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REFINISH, RESTORE & MAJOR REPAIR
(Click any underlined link to visit the described site)
STOP!!! First a few points about refinishing.
1. If your vintage instrument has been refinished before (possibly in someone's garage with a few cans of Krylon) you won't be hurting anything by having it professionally refinished. However in all cases where the finish is original and only has "beauty licks" and some "love dings" or belt buckle rash or even if the entire upper bout is worn off...you are absolutely better off, so far as collector value is concerned, by leaving it in original finish no matter how worn it may be! Once refinished an instrument enters the "Player" class and is no longer considered a collector piece. Refinishing may make it look pretty but has a startling impact on a vintage instrument's value. Original 1951 P-bass with serial 100 to 400= $25,000 to $75,000. Refinished 1951 P-bass = $5,000. No kidding!
2. Does refinishing a guitar in nitrocellulose lacquer have an advantage over polyester or plasticized coatings? YES! But only if the undercoat or primer coat is also breathable. Starting in 1963 Fender began using a sealer called "Fullerplast" (Fuller = paint maker Fuller O'Brien + Plast = Plastic) which Fender then topped with traditional nitro. So, from 1963 on they could have just finished them in poly and it would not have made any difference. Anyone who has ever tried to strip a Fullerplast coated body quickly discovers the top nitro comes off easy and you are left with the plastic coating intact. It is very difficult to remove the plastic and get to the bare wood. Read more about the Fullerplast issue here: http://www.caraguitars.com/fullerplast.asp
Keeping those two points in mind, now here are our refinishing & repair resources.
Gord Miller Vintage Restorations - Possibly the most passionate refinisher in the world. Gord Miller does it step by step exactly as the guitars were originally finished with no short cuts, no ifs, no ands & no buts. He's in Canada but convenient to the Seattle music scene. Highly recommended for perfectionist players. He's a player, and he does refinishing because he loves it, and fortunately he has a gift from God. My highest recommendation!
Curtis Novak Vintage Restorations - While they sell an awful lot of pickups, this Granite Falls, North Carolina guitar man has been refinishing guitars for over 25 years. (He will NOT refinish any guitar with an original finish.) Painstaking recreations of era-correct original factory finishing processes.
Mark Jenny Vintage Guitar & Bass Refinishing - Unbeatable prices on Nitro refinish projects. Bodies and necks! This busy Carthage, Missouri shop will age the look for you as you wish. Value pricing due volume.
Sims Custom Shop - I've seen some amazing paint jobs from Sims! Very affordable custom work in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Sims will paint about anything! Statues, cars, ANYTHING! They are probably the most diversified custom paint shop in the USA.
Southbound Custom Shop - In Music City, this Nashville shop refinishes instruments for famous pickers. Their staff is amazing.
Third Coast Guitar - More than just excellent refinishing, this is a full range repair service for your bass in Chicago, Illinois. Many celebrity clients.
The Guitar Specialist, Inc. - NY Tri-State area's long standing members of The Guild of American Luthiers and The Association of Stringed Instrument Artisans located in South Salem, New York. Authorized guitar repair and service center for most manufacturers Including: Gibson, Fender, Taylor, Guild, C.F. Martin, Gretsch, American Archtop, Jackson/Charvel, Santa Cruz Guitar Company, Epiphone, Ovation, Takamine, Hamer, Tacoma and others. (WHEW!) Many notable clients in the NYC music scene. People in NYC you've heard of go here. Refinishing and restoration specialists. Great repair work to damage.
Superior Guitar Works - Their Flourtown, Pennsylvania operation is in greater Philadelphia. Full range restoration services. Over 20 years experience.
Tim's Guitar Repair & Workshop - Established 1979. Repair, refinishing and restoration in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
Axe Haven Guitar Repair & Restoration - Dan Lenz's shop in Westminster, Colorado offers repair, restoration and refinishing.
Colfax Guitar Shop - Intense restoration experts in Denver, Colorado. Maybe it is the thin air, but for whatever reason the Denver scene has a bunch of people who beat the crap out of their gear. Colfax is the place that fixes it for them.
John Wescott Guitar Repair - North Hollywood, California full service guitar repair and restoration. Many notable clients including Randy Jackson.
The Repair Zone - Fred Marotta's San Diego shop does setup and repair on ALL types of stringed instruments including basses....even ukuleles and Bouzoukis! Renowned as well for being one of the top amp repair shops on the left coast. Here a setup includes new strings from SIT or D'Addario, so if you want another brand of string then you'll need to supply them but the setup costs the same whether you supply the strings or not. Celebrity clients galore. In the Kearny Mesa section on Ronson Road at Mercury Street, phone 858-565-7984.
North American Instruments - Guitar customizing, repair and restoration. High quality finish work and one of the few to actually do restorative gold plating. Custom built electric guitars are among their specialties. Located in Largo, Florida.
Galloup Guitars - Over 40 years in guitar repair and also operates the Galloup School of Lutherie. Experienced refinishing. Located in Big Rapids, Michigan.
Roxy Guitar Finish - Lacey, Washington based Roxy does dye, solid, metallic, transparent and burst finishes. A wide range of original style and custom style finishes....including a very beautiful well filled out blonde!
Lay's Guitar Shop - An excellent custom refinish shop for guitars and basses in Akron Ohio. Doing it since 1962! Possibly the most experienced guitar refinishing operation in North America! Legend has it Leo Fender referred people to Lay's for refinishing work.
Mark's Guitar Repair - True custom refinish jobs are available. Each refinish job from this Indianapolis, Indiana shop is by quote.
Atlanta Guitar Works - Actually in Lilburn, Georgia they do a full range of repair, restoration and refinishing including total refinishes & major structural repairs. Huge experienced staff that can cover any type service.
Bluebird Guitars - Nottingham, New Hampshire. Custom refinishing available by quote. This is a shop that pays attention to every tiny detail.
PICKUP REPAIR & REWINDING
Brandon Wound Pickups - Professional pickup rewinding and repair of broken pickups at the best prices I've found. While Jared Brandon's custom made pickups listed on his site are geared toward six-string guitars, Jared also builds, rewinds and repairs bass pickups. Brandon Wound Pickups can rewind your dead or dying pickup to deliver the stock spec tone, or you also have the options of either overwinding for a higher output with more bass emphasis or of underwinding a bit to add more upper midrange tones. Most other custom rewinding and pickup repair services actually charge about the same to rewind your old pickup as they charge to sell you a brand new one. The others WANT to sell you a new pickup instead of rewinding your old one. You will save significant money and preserve more of the originality of your instrument by rewinding your original pickup at Brandon Wound Pickups. If you choose to buy new stock or custom wound pickups instead of rewinding your existing pickup then see the custom pickup builders on the REPLACEMENT/UPGRADE BASS PARTS page on the BrotherDave.Com Resources page.
VINTAGE GUITAR COLORS
Keep in mind that low quality scans of color charts displayed on a poorly adjusted monitor will be an approximation at best. The following sites will help identify your color:
Curtis Novak Restorations Color Blocks (Appear very accurate renderings to me.)
In-Depth information on Fender Custom Finishes from Provide.Net including FENDER COLOR CHARTS from 1960 and 1966. A good read!
(The following 6 color charts are from Strat-Central.Com)
Re-Ranch Refinishing Products - I list the do-it-yourself refinishing products source last, because refinishing a bass or guitar yourself is probably the last thing I'd recommend you do. However if you have to do it yourself I might as well point you to the best do-it-yourself refinishing source. Re-Ranch has guitar refinishing supplies, education and support for the do-it-yourselfer. They sell Fender and Gibson nitrocellulose lacquer colors in spray cans. I strongly encourage professional refinishing for instruments but the reality is that some people want to try to save a buck and other people think they will be great at refinishing guitars because they have experience in autobody painting. To these people who just can't get the money together for a professional refinish job or think that they can transfer their paining experience from sheet metal to a guitar let me point out that almost never will a first time do-it-yourselfer wind up with a perfect refinish on a guitar or bass. BUT if you absolutely MUST do it yourself, Re-Ranch products are the ones to use. Re-Ranch products are more instrument specific than you'll find at the local automotive paint or hardware store. Again, let me emphasize that if you do not have experience at guitar refinishing and if you do not use paint formulated for guitars you are probably not going to get the results you expected.
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