Angel
Fender Precision bass 1966, rout repairs © 2017 Guitar Angel
Fender Precision bass 1966, rout repairs © 2017 Guitar Angel
Fender Precision bass 1966, rout repairs © 2017 Guitar Angel

Necessary repairs

Some of the most common damage we see are structural breaks, particularly headstock and neck breaks along with neck joint issues and damaged bridges and worn bridge-plates.

The first 4 pictures show a Gibson Hummingbird from 1980 which had poor intonation and a broken bridge base. We made a new rosewood bridge base and repositioned the saddle slot to correct the intonation. We made a bone saddle and the customer also requested a brass bridge plate overlay.

The Framus fretjet had neck angle issues resulting in a high action and some scews had been added during an attempted previous repair. We removed and reset the neck and finished the heel area in a matching nitro gradated tint. We made a new pickguard and fitted some new parts which the customer supplied.

1980 Gibson Hummingbird, bridge replacement © 2017 Guitar Angel
1980 Gibson Hummingbird, bridge replacement © 2017 Guitar Angel
1980 Gibson Hummingbird, bridge replacement © 2017 Guitar Angel
1980 Gibson Hummingbird, bridge replacement © 2017 Guitar Angel
Framus fretjet neck reset and refurb © 2017 Guitar Angel
Framus fretjet neck reset and refurb © 2017 Guitar Angel
Framus fretjet neck reset and refurb © 2017 Guitar Angel
Framus fretjet neck reset and refurb © 2017 Guitar Angel

Abandoned projects

We are often presented with disassembled, incomplete, or basket case projects which had been started with good intentions. Parts are often missing, damaged or broken. Where possible we favour repairing rather than replacing parts in order to retain vintage values. When original parts are unavailable or expensive, reproduction parts are a cost effective alternative and we can age any new hardware, plastics and paintwork in keeping with the aged appearance of the guitar.

The first 4 pics show a rare '60's Danelectro which arrived disassembled and with the neck finish stripped. The body had at some point been painted yellow. The customer wanted the guitar stripped and refinished back to its original colours, then rebuilt with the existing parts, serviced and overhauled.

The Gibson SB400 arrived already stripped of an old refinish. It had at some point been fitted with some non original parts. Correct vintage parts were sourced and we finished it in see thru cherry, which is what it had originally been.

Danelectro guitarlin rebuild and refinish © 2017 Guitar Angel
Danelectro guitarlin rebuild and refinish © 2017 Guitar Angel
Danelectro guitarlin rebuild and refinish © 2017 Guitar Angel
Danelectro guitarlin rebuild and refinish © 2017 Guitar Angel
Gibson SB400 restoration, refinish and rebuild © 2017 Guitar Angel
Gibson SB400 restoration, refinish and rebuild © 2017 Guitar Angel
Gibson SB400 restoration, refinish and rebuild © 2017 Guitar Angel
Gibson SB400 restoration, refinish and rebuild © 2017 Guitar Angel