Guitar Doctor - Whitman, MA
®

Guitar Doctor

Information and Frequently Asked Questions

Guitar Doctor Frequently Asked Questions
We can't include everything that can go wrong with an instrument or all of the possible fixes, but this should give all players some insight.

Topics include tuning, Floyd Rose string change, used guitars, lessons and other frequently asked questions.

More guitar repair and maintenance issues are discussed in repairs and restoration and Doc’s custom shop pages.

Basic legal disclaimer:
Guitar Doctor assumes no responsibility for any advice taken from this website or from telephone or email discussions.
This information is not intended as a guide for "home repairs" or "do-it-yourself"
.


   See below for some real questions and honest answers.

What are Guitar Doctor's store hours and how can I get there?

Monday: Appointments only
Tuesday through Friday: 10am - 6pm EST
Saturday: 10am - 4pm EST
Sunday: Closed

Address:
659 Bedford St. (Rt. 18)
Whitman, MA  02382

Email:
doc@guitardoctor.com or gdoc1@aol.com

Telephone:
(781) 447-4520

Do I need to make an appointment to talk to someone at Guitar Doctor?

No appointments are needed. You can just walk in with
your guitar during regular business hours.

(See below) It costs nothing for us to have a look and then you'll know.

If these hours are not convenient for you please feel free to phone us (781-447-4520) and we'll do our best to accomidate.

Business hours are:

Tuesday - Friday  [10am to 6pm]
Saturday [10am to 4pm]
Sunday & Monday - CLOSED

What will it cost to fix my guitar?

The honest answer is, "We can't say without seeing it." 

There is no set cost for any job as every instrument has its own needs. That said, the cost will be based on the time that it takes ($68.00/hr.) plus the cost of any needed parts.

We can give a free estimate when you bring it in.

What kinds of guitars and gear do you sell?

Guitar Doctor sells new and used acoustic and electric guitars, bass guitars, amplifiers and PA gear.

We sell various brands such as Fender, Gibson, Peavey, Ibanez, Dillion, Marshall, Traynor, Hartke and many, many more. Inventory changes daily.

Please see our
SALES page or phone us at 781-447-4520 or email to doc@guitardoctor.com.

What is a guitar 'set-up' and what how can this help my guitar? Is this the same for bass guitars, too?

A set-up will make your guitar or bass play the very best it can. Many guitarists are so used to their instrument’s misalignments that they don’t even notice until we fix it and then, “WOW! I didn’t think that it could ever play like this.”

Almost every guitar needs a "set-up" every few years. Even seasonal changes in weather can cause need for a set-up or at least an adjustment. Many gigging guitarists need this service more often.

If more is needed, we will be able to say once we can look at the guitar.

A set-up entails many steps: nut, bridge and saddle adjustments (may require shimming, slotting, etc.), intonation, neck alignment, fret height and/or fret edge de-burring , finger board cleaning, pick-up height adjustment and more. We can often correct other problems at the same time.

There is no set price for a set-up, as every instrument has its own level of need. We can give a clear estimate when we see the guitar.

That said, the average set-up takes about an hour. Obviously, the better shape the guitar is in, the less time it will take. The cost is figured at our currently hourly rate of $68.00/hour. Tremolo bridge guitars (Floyd Rose, etc.) take about 1/2 hour more.

Most guitars will need a fresh set of strings of your preferred brand and gauge. This is a separate cost and we carry a good variety at our store or you can supply your own. Bass stings can often be reused.

People from all over the country even send their “baby” for what they know is the best and most trusted care available.

"My guitar won't stay in tune...

...I tune each string perfectly with my electronic tuner  -  but as soon as I start to play they're all out of tune again. Grrrr!!!!"

We really can't be specific without seeing the guitar.

This can be caused by a number of factors, but it sounds like it all would indicate that your guitar is in need of a good "set up". That's when we go over your entire guitar and check, adjust, repair and calibrate each component. Guitars, like cars or any mechanical thing, can get out of whack now and then. If you have a tremolo guitar this is especially true. Perhaps it may need some repairs to the machine heads, nut, neck or bridge, too.

Keeping a guitar in tune should be easy so long as three factors are working for you.

1) That the nut is cut properly with no "pinching" of the strings.

2) The intonation is set reasonably close or the guitar won't get in tune to start with.

3) The strings should be wound on properly with only about 3 wraps around each post, with the windings concentric - not overlapping, and well stretched in so they aren't stretching while you're playing it.

The last item is probably the most important for staying in tune. String pinch in the nut can be checked simply by detuning the string a bit and lifting each string out of the nut. If it "pops" out, that's no good. It should have free play in the nut slot. Intonation is very important and generally needs to be set by an experienced person. This is true for all guitars.

It is also important to have good quality tuning machines. We often see guitars with old, sloppy or loose tuners that are responsible for tuning problems. Repair may be possible and sometimes they can even be re-built but often replacement with new, tight machines is the best cure. The better tuners have the adjustment screw in the top of the key and a sealed, permanently lubricated cast housing. Locking units such as Sperzel are great for guaranteed performance.

Is this inexpensive old guitar worth fixing?

Is it worth it? Well, perhaps.

More often than not, people are pleasantly surprised to find that the cost of repair and restoration is affordable and well worth whatever personal value the guitar has to them.

Sentimental value goes a long way and we have fixed many guitars on that basis alone.

Also, many older instruments may be resuscitated back to excellent playability for many more years of use.

On the other hand, we have seen some people who thought that they had a valuable “keeper” ("Antiques Roadshow"!!!), only to find that it just wasn’t worth the time and expense.

The best thing to do is to bring it in or contact us by phone or email with pictures and descriptions. We will give an honest assessment of not only the present value and condition but we can let you know the prognosis for repair and restoration.

We will not give any kind of valuation or estimation of work without seeing the item.

Can you repair or replace the frets on guitar necks. If so, what does it cost?

Yes, fret repair and replacements are common procedures here at Guitar Doctor.

Many guitarists are happily surprised to find that simple leveling and smoothing of the frets is all that is needed. This is called a “fret dressing”. This can be combined with replacement of only the worst frets if necessary.

The worst case is complete fret replacement. Some guitar owners even choose to remove and replace all frets out of preference for higher and/or wider frets.

In a nutshell refrets run about like this:

- Unbound Rosewood or Maple
(if no fingerboard refinish needed) = 6 hours

- Unbound Ebony = 6 2/3 hours

Can you supply me with a new pickguard, truss rod cover, control knobs, pickups, tuner machine heads, strap button or other guitar part?

Yes, Guitar Doctor carries a wide variety of guitar parts for replacement and customizing. Our experienced staff can help you to choose parts and accessories to suit your tastes, needs and budget.

Unassembled bodies and necks are in stock and can be seen in our shop. These can be a great start for your custom guitar or be used a creative upgrades to your existing guitar.

We also have access to many vintage components or can make custom parts to suit your design.

Expert installation service is available or you can do it yourself.

Please see
Doc’s Custom Shop for some brands and ideas or contact us with your needs.

Feel free to
visit the shop or contact us with your needs.

Does Guitar Doctor make custom guitars to order?

We can build anything - it's just a matter of cost and time.

Together we will custom design any almost shape or material that you can imagine! The choice of pickups, wiring and other hardware can really make it yours.

We have
  many unassembled bodies and necks are in stock that can be seen in our shop. These can be a great start for your custom guitar or be used a creative upgrades to your existing guitar or you can bring your own “dream guitar”.

The best way to start is to give us a call (781-447-4520) or visit us at the shop.

*Please see our CUSTOM page for how it works.

What's the best way to string a Floyd Rose system?

Well!  I could go on for a while on the ins and outs of a Floyd, but I'll see if I can make it as simple as possible.

First you'll need a 3mm hex key to unlock and lock the strings.

Make sure the neck adjustment and action are set well or where you want it it, we proceed.

1)  Remove the back cover on the guitar exposing the springs and unlock the strings from the locknut at the headstock.

2)  Find something to prop under the tail of the trem on the face of the guitar that will hold it up so that the baseplate of the trem is PARALLEL to the surface of the guitar. If the trem is lifted away from the surface, then tighten the spring claw in the back of the guitar until the trem pulls down nice and snug on your prop. TAPE THE PROP TO THE FACE OF THE GUITAR.

3)  At this point, you may need to adjust the height of the trem at the pivot studs for proper string action, and adjust the prop to maintain the plate parallel to the body.

4)  With the old strings still on, set the fine tuners to the middle of their adjustment range and re-tune the guitar using the tuning keys. If the fine tuners push on the prop, you may need to adjust the thickness of the prop again to keep the bridge parallel.

5)  With the old strings still on, set the fine tuners to the middle of their adjustment range and re-tune the guitar using the tuning keys. If the fine tuners push on the prop, you may need to adjust the thickness of the prop again to keep the bridge parallel.

6)  When all the strings are loaded and stretched, dump the bar and check the tuning overall. All the strings should be in tune after you dive the bar and let it up.

7)  Now lock the strings in at the locknut. Check the tuning - still with the prop in place. You may need to unlock and re-tune a string or two, but get them as close as possible without touching the fine tuners.

8)  Remove the tape from the prop and loosen the spring claw in the back of the guitar - adjusting each screw equally to maintain good "square" positioning of the claw. Back off the claw screws equally until the prop falls out from under the bridge.

9)  Now zero in the tuning using the claw adjustment. When really close, you should be able to make any minor adjustments with the fine tuners at this point and you're done.

Sounds like fun, eh? Hehehehe - you'll get it.

Once you've gone through all this trouble you will be able to change the strings one at a time without using the prop. If you need to take all the strings off the guitar - for cleaning or whatever, using the prop will speed up the tuning process greatly.

Do you offer guitar lessons?

Yes, we do offer guitar, bass and ukulele lessons. Details HERE

What is the best age to learn to play guitar?

A parent should start a child on any instrument as soon as any propensity or desire is apparent or expressed.

Some people are naturals, but typically the younger you start, the better you’ll be. We do find the children younger than 8 years are not able to devote the concentration and/or practice that is essential. In this case, it is advisable to wait until they are ready.

It is not unusual for a child to lose interest in time, but they usually come back to it when they are ready if it's really for them.

The same goes for adults.

We have had beginner students well into their 70's who learned to play, just as they had always dreamed.

So, the basic answer to your question is: any age is a good age, as long as the desire is there.


Please see our 'Lessons' page for details

How did you become Guitar Doctor? (A very long story ...)

I started playing guitar back in 1969 when I was 14 years old. I immediately realized that my guitar sucked and I needed it to work better, even though I didn't know exactly what "better" was. It just wasn't right.

I used to hang around a particular music store in Cambridge, Massachusetts called Central Sales. There was a longhaired guy in there who put up with me and seemed to know something about fixing up guitars. I told him my complaints with my axe and he told me what to do. He did not, however, tell me how to do it! I went home and I did some awful things to that poor guitar. I knew right away that I'd screwed up. I went back and told him what I had done. I'm sure he had a good laugh from it all. Once he realized that I was determined to do it by myself he took the time to give me some details on the "how-to’s". Thanks, Mister - whoever you were...

I had always been good with my hands and with tools. I had no fear on tackling my needs and it worked! My guitar played better and I played better for it.

I didn't know much but I had some definite ideas about what I wanted. Leslie West, the guitarist, played a Gibson Les Paul Junior. Central Sales had one and I wanted it. I had made my way up to an Aria Les Paul copy by then. It had real Gibson pickups in it and top-of-the-line Grover Imperial tuners on the headstock. I was phat with that. But I wanted that Les Paul Junior!

But I didn't have the cash and my caddying job couldn't get the dough up fast enough. I slogged along until I finally ended up with some cool axes including a Fender Mustang (metallic blue with the racing stripe - now that was the King of Mustangs!) and a Hagstrom II. I never did get that Les Paul Jr.

All along the way I worked on my guitars with the guidance of anyone who knew more than I did. That's how I started. I learned from people who were willing to show me things and I read a lot of books. Soon my friends started to ask me to make their guitars play like mine. A small ad in the local newspaper and word of mouth quickly brought more people and more ailing guitars.


The repair business overtook my regular job. I had too many guitars to work on and not enough time or space to work on them. I had guitars tucked in every corner of the house - 20 or 30 of them at any one time! One day I totaled up the situation and decided to quit my regular suit-and-tie job and open a store. I've been doing this ever since.

I've learned all along the way and I’m still learning. The real thing is to be devoted to it. As with anything you want to strive for, you will get there.

Jake, my number one helper, is a talented luthier and schooled for it. I don't call myself a luthier yet, just a good and fearless tech with solid building skills, over 30 years of experience and thousands of happy customers to prove it.

The real joy comes by helping another guitarist to play his or her best by making their guitar play its best. The ugliest duckling takes on a new appeal when it screams, cries and roars in your hands.

What's this about Traditional Archery Supply?

Traditional Archery Supply was originally conceived of my passion for this ancient and noble sport as a hopefully "break-even" venture in support of my own habit.

It is now a thriving, internationally known business and shares shop space upstairs from Guitar Doctor in Whitman, Massachusetts.

We have dozens of Longbows and Recurves that can been seen at www.oldbow.com and in the shop.

What do they have in common? Well, maybe it’s all about the wood and strings!

Hours:

Tuesday to Friday - 10am to 6pm
Saturday - 10
am to 4pm
CLOSED  Sunday & Monday
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