Don’t Let Your Mando Become an Unplayable Beast


We get a lot of calls from players and small in-store repair shops to talk over repairs and around 75% of them have to do with the neck and playability.  Following is a list, and the cost, of the most common repairs requested. (Check out our Blog Post, too)

Setup and Tweak:  Adjust the trussrod, check frets, nut and saddle slots, bridge fit, intonation and action, plus new strings.  $200

A good setup and tweak makes all difference in the world when it comes to playability and getting the most out of your instrument.  If it’s easy to play, you’ll play more, sound better, and it’s guaranteed to put a smile on your face.

Plane and Re-fret:  Pull the old frets, true up the fingerboard, install new frets of your choice, setup and tweak plus new strings.  $300

Most of the time a re-fret is the fix for a neglected truss rod, but sometimes just tired and grooved frets.  A plane and re-fret brings the fingerboard back to true making it easier to attain a nice, playable action and gives you the full range of adjustability back on your trussrod.

Radius a Flat Fingerboard:  Hand block a flat fingerboard to a 10″ radius.  $350. (includes all of the above)

Radiused fingerboards have really become popular and a lot of players say they play with less hand fatigue compared to flat.

Fret Dressing:  Hand block to remove fret grooves, re-crown, and polish to 2000 grit.  $50

If the neck is true and there is enough fret material below the worn grooves in your frets, a simple dressing and polish is a much simpler and cost effective way to make your frets look and play like new.

New nut:  Bleached bone $50.  Mother of pearl $75

Over time nut string slots wear causing your strings to buzz when played open making it hard to get a good drone going.  I’ve known players who jacked their action up to solve the problem.  Bad bandaid at best.

New Bridge:  Fit a new Traditional or Brekke bridge $150  (bridge included) Octave Mandolin, Cello and Arched Top Guitar $200.

A well fit bridge makes a huge difference in the tone and volume your instrument delivers. Check out this link to our Traditional Bridge.

Fingerboard Scallop:  Remove the last four to seven frets and remove fingerboard material while still preserving fingerboard detail. $200

Sound like you’ve got a clogger dancing with you while you’re playing the sweet spot on your instrument?  Some players dig in with their pick enough to consistently hit the end of their fingerboard getting that clicking noise.  Can sound pretty cool sometimes.  You Grisman Fans have heard it before, but it can be distracting.  A scallop can keep you in the sweet spot without the the click while maintaining the detail and look of your fingerboard extension. Who plays up there anyway?  All the money is in the first seven.  And what a great place to add inlay!

Speed Neck:  Remove all the finish between the hand stop and heel.  Sand to a 2000 grit and apply a Tung oil finish.  $200

There are numerous reasons for doing a speed neck.  From peeling finish due to bug spray, lotions, and hand grunge or sticky finish making it hard to move up and down the neck like a pro.  We think it’s just cool.  Here is a link to some pics.


These days shipping can be a big expense.  We’ve noticed Montana Lutherie’s UPS costs often are quite a bit cheaper than individual shipping costs.  We can email you the UPS shipping tag to tape on your box, and you can just drop it off at the local UPS center..  Then, the expense will just be tacked on your repair bill.  Be sure to ask us about this service!! 

This is the short list.  Repair issues are as varied as the number of instruments out there and we’re prepared to handle them all.
We look forward to talking with you about your needs.