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Fret Ends - A Guitar Repair Blog

Busted Head-stocks, Necks, & Heel Joints

It happens when you least expect it. Someone trips on the cord, it gets bumped the wrong way, or caught in a tornado: just a few examples of accidental headstock breaks that I have fixed.

As heart wrenching as it can be, it is not the end of the world for your guitar. On a bad break it is even possible to splice in a new piece of wood and reshape it to match the original neck or head-stock.

Make sure to find and keep all the pieces as it will help with the reconstruction. Costs can range from $75 to $150 on average - cheaper than a new guitar!

Baby it's cold outside, and DRY!

Alberta winters are known for being super dry and can cause many problems with your instruments, including:

  • Cracks in your favorite instrument.
  • Frets that become very sharp on the edges.
  • Necks to bend giving you string buzz or very high action.
  • Acoustic tops to become very flat, lowering the action to the point of needing a new saddle.

Good news! All these problems are fixable!

Here are a few tips on humidifying, choose what works best for you!

Two schools of thought on humidifying for winter.

1. Keep your instrument at 40% humidity or higher at all times.

    ** Keep in mind.**
  • If you keep your instrument in its case, this will provide a small buffer to changes in humidity.
  • If you take a nicely humidified instrument out to a place that is not humidified, you will be subjecting your instrument to a shock and it will lose humidity fast, potentially causing problems.
  • If you forget to fill your humidifier, potential problem.
  • If you humidify the entire house to 40% humidity you can frost up windows and doors, which can create other problems, but your guitar will be happy.

** I have found that around 30% humidity keeps frost at a minimum and provides a buffer for when it gets down to -20 or -30 outside.**

2. Don't do anything, don't worry, be happy.

    ** Keep in mind**
  • Most instruments have been built with properly kiln dried wood that should not have any problem getting through the winter.
  • If your instrument has been though an Alberta winter without any of these issues then the instrument is well made and you shouldn't have to worry about it.


Re-Fretting Your Guitar

The Problems:

Are your frets choking out when you bend?

Do you have areas on the neck where you get the same note for more than 2 frets?

Are your frets worn out, too low or too tall ?

Is your fingerboard twisted or have high or low areas?

Has your neck settled in a way that causes your action to suffer?

Do you have high frets where the neck meets the body?

Do you have to keep your action high so that all your notes work on the neck?

Fresh frets being installed on a guitar neck. Fresh frets, installed and ready to be trimmed and levelled.

These problems can be fixed by having the fingerboard re-trued or re-radiused and then re-fretted. You can get the frets you want, the fingerboard re-trued/leveled and get your action/playability set to the best it can be.

A neck will settle over its first year, It will twist or develop high frets at various spots on the neck. Once this settling occurs the wood will have become fairly stable. If the fingerboard is re-trued after this point has been reached, the chances of the problem reoccurring are virtually zero. The resulting action/playability will be as good as it was from the factory or better.

Reap the benefits of lower action, easier fretting, cleaner bending and more accurate intonation. If your neck hasn't been performing at its best, book your guitar in now!

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Mike Lezarre Innovations Music Guitar Tech

Mike Lezarre

Mike Lezarre has been repairing musical instruments for 26 years. In 1988 Mike earned his Luthier certification from Timeless Instruments School of Luthierie.

For 18 years Mike had been the house guitar tech for Mothers Music in Edmonton, until they closed their doors in 2011.

Mike works at our location in South Edmonton, providing luthierie, repairs, setups, fret work, and custom guitar work.