Guitar Repair Stories Gone Awry!

It happens.  Sometimes it takes a few attempts to really diagnose a wiring problem, and it can take a few weeks to fix.  That's the story with my Squier Double Fat Strat.  It's been beat to shit on stage even before I owned it, and when my g/f bought it from my old best friend / guitarist for an anniversary gift, I didn't treat it much better over the years.  It held up great.........until just recently.

Aside from the abuse it suffered during my gigging days with Day Nine (dropped on stage purposefully, chipped paint, dropped on the street after a gig when I tried to carry too much, screws falling out of the neck pickup mount causing the pickup to swing into the strings onstage - which I used duct tape as a temporary solution), it finally had a problem that rendered it useless without repair.  The pickup switch went haywire.  It would cut out if you bumped the pickguard the wrong way, and when playing that can happen often.

So i priced some of the local stores.  Vance Music wanted about $14 to replace the switch, and about $30 labor.  Roadworthy Music wanted roughly the same.  When Smith Holden Music (the store that loaned me the PX4D for Episode 6) offered to clean the switch, polish the guitar, put new strings on it, and intonate it to E-flat for me for only $20.  How can I pass that up?!

Well, I had the repair done.  I got it back about a week before my vacation, and it was working like a dream.  And it looked great too!  I had already replaced the screw in the neck pickup, so that wasn't a problem anymore, but the gunk from the tape was still on the guitar.  They cleaned all that off, and it looked amazing.  Hadn't seen it look that way in years!  But then..........

Two days before I leave for vacation, the pickup switch cuts back out on me!  Realizing then that cleaning the switch out wasn't the proper course of action apparantly, I called Smith Holden Music the next day and they offered to fix it again with no labor cost.  The only cost would be for the part if it wound up being replaced.

Unfortunately, I couldn't get it in before leaving for vacation, but luckily when I got back they remembered me and took the guitar in.

That was two weeks ago today.

I just got it back today.

Evidently, there were deeper problems under the hood that needed to be addressed.  Aside from the fact that the guy had trouble getting the pickup switch to work in phase, there was another cord in the guitar that was shorting out too causing more confusion.  Til finally, they took their voltage meter to the cords and..........OOOOOH!

I got it back today.  Guitar repair can be a real bitch.

The reason I tell this story is that you don't want to be stuck with a guitar repair incident like this one when you're in a time crunch with studio time, or a deadline to get a record finished.  If possible, learn what you can about the instrument's inner workings so you can do light repairs yourself.  But always know when to take it to a professional.  And if possible, try to get the guitar a "tune up" before any studio time to help prevent problems like this when you're in a time pinch.

Working on episode 8.  Won't be long.  Sit tight!

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