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  • Romain Vuillemin 1:20AM

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Should I trust a Guitar Center luthier with my guitar?

I know an old buddy who is a manager at guitar center, he said he could get me a “friend price” on some luthier repair work for my Gitane DG-300 that needs some level/crown/polish precision fretwork done to alleviate some fret buzz at the high e caused by wood warp. Has anyone taken their GJ guitar to get worked on by the repair dept at guitar center? Good or bad experience? I would guess most of their experience is with quick setups on new guitars and not as much old school luthier work that requires seasoned craftsmanship, an experienced eye, and patience. But maybe they’re good, I don’t know.


  • edited December 2017 Posts: 4,109
    That's a question that is very general. Kinda like asking should I trust an airline with my guitar, should I trust a dealership to fix my car, etc...
    In most cases it's fine but there are exceptions.
    I've had a good luck with a GC tech in Chicago who gathered enough of a personal following that he decided to open his own business.
    But that's a drop in the swimming pool.

    When it comes to these guitars, techs that didn't see many of them can be very funny. I've had more than one insist that the heel on my guitar is too thin. When I'd say that's very typical for the style they would claim "yeah, yeah I know but this one is too thin". So I'd thank them and walk away.
    Every note wants to go somewhere-Kurt Rosenwinkel
  • B25GibB25Gib Bremerton WA✭✭✭✭ Holo Busato, Dell'Arte Hommage, Gitane D-500, Eastman AR805
    Posts: 175
    I bought a used Epiphone Dot(335) electric style 7 years ago and the fretboard was convex/dropping down towards the headstock and had fret buzz on frets close to headstock and the truss rod was loose, no tension. Guitar center tech said I needed a fretboard relevel - expensive. I said measure this string set with a caliper - 8s. I said put on a set of 10s - problem solved! I only trust a luthier school trained man with any of my GJ guitars!
  • edited December 2017 Posts: 3,707
    Often one gets what one pays for, sometimes a great deal sometimes a great PITA.

    I would want to find out more about who is doing the work, where they trained, do they build etc etc. but I am very particular about playability.

    If the neck has done a bit of a warp where it joins the body, which can often happen, it may take more than just a bit of a fretwork to set right.
    The Magic really starts to happen when you can play it with your eyes closed
  • Posts: 6
    Yes, i'll be interviewing/interrogating the person on his skill level and background before I let him work on the guitar. I have a buddy who is a luthier-school trained repairman but he will charge $100 for a full level/crown/polish to the troubled area (frets 12-17 or so) and continue leveling as needed, Across the entire fretboard. I believe this will include any optimal bridge and truss rod settings as well. So, for a shop price that's not too bad. Especially someone I know personally and know he has the skill for it.

    But I was going to see if the guitar center dude will charge much less, since I have the referral connection, if he happens to have the background and skill then sure, it would save a bit of investment into getting this fixed. I will see, after I talk to the guitar center person. If it seems fishy and/or his price isn't far enough from the shop price I was already quoted, then I will just take it to my luthier buddy and have him do the whole job for $100.

    And I believe that once those trouble frets get leveled it should be fine. This fret buzz is in a very small area of the board. Just the high e string at 12-15 or so, maybe a little residual into the B string but that's about it, as you mentioned, just where the neck joins to the body. So it seems a pretty specific area to have to zero-in on. I've shimmed the bottom end of the bridge (the high e side) with two layers of pieces of an old credit card and loosened the truss rod about a half turn, and the buzzing has subsided significantly. This is my workaround to make it playable until the repairs can be done. I feel that this fret re-leveling, combined with the standard truss rod readjustment, is all it will need to get it back to optimum sound and playability. We'll see...

  • wow two layers of credit high is the action
    The Magic really starts to happen when you can play it with your eyes closed
  • Posts: 4,109
    Haha I was wondering the same thing!
    Every note wants to go somewhere-Kurt Rosenwinkel
  • psychebillypsychebilly Kentucky, USA
    Posts: 40
    You want this guy touching your guitar? LOL.

    We do all kinds of restoration work, frets, refins, you name it, along with fixing alot of Guitar Center's attempted "repairs".

    DO NOT take your guitar to GC.
    Creativity is knowing how to hide your sources.
  • I've had repairs done on guitars with less qualified individuals to save a couple of bucks. I can say that in the majority of cases, I've regretted that choice as the repairs often didn't stick. While I get that we all want to get the best bang for our bucks, we have to really think about what we define as valuable to us.
  • Posts: 6

    I used a 2mm Dunlop gatorgrip to measure and i'd say the action is just a hair under 2mm at the 12th fret on both sides (it's just snug enough to keep the pick from falling). At the highest (21st) fret the action is a tad higher than the 2mm pick but not by much. So 2mm for the action, with both shims in place at the bottom end of the bridge.

    Thanks, I might just pay the higher fee to the trained luthier that I know, if not just for the peace of mind. We'll see..
  • If the action is only 2mm with 2 credit cards under the bridge, no wonder it had some fret buzz. You should maybe look at the neck relief, action, neck flatness and bridge height. From what you are telling us there is something odd somewhere.
    The Magic really starts to happen when you can play it with your eyes closed
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