One lucky customer will receive a free fret level/dress. How it will work is I’ll use a random number generator to pick a number between 0-100. If your number falls on 50 then you either get a free setup + fret dress, or you get $100 dollars off of refret for your guitar. Offer is valid indefinitely until one customer gets this.
Well, not quite, but I’ve finished moving to the States. I will resume operation in Austin, TX. Right now I will offer set up, fret dress, refrets, and nut/saddle work. I believe this will work for 80% of all the players, and if there’s anything more I would be more than happy to refer you to other qualified guitar techs in Austin. Please call me at 626-566-4178 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll get you sorted out.
Services will be done at a place/time of your choosing, as long as it is within 5 miles of University of Texas at Austin. Basic setups and other small stuff I can do it right away but anything more complicated will take longer. I will then deliver your guitar back to you free of charge (as long as it is within 5 miles of UT and I don’t need to ship it)
I have seen just about every type of guitars throughout my career, and I feel it is my duty to present this guide on buying a used guitar. While you can get a good deal buying used instruments if you don’t know what you’re looking for you could end up buying something that requires a lot of work, which eats into any possible savings you might have from buying used. However there are benefits to buying used instruments: The wood is “played in” and stabilized, which means if the neck isn’t already warped it won’t warp in a few months after purchase. Sometimes buying used may be your only choice if you are looking for a particular level, or year, or instruments no longer in production. This guide will teach you what to look out for so you can find the instrument of your dreams without paying guys like me hundreds of dollars USD to fix unexpected problems.
Supplies you will need:
Metal straight edge 24″ long (any metal ruler will do)
Inspection mirror or a small mirror
First look down the guitar from the bridge to the nut, and note the straightness of the neck. If the neck is warped or twisted it should be fairly obvious (when looking straight down the neck about 10 degrees from the center, any slight curve will be obvious). However if the fretboard has a compound radius (such as Warmoth), it will appear to be warped but in fact straight. If the neck is bowed in, it is fine because you can adjust the truss rod to compensate (if it has a truss rod), but if it is bowed backwards, make sure the truss rod adjusts the other way too or else the guitar is unplayable.
Take a look at the frets to see what condition they’re in. A slight fret divot at various fret positions is normal especially if the guitar is well used. It can get to the point where the note in those positions start to sound dead or not at all, and that’s when the frets will require leveling and dressing, or a refret depending on how much fret height is left. It is not really possible to buy a used guitar without some degree of fret wear unless the guitar has been sitting in a closet because the previous owner can’t play, so you’ll have to accept the fact that a used guitar will have some fret wear. The good news is if there are some fret height left, the frets can be leveled and recrowned to restore the guitar’s playability.
For acoustic guitars look at the soundboard under a bright light and note the reflection of the light. There should not be any significant distortion. If there are any distortion that you can feel and see, it is possible the guitar has a cracked or loose brace. With the inspection mirror and flash light, look inside the box to check for any loose or broken braces that are not obvious from the outside. Lightly tap the body and note the sound it makes. Any knocking sound (in the absence of any wires for electronics or pickups) could indicate a loose brace or cracks. Remember NEVER buy an acoustic guitar sight unseen!!
Take your straight edge and lay it on the fingerboard, and note where the end lands on the bridge. The end should be just above or on the bridge. If it falls below the bridge the guitar needs a neck reset. Another giveaway is a very high action despite very low saddle. This is important since for most acoustic guitars, a neck reset is a big job (in some cases impossible, such as inexpensive guitars), you want to make sure you don’t have to have it reset right after you buy it.
Finally lay your straight edge across the lower bout on both the top and the back. You want a slight convex curve across the width of the body. The curve varies but under no circumstance should the body be concave. Concave body indicates extremely low humidity and there may be cracks in the wood.
Me setting up a customer’s guitar and improving its playability.
Here is the video of someone playing it…
Due to somewhat popular demand, I am also offering to teach luthiery. Price for now is 600nt per hour, in addition to fees for materials. Anyone is welcome to sign up and build their own guitar with my guidance.
When I first saw you you were a adolescent cat in my sister’s friend’s house. We decided to get a cat after mom died, because we were lonely.
We took you home and you hid for the first few weeks because you were scared. I knew you were shy and it was the first time I had a cat. When you got used to the house you came at me, but I was scared at the time because I was afraid you’d bite me. I remember the days when I would wake up at 5 to get ready for school, and you would sit in the kitchen meowing and purring, and you always loved seaweed. You always wanted to sleep in my bed and when I was young I always shut the bedroom door, so you carved a nice little patch around the door.
Then I went to college, I forgot about you and you only knew my sister and dad. Things changed, you were taken to Hong Kong then to Taiwan. One day I got you back again and you were so happy to see me. You slept by my side and those cold winter nights was such good memory.
Then one morning during a stormy night you breathed your last. You were old and sick and stopped eating. I was worried and wanted to help but couldn’t. I knew your time has come and I respected that. I thought about all the good time we had together, 14 long years, from my high school days, all the way to being a guardian cat at my luthier shop, giving so much good memories to various customers who came to visit the shop. I will always miss you, you were a good cat. May you rest in peace and we will meet again in heaven.
Yangming Custom Guitars has just acquired a fret press caul, some reamers, and a jointer is on the way.
It means that we can finally press frets instead of hammering them like we used to. This cuts down on noise complaints and increases fret height consistency. Best of all, our prices are unchanged because additional equipments means we can serve more customers in less time.
We are also renting shop times or performing shop services. Please contact us if you have any special needs.