Pricing and Services

FOR DETAILS OF THESE AND ADDITIONAL
LUTHIER SERVICES, SCROLL DOWN

SETUP

• $75 Basic setup (+ $7.50 strings)
• $90 Deluxe Setup (+ 7.50 strings)
-with glossy maple fretboard: add $25
-with Floyd Rose Tremolo: add $25

SADDLES

• Nubone: $40
• Tusq: $60
• Bone: $80
• Solid Carbon Fiber: $90
• Woolly mammoth tusk ivory: $100

REFRET W/PLEK & NEW NUT

-with nickel wire: $500
-with bound fingerboard: add $50
-with stainless steel wire: add $80

-partial refret: $17.50/fret (+ $75 setup)
-with bound fingerboard: $20/fret (+ $75 setup)

NUTS

• Nubone: $40
• Tusq: $60
• Bone: $80
• Solid Carbon Fiber: $90
• Woolly mammoth tusk ivory: $100
• Buzz Feiten nut: $135

PLEK FRETS AND FULL SETUP

(like AM-100 video on homepage)

-$200

-with bone nut: add $60

ELECTRONICS

Pickup swap:
•One pickup:$40
•Two pickups: $50
•Three Pickups: $60

NECK RESET

• $350

Potentiometer Swap:

•Two pots: $35
•Three pots: $40
•Four pots: $45

FISHMAN MATRIX ELLIPSE BLEND
ACOUSTIC PICKUP INSTALLATION

• $180 for pickup and 9-volt battery
• $120 for installation of pickup
-add $25 if sound hole shim is needed

Switch/Jack Replacement:
•Mono: $35
•Stereo:/solderless: $45
•3-way Toggle:  $40
•5-way toggle: $50

CARBON FIBER & BONE SHIMS

• $35 for each shim needed
-Carbon available in .015″, .030″,
   or .040″ thicknesses
  -Bone available in .020″

Modifications:

Tele mod to a Strat
(bridge and neck pups only)
•with push-pull: $55
•with Callaham blender pot: $60
•Coil tap: $60
•Treble Bleed mod: $40

REGLUE BRIDGE

• $140

Archtop/Semi -hollow guitars

(ES-175, 335, 125, 135, 150, etc)
•Min. bench fee added to order: $50
•Resolder ground to tail piece:  $50

SHELL DOT SIDE FRETBOARD MARKERS

• $40 for two Mother of Pearl Dots
• $50 for three Mother of Pearl dots
-either 2mm or 3/32” (2.38mm)
    dots are available in white MOP

Conductive Shielding Paint

•Telecaster: $80
•Stratocaster: $90
• P-bass: $90

OTHER LUTHIER SERVICES

• $60 an Hour
-Fill tuner holes & match color
-Broken headstock
-Paint chip repair
-Buckle rash removal
-Remove dents from back of neck
-Reglue binding
-Custom made pickguards &
truss rod covers

•Complete Rewire: $60/hr
•S-1 switch replaced: $60
  All  electronics pricing is for labor only.
Pickups can be brought in, but all
other switches, jacks, pots, caps and
circuit wire must be bought here at
Straight Frets.  All electronics jobs include
having pots sprayed with contact cleaner.
Prices subjected to change.

BASIC SETUP (gigging musician on the go)

My basic setup includes cleaning and conditioning the fretboard with steel wool, polishing the tops of the frets to a glossy shine, wiping the body down with guitar cleaner, tightening the tuners, adjusting the truss rod, and setting the action & intonation. Recommended if you’re about to go into the studio or about to sell the axe on Craigslist. It takes a little more than two hours and usually is about a week’s wait.

 

DELUXE SETUP (normal wait time)

The focus here is making a guitar look, feel, and sound new again. I take the time to remove the hardware and buff the body, neck, and head with cotton wheel buffers and Menzerna compounds. I also use my metal polishing station to polish the visible metal parts, then clean and lightly oil the threads of the bridge hardware on Gibson style bridges. I also take a little more time polishing the frets, insuring they are chrome-like all the way down to the board. This looks very nice when the light hits your neck at an angle and you see your frets shine in the corners. Action, truss rod, and intonation adjustments with a Peterson strobe tuner are also included. This setup is done in about a week or less and costs $95, due to the extra time and materials involved. This price is subjected to change due to extremely hazed and grimey nitrocellulose finishes with decades of neglect and/or extremely rusty screws and hardware.

 

SADDLES and NUTS

Straight Frets offers five different saddle and nut materials,
in addition to being an authorized retrofitter of Buzz Feiten nuts:


Nubone is a product of the Tusq company. This material is an excellent alternative to plastic. It is a decent resosnant material that is white in color, and is preslotted or intonated for Martins, Taylors, Fender Stratocasters, and classical guitars. Click here for more info on NuBone.


Tusq is the material Taylor has put on their acoustic guitars for years. If you’d like a direct replacement of the factory original, this is it.  When new, it has a sand color that is excellent for transferring vibrations consistently.  It is used by many other guitar factories. Click here to see the extensive list of these companies.

 

 Iboney is what is used as Straight Frets’ preferred bone material. It is cow bone soaked in a ivory treated liquid of some sort. It has some of the most magical acoustical properties of any material I’ve found. The final shape is cut from blanks to fit your instrument with tolerances up to one thousandth of an inch, and has an antique white color. I have installed this material into countless concert classical guitars, Les Pauls, and steel string acoustics for well over 14 years with incredibly satisfied customers. Click here for more info on Iboney.

Carbon fiber is a material that has become more fashionable for luthiers in both the steel string and classical worlds in recent years.   Lighter than aluminum yet stronger than steel, it’s favored for reducing the weight of bracing while adding rigidity to the top.  It is charcoal black in color and possesses great acoustical qualities.  We’ve been quite amazed how certain older Gibson acoustics came alive with a large shim under the saddle, in addition to having classical guitars boosted in projection with solid carbon nuts and saddles.

 

Woolley Mammoth Tusk Ivory is harder to come by, but has the warm, bell like tone of ivory, but also has interesting grain patterns similar to the overlapping rings of a Spirograph from the 1970’s. Being that it’s at least 15,000 years old, it’s probably the oldest component of any guitar.

 

Buzz Feiten

Buzz Feiten nuts have a slight fingerboard overhang to solve the age-old problem of lower fret positions being sharp. There’s a few different Gibson Les Pauls getting retrofitted on my Before and After pages.  They are also good for Fender Stratocaster style guitars. Made of solid bone and guaranteed to make you guitar audibly more in tune. Clickhere for more information about Buzz Feiten.

 

ACOUSTIC GUITAR PICKUP INSTALL

I prefer to install the Fishman Matrix Ellipse Blend system into both nylon and steel string guitars. These retail for $220 but I sell them to my customers for $180. I have them in my personal instruments and can give you a demo of how wonderful they sound. They utilize a control base that borders the top inner rim of the sound hole, essentially being invisible when being played and eliminating the need for a huge hole to be cut into the side. The unit uses both an under-the-saddle transducer and a gooseneck microphone that hovers visibly in the center of the guitar’s acoustic chamber. The blend slider allows you to control how much of each you’d like, giving you a very real acoustic sound.

The installation requires an input jack to be installed in the butt of the guitar, in addition to the transducer to be properly fitted under the saddle, a 9-volt battery pack (Velcro canvas pouch) to be stuck to the heel of the guitar, and the aforementioned control base to be mounted to the rim of the sound hole. If the latter requires a custom shim made to create a level mounting surface, $25 is added to the cost of the installation.

 

REFRET

I carefully remove the frets after heating them slightly. I prefer to take as little wood as possible off of the board when prepping it for frets. I clean the slot thoroughly with specialty tools and a vacuum. I then measure the depth and width of each slot to insure a proper fit of the new frets.  Client’s fret choice needs to be made here at the shop if possible. I have a sample 21-fret neck with different sized wire every three frets. Frets are then over radiused to insure proper grip of the tang on the walls of the slot. Frets are glued in while either being hammered or pressed into the neck.  Clamping cauls are used to help hold even pressure while the glue dries.  Frets are then leveled with string pressure factored in, then crowned and finally the ends are gently rounded.  Each fret is then polished in five stages to a chrome-like luster. The fingerboard is cleaned and conditioned with oil.

 

LEVELING, RECROWNING, AND DRESSING FRETS:

Given that there is enough meat to the fret and the board has the proper shape to it, frets can leveled and recrowned (rounded) a few times before a refret is needed.  This process involves having the Plek machine measure the fingerboard and the fret tops with a robotic finger accurate to less than 2/10,000″.  The machine can dress the frets with the proper neck relief in mind for each string.  From there, the frets are buffed shiny smooth, the board cleaned & oiled. and nut slots, action, and intonation are adjusted to your preference to give your instrument the highest level of care it can receive.

 

Plek

The Plek machine is a highly sophisticated CNC fret crowning machine that takes into account the distance between every fret and every string at every unfretted note with the string tension on, while removing very small amounts of fret material. This aspect of string tension is also what makes our hand fret leveling process very accurate. The Plek service, which is outsourced, can also cut the proper width and depth slots into a bone blank. The luthier skills needed to complete the job (shaping/polishing the nut, rounding the fret ends, and setting the action & intonation) are done here at Straight Frets. Please click the link below to read more about this service.

Read more about Plek.

 

ELECRONIC WORK

All wiring is done with the highest quality CTS pots with tolerances of less than 10%.  We also use braided cloth wiring, Switchcraft jacks, and the Callaham blender pot, which exchanges the 2nd tone knob for an alternate 5-way pickup selection, allowing the player to have 2 additional sounds: the Tele mod (bridge and neck pickups only), in addition to all three pups at once.

 

Any of the potentiometer, switch, or pickup replacements costs reflect a direct fit replacement.  Any special modifications to the guitar or pickups are discussed prior to any operation.  We never assume an agreement.

 

The SwitchCraft jacks and Callaham blender pots we use are cryogenically treated.  This process takes steel and holds it at a temperature of -300 degrees Fahrenheit for a 24 hour period, then allows the metal to rise back to room temperature over another 24 hours.  This modifies the molecular structure of metal to a more uniform grain alignment, increasing its strength, hardness, and acoustical qualities.   Used by NASA, NASCAR, on US military circuit boards, and of course, at Straight Frets electronics department.  Please call or email us with any electronics questions you might have.  When mulitple electronics jobs are combined, the bill reflects a 10% reduction of labor costs.

REGLUING BRIDGE

Regluing bridges involves heating the surface to allow for glue to be softened. Bridge spatulas are used to cleanly remove the bridge. Micro chisels and sand paper are then employed to allow for a clean bond held with specialty clamps and cauls intended just for this job. We like to wait at least 2-3 days of drying time.

 

SHELL DOT INLAYS

A common addition to handmade concert classical guitars, shell dots help dress up the edge of a fretboard much nicer than white-out or a piece of tape.  Brad point bits are used to precisely drill the holes without chipping any surrounding finish.  Once glued in, Straight Frets diamond leveling files (as sold in the eBay store) are used to file the tops of the shell uniformly into the existing finish, which is then buffed to a uniform gloss.  The end result are dots that look as if they were installed before the neck was finished.  Dots are carefully selected for uniform color, and placed to shine from the player’s perspective at the 5th and 7th frets, or with the addition of the 9th fret.

CARBON FIBER & BONE SHIMS

Carbon fiber shims are quite possibly the best thing since sliced bread.  It comes in three thicknesses: .010”, .020”, .030”, the latter being the thickness of a credit card.  We glue these on to the bottom of nuts or saddles, but can also custom cut them for you unglued if you’d like to experiment with stacking them.  On occasion we have to glue two pieces together, which of course doubles the cost.  On older Martin and Gibson acoustics, especially those with adjustable height screws on the sides, we strongly suggest a chuck of carbon to fill that void between the saddle and the soundboard.  You won’t believe your ears!

 

Bone shims come in .020” thickness and are a great alternative to carbon at the nut if your guitar has a lighter colored neck.  It can also be used for saddle shimming and like the carbon, can be left unglued for you to experiment with different heights and strings.

POLISHING (buckle rash removal & hardware detailing):

Although buffing is part of my deluxe setup, extreme cases like the PRS with buckle rash on my Before and After pages require a separate charge of $65 an hour. Time is calculated on my shop stopwatch timer, so that accurate assessment of the charge is given. The PRS took an hour and 20 minutes ($60). Time can be taken to remove tuners and other hardware, polish them separately, level the finish with 500, 1000, 1500, and then 2000 grit wet and dry paper, then buff the finish to a like-new luster. High speed cotton wheel buffers are utilized to bring out the original shine and luster of faded nitrocellulose, French polished, and lacquer finishes.  Menzerna polishing compounds (as used by Fender and Gibson Custom Shops) achieve consistent results with electric and acoustic guitars alike. All of this reflects my years of detailing cars as a teenager in addition to appreciating a well-maintained instrument.

 

ADDITIONAL LUTHIER SERVICES

Other
services include
•re-glue loose binding
•cleat cracks from continuing
•partial refret that match fret ends
•address creaking classical machine heads
•adding a Bigsby to a solid or semi-hollow guitar
•adjust angles in neck pockets with solid carbon fiber
•repair dents in back of neck with super glue, level, and buff
•fabricate bridges, pickguards, and truss covers for jazz guitars
•fill old tuner holes and match color while replacing the tuners
•resurface dented necks and refinish with Tung oil

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