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Classical Guitar Repair in Westchester/NYC?


iburkard
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I've been MIA on the forums for three years (house-married-baby!), and have unfortunately popped up for a personal favor.  I usually rely on myself for instrument repairs, but I can't get myself to work on my mother's classical guitar, which is my personal guitar.  I am very comfortable with violin work, and just completed some guitar work, but I'd really prefer that someone else do this task for me.


 


Can anyone recommend a great classical guitar repair person in Westchester/Eastchester/NYC?  I've looked at local shops, and I can't sift through all of the recommendations.  I've viewed photographs of repairs, and to be honest, I've been disappointed with what I've seen.  I need a real classical guitar repair expert that will leave the guitar looking untouched.  The neck needs to be reset, fingerboard planed and refretted, and back seperation repaired.


 


Thanks for your help, and sorry for a non-violin topic!  Please PM me if you are uncomfortable making a recommendation openly.


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Congrats on the domestic life, great to see you after all this time, your FF hole design has held up well over the years, and "your" and or the instrument named after you still sounds great. Good luck with the domestics, and hope you find someone to fix yer ge'tar

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Who made it?  If it has what is commonly referred to as a Spanish heel, the neck is not really resettable. I was a guitar repairman for quite some years. I'm out of touch with the guitar world so I can't refer you. You might try calling Jeffrey Elliott in Portland and asking for a local referral. He probably knows anyone worth their salt.  

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Thanks for the reference to references.  :)

 

It's a nice German made instrument, 1965, been played almost every day of its life, even with high action (thanks Texas sun).  The guitar doesn't appear to have Spanish heel construction, which actually might have prevented this issue, or as you said, made it irreparable.  There's a top block of different wood than the neck, with the grain oriented like you would see on a modern violin top block.

 

As for domestic life… my shop is still filled with handplanes and shavings from making molding.  I hope to get back to instruments (in a proper workshop) very soon.

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If it's German it could have a dovetailed or spline connected neck. If it has a Spanish heel the action can be fixed but there are different ways depending on how far out it is. I'm not familiar with NY State so I don't have an idea of where you are. If the block has grian that is vertically oriented it's very unlikely it has a Spanish heel and more probably a dove tail. 

 

I can recommend two vetted repairers on the east coast who would be able to consult on the phone and determine a course of action. Matt Umanov in NYC in Aaron Green in Boston. But if a dovetail neck reset is in order Umanov would be my first call for advice and in your state. A dove tail neck reset involves removing part of the fingerboard over the body and steaming the joint apart, then pushing the neck out of the body mortise. It's a tricky job. Then the heel is adjusted by paring away a bit here and there until the neck is at the correct angle. 

 

If it is a classical with dovetail neck, a reputable steel string restorer will be able to also do the job. Someone who does vintage steel string neck resets on a regular basis will be able to handle it. In fact if ti is a dovetail you will probably be better off with a qualified, vetted steel string repair person than a classical guitar specialist. The reason is that the majority of classical builders don't have the chops to do dovetail neck resets and if the instrument puts up of a struggle it will be safer in the hands of someone who has done many, many steel string resets. 

 

The other possibilities are if it is a Spanish heel, a lot of the time these days it is a practice to reset it with a spline joint, or convert it to a bolt on neck with threaded inserts in the neck root. It all depends on the conditions and value of the instrument and who the original maker was. I've used both methods on classical guitars that were usable but not of historical value. If you modify the neck connection on a collectable guitar it could adversely effect it's value to collectors, but if that is not a concern you should be able to arrive a solution. 

 

The thing to research is the value relative to the construction method and make a judgement call in consultation with your repairer on neck reset method. 

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