Repairs, Setup and Restoration

Do you have an instrument in need of some TLC? I offer a full and comprehensive repair and setup service for guitars, mandolins, banjos and any other fretted instrument. I never charge to look at an instrument, so if you have one that you think might want some attention get in touch to arrange an assessment and I will talk you through your options and explain the costs with no pressure or hard-sell.

A huge number of the problems an instrument can develop – from buzzing frets to strings like cheesewire that discourage you from picking it up in the first place can be easily fixed with a decent setup and service. The Prices listed below are for acoustic or electric guitars, rates for other instruments may vary, if you get in touch I will be very happy to advise.

Setup Price List

Setup and Basic Service –  A good setup can transform a guitar. Alex’s basic service includes a truss-rod alignment to make sure the neck is perfectly straight, adjustments to the playing action (string height), cleaning and conditioning to protect the fretboard, checking over any hardware such as tuning machines and electrics, a good general clean and fitting a new set of strings.
£55 (+ £10 for Floyd rose or similar) + Strings (various available)

Fretboard Service – For older instruments that have had a lot of playing hours a little care and attention to the fretboard can make a huge difference to the sound and player comfort. Alex’s fretboard service includes having the frets re-levelled, crowned and polished by hand, and the fret-ends trimmed and smoothed. One or two frets may be replaced if appropriate (see below). A setup and basic service is included as above.

£90 + Strings (various available)
 Full Re-Fret – When the original frets are just too worn to be re-levelled and re-crowned a complete re-fret is sometimes necessary. Installed with all the care and attention to detail that is taken with Alex’s new-builds, it is often easier and gives a better result to replace all of the frets at the same time than to replace a few individual ones. If you’re not sure whether a full re-fret is necessary for your instrument Alex will be happy to advise. A setup and basic service is included as above. A wide choice of fretwire is available including hypo-allergenic nickel free.

£175 (+£25 for bound fretboards) + Strings (various available)

Extra Options

Hand Made Nut and Saddle – High quality custom-fitted replacements for off-the-shelf plastic parts, each nut or saddle is made individually to order and can offer an instant and very noticeable improvement in tone and sustain. Buy a pair with any setup work as a package for a £20 discount.

                                                            Nut    Saddle    Pair
Bone, buffalo horn or Corian (several colours available)    £35     £45      £70
Tusq (synthetic ivory)                                      £40     £50      £80

Replacement Bridge pins –   High quality replacements for plastic bridge pins. Fitting includes reaming to ensure perfect fit and undercutting of string slots. Available in bone and ebony as well as chromed, antiqued and polished brass. Mother of pearl or abalone dots also available, enquire about the full range. In the case of badly worn bridges additional repairs may be necessary before fitting new bridge pins. 

£25/set with fitting
In the case of very specific requirements Alex can also make hand-turned custom bridge pins in a range of materials and designs that cannot be bought ‘off the shelf’ please enquire if you would like more information or a quote.
Hand-Turned Custom End Pin and Strap Button –  Each set is made to order, either to your specifications or as Alex feels will best compliment your instrument. A large range of hardwoods is available including ebony, flamed maple, boxwood, purpleheart and many more and can be made with centre dots in mother of pearl, gold mother of pearl, abalone, ebony or brass.

From £50 a pair

Custom bridges for Banjos and Mandolins – Each one made to order depending on the requirements of the player. Generally made from New Forest maple or a fruit wood such as plum or cherry, with an ebony or bone point of contact for the strings, correctly fitted these will improve the tone and sustain compared with the factory fitted bridges. Other materials, custom designs and adjusted intonation also available.

From £45 including fitting

I strongly believe that a good setup is critical to anyone learning to play the guitar, but especially for children. A poor setup can cause practise to be difficult and painful on the fingers. As a result I offer discounted rates for childrens’ instruments, get in touch for more details.

Bench Work (Repairs, upgrades, installation of hardware)

Repairs can come in many forms – cracks, damaged headstocks, lifting bridges, you name it I have fixed it. It is difficult to put together a price list that covers every possibility so repairs to damaged instruments dealt with on an individual basis, and I prefer to see the instrument in person before giving a definitive diagnosis and quote.

Installation of new hardware can cover anything from a full custom re-wiring to replacing individual faulty components such as jack sockets, to installing new tuning machines or strap buttons. I am always happy to discuss the options available to you and can recommend a selection of parts for any purpose and to fit most budgets. I can also often source harder to find components, such as tuning machines for antique classical guitars with old-fashioned post spacing.

Pricing for this kind of work is best assessed in person, and Alex is happy to provide no obligation quotes ahead of time. Bench work is charged at £50 an hour to the nearest 30mins.

If at all possible I will always try to bundle repairs and setups to offer you the best value package possible.


One of the areas that I find particularly satisfying is the restoration to playing condition of antique musical instruments. At university I studied instrument conservation and a significant portion of my Masters degree focused on understanding the intended playing features of historic musical instruments.

By using authentic materials and glues, painstakingly hand-crafting reproduction parts, conserving the original finishes and advising about authentic strings and setups I can  bring back to life instruments that had otherwise been consigned to the skip (quite literally in some cases, I’ve rescued several instruments from recycling centres, some of which were well over a hundred years old).

The banjo to the right here survived the trenches of the first world war before decades of neglect left it in the state you see in the top photo. It took a lot of restoring, but being able to play it for the grandson of it’s original owner made it all well worth it.

If you have an antique guitar, banjo, mandolin or any other stringed instrument that needs restoration get in touch and arrange to bring it in for an assessment.