Guitar Tech Services and Prices     

Click here to see some work examples

Servicing, Setups, Nuts and Frets

All pricing applies to 6 string electric guitars and basses - Acoustics much the same.

Basic Setup and Service £50 + strings

  • As above Plus ...
  • Clean and lubricate control pots, switches and jack socket
  • Check and adjust/lubricate Machine Heads as required
  • Set pickup height
  • Clean & degrease finger board
  • Fret level check. Any lifted frets (very common) will be properly seated again.
  • Basic fret levelling
  • Sharp fret ends rounded and polished
  • Basic fret polish.
  • Pro-setup including:
    • Re-string guitar with agreed strings
    • Adjust truss rod tension
    • Set action at bridge (12th fret height)
    • Re-cut nut to optimise action - lubricate.
    • Adjust action to discussed preferences
    • Lubricate trem and adjust settings (trem guitars)
    • Adjust intonation

Standard Fret Dress Service and Setup £70 + strings

This service includes everything above plus a full industry standard fret dress / re-profile and polish. Our fully optimised fret dress system as below is far more complex and detailed.

Fully Optimised Fret Dressing £90 + strings

  • Service and Setup as above Plus ...
  • Level frets to optimised height and radius. This is carried out using a "state of the art" full guitar jig that allows us to:
    1. Set the neck straight under full string tension in the playing position. This is done with the guitar strung with the correct strings and at concert pitch or any other preferred tuning. Dial gauges behind the neck keep track of how the neck behaves under string and truss rod tension. This reveals twists, humps, hollows and other fretting problems generated by these tensions.

    Optimised fret dressing on a neck jig

    1. Next we return the guitar to the work position, remove the strings and use the jig's deflection dial gauges to put the guitar neck back into the position it takes in the playing position with the strings on. This catches little twists and humps that are very common (if not universal).
    2. Leveling is carried out using full length leveling beams that we had made to 2.5 micron accuracy over their full length. A guitar neck will move that much if you blow on it! Better to be more accurate than necessary.
    3. To ensure easy and choke-free string bending a very slight back bow is applied above fret 12. Microscopic in size, about 0.025mm (0.001"), this back bow allows 4 and 5 semitone bends on most guitars although the fingerboard curvature makes a major difference to this of course. Ask for a demonstration of how this works when you visit. It's a lot easier to demonstrate than explain.
  • Re-profile fret crowns with diamond crowning tools.
  • Polish re-profiling - fret sides
  • Polish fret crowns (6 stage process)
  • Fret end dressing is included as standard.
  • Worn in effect for Rosewood / Ebony necks optional - makes a new guitar feel like an old friend! Fender call it rolled edges in their custom shop.
  • Fingerboard Rosewood / Ebony fingerboards smooth/satin finish optional
  • Satin finish (low stick) to rear of neck optional.

This service includes full playability optimisation - subtle longitudinal re-profiling is included. This allows a lower, faster, clearer action than normal fret-dress approaches. I'll happily explain this approach when you bring your guitar and always have a couple of guitars available to try out the results. These are hard played, gigging guitars so you can actually try out what the guitar will be like 2 years after the work rather then just after we have finished.

We often find little cracks in the neck and body (neck pocket on bolt-ons)- usually we can just sort these as part of the service. Little problems like over-tightened neck bolt screws or loose bridge posts generally get sorted at this time - WeI have some very neat ways of doing this kind of thing.

If we find that the frets slots are a little loose and the frets are not properly seated then a fret gluing as below make a huge difference. This can apply to any price of guitar but it's clear that some factories are cutting the slots wider as it means little skill is required to fit the frets .... I've measured the fret slots during re-fret many times and companies like PRS / Gibson / Fender / Ibanez and every UK made guitar I've re-fretted cut the slots properly. Of course I can solve the problem on any re-fret at no extra cost as the re-fretting process I use naturally solves all these problems.

Fret Ends included free with Fret Dress Services - the guitar is already stripped and there is much combined work.

Less expensive guitars often have fret ends that are very sharp and uncomfortable. They also may be slightly raised allowing the top string to catch under them. Each fret end needs individually rounding and polishing. If you need this doing as an individual job then it's 1.5 hrs - £30

Gibson binding fret gaps Most guitarists have meet the problem on Gibson guitars where there is a tiny gap between the end of the fret and the binding. Strings catch in this gap in a very annoying way. They need to be filled with hard glue filler and re-finihsed so they are beutifullt smooth. About 2 hours very detailed work work as there are 44 to do on a standard Gibson fingerboard. £40

 

Full Fret Gluing £40

Many guitars have frets that are too loose in the slots from new. Some manufacturers clearly cut the slots too wide so fretting can be done by staff with a low level of skill. The result is high and low frets after a little use and exposure to a cold room in British winter etc. Firmly fixing the frets in improves tone and sustain too.

This can apply to any price of guitar. I've measured the fret slots during re-fret many times and companies like PRS / Gibson / Fender / Ibanez and every UK made guitar I've re-fretted cut the slots properly. Of course I can solve the problem on any re-fret at no extra cost as the re-fretting process I use naturally solves all these problems.

The problem is easy to spot and I'll happily identify and mark all problem frets when you bring the guitar. Some crafty gluing of the frets solves the problem using an ultra thin industrial super-glue. It improves tone and sustain, of course, to have the frets tight and does not effect later re-frets.

We've been amazed myself by the difference this can make on a cheaper (or not so cheap) guitar.

You can see a quick video of us dealing with the problem here - opens in a new window

 

Re-frets - click here for re-fret pics here

As of 12/9/2017 we have a slight price rise on refrets. All the tools and materials we use have been hit hard by Brexit and we have not put up refret prices for years. We have been able to keep the same prices for several years by improving the processes we use and buying in every tool that could speed the process. Unfortunately most of what we use is not made in the UK and thus the price rise.

Our aim with refrets is to bring guitars to a much higher standard in terms of playability, tone and sustain than when new. It's not just a repair, it is a major upgrade. We will happily demonstrate this to you and explain how we get the amazing results.

Refrets always includes Service and Setup as above and of course the optimised fret dressing process. Only the finest fret-wire is used Van Gent, Dunlop and, in particular, Jescar stainless, nickel silver and Evo Gold. Many modern new guitars are fretted with quite soft and cheap fretwire. It does not hold a polish (essential for a good vibrato) and wears quickly. Using the finest 18% nickel fret-wire (like PRS / USA Gibson and Fender) playability is greatly improved.

Also available is "Evo" gold coloured fretwire and is Nickel free. This is much harder than even the finest nickel-silver types and holds a very high polish. Nearly as hard as Stainless Steel but with a warmer sound (from experience) and looks amazing. I keep a stock of Stainless fret wire too.

More detail on Evo fret-wire

This is a superb upgrade for basses as it's so hard and does not cut up with round wound strings like nickel silver.

With a Vicker’s hardness of HV5/250, it is FAR harder than finest 18% nickel/silver wire (HV5/200), but softer than the stainless (HV5/300). This wire is not plated; it is a slight gold all the way through and retains the slight gold color once the frets are dressed.

In truth the gold colour is pretty much invisible except for close inspection.

Gold medium jumbo 0.043"/1.1mm crown height 0.080"/2.0mm crown width
Gold extra jumbo 0.057"/1.45mm crown height 0.110"/2.8mm crown width - brilliant on a Les Paul. (Same as Dunlop 6100). There is an increased warmth in the midrange - and a singing sustain that I find very sweet. I always have an Evo fretted guitar available for you to try.

Gold Evo Fret=wire Evo Gold Fret-wire

Re-fret Pricing -

Refrets always include a detailed, string optimised fret dress on the neck jig and allows us to upgrade the playability of your guitar as close to perfection as we can get. We consider our re-frets to be a significant upgrade and it is not uncommon for us to re-fret a new top-end guitar for a touring band to bring it up to the standard of other guitars we have processed for them.

Please remember a re-fretted guitar usually requires a new nut as the frets are higher.

Re-frets involve one or more visits to the neck jig which means we may use 2 or three sets of strings to get the guitar perfect at full string tension.

  • Unbound rosewood/ebony £180 + strings
  • Bound fingerboard £200 + strings
  • Maple fingerboard £230 + strings includes fingerboard re-finishing in Nitro Cellulose / vintage amber Nitro-Cellulose. We can also extend the nitro to the rest of the neck to give a more vintage finish - a couple of hours work. This can make a Fender type neck look superb.
  • Evo Gold Fret-wire / Stainless Please add £20 Evo Fretwire is expensive to import and hard enough that re-frets take more workshop time - you are unlikely to need a fret dress for many years though as it wears very slowly indeed. The Evo sound is superb too with the sweetest midrange twang. The sound clip below us playing a gig - the guitar is a Palm Bay Superstrat with hard glued Gold Evo frets. Bareknuckle Crawler neck humbucker - coil tapped -just the slug coil. Tone dripping off the guitar somewhat.

GOLD EVO FRETWIRE SOUNDCLIP

  • Stainless Steel Fret-wire / Stainless Please add £80 Stainless Fretwire is expensive to import and so hard that re-frets take around 4 to 6 hours more workshop time - Basically it's like fitting spanners! It has to be cut using a high speed cutting disc and working stainless right next to wood and lacquer is quite demanding and requires, skill, patience and expensive tools. The results are superb and the Jescar Stainless sounds just like nickel-silver fretwire but will never even loose it's polish.
  • Partial re-fret £80 + strings - where some new frets are required. Much less if it's just a couple etc. We have a number of techniques that effectively deal with a few heaviliy worn frets and minimal cost so we rarely do partial re-frets. Just ask.
  • Five and Six string basses and 7/8 string guitars Please add £40 - they use a lot more fretwire and take quite a lot more time.
  • We do not charge extra for 24 fret guitars or set necks as our advanced equipment allows us to handle these easity and just as fast as any guitar.

Please ask about some of the other playability improvements we can do whilst re-fretting. We can make guitar playing quite a different experience - just try the Odyssey on from the home page or other guitars we have here.

Vintage (old and valuable) guitar re-frets may cost significantly more as subtle repair to fret slots may be necessary, the comment below on neck problems may also apply - generally another 3-5 hours is required.

Neck problems. Where there are major neck problems such as truss rod unable to straighten the neck, twists in the neck, necks that have warped longitudinally, there will be a requirement to correct these problems- generally a couple of hours at most. Sorting these problems on the neck jig before re-fretting makes a huge difference of course but usually only take a couple of hours extra. Generally an extra £40

We can use this technique to sort truss rod problems where the rod is too slack or too tight at normal string tension - getting the truss rod tension right puts the guitar in it's "Sweet spot" - they can actually sound better when the truss rod tension is correct I've found. This particularly applies to Strats and Teles.

Please note re-fretting is required less often than you might think - often a full fret dress process will do wonders. I have some new and unique techniques that will make a re-fret even less necessary.

FInally, we often add a very light scallop to the fingerboard after a re-fret to give a beautiful played in feel. You can try one of my guitars to see what this does. Basically the tiny scallop is just behind the fret where you hold down the string during a vibrato or bend. It stops your finger tip touching the wood. The fingertip has little resistence to movement and it stops the string damping on the wood - pinch harmonics seem to work better and sining harmonics seem to spring from the guitar especially well. Ask to check that out it's a stunning upgrade.

Nuts - one of the biggest improvements you can make to an electric guitar

  • New Top Nut: £45 (Top end Graphtech TUSQ Self Lubricating)

For several years we preferred to install nuts hand-made from Stewart MacDonald "Slip-Stone". Customers have always reported brilliant tuning stability.

Slip-Stone nuts are made of Delrin 500CL, a synthetic self-lubricating material that helps the strings return to pitch smoothly, without binding in the slots. Great for players who bend strings a lot. The improvement in tuning stability is simply amazing. Unfortunately sourcing supply of these Slipstone nuts has become impossible.

One customer played Wembley and Manchester Arenas within 10 days of each other with a Slipstone nut in his guitar (I did other work on this guitar too). He told me that he never had to re-tune during either set. Rather pleasing from my viewpoint. He was playing with 11's and his guitar tech has been trained by me in fitting strings and stretching in techniques. (I sometimes do lessons on issues like that).

News Flash We have a new nut material in testing that has far superior performance to Slipstone. Due to it's incredibly low coefficient of friction and hardness it's very (!!!) difficult to fashion into a nut. We are testing them with touring bands and a few customers. The performance is looking amazing but it's around 4 hours to make a nut at the moment. We think it will be difficult to get the labour cost down to less than 2.5 hours so they will probably be priced at about £60 installed.

Current best Nuts:

Graphtech now supply TUSQ XL self lubricating nuts. Rather expensive but worth every penny. Under test they match Slipstone stability performance (we have an enhancement we apply)and being essentially a man-made ivory substitute I feel they add something to the tone.

We make brass, bone and plastic nuts but you would never regret having a self lubricating nut.

Nuts made from a chunk of nut material (a blank) take longer to make so the price for these is £55

Fingerboard Scalloping - note price reduced

I've recently made a set of special tools that greatly reduce the time involved in scalloping and give a very accurate result. Thus the reduced price.

Scalloping fingerboards is proving to be a popular modification. From the Ibanez Jem 21-24 scallop to a full neck scallop. References are to 24 fret necks but the same principle applies to 21 & 22 frets necks.

Popular options are frets 21-24, 15-24, 14-24, 12-2, 1-24

Styles: Ritchie Blackmore / Yngwie Malmsteen or whatever you want or can imagine.

Ritchie Blackmore style: frets 12-24 have a full scallop, frets 1-11 are scalloped mainly under the first 3 strings. The scalloping is deepest nearest the fret nearer to the bridge (where the fretting finger is generally placed).

Yngwie Malmsteen style: has a full scallop on every fret.

Micro Scallop technique: This provides a Blackmore shape scallop (demo guitar available) but barely visible. The guitar plays chords just like a un-scalloped guitar but because of the low scallop, just behind the fret, vibrato and string bending are far easier. We love this because bends with a vibrato are so easy and sound very sweet.

Deep Scalloping generally requires the inlays to be replaced and the new ones to be cut to the shape of the scalloping. Thus it's economic to do this for dot inlays. I can fit white and gold Mother of Pearl or beautiful Abalone dots little cost over plastic dots.

If you need the scalloped feel, on a Les Paul for example, then a re-fret with Dunlop 6000 fretwire may be the way to go. This is the tallest fretwire available and gets quite close to a scalloped feel. Makes string bending far easier of course.

Example of a top end Ibanez through neck superstrat fully scalloped with large visibility, Mother of Pearl dots installed

A recent job. Beautiful through neck Ibanez superstrat (thanks Alan). It now has a Yngwie Malmsteen style scallop from frets 1-24 and large 7mm Mother of Pearl dots installed. The big dots are wonderful on stage!

Scalloping prices: From around £4-10 per fret depending on the guitar. A fully optimised fret dress / pro setup / service will also be required. £60 with scalloping (£20 discount here).

Scalloping with a re-fret is the normal approach though. Changing the frets to Jescar orDunlop 6100 or 6000 high and wide frets makes the scalloping even more effective. Replacement of dot inlays is also required.

Ibanez Jems with Tree of Life inlays can be effectively scalloped using higher fretwire and a partial depth scallop. It actually works very well indeed.

Jackson / Ibanez types with larger inlays can be scalloped effectively as well - Shark fin inlays etc. We can effect a partial scallop on guitars with block inlays by re-fretting with the highest fret-wire and a little scalloping. The effect in terms of playability is very similar to a full scallop.

All scalloping prices are based on a quote - all such jobs include a full guitar service and full optimised fret dressing and pro-setup.

Dot Inlays

Many guitarists find that their favourite guitar has dots that are too small or too dark to see on stage. Many Ibanez guitars have this problem. I can replace the dots with larger white Mother of Pearl dots for visibility. See above picture. Larger Abalone dots can also be used. Larger black dots are available for maple neck guitars.

A very popular modification this. I buy in 100's of dots at a time these days. Best to combine it with a full service and fret dress as the guitar has to be stripped down anyway.

Discounted with full service/fret dress and setup the extra cost is £50 plus dots (usually about £8-10) This includes smoothing and polishing the rosewood/ebony fingerboard to give a very smooth feel.

Without the full service/fret dress and setup aspect the cost is £70 plus dots (usually about £8) + strings

Changing cheap plastic dots for pretty MOP or exotic Abalone is an attractive option too.

There is a similar discount on this service with a re-fret too.

Guitar Hardware

Bridges

  • New Saddle(s): £25 + cost of parts & strings
  • New Bridge: £25 + cost of parts & strings - Schaller hardware preferred
  • Modify bridge saddles to prevent string breakages £15 + strings (not always needed)

Machine Heads

  • Fit new Machine heads £15 plus parts - for example locking machine heads as an upgrade. Cost may be higher if headstock drilling is required or the locating screws are in different positions..

Strap buttons

  • Re-fixing if they are loose / falling out £10 + parts if replacements needed.
  • Strap lock fitting (e.g. Schaller) £10 + parts

Electrical Servicing

Some guitars will require new strings fitted as they have to be removed to access the electronics.

  • Fit new jack socket £10 + parts (I may be able to fix the existing one)
  • New Pot (volume or tone) £15 + parts
  • Rewiring: All guitars from £20 (charged hourly)
  • Internal screening from £20 (charged hourly)
  • Pickup installation: £25 for 1 pickup, £35 for 2, £40 for 3 + cost of parts & strings
  • Selector switch £10 + parts
  • Custom pickup circuits available - please email me for a list.

Pickup Potting (de-squealing!)

If you have nice sounding pickups on your guitar already but they squeal and shriek with high gain then I can pot them for you with my proprietary mix of wax - very effective and totally safe, The wax penetrates the coils and, when set, prevents the wire coils from vibrating.

Pickup potting: £25 for 1 pickup, £35 for 2, £40 for 3 + strings

If you want some pickups re-potting and want to do the removal and replacement yourself then you can post them to me, £25 a pair inc postage - each extra pickup £6. (£37 for 4 etc.)

Potting with a wax mixture which is mostly Beeswax has an effect on the tone of many pickups. Bare Knuckle picks do this too. It tends to warm up the sound of Gibson humbuckers is a very sweet and musical way. Works well with other makes too. No guarantee on this aspect but I've seen some pretty remarkable improvements on many guitars. Others it just stops the squeal.

Guitar Repairs
If your guitar has had a very bad day then bring it to me and I'll quote you for a repair.

  • Failed electronics in a guitar is generally straightforward to repair.
  • Neck / headstock breaks can usually be repaired so the guitar is stronger than before.
  • Broken truss rods are a real pain but can be repaired.
  • Damaged frets such as nicks and scratches are often caused by a guitar bumping into something hard - it's the strings that sometimes do the damage. Generally straightforward to repair. Often a fret dressing will sort the problem and give you a guitar that plays far better too. Replacing a single fret whilst fret dressing is not expensive.
  • Etc. etc.

I quote for repairs rather than offering a list because proper assessment is required.

Guitar Repairs - Headstock repairs. I have come up with a method that will repair permanently even the worst kind of breaks. Even those where somebody has tried to repair it with white PVA wood glue, the Evostik and finally Araldite (just done that!) and there is missing wood

In the pic below you can see a superstrat neck that was very slim and had bolt holes through the critical area for the locking nut. Almost no wood to glue back together. This one had been broken 4 times as it was so weak. Very strong now as all joints are curved. The technique was actually developed for Gibson neck breaks but worked perfectly on this one too.

Repair method for very bad guitar headstock breaks.

I'm currently repairing an ancient Gibson Les Paul Recording (probably one of the first made) that seems to have been repaired 3 times and have not had a headstock attached since the early 1980's. It will be stronger than new when it's done. A full set of photos of this repair will be on the website soon. I invented the technique for this very special guitar.

 

Note: When you combine services such as a full service and pickup potting etc., then the overall time is less, so I'll agreed a discounted price with you.

If you have other requirements then please contact me directly. Quotes and advice are free!

Please note I have a minimum £30 workshop charge although if I can fix a little problem and get you going again and off to a gig etc. in just a few mins then I'll reduce this reasonably. Basically once the strings are off them the minimum charge applies.