Please recommend a luthier or guitar technician in NYC
March 31, 2013 8:42 AM   Subscribe

I am seeking a truly excellent luthier/guitar tech in New York City, preferably Manhattan, specializing in acoustic instruments and capable of doing advanced woodwork.

Fixing up my neglected guitar collection after 20 years of swearing I would get to this and start playing again.

I want to restore a beloved and unique vintage dreadnought acoustic guitar that needs bridge/action/nut work, fretwork, new tuning machines, and cosmetic work of various kinds. It also has a subtle crack in the top that I believe can be repaired (solid spruce top, I'm 100% sure you could fix this on a violin without replacing the top).

Money is virtually no object (nor is waiting time, someone really busy is probably what I want), as I am willing to spend more than this guitar is worth (roughly $1200-1500 if in good shape) if necessary to get it done *just* right. The instrument is of very high sentimental value to me, and at its peak was an astonishing sweet playing and sounding instrument.

"Expensive, obsessive, took forever, and worth it, I loved this guy's work" is the filter I'd like to apply.

I would be grateful for recommendations of someone you have used personally or personally know a serious guitarist to have used, on a quality *acoustic* instrument (I need a Telecaster wizard too, so that would be a bonus, but unimportant). I need more than a standard setup technician's abilities here (especially to deal with that crack in the top).

Willing to go anywhere in the NYC area, but would prefer an individual rather than a music store. (Has anyone here ever had work done on a Martin by Mandolin Bros.? That might be an exception.)

This was my first really good guitar, and cost me a very hard-earned $450, 30 years ago (when it was already 10 years old). I'm sure the many guitarists of MeFi know what I mean!
posted by spitbull to Grab Bag (5 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Not in NYC but Mass. Try T.J. Thompson.

Would know a guy in your area, probably.
posted by Ironmouth at 9:19 AM on March 31, 2013

Flip Scipio is the best luther in new york. TJ might be better with vintage Martins, but both men fall into the "best in the world" category.
posted by phil at 9:27 AM on March 31, 2013

You are looking for Retrofret. Give them a call or head over and speak to Mamie in person.
posted by thejoshu at 10:00 AM on March 31, 2013

Seconding Retrofret. They are incredible. One of the guys who works there also works on the instrument collection at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. As in, the Strads and Guarneris at the Met. It's also one of those shops that's just really neat to hang out in and soak up the atmosphere.
posted by Polyhymnia at 10:22 AM on March 31, 2013

Thank you for the suggestions, everyone! I will check Flip Scipio and Retrofret out for sure. Happy to hear more suggestions.
posted by spitbull at 3:15 PM on March 31, 2013

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