The national standard for instrument repair work is based on a $60 – $75/hour baseline. That is, if a seasoned and experienced Luthier can reasonably complete a task in an hour, the labor will cost $60-$75 (depending on the local economy).
This baseline rate is fundamental to professional Luthiery. It is not arbitrary. It is the rate that Luthiers have determined is required – once expenses and unpaid tasks are factored in – for us to make a living wage. It is the rate suggested by professional Luthiery training schools, and defines the repair costs of any legitimate repair shop.
Elden Luthiery’s methodology and standards reflect the mainstream professional Luthier tradition and so does our repair pricing. Expect that costs of our work will be equivalent those of other professional shops in Tucson.
Same or next day – Quick jobs: clean and re-strings, strap button installs, tuner repairs, …
4-6 days – Common repairs that do not require glue work : fret levels, set-ups, bone nuts & saddles, pickup installs, wiring issues, …
1-2 weeks – Common repairs that do require glue work: broken head stocks, bridge re-glues, acoustic body cracks, …
2-4 weeks – Common intensive repairs: full re-frets, full re-wires, lefty conversions, aesthetic modifications, …
4-6 weeks – Less common intensive repairs: neck re-sets, reconstructive body work, structural modifications, …
6-10 week – Finish work repairs (slow turn around due to curing times required by most finishes)
It is our goal to ensure that every repair that leaves our shop meets three criteria:
- That the work is meticulously and thoroughly performed.
- That it meets the requirements established by mainstream professional Luthiery.
- That it meets the personal preferences of the individual player.
Our Repair Warranty:
If you are unsatisfied with any aspect of our work, or would simply like adjustments made to better meet your personal preferences, please return the instrument to us within 30 days of pickup. Any possible changes that can be made to ensure your complete satisfaction with our work will be done free of charge.
Situations often arise in which an instrument is at the edge of its need for extensive work, but a lesser cost repair can make the instrument adequately playable. (For example; a set-up with high action to reduce buzzing on a guitar that ideally should have fret work done.) We will make you aware of such a situation whenever possible.
Should you decide, after taking your instrument home to play it, that you would like to have the “next step” repair done (within 30 days of pickup), it will often be offered at a reduced cost.
Our shop is kept at a constant 35%-45% relative humidity and temperature of 65F-80F. We, however, have no control over the environmental conditions that your guitar is subject to once it leaves our care.
If a repair is comprised due to environmental extremes or neglect after pickup this warranty is void. For info about environmental considerations, please see the instrument care section below . Acoustic top cracks are also not covered by this warranty.
Also: If attempts are made to address your concerns by anyone other than an Elden Luthiery Technician, this warranty will be void. We are here to help you get the most out of your instrument. Don’t be shy, the more you communicate with us the better we can meet your needs.
Two of these, Humidity and Temperature, you have the ability to manage.
One, Time, you have no control over.
The following addresses some things to keep in mind to help minimize damage and extend the life of your instrument.
Wood shrinks and contracts in response to humidity changes. Most instruments are built in rooms kept between 35% and 55% relative humidity. Ideally, an instrument should be kept in an environment comparable to the one it was built in. Although this is rarely possible in Tucson, an in-home humidifier or storage of your instrument in its case with an instrument humidifier is tremendously helpful. Swamp coolers can also increase indoor humidity, but AC units reduce it. In the short term, a lack of humidity can have noticeable effects on action and playability. In extreme situations, or after extended periods, structural changes or damage may occur- sharp fret ends and cracks (especially on acoustic tops) are the most common problems. Extreme humidity (over 65%) takes a long time to cause any real damage, but extreme changes in humidity can exacerbate any other developing issues.
The glues most commonly used in instrument building and repair soften at around 150⁰F. Glue joints can loosen, shift, or even separate if an instrument is subject to extreme heat. Your car interior or trunk can easily reach 150⁰ on a hot day! So can the inside of a black guitar case left exposed to the summer sun! Your instrument likes the shade as much as you do. Extreme heat, even for short periods of time, can be detrimental to your instrument. Although cold is less of a problem, an extreme temperature change from cold to hot can cause finishes to check (crack) and can worsen other developing issues.
As the saying goes “it would rather be a tree.” Wood is a sensitive, inconsistent, and temperamental material. Furthermore, all glues degrade over time. To make matters worse, the average steel string acoustic guitar is held under 175 lbs of constant tension – 24 hours a day, for its whole existence. Your guitar is, quite literally, tearing itself apart. One of the primary considerations of acoustic instrument design is the management of these forces. Your instrument will change over time, especially in the first few years of its existence, regardless of quality, no matter what. A great deal of instrument repair work is centered on addressing the natural changes that your instrument will go through during its lifetime.
The two most important things that you can do in Tucson to minimize the need for repairs, and extend the life of your instrument, is to consistently keep your instrument humidified in its case when not in use and to avoid subjecting your instrument to extreme heat.
If you are interested in further information about how to properly care for your guitar, please check out the Basic Guitar Care Seminar I offer though the shop.