You’ve been searching far and wide for the perfect “next guitar” to add to your collection. Have you ever considered that it might be sitting, neglected, in some closet or perched precariously on a dusty studio stand? Instead of investing in a fourth Tele or a sixth Les Paul this season, why not show an old friend some sweet TLC through Sweetwater’s Guitar Workshop? From pickup upgrades and fret repairs to string changes and setups, our skilled luthiers will have your stringed instrument singing again in time for the holidays.
Dollar for dollar, a professional setup by Sweetwater’s certified service techs is the best way to keep your stringed instrument playing and sounding its best. Think of our setup as the “white-glove treatment” for your guitar or bass. We set the neck relief, action, intonation, and pickup heights to your specifications, then top off the tank with your choice of strings (brand and gauge). We also include a full-surface clean and polish for maximum replay value. Like a doctor’s checkup, a regular setup can keep your favorite instruments in peak playing condition. And when you get set up by Sweetwater, you can be confident we put the same quality and care into your instrument as we put into our own. All setups are backed by our 90-day parts and labor repair warranty.
Vintage instruments and lower-cost guitars, especially, can go from duds to studs with a quick trip through Sweetwater’s computer-aided Plek Pro machine. This system mechanically crowns and levels frets with a superhuman level of accuracy — to the nearest 1/100 of a millimeter (thinner than a piece of clear tape) — to completely eliminate dead spots, string buzz, and sharp fret edges from your fretboard. Our Plek Pro machine ensures the most even and consistent playing response possible, whether your guitar is brand new or an old, well-played friend. Our Plek Pro machine is so advanced that it can even cut nut slots to excruciating precision if a replacement is desired.
A Sweetwater Plek job always includes a full setup by your tech, a fret bevel and polish to smooth out any rough spots, and your choice of strings. In terms of playability, the Plek Pro is as close to a “magic bullet” for your guitar as you’ll find. See our Plek Pro System in action.
Sweetwater’s Plek Pro System — The Perfect Upgrade for Any Guitar
Upgrades and Mods
Do you have a guitar you love save for one or two quibbles? Maybe the pickups are hotter than you’re used to, or perhaps those vintage tuners just don’t pass muster. Let Sweetwater’s mod team turn that fair-weather guitar or bass into the instrument of your dreams. From saddles to string trees and everything in between, no challenge is too great for our skilled luthiers. Here are just some of the options that are always on the table:
- Electronics: A pickup upgrade is a great way to rekindle passion for a forgotten instrument. Passives to actives, P-90s to humbuckers, under-saddles to hybrid mic setups — chances are, if you can dream it, Sweetwater can make it happen.
- Shielding: Is there a buzzy Tele in your collection? We can shield the inside cavity with conductive tape or paint to create a Faraday cage around your pickups and pots. This dramatically reduces interference from noisy stage lights and rogue frequencies.
- Bridges: Got a vintage Strat you’d like to put a Floyd Rose on? A Tele you’d like to pop a Bigsby onto? Maybe you’ve had your eye on an EverTune? Don’t risk the install yourself — just tell us what you want, and we can make it happen.
- Nut/saddle: Whether it’s a tone-sucking bridge or a sticky nut dampening your spirits, our guitar techs can take care of it. Bone and TUSQ nuts make great upgrades to tack onto any standard setup.
- Stainless steel/EVO gold frets: Players who want to set and forget their next setup will definitely want to check out a re-fret of stainless steel or EVO gold. Both of these materials will impart mature tonal properties to any instrument in your collection. On top of that, they’re rated to last a lifetime without requiring additional work.
- Buzz Feiten Tuning System: Buzz Feiten was a visionary in the ways of sweetened guitar tunings, which is why his patented system still holds up against today’s options. If you’ve been searching for a way to make barre chords, thirds, and sixths sound more in tune up and down the fingerboard, we recommend Feiten’s non-equal-temperament tuning system to everyone from cowboy chordists to jazz players.
Sweetwater Guitar Mods
Sometimes, the only cure for an out-of-commission guitar or bass is some down and dirty repair work. From Dweezil Zappa to Machine Head, our guitar techs have helped some high-profile artists get their axes back in shape in time for a gig. Here are some of the many repair services we offer:
- Broken headstock repair: Guitars with significant neck break angles are particularly prone to having their headstocks broken out on the road. The good news is a broken headstock can often be repaired. We can even insert splines during the repair to make your neck stronger than new.
- Finish crack/separation: A cracked finish that has begun to separate from the top, back, or sides of your guitar is a common and easily solved issue. Give us a call or drop on by to see what we can do for your guitar.
- Neck reset: Acoustics and certain set-neck electrics are prone to wood settling over time, and their necks need to be reset to maintain proper playability. In this procedure, we remove the neck completely from the body and modify its joint angle to bring the action exactly where you want it.
- Pickup pot/rewind: There’s just something about true vintage pickups that even today’s most careful reproductions can’t touch. We can rewind your pickups to your exact specifications for additional heat or clarity or pot them in wax to help control feedback issues onstage, all without altering their fundamental characteristics.
- Fretwork: Sweetwater can level, crown, and polish or re-fret any guitar or bass you’ve got for enhanced playability.
- Bridge refit: If your acoustic guitar is by the wayside due to a lifted bridge, let us return it to its former playing glory with a bridge refit and reglue.
Repairing Dweezil Zappa’s #1 Guitar
Machine Head Guitar Repair at Sweetwater
Not a Player Yourself? Pick Up a Gift Card!
If it’s a loved one’s instrument you want to treat this holiday season, don’t worry about organizing the behind-the-scenes service job. Instead, drop a Sweetwater Gift Card in their stocking and let them schedule the repair or upgrade.
We hope this article has sparked some ideas for how to give your guitars the goods this holiday season. If you have any additional questions, give your Sweetwater Sales Engineer a call at (800) 222-4700 or contact the Guitar Workshop directly at guitar_shop@Sweetwater.com.