Sever Instruments & Accessories offers you a complete luthier’s service. We repair and maintain all kinds of guitars, basses and other instruments. Our skilled master luthiers take professional care of your musical instrument. We have a long tradition in repairing and guitar building. Each instrument is treated with special care and dedication. All procedures are performed with professional luthier tools.
It is recommended that you take an appointment with our master luthier who is going to inspect your instrument and give you information about further procedures. See contact data here.
At SEVER Musical instruments the guitar repair and maintenance of different kinds of instruments has a long tradition beginning in late 1970s and it represents a link with constant activities and presence on the market. This part of our work also represents a genuine interaction between musicians and their requests on one side and us, with our quality luthier service at the other. With this direct contact we can offer a complete luthier service. In that way we receive a precious feedback and we try to adapt to musicians demands all the time. As a result we both enjoy high quality service and instruments.
We will try to present our view on the most important categories of guitar repair and maintenance we practice as follows:
- Intervention on your instrument in order to improve tone characteristics and playing parameters
- Repairing malfunctions
- Improving the playing functions with existing parts
- Installing new parts or replacing existing parts with new ones
- Periodic or urgent intensive maintenance & cleaning intervention
- Preparation and adjustment of the instrument for recording purpose or important exhibition
- Adjustment of the instrument to a longer period of no-use
- Adjustment of the instrument after a longer no-use period
- Handling and maintenance of the instrument after a procedure
The description of listed luthiers procedures will try to explain the nature of most common repairing work we perform. We'll try to give you the most understandable and simple explanation of luthiers’ proceedings in order to give you a guide for understanding, maintaining and setting your instrument. You'll be surprised what a big impact can the technical knowledge of your instrument have on the ways you use and handle it.
All procedures are performed on a high professional level and based on numerous experiences. We find the needed technical help in the line of specially designed professional luthier tools that are an example of our own innovation and development. With such approach we can achieve some important goals: quality, professionally executed repairs and short but efficient working procedures.
Most common intervention is connected with incorrect and improper neck shape and positioning. We have to follow three most important parameters: inclination of the neck, neck set up symmetry and centralization and finally neck relief (the correct concave bended neck profile). With a perfect alignment of these three factors we get perfect conditions for string's swinging and amplitude, together with smoother and pleasant playing conditions.
This professional made set-up allows us to play flowingly, smoothly and faster with less effort. No annoying buzz of the strings bouncing on the frets can be heard. Produced tones are crystal clear.
This part of work is connected with octave setting to obtain frequency and accuracy of tonality. We set octaves on the bridge. We also have to level frets, set up the nut and clean the fingerboard. This is all very important for strings dynamics and sustain.
Please pay attention to the action - the distance between the strings and the frets. It can be low for gentle performance or higher for more energetic playing mode, with big string amplitudes. The action setting is usually a compromise between a comfort playing at one side and playing style/type of music on the other.
The malfunction is any deviation from the expected functioning of the instrument and also malfunctions caused by fall, cracks, shocks or any other type of external force causing damage. Malfunction can also be the result of normal worn out. Most common of them are neck cracks at the point of neck-head joint. Cracks can also damage machineheads, potentiometers, knobs, pot necks and nuts. Usually they occur between improper transporting. Especially regarding electronic parts hidden mistakes are common. For that kind of repairs special tools and measuring instruments are required. Damaged parts can be fixed, wooden parts the easiest. Some broken parts have to be replaced, for that reason we have in stock quality replacement parts.
At this point we also polish the frets. This operation is used when the frets are not worn out equally. We level the frets considering the lowest (the most worn of them). This is a demanding job to do because first thing there has to be done is setting up the neck position and shape. This is a base for a proper frets set up. After sanding, we have to round and shape both fret ends. Specially shaped files are required for this operation.
This kind of malfunctions are usually caused by improper set-up of existing parts, long term storing and transport impacts on new instruments. New guitars are usually set up with higher actions in order to avoid string buzzing at the frets. The producers are using that kind of setting because of the changing conditions through the transport time. When using a new instrument from the shop it should be thoroughly inspected and basic set-up is required. All the instruments bought from Sever are already optimally adjusted.
Many times the customers are disappointed after buying a new instrument. Usually the basic set-up on the guitar does not include high action so playing is hard and requires big efforts. All this can be prevented with a proper adjustment of the new instrument and also with teaching the user some basic technical operation for instrument maintenance. For example: changing strings seems an easy operation mastered by everyone. However the wrong approach can have bad impact on tonality and tone stability of the instrument. In most cases some small adjustment of octaves are required. When changing strings of different gauge the whole neck set-up is needed. At Sever we have developed a whole new proceeding of string changing which allows rich tones and tone stability.
Otherwise this group of malfunctions also includes unconfirmability of parts that tend to move or loosen up such as machineheads, bridges, tremolo bridges, pickups. In order to repair this conditions we level pickup output, change screws, pick guards, jack plates, jacks … Usually this that kind of problems appear on cheaper guitars due to their poor quality parts.
The malfunction is not the only reason for changing guitar parts. With a careful selected new quality parts we can substantially improve the tone characteristic of the instrument. We frequently change pickups, electronics components, machineheads, nuts and bridges. At this point we would like to point out two kinds of operations that can be performed: simple changing in the existing wholes, pickups, jacks, pots, etc. and more demanding procedures with new holes drilling for pickups or other components. This latter are more expensive and also require more time.
The most common intervention is fret changing. When frets are worn out so that we can't improve them with sanding and leveling anymore, we have to replace them with new ones. The operation requires 5 to 7 days of work, for stainless steel frets 10 days in all. We can manage to change them in one day but in this case we can't guarantee the quality of the proceeding because the resting period which prevents tensions in wooden parts is skipped. Depending on neck construction we identify different fret-changing approaches. The simplest one is changing frets on classical guitars (flat fingerboard, no binding, softer type of frets). On better quality classical guitars with ebony fingerboard the operation is far more demanding.
Changing frets on folk-acoustic guitars is much more complicated. They have curved fingerboards and many of them also bindings. It's some kind of an unwritten rule that more expensive the guitar is, more demanding the fret changing operation is. We know different type of frets regarding the material and shape. They are all submitting to fast worn-out so we developed our own Sound Detonator frets. They are a result of a compromise between long lasting tone characteristic and comfortable playing.
Together with re-freting, neck set-up and leveling the fingerboard follows. When re-freting your guitar the existing set-up parameters are changed so we recommend changing also the strings and proceeding with action and octaves set-up.
Usually installing new parts on your instrument requires drilling new holes and other routing work in order to place a new part in position. With this we change the original appearance of your instrument. Here we have proceedings of electrification of acoustic and classical guitars. We install piezo pick up under the bridge and we route new holes for placing EQ and battery box. Fortunately, for installing cable socket we can use the hole of end pin button since the socket is incorporated in specially designed end pin button with socket.
Sometimes we have to perform routing new holes also on electric guitars and basses if we have to replace for example single coil pickups with humbuckers or soapbar pickups. All in order to enrich the tone.
There were times when Floyd Rose Tremolo Bridge was very popular and we had to install many of them. It's a demanding job with a lot of routing and we had to replace the old nut with special string blocking nut. Not to mention the action and octave settings that is extremely demanding on guitars with Floyd Rose Bridge.
Very important matter for maintaining good tonality and stability of any instrument. From our experience we know this part of instrument care is mostly neglected from their owners. Many questions from the instrument owners are about why is the instrument deteriorating with time and this is the answer: we have to maintain the proper micro climatic and higro-termic conditions and protect the guitar from their harmful impact.
Acoustic guitars of all type are especially vulnerable. Don't forget that also electric guitars and basses can be damaged if not properly maintained, especially basses with long scales due to the strings tension. Possible consequences of non-maintenance are: no clarity tone, no sustain, “harder” playing conditions. Improving these malfunctions lasts for about 2 weeks and more, especially if the instrument is dried out. After the repairing operation we have to bring on the everyday maintenance. We recommend using proper maintenance products such as humidifiers, cleaning liquids. Give your instrument what it needs. Send it or bring it to our master luthiers to be inspected and repaired if needed at least once a year. Most instruments, especially those made from good quality wood are gaining with years. They get better and better, but only with a basic care and maintenance from your behalf.
At this point the most common interventions are string replacement as well as octave and neck adjustment. A gig preparation demands an overall inspection of the instrument that includes a detailed analysis of all guitar parts and their work performance.
Firstly, the electronics gets checked (potentiometers, switches, capacitors ...). Each element is properly set and adjusted. The procedure is carried out slowly and thoroughly. Then the strings are taken down – at the same time the frets get cleaned. What follows is a deep cleaning and coating of the fingerboard. This is what creates a pleasant feeling under player’s fingers and a fast playing base. After the strings are attached again they are tested on every field to get sure they create clean and long sounds.
After that we check any screws and fasten them if necessary. This prevents possible unwanted buzz at certain frequencies. Tremolo and bridge are then greased. This enables a smooth string return into its starting position.
These kinds of procedures include around 4 to 5 hours of work. Because the procedure includes string replacement it is recommended that the instrument undergoes the procedure at least 3 days before the show. It is also very recommendable that after that the instrument is being played on regularly on a daily bases in order to stretch the stings. While doing that we have to regularly wipe them with a proper cloth and be aware that we perform on our instrument with clean hands. However there exists a procedure of string replacement that enables immediate use of the instrument.
After the preparation and maintaining procedure we use our instrument to perform music pieces that will be a part of our upcoming gig. While doing that we keep an ear on the tones – they have to sound clean. It is very useful to play without being wired so that any audio imperfection can be heard and repaired. This is also a good time to check our guitar belt adjustment – we have to reassure the best position of the instrument in order to perform at our best.
Right before the show don’t forget to check all the cables and get a proper stock of guitar picks.
Before putting our guitar away for a longer period of time it is recommendable to consult an expert. Based on the current instruments’ state he can properly prepare it for a longer stagnation. This is the only way to reassure that after renewed activation the instrument won’t suffer long-lasting damages or/and deformations.
The stagnation of the instrument is in some cases inevitable and sometimes even useful. But that only stands if the instrument is properly processed before it is putted aside. After a longer period of non-use the guitar becomes stiffer, slower, makes unusual sounds etc. As it was explained in Installing new parts or replacing existing parts with new ones each instrument is a sensitive individual system. A longer period of non-use eventually demolishes the balance that guaranties impeccable sound and use. By diminishing or totally giving up with performing the instrument begins to behave differently.
Beside that any unsuitable exterior conditions can cause imperfections, changes and damages that affect the instrument as a whole. Usually the latter shows on the sound board, the bridge, neck and fingerboard. In order to control these damage causing parameters we use suitable procedures. What enable us to detect them are special measure appliances such as thermometer, hygrometer and others.
After a longer period of non-use the instruments has to be properly approached. The procedure starts with a thorough examination in order to determine any imperfections or flaws. In certain places we perform a test with pressing or moving. Such approach shows if the instrument behaves normally and if it is ready to be used again. It is recommendable to perform such examination a few days before starting to use the instrument regularly again.
The main principle with this procedure is to work gradually and with that considering the right (predominantly logical) order of work that has to be done. Facing a new era of increased use of the instrument a string replacement and fingerboard revival is in place. Parameters also demand our attention.
The experiences show that instruments that went under proper maintenance during prior use and before being put aside don’t cause bigger expenses when putting them in action again. However we are talking about a completely different story when guitars were unsuitably removed and/or untouched for a longer period of time. The consequences of such bad handling are lifted sound board, curved neck and other. Such conditions demand intensive work. They are also time consuming and understandably pricier.
Activities from this sector are common also when buying a new instrument. In both cases the owner should be informed about proper handling, maintaining and storing procedures. The main intention is to point out the negative consequences of improper handling. With spreading this kind of knowledge we contribute to a conscious user that knows and understand his instrument. The latter can then be properly used and any unwonted damages are prevented.
An important role in this segment is played by cleaners and cleaning accessories. Regarding their price they are a negligible expense but they offer a long-term no-problem use of the instrument.