Vintage Instruments are Part of History

Vintage Guitar and Instrument Restoration by Scott MacDonald

  • I have 25 years experience restoring vintage electric and acoustic guitars, basses, mandolins, ukuleles, banjos and resophonic instruments.
  • Correct restoration maintains an instrument's value and original spirit.
  • Vintage parts are often available, or can be sourced.
  • I can reproduce many damaged or missing original parts.
  • My shop services national and International clientele. Instruments are shipped to me from around the world.

A Restoration

Vintage Guitar Restoration: My Philosophy

Responsible and careful restoration techniques and materials will uphold the original spirit and value of your precious instrument. As a guitar maker I have a special insight into the issues guitars develop. When working on vintage instruments a respectful touch is required, never doing more than is needed. I often receive vintage instruments that someone has tried to fix by using epoxy, incorrect finish, or hardware and parts from a different time period. These mistakes detract from the spirit and originality of an instrument and can seriously harm its value. Older instruments will often show marks of time and use: It is part of who they are and these things should be left untouched. My job is to make the instrument structurally sound, have correct geometry, play superbly and maintain the dignity of its original heartbeat. When complete, it should play wonderfully, but look as if I were never there.

A Restoration

Restoration Consultations and Visits

Visits to the studio are by appointment. I’m happy to arrange a remote consultation if you can’t make it to Vermont. Contact me to schedule a consultation via Skype or iChat. Call me at 1-802-875-7397 or email me to begin start the restoration of your instrument.

Out of State?

Many of my customers are out of state and out of the country and they ship their instruments to me for repairs. Shipping an expensive guitar can make people nervous, but in my experience shipping an instrument is safer than taking it to an unqualified repair person. In 26 years of shipping instruments, only two have ever been damaged. In both cases it was because the customer didn’t follow the recommended packing and shipping procedure.

Shipping Your Guitar

Climate-Controlled Repair Shop

My studio contains a wide array of machinery, fixtures and tools. I’ve spent over two decades refining what I need to provide the results you hope for when you look for a luthier. From machinery like a classic Clausing vertical mill, to hand-made fixtures I designed and built myself, I have everything covered in a way that is fun for me, and provides great results. The entire facility is climate-controlled and matches the humidity levels at major manufacturing companies to provide the proper environment for stable repair, restoration and custom guitar building.

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Banjo and Ukulele Repair and Restoration

I am also a banjo and ukulele historian and have many parts dating back to the 1800s. I’ve repaired and restored numerous instruments using careful, historically accurate techniques and antique parts to preserve the spirit, appearance and value.

Other Fretted Instrument Repair

S.B. MacDonald Custom Instruments also offers full service repair and restoration for other fretted instruments such as mandolins, lap steels, resophonic instruments such as Dobro, National and Weissenborn Hawaiian Guitars.