Yesterday, I took some cash from a gear sale and had a Wilkinson tremolo installed on my FNH guitar which was a long overdue modification.
I started by calling Andy Brauer, to see about getting the work done. The first thing Andy said to me was that the scope of the job (i.e. routing out a cavity on a guitar with a hard tail bridge) wasn’t something that he would be willing to take on, but he said if I called him back in a half an hour he’d get a phone number to me.
Lesson 1: Have a clear concept of what work you are willing to do rather than half ass something you don’t want to do. Since this isn’t an option for someone of Andy’s caliber – he made a referral for me so I could get the work done
I called him back a 1/2 hour later and Andy got the number for me. He told me to give Seth Mayer a call (818-427-1543). I got in touch with Seth and he seemed like a nice and knowledgeable guy and told me to bring it by his workshop that evening. As Andy had referred Seth (and Andy’s reputation is unimpeachable to me), I went to Seth’s knowing that I was going to get my instrument sorted out.
Lesson 2: When you refer people to someone you build good will but you put your name on the line.
I brought it by Seth’s and he explained that the holes from the original bridge might need to be doweled and might not be completely covered up by the new trem. This was fine with me. I said he didn’t even have to sweat putting a back back plate on the route as my main concern was that it was functional instead of being “pristine”. Seth said he would do what he could to try to accommodate both aspects and that it would be done within a week.
I got a call today (2 days later) that it was done. Here’s the guitar:
When I went to go pick it up, I found that Seth had recessed the trem so I could pull up on it like I asked.
He also threw a back plate on it and did a great job setting it up in general.
Lesson 3: When you tell someone you’ll do something – do it.
But if you can improve upon that it’s to your benefit to do so.
Seth could have hung onto it for a week and done the job and I never would have known. Instead, he turned it around asap. He could have tried charging me a rush fee. (I’ve had plenty of guys try to pull that before.) Instead – he did much more than I asked him to do.
Do you ever wonder why certain stores go out of business? The ones’s that don’t repair things competently or when they say they are going to? The one’s that leave you a bad taste in your mouth after you’ve gone there? Do you ever wonder why certain musicians who flake on sessions don’t get call backs?
Now when anyone asks me where to take a guitar to get repaired in LA – I’ll send them to Seth. This is the same level of referral that you should work towards as a musician.
Lesson 4: This is what it means to be a professional. In your interactions as a professional musician – your word is your bond.
Seth Mayer Guitar Repair