Monday, 22 May 2017


Hi again,

well, the renovation saga continues...

The flooring guys haven't finished yet. Apparently they're juggling several jobs and are doing them all on a rotation schedule. Meaning I'm still not able to re-open the shop. Apparently they will be finished by Thursday, and then the builder can get in and do his stuff.

I finally spoke to the builder again yesterday and he assured me that I WILL be able to re-open next week. Phew.

Meanwhile I'm getting through the repairs at my home workshop.

Light at the end of the proverbial tunnel...

Thanks for your patience - see y'all soon.


Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Wednesday 17 May 2017

Hi everyone,

it's me again.

Just heard from the building owner that the flooring guys were indeed in there today, and will also be doing their thing Thursday and Friday. So that writes this week off for me (and you guys too). As expected. Walls we can ignore - floors we have to stand on...

I actually opened up yesterday (Tuesday) and had a relatively normal day booking repairs in for work, and having other repairs collected (and paid for). Seven guitars in, five guitars out - just about normal!

I did this with a skeleton version of the shop ( a bench, a laptop, my old tuner, my EFTPOS machine) and it was ok. If I have to do this for the next week or so, so that you can drop your guitars in to me, I can repair them, and you can pick them up and pay for them (!), then all will be fine. Just as it ever was.

Only differences will be that:

a) I do ALL of the repairs in my home workshop for the time problem.

b) The guitars for sale (both mine and those on consignment) won't be on display (although I am going to post them all on this journal, just in case any one is interested). There may even be some splendid deals  (given that my cash flow has temporarily become a cash-trickle...).

c) Temporarily at least, my little shop won't have all of the interesting, amusing, and hopefully enlightening paraphernalia that was there to engage you (while I was ignoring you while on the 'phone to someone else). I can guarantee that the re-born version of my silly little shop will be even more interesting and welcoming.

Everything else will be pretty-much as it has been for the last twelve years (that I've been open and trading in Lismore).

If you do drop by my shop and I'm not there, you can always book your guitar in with one of the other local music shops - Planet Music, Russell's Music, Byron Music, and also Valiant Music. I have a great relationship with all of these stores, do repairs for all of them, and they will be happy to book your guitar in so that I can pick it up and repair it.

Please assume that next week I will be open as usual, But if you're coming from some distance, please contact me the day before to make sure I'll be there.

Can I just say this..."Aaaaargggghhh!"

Thanks, as always, for your support. It will be back to normal soon!!


Monday, 15 May 2017


Hi folks,

I will be open tomorrow afternoon (Tuesday 16th). The flooring contractors are commencing their gig on Wednesday, so it looks likely that I won't be able to get in there for the rest of the week.

I WILL be open next week.

It will be pretty spartan, but I will be there. You'll be able to pickup and drop off guitars as usual. And I'm hoping to fully move back in, and have things more-or-less back to normal, the following week. With splendid new(ish) decor.

For the next week or two it may be wise to contact me, either by 'phone or email, before you drop by. Just in case. My schedule might get tangled up the builder's schedule - and I want to make it as easy as possible for them to do their thing, so that I can have my little shop back.

I will update this page, as well as my answering machine message and the signs I've stuck up around the building, as things progress.

I don't do this often, but I'm going to go a bit political here: The irony here is that my landlord has his building insured. If he didn't, then I would have gathered up a few friends and we'd have done the bloody restoration in about three days. This delay, and me having to move in-and-out of the place like a yo-yo, is all down to the fact that the joint was insured.
I couldn't get flood insurance (they all laughed at me) so, as well as hating them 'cause I couldn't get flood insurance, I'd probably also hate them if I could!

Admittedly, if I was a brazillionaire, and owned a bunch of properties, I might think differently.

But all of the shops that got back up and running within a week or two were the family businesses and owner-operators that also couldn't get insurance and consequently had a flood plan, and absolutely had to get back in shape as soon as possible. These are all pretty courageous people, and are the soul of the town.

The empty shops (mainly franchises, chain-store, and banks) are all insured, and their re-opening dates are in the hands of the insurance companies. Not sure if you saw the article in the Star last week, but most of these businesses have said that they will eventually be re-opening.

I DO have a flood plan! I watch the BOM website like a hawk (not least for the humidity forecasts, important for gluing and spraying) and at the slightest hint of possible flooding I move all the stuff either out or upstairs. I've done this eight times since I've been here.

Anyway. In the words of the respected former Governor Of California..."I'll be back..."


I want my little shop back!

Don't hesitate to 'phone or email if you'd like to call me. It's a bit messy, but I'm answering most calls within a couple of days.

See y'all soon,
thanks for your support,

Monday, 8 May 2017


Hi everyone,

my shop will be closed this week as the building is now being renovated after the flood.

I spoke to the builder in charge of the restoration, a thoroughly splendid chap, and he has given me a clearer outline of what has to happen.

I will be closed this week (commencing Monday 8th May) as they are pulling up the under-carpet flooring. This is apparently fibro-cement (asbestos), and the removal has to meet all kinds of government and environmental protocols. After that, the builders will assess the damage to the flooring and will, in consultation with the owner, decide on whether to re-carpet (in water-proof marine carpet) or restore (as polished floorboards).

Trust me dear folk, I have lobbied, nay..harangued, my dear landlord to get this thing fixed ASAP.

The builder in charge of the restoration has assured me that I WILL be able to move back in at some time next week, albeit in a limited way, as they finish the flooring restorations.

That's fine: if I have a bench at the shop, my laptop, my trusty old tuner, a soldering iron, a box or two of parts, and room for your incoming and outgoing guitars, that will be fine for a week or so. As most of you probably know, I do more than half of the repairs at my workshop at home, so I should be able to work more-or-less as normal, and be able to get your repairs done more-or-less as normal too.

On a positive note, the down-time away from the shop will also allow me to make significant headway on some of those long-term repairs and restorations that I have in progress.

I'll add updates to this journal each day or so over the next week. If you have any questions or concerns about your guitars, please email or phone - I will be checking email and the Telstra answering service every day.

It will all be back to normal (or what passes for normal around here) soon.



Friday, 28 April 2017

Not sure why pictures didn't add to last post.

Here they are. Les Pauls before and after. Gee, this is a sweet-sounding Deluxe.


here's the happier post!

Coincidentally, during the time experiencing and recovering from the flood, I got to restore an old Gibson who's damage far exceeded any of the flooded guitars I have seen so far. Oh, except one...does plywood really do that when it is saturated?

 A few weeks before the flood I received an old Gibson that was in bad shape. Actually, it was in truly awful shape. It was a quite rare, early 1970s Gibson Les Paul Deluxe, finished in the rare (and collectible) "Blue Sparkle" finish. When it came in to the shop there was only the barest hint that it was blue. Not only was it perhaps the dirtiest guitar I had seen, it was maybe the dirtiest THING I had seen! Muddy, grubby, covered in that inexplicable scum that guitars sometimes get from our lovely clean fingers. It is the first guitar that I have seen in almost 40 years that had lichen growing on it.

It had also previously had possibly the worst broken-headstock repair I have seen that was still holding; a cavalier fret-dress that had reduced the frets to slivers; gangster contour-carvings of the body (a-la-Strat); Bunnings hooks as, I have to stop now.

The chap that currently owns the guitar inherited it from the fellow who did most of the weird mods. He was a dear friend of the current owner and we decide to leave as much of the "character" of his repairs and modifications as we could. So, I restored all of the playing surfaces (fingerboard, re-fret, new nut, new bridge) to make it play and intonated well. The original pickups tested fine (as did the original Switchcraft switch!), but all of the pots were missing, so I rewired the entire loom. It all worked fine.

I ignored the rough, hand-cut contour at he back of the body, ignored the big chunk of mahogany missing from the inside of the horn, moved on by the very sloppy headstock repair (which seems solid and hasn't moved), strung the guitar up with D'addario 10s, tuned it, and played it.

I've played zillions of guitars, thousands of Gibsons, countless Les Pauls, and this little survivor is one of the best-sounding Les Pauls I can remember. Certainly one of the best Deluxes (and I've owned a few mini-humbucker Deluxes over the years).

My restoration stuff is professionally done, and should have no real bearing in the value. The weird amateur modifications and carvings here will de-value this guitar 100% - 150%.

This poor guy is horribly compromised as a collector "piece", but sings like a bird.

And that's the eternal mystery of the vintage guitar thing. I'd own this guitar at the drop of a hat. I've seen "mint" pristine versions that, while fine, didn't ring any bells for me.

Attached are a few photos.

I will try to write  more regularly from now on. About guitars. The first few might still be a little pre-occupied with the flood though...


it's been four weeks since the flood! Yikes! Wasn't that just yesterday, or back in some galaxy far far away?

What a month! My little shop is back up and running as normal (there's that word "normal" again), and the last week or two have allowed me to catch up considerably on the backlog of repairs.

If you have a repair with me, please call or email as to it's status. I'll also be calling as many of you as I can next week.

It looks very much like I'll have to be closed the week commencing May 8th, as the building is being renovated. I have advised my landlord that I'm fine with this, but that I can only accept being closed for one week only. He has his building insured, and insurance is like being beholden to the devil, so he (and I) are at the mercy (if that's the word) of his insurers and their splendid trades-folk. Thay have one week (max) to do their stuff. I recently had a carpet layed at home, in an area slightly larger than my shop's two rooms, and one guy did it in about two-and-a-half hours. Great job. We had a guy lay Karndean vinyl boards through three bedrooms - seven hours. Spiffing.

So I will re-open the week commencing Tuesday 16th May. If renovations continue beyond this point, then trading in these circumstances may be a bit Beirut, but it will all shake down fine. If entry to the building is compromised then I'll have a billboard directing y'all to the back entrance.

Because I will be closed from May 8 to May15, it would be great if you could collect your guitars before that. I will be calling you all about this. If you collect your guitar, and pay me for the repair, that would be excellent. If that doesn't happen, I will have to put the guitars into storage while the building renovations take place. This is not a problem, but the less guitars I have to do this to, the better.

Apologies to those of you who's guitars I have completed, and to whom I haven't yet called, but it has been a busy busy time. I hate to use the flood as an excuse most cases, nearly all of them, it was! 

Sorry this has been a bit of a down-vibe post. Much happy stuff to follow, including mentions of some of the splendid help I have had re-inventing the shop. A lovely bunch of folk are supporting me in this, and I won't forget any of it.

Read my next post! It is a much more happy tale, the story of a nice old guitar that had been through almost as much hell as the darned flood!