THE REPAIR SHOP
Elderly Instruments has been servicing and repairing instruments since 1972. We were among the first stores to establish the policy of inspecting every instrument that we sell. That’s become even more important in the age of internet shopping, where in many cases no one is looking at the instrument between the factory and your doorstep. Virtually every fretted instrument we sell — including acoustic, electric, and resonator guitars, banjos, mandolins, and ukuleles — is inspected and set up by our repair shop personnel to ensure the best playability.
In addition to performing work for Elderly Instruments, our shop accepts repairs from customers. You can count on receiving the same quality of work and attention to detail for your instruments as we perform on our own.
Our shop is roughly 3,000 square feet and includes a spray booth and machine room. The current staff of 11 has over 250 years (combined) of experience in this field. Our high standards were originally set and maintained by some of the most talented people in the industry, including past repair shop managers Bart Reiter (renowned banjo builder) and T.J. Thompson (vintage Martin specialist and guitar builder). Current shop manager and head repairman Joe Konkoly has continued the tradition of excellence set by his predecessors. He and the rest of the repair shop staff have developed new techniques and also stay on top of the latest developments in guitar restoration and repair
Elderly Instruments Inspection and Setup Process
With a few exceptions, every new or used fretted instrument that comes through our doors is inspected and set up by our repair shop. If we find a problem with a new instrument, we fix it or return it to the supplier. Likewise, we ensure that all used and vintage instruments we sell — unless marked AS-IS — are restored or repaired as needed to be in good working order. (Learn more about our AS-IS instruments here.) We do our best to make sure that an instrument maintains its vintage or collectible value on the assumption that “less change is more” to an older instrument.
Workmanship: Structural Integrity
We begin with an overall inspection of the instrument, assuring that all joints — braces, bridge, neck, binding, pickguard, etc. — are solid, tight, and secure.
The finish is checked for any flaws, scratches, or other defects, and buffing and cleaning are performed as required. (For less costly new instruments, cosmetic issues are determined by each specific company's production standards, and minor flaws may still be present.) Instruments with more serious cosmetic issues are rejected and returned to the manufacturer.
We check the neck to be sure that it is not twisted or excessively bowed and that the neck angle is sufficient to allow for proper string height and saddle height.
We inspect the frets to ensure that they are seated properly, dressed evenly, with the proper polish and crown. Any fret problems are addressed as required.
Hardware and Electronics
All tuners, bridges, pickups, switches, and other hardware are checked for proper function. We ensure that all volume and tone controls, pickup selectors, and other electronic components operate properly, free from noise. Adjustments or repairs are completed when necessary.
This is the most important step in the process. We check the truss rod for proper function, the nut slots for proper height, and the saddle for proper string height, ensuring playability and correct intonation through the full range of the instrument.