Banjo, Guitar, All Stringed Instruments
Restore & Repair All String Instruments

I specialize in the restoration and repair of all string instruments, particularly those in the bluegrass genre. For more than 35 years I have repaired and restored over 1,000 instruments for amateur and touring professionals alike. My father Wallace Boulding, a respected luthier in western NC, taught me to "work on their stuff like it was mine." His advice has carried over into every area of my life and work.

Care for Your Instrument as I Would My Own

I care deeply about these instruments and the living history that is passed on from musician to musician. I care for them as I would my own. My goal is to preserve old instruments for future use, preserve family heirlooms and to keep more modern day 'player' instruments in proper working order.

Regardless of a customer being a novice or touring professional, I treat all customers with the same respect and make my pricing reasonable and keep lines of communication open. Customer satisfaction is vitally important to me, as is my integrity and reputation as a Luthier.

List of Common Repairs
  • Neck re-sets
  • Re-fretting
  • Set-ups
  • Refinishing/finish restorations
  • Tuner repair/replacement
  • Crack repair
  • Structural damage repair
  • Binding replacement/repairs
  • Brace repair/replacements
  • Bridge repairs/replacements
  • Bridge pin installation/repair
  • Bridge plate repair/replacement
  • Saddle and nut repair/replacements
  • Broken peg head repair
  • Custom build banjos
  • Custom built banjo necks
  • Re-fitting of tone rings/installations
  • Rim repair/re-fitting
  • Custom inlays
  • Fingerboard replacements/repairs
  • Heat sets on warped/bowed fingerboards
  • 'Speed neck' services
  • Sound post replacement
  • Custom-made bridges (banjo,bass)
  • Pick guard replacement/repair
  • Rosette repair
  • Pick-up installation
  • Electric guitar/bass pick-up installation
  • control/volume pot repair/installation
  • Electric guitar pick guard installation/repair
  • Laminate repair
  • Truss rod adjustment
  • Resonator cone replacement
  • Spider bridge saddle repair/replacement
  • Sound well repair
  • Metal re-plating (offered as 'farmed out' service)
  • Metal part cleaning/buffing services
  • Old finish 'clean up' and polishing (buffing out)
  • Bass adjuster post installation/repair
  • Restringing
  • Strap button installation
  • Clad fingerboard service(brass)
  • Fingerboard 'scalloping' service
  • Samples of Custom Repairs

    I have repaired 80 year old Zithers, reworked autoharps, worked on Celtic harps, accordions, violas, mandocellos, bouzoukis, a Hurdy-Gurdy, Balalaikas, Sanshin and Akonting , among others

    Some Frequently Asked Questions How can I tell if my instrument has an issue?

    Regardless of how much your instrument cost it is the one you love playing and want to keep on playing.

    If you've had instrument for a while, you'll be aware that "something" has changed about how it sounds or how it plays. Or you might notice something about the instrument looking different. These are all indicators that there might be some structural issue. It's hard to diagnose every indicator without more information.

    If you contact me by phone or email, I will work with you to determine if you should have a luthier look at your instrument.

    Is my instrument worth repairing?

    This is a frequent question and it always comes down to two factors: overall value and sentimentality. Some instruments are simply not worth what the repair will cost. I will advise you whether an instrument is worth repairing based on overall value.

    In some cases the instrument will be of low quality and have little to no retail or collector value, but it may have tremendous value to you personally. It could be your grandfather's guitar, or your first banjo, etc, and there's no way to price that kind of value. We will talk about all aspects of the instrument and why you are getting it repaired/restoration. I want you to be aware of all costs, understand the repairs, and make an informed decision.

    What kind of repair work do you do?

    It's hard to describe the types of work I do without leaving something out. The best answer I can give is that if your instrument needs something done, I've probably done very simiar.

    However, each person's instrument is unique and has its own needs so I inspect the instrument and talk with you about what I can do. I have performed common repairs on thousands of instruments. I have also performed "exotic" repairs on hundreds of instruments. I am confident that if your instrument needs work, I can do it. However, if there is something that can't be done, I will tell you what I know up front.

    Can I ship you my instrument for repair?

    Yes, shipped instruments comprise almost one half of my repair business. I receive instruments from about all 50 states, Canada and occasionally overseas.

    There are costs involved in shipping, plus insurance. This makes shipping your instrument for repair more costly than having the work done locally. I appreciate folks shipping me instruments to repair, but I also try to connect customers with local, reputable luthiers/repair persons located near to them, if at all possible. You must use a strong container, properly packaged for the musical instrument, insured against loss and breakage and send me tracking /confirmation numbers. The instrument will be returned in the same packaging and insured to the amounts you specify. In the 30 yeas I have been working on instruments, I have only had two damaged in shipping. This is simply because I am adamant about proper packaging and shipping procedures.

    If you have no prior experience shipping and instrument I will provide you with detailed information about how to do it. PLW -PROVIDE DETAILS IN WRITING AND VIDEO AND HAVE ON WEBSITE

    Do you give quotes before shipping?

    I can provide quotes for an estimate using information from phone conversations, mails, and pictures you send of the instrument. But there is no substitute for an in person inspection of the instrument and its issues.

    Final prices must always be set after I have a chance to inspect the instrument here in my shop. An estimate is just that- an 'estimate', so prices can be more, and less, than a quoted price. I always try my best to stay as close to my final price quote, after personal inspection, as possible. But if I find more issues once the work begins, I will call and email you before doing the extra work. No extra charges will be added unless you are aware and agree to it, period. Do not look for unexpected or hidden fees-there will never be any.

    Do you warranty your work?

    I will always stand behind my work. Period.

    Some repairs I warranty for extended periods, like a guitar neck reset which I warranty for 20 years - excluding, naturally, neglect, acts of God, and abuse by the instruments owner. Some repairs cannot be warrantied at all, like frets "wearing", since they are designed to wear and its a normal reaction to playing the instrument. The bottom line for me is integrity and keeping our lines of communication open.

    What if I find an issue afterwards?

    If you discover an issue, contact me as soon as you can. We will work together to resolve any issues. If there ia a problem I will redo the work or offer a refund.

    If you like, you can ask another repairman to evaluate any issues - But! do not allow any work to be done. If any changes are made then it voids the warranty. This policy prevents frustration on your part by avoiding any finger-pointing about who caused what. It also protects both me and the other other repairman.

    In the 30 years I have been offering professional repair work, I have only given a handful of refunds. It is very important for me to have a good name and I want to make you satisfied. Reputation is everything in the instrument repair business.

    John Boulding
    Phone: 336.483-7838

    Referrals on Banjo Hangout