Common Repairs For Acoustic Guitars And Other Instruments


Since the early days of the Denver Folklore Center, we have had a acoustic guitar and stringed instrument repair shop. For the past fifteen years our instrument repairman has been John Rumley. John has worked on thousands of stringed instruments in that time and his knowledge and experience of his craft are vast.

The Set Up

By far, the most common procedure that John does on a daily basis, especially for an acoustic guitar repair, is what we call a “set up”. This includes addressing all the different factors that go into putting an instrument into it’s optimal playing condition. Some of these factors include:

  • adjusting the truss rod
  • filing high frets
  • filing fret ends
  • adjusting the height of the nut and/or saddle
  • filling or filing the nut slots for optimal width
  • adjusting intonation

Along with several other factors that can affect the playability of an instrument.

Another thing that often has to be taken into account is the player’s ability and style: beginner or experienced, flat-picker or finger-picker, heavy or light handed player, etc. A set-up is usually what is needed when a customer says to us, “I don’t know what’s wrong with my guitar, it just doesn’t seem to be playing right.” Sooner or later, any string instrument can use a set up.

Sure Is Dry Around Here

Unfortunately, our dry Colorado climate, is the cause of some of the other more common repair problems that we see. Some of these dryness related issues include:

  • cracks (usually in the top or back)
  • bridge lifting
  • cracks along the bridge pins
  • string buzzing due to low action
  • painfully sharp fret ends
  • cracks in the fret board

All of these problems are fixable and we are always happy to give you a firm estimate before commencing with any repairs.

Humidify That Thing

Many of the problems your instrument may suffer from due to dryness are either partially or completely preventable. The first thing to know are the signs of a dry instrument. The next step is humidifying your instrument if you see any of these signs with your instrument. We go into this subject in more depth in one of our other blogposts, Humidity, Colorado and Your Instrument.

Pick Up Line

Another very common procedure that our repairman, John, does is installation of all types of pick ups. We carry a fairly large selection of pick ups in our store (Fishman, L.R. Baggs, K & K, Barcus Berry) and John can install one of these or one that you have gotten somewhere else.

We Can Fix It (Probably)

Sometimes we will get a broken instrument in the store that looks hopeless, like a guitar headstock completely broken off from the neck. But, given some time and effort, we have been amazed at some of the magic that John has worked on these types of hapless instruments. If you have a problem with your stringed instrument there is never any charge for us to look at it and give you a firm estimate of what it would take to fix it. Then you can make an informed decision as to whether you think it is worth it to you to proceed with the repairs.