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View Full Version : Unscrupulous repair shops



hoosierhiver
08-15-2013, 07:44 AM
I occasionally get a call from someone looking to get a ukulele repaired or wanting advice. Sometimes I hear unfortunate stories about repair shops doing completely unnecessary work because the ukulele owner doesn't know any better. Kind of the musical version of the crooked car mechanic often with totally outrageous charges for stuff that wasn't necessary, or the person was charged way too much for an easy fix. It could be that the budding "luthier" is just overly enthusiastic, but sometimes it really sounds like an intentional scam. It never hurts to get a 2nd opinion before committing to having some work done. Just a head's up for everyone out there that not all repair shops are good ones.

Coconut Willie
08-15-2013, 07:47 AM
Great advice...thanks Mike!!!

Nickie
08-15-2013, 03:22 PM
And....when the repair guy doesn't do a real fix, he just bandaids it, and it still sucks...and he won't take any money anyway...meaning he didn't want the work in the first place....and wasted my time, wound up selling the uke, when it coulda been fixed by the right person all along....

prairieschooner
08-15-2013, 04:09 PM
Buyer Beware, an old saying and even more important in tough times!
Sometimes Cheap is Expensive!!!

Ukejenny
08-15-2013, 05:23 PM
For those of us who are new at the instrument and don't know the jargon of this forum, will you share some recommendations for repair techs/luthiers? I know there are many people on here who make and work on their own brands, but what about finding someone other than the origin of purchase?

mm stan
08-15-2013, 07:18 PM
Like anything else do your homework and get recommendations from friends or the uke shops....if you see a nicely fixed uke, ask who did it....even before you need one....

Tootler
08-15-2013, 11:39 PM
Like anything else do your homework and get recommendations from friends or the uke shops....if you see a nicely fixed uke, ask who did it....even before you need one....

It's like finding tradesmen to do work on your house. The best way is to go on personal recommendation.

Pukulele Pete
08-16-2013, 12:26 AM
Do some research ( right here on UU is a great place to start) and learn to fix it yourself. Especially if it is an inexpensive uke. After all , its just a wooden box with a stick on it.:D Most repairs can be done if you take your time and do your homework.

wayfarer75
08-16-2013, 02:43 AM
I found a really good local repair shop earlier this year. I brought a uke in, they looked at it and gave me good advice. They didn't do a thing to it. (Basically, the laquer finish is sinking in a few places and I'm just keeping an eye on it.) No charge, no "finding things wrong" and no laughing at the girl who brought a uke into a guitar repair shop. The guy could play it much better than I could too!

After I talked to them, I felt better knowing whatever might happen to one of my ukes, I know where to take it. I knew a great repairman for my woodwind instruments, but until this year, nothing for my stringed ones.

RichM
08-16-2013, 03:15 AM
My favorite repair shop story: I had a nice old Gold Star banjo that developed a fret-out problem. I took it to a shop that seemed to know a thing or two about banjos, and the owner said it was a problem with fret wear, and he would replace the first three frets. He want $75 for this, which seemed reasonable enough.

After I didn't hear back from him for a couple of weeks, I called. The phone was disconnected. So I went back to the shop. It was gone, lock, stock, and barrel. Empty storefront.

I sadly wrote it off as a loss. I got a call about 3 weeks later from the owner, not particularly apologetic, telling me he had a dispute with his landlord which forced him to move out. He assured me he still had my banjo, and that it would be repaired.

About a month after that, he had established himself in a new location, and let me know I could come get my banjo. I tried it out, agreed that the problem was solved, but noticed that none of the frets had been replaced. He told me that he had clamped the neck to a straight edge for a couple of days and that seemed to correct the problem. Seemed odd to me, but I couldn't deny that the problem was solved.

He still charged me $75.

coolkayaker1
08-16-2013, 04:25 AM
Do some research ( right here on UU is a great place to start) and learn to fix it yourself. Especially if it is an inexpensive uke. After all , its just a wooden box with a stick on it.:D Most repairs can be done if you take your time and do your homework.
I agree with Pete.

oahugrl
08-16-2013, 04:29 AM
If anyone is in Salt Lake City, I can highly recommend Steve at Acoustic Music or Tom at Local Music. Both do great work at reasonable prices.

PTOEguy
08-16-2013, 06:04 AM
Thanks for the recommendation -I'm aware of Acoustic Music, but haven't been to Local Music. I've also had a good impression of MacNichol Guitars in Murray. I took a uke in to get set-up, and they checked it out throughly (invited me in to the shop to watch the process) and explained carefully why set-up couldn't help the neck profile problems. Very transparent about what they could do for me.

Ukejenny
08-16-2013, 08:25 AM
If anyone is in Salt Lake City, I can highly recommend Steve at Acoustic Music or Tom at Local Music. Both do great work at reasonable prices.

Mahalo for the recommendation!

Ukejenny
08-16-2013, 08:29 AM
Thanks for the recommendation -I'm aware of Acoustic Music, but haven't been to Local Music. I've also had a good impression of MacNichol Guitars in Murray. I took a uke in to get set-up, and they checked it out throughly (invited me in to the shop to watch the process) and explained carefully why set-up couldn't help the neck profile problems. Very transparent about what they could do for me.

Thanks! How do y'all feel about a guitar tech doing work on ukuleles? I have a nice guitar shop one town over and the tech guy seems knowledgeable, though not a luthier. He told me he could check out and set up my son's ukulele (the one with bad intonation). I need to check out general reviews of the shop and take it from there I guess.

PTOEguy
08-16-2013, 11:22 AM
In my research, it seems as if a good, open minded guitar tech should be able to apply basic principles to looking at a ukulele. The theory should be very similar, but the differences would be in some of the rule of thumb measurements for string height, etc.

itsme
08-16-2013, 03:47 PM
Most ukes have more in common with classical guitars than they do with steel string/electric guitars. I would have more faith in a tech who works on CGs than I would one who works on solid body electrics.