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Urgent: Advice on Person to do Modification & Setup in the San Fran Bay Area

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by Poon, Oct 13, 2005.


  1. Poon

    Poon

    May 20, 2003
    Los Angeles, CA
    So I'm thinking about having the neck shaved down and refinished on one of my basses and having a hole for string through body construction on the low-B for one of my basses. I have two options thus far, which is:

    1.) go to Michael Dolan in Santa Rosa - It'll cost me about $150 + the cost of gas to get up there, which is a lot of $$$(but I can go visit friends up at Sonoma State to mitigate the costs). Michael Dolan has quite the reputation for being a great guy and doing stellar work.

    2.) I could go with an unknown repair guy in San Jose. His name is Greg Menacho and he operates MSI Guitar Repair. He studied at ASL (American School of Lutherie) under Charles Fox and Frank Ford, which is quite impressive, however... I don't know this guy and I've never seen any of his work. He told me he could do the same job for about $100, which is appealing because he's in San Jose too. However, I have nothing to base his work off of. He has feedback from other customers, but he provided it for me and again, I haven't seen any of his work and don't know his experience level. He says he's been doing this over 15 years. But how did I find this guys? Craigslist and I've seen ads for him in my local rehearsal space.


    Should I take the chance on this unknown...because I might discover a great setup/repair guy in San Jose? Or should I go with the sure thing and pay a little more to have Dolan do it?

    Or should I go with a sure thing and go to Dolan?
     
  2. Hey now. You could also try Gary Brawer.

    http://www.brawer.com/

    He's in SF. Pat Bartolini referred me to him - he was basically the only repair guy she trusted to replace the electronics/pickups in my bass properly. Definitely top-notch work. He is usually fairly busy, so if you are in a hurry, Greg might be the guy to go to.
     
  3. Poon

    Poon

    May 20, 2003
    Los Angeles, CA
    Gary was another option I was thinking of, however I was told that he is like you said "quite busy" and has a tendency not to touch thing for even weeks on end. I got an honest reply from Mike Dolan last night that said it would take 3 weeks because of the finish job he would want to put on the neck after shavin it down. So I'm not in a huge rush...but would like to hear or results fairly quickly.
     
  4. I gave Greg a call, because I need fret leveling done and wanted someone local, and quick turnaround. Most of the well known luthiers are so damn busy it takes months to get work done. Turns out I went to school with him (elementary thru jr. high). Never knew he became a guitarist! I will see him this Saturday and let you know how things turn out.
     
  5. smperry

    smperry Moderator Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 3, 2003
    Bay Area, CA
    Endorsing Artist: Martin Keith Guitars
    I'm in a similar boat...trying to go with someone close by, or go with Michael Dolan, who I agree with you, should do things right.

    I had Doug Roomian at Noe Valley Music do a basic setup on a jazz bass that turned out pretty well and I know he builds basses too.

    I'm thinking about going to http://www.sfguitarworks.com./ to get a setup on my Ritter, and possibly some woodwork done on my FBB fretless. A bass player local to me who's also on talkbass (Greg M) had a good experience there with electronics work on a G&L. It would be my first time working with him though.

    I don't know, for a nice bass with a shave down _and_ refin, I'd tend to go with Dolan.

    Marshall
     
  6. Poon

    Poon

    May 20, 2003
    Los Angeles, CA

    What's up Marshall? It's been a while since we talked. How ya doing man? You want to help me organize the Bay Area get together? It's tough with work and touring schedule, but I'd like to meet the other TBers in the SF Bay. I'm still debating between going to Dolan or Greg. I want to get it started this weekend. Alembicf1x, let me know how your meeting with Greg goes and your assesment of his knowledge/skills and if you see any of his work. Take care guys.
     
  7. Hey now

    Greg definitely has skills - he can build some amazing acoustic guitars and mandolins. Montrose is having him build a mandolin, so that should speak well for his work. I would not hesitate to have him do custom work on any of my basses.
     
  8. I'm interested in this as well. Particularly someobody in SF or East Bay, not way South, or way North. I think I want a shim, or a neck-reset, or a fret-dressing. I can mess around with the truss-rod and saddles myself, but can't get it quite right across all strings and frets. The neck is practically straight, and the saddles are high, which leads to a good sound and feel on the D & G, but some buzzing on the A in the upper frets. In general, I don't think I can get it right for all 4 quadrants of the fretboard myself, without taking the neck off, which is more than I'm willing to try.
     
  9. Poon

    Poon

    May 20, 2003
    Los Angeles, CA
    I'll have to start going to greg for other items, maybe to start doing setups etc on my basses. I drove up to Santa Rosa today and dropped off my Bass with Dolan. He was really nice and he really seemed like he knew what he was doing. I'm excited that Greg knows what he's doing. I'd be interested in having him do some work for me in the future. Thanks AlembicF1x.

    -steve
     
  10. smperry

    smperry Moderator Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 3, 2003
    Bay Area, CA
    Endorsing Artist: Martin Keith Guitars
    Hey Steve. I'd be happy to help organize...I left my band, and I'm taking some time off of work, as my wife and I are expecting our daughter to arrive any day now! [So my place is out!] I'm happy to call places, but I don't have many solid ideas. One thought is that we could rent out the big stage room at Lennon Studios in SF. I wonder if the Ed and company at Gelb would have an idea?

    Email me if you have some thoughts or tasks for me to do. It's my screen name @gmail.com. Same goes for anyone else who has the initiative.

    mp
     
  11. Folmeister

    Folmeister Knowledge is Good - Emile Faber Supporting Member

    May 7, 2003
    Tomball, Texas
    Hey, Gang:
    I am still up for this (though I have been running ragged the last month) and now have acquired set-up tools, so our get-together could also be a set-up party if anyone is interested! I am working on a date when my wife and child will be gone so that we may be able to do the GTG at my house. Cross your fingers!
     
  12. smperry

    smperry Moderator Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 3, 2003
    Bay Area, CA
    Endorsing Artist: Martin Keith Guitars
    I can bring the beverages!

    Marshall
     
  13. Poon

    Poon

    May 20, 2003
    Los Angeles, CA

    Woot Woot!
     
  14. Poon

    Poon

    May 20, 2003
    Los Angeles, CA
    I wanted to give you guys an update on Greg. I went to Greg to get a setup done on my Lakland DJ5. He did an awesome job. Incredibly reasonable prices. He works out of his house, like many great luthiers we know of, but I'd trust the guy doing the very least setups for me. He's great, really responsive to e-mail and phone calls too. My DJ5 never played better.

    :D ...so I'm happy I found my local guy.
     
  15. Have to bump this thread with +1 on Greg Menacho. From this thread and Poon's referral I took a couple of my basses to Greg to have input jack replacements done and a setup on one of them. Greg did a great job at some very reasonable prices. He seems like a good guy who knows his stuff, I will likely be going back to him in the future. Highly recommended for anybody in the area...