guitar repair

A neck reset in progress at Martin’s Customer Repair Department.

Chris Martin taps Martin Guitar’s top tech Dave Regec for the expert edge on how to maintain your acoustic guitar—and when to take it to a pro.

For this installment of Acoustic Soundboard, I decided to recap some common but important repairs and prevention tips for your guitar. Dave Regec, Manager of Customer Repair at Martin Guitars, and the rest of Martin’s techs often need to divine the source of a guitar’s ailment before they can get to work. “Although we can hardly know the life history of every guitar, we’re still tasked with unraveling the mystery of why each guitar has encountered an issue,” he says. “It’s kind of a ‘whodunit’ mystery that my team needs to solve.” Here are Dave’s thoughts on the most common issues.

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It’s not for everyone, but locking down a Strat trem can resolve many tuning issues.

Having endured for more than half a century—and still going strong—the venerable Stratocaster has delivered great tone to generations of guitarists. One of the instrument's strengths is how easily it can be adjusted to suit different playing techniques and musical styles.

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Photo 1 — The essentials: a low-watt soldering iron, a stand, a small damp sponge, and a roll of “electronic silver solder” like this .020" 60/40 tin/lead rosin flux solder from Kester.

Learn to solder like a pro in this easy-to-follow demonstration.

Given the DIY nature of this issue, we thought it would be appropriate to address good soldering technique. If you’re willing to invest a few bucks in some modest tools and spend a little time practicing the basics, you can learn to wire up guitars, stomp kits, speaker cabinets, and even do some simple amp mods. Once you understand the fundamentals, you can save money and derive a lot of satisfaction from working on your own gear.

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