Being in the musical instrument business for nearly 60 years, we at the Denver Folklore Center have encountered quite a few acoustic musical instrument problems. The most common concern we hear from customers is that their instrument doesn't sound or play right. Perhaps there’s string buzz or maybe the action (the space between the strings and the fingerboard) has become less comfortable.
Colorado’s climate, changing from modestly humid in the summer months to extremely dry in the winter, is often the cause of buzzing, high action and other common problems. The short-term fix is often what we call a setup. Preventing a lot of these issues relies on humidifying your instrument.
Sooner or later most instruments will need a professional setup. Just as a tune-up helps an automobile’s performance, a setup will bring your instrument back to life. Understanding the musician’s playing ability and style is important to achieving the perfect setup. Level of experience, finger versus flat picking, heavy-handed or light touch – all of these affect the playability of an instrument.
With that in mind, we may:
Colorado’s desert-like climate is often the cause of some of the other more common repair problems we see. Some of these dryness related issues include:
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For more than 20 years, John Rumley has been the lead technician at the repair shop at the Denver Folklore Center and has worked on thousands of stringed instruments, including more than a few unique ones. He is also well known in Denver as a guitar builder and performing musician.