Guitar Repairs Look Terrifying

After all the 335 fuss yesterday I took a second to Google Luthiers near Boston to see if I could find someone to work on my ES 335 (after the COVID-19 mess is over, of course). I found a few that might be worth talking to. I just need to figure out what I want them to do.

I know some of the wiring is failing. Asking to have the wiring checked and have anything that is fixable fixed and anything that isn’t fixable replaced is the minimum. But if I am going through this process, should I have anything else done? The nut could probably handle being replaced. The frets are not just worn, but are worn pretty unevenly. My Les Paul is the same way. I am terrified by the thought of a refret, but maybe I could have it done on this guitar as a test case before having it done on the Les Paul. Then there’s the electronics themselves. If they are going to pop everything out, should I just have them put new pots in across the board?

I took these questions to the repair desk at a Guitar Center a couple of years ago, and the tech there told me to ship the Guitar to Memphis and have Gibson do it for me (did he say Memphis or Nashville? I don’t remember). He didn’t want to touch it. All he was willing to do was blast some compressed air through the electronics to clean any dirty connections. After that discussion I saw a video on youtube where a tech was working on the wiring of a 335 and he actually unglued the top of the body to get at the electronics. Well screw that, I thought. That’s about the most horrifying thing I’ve ever seen happen to a guitar. That was like watching torture porn. It was just awful.

Today as I was looking at a price list from a Luthier in Boston I couldn’t help but notice there were no separate price lists for semi-hollow and hollow guitars. What did that mean? Did it maybe mean that the video I watched was, oh I don’t know, overkill? Or maybe (fingers crossed) just plain wrong?

Off to youtube I went.

Working on the wiring is a lot simpler than I was lead to believe. Thank you, god Clapton. For a guy like me who doesn’t have the “fix it” or “electrician” genes in his DNA, it was still pretty terrifying. It makes me think that it might not be as awful as I thought it would be though. Maybe there would be enough money for a refret after all.

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