The Guitar Doctor - Curing sick instruments of their ailments

Cheesy pic huh?

Hi there and welcome to the Background page of The Guitar Doctor site. I am often asked how I ended up as a guitar repairer (hence, this page covers it)... This is a little insight into who I am and how I got into this industry......

Equipment listing is at the foot of the page for tech heads...

I didn't actually pick up the guitar until I was 18 years old........I loved Van Halen and the things Eddie did with a guitar, but I never aspired to playing until that late age (late to start learning guitar), for whatever reason. It may have stemmed back to the time I destroyed a school loaned brass instrument when I was 9 years old as there was no way I was going to play that.....I had cred to consider you know !!! Consequently, my parents had to pay to have it repaired (35 in 1977...oops, sorry... that was pretty expensive then) and any attempts to get a guitar from them that same year, was met with an "Are you kidding?" response and a flat "What, so you can break that too? No way!" Thus, it wasn't until I earned money myself and scraped enough cash together to buy a damaged Hohner Strat that I got my hands on a six string electric.

That Hohner turned out to be a hell of a thing to play...I got really disillusioned with it when I discovered that it wasn't me that was necessarily a bad learner, but the guitar that was badly set up. I part ex'ed it at that time, as I did not have the knowledge to sort it. A Kramer V (you'll have your eye out with that thing) and a Gordy (scalloped neck, what was I thinking?)......followed and departed quickly. I eventually settled with a Fernandes ... 2 humbuckers, 3 way toggle and a locking trem...what more do you need?

At about the same time I bought the Fernandes, I decided that I hated normality and decided to throw away an education in Applied Chemistry and a well paid job with British Coal in their Quality Control section....who wants to work in a lab all day? I only chose it as I could have long hair and no grief....!! I then came up with the idea that I wanted to be a guitar tech and roadie ... just like that .....I asked around and for some strange reason was actually pointed in the right direction ...! It was then that I met Paul Walker of Saxon Management / Swag Man...he threw me out on tour and I picked people's brains and watched what they did to build knowledge of the guitar and how it is adjusted/repaired, learning all the way. I got to work with some great techs and met some awesome players. The time I spent with Swag Man was amazing, I got to write the 1990 World Tour programme for Saxon, along with touring, arranging gigs and promo's with lots of other rock bands such as Love/Hate, No Sweat, FM, Gary Numan, Tigertailz, Metal Church and dozens more. I should have stuck with it, but I grew tired of little or no sleep whilst touring and thought that I should settle down to a regular life again (at 22, what was I drinking, meths?)..... Needless to say that all went pear shaped with time as my inner feelings rebelled against the sensibility I thought I had acquired, but I worked for a local music store during this period and gained some more guitar related experience and a reputation for providing good set-ups and advice, etc during the next few years.

In and out of bands that never went very far (damn the advent of tribute bands), I decided to skip off abroad for a little while, and see some more of Europe, abandoning the guitar in the process. It was some 5 years later that I eventually found myself coaxed back towards a full time career in the music industry (following a work related accident...see regular jobs are bad for your health! I think I may have been allergic to mine...) by a friend of mine, Ian Wellington, who happened to be a guitar teacher. I'd kept my hand in by setting up his guitars and the odd friends' guitars over those 5 years, but never really bothered playing for myself at that time. Which brings us to more recent years....I took Ian's advice and took one on one tuition with Patrick Eggle (I had discovered Patrick whilst working at Carlsbro, and was always impressed with his guitars..they were very underrated at the time). Patrick taught me everything I lacked in order to be able to offer a full repair service to musicians, and his tuition was probably a turning point for me. I immersed myself back into music and realised how much I had missed it all....I even bought a guitar again (I had sold mine when I went to Europe)......!!! I've been back repairing for a few years (in this expanded capacity) but it wouldn't have been possible to get off the ground without help. Thankfully, I had a lot of old friends still in the music industry, and they all offered help

........................... So a big thanks to all the staff at the music shops I repair for, all my friends, and all my customers.

A special thanks especially Nanette for constant and continued support.

See links page for respective websites.

Equipment Listing

Here's what I use .... simple and straightforward.....

Washburn Nuno Bettencourt Signature Model ... Paduak limited edition...2 pickups, 3 way, 1 vol. D'Addario 9-46 gauge strings, detuned half a step or more....Plectrums...who knows, I change week to week...Tech pick Brass are most favoured. Planet Waves Cables.

Yup, I still use rack stuff....why fix what aint broke?

Consists of ADA MP-1 All valve preamp, fitted with PM High Gain 7025's

Alesis Quadraverb Plus Fx unit

Rocktron Intellifex (for Pitch shifting and Hush only)

Peavey Classic 60/60 Stereo Valve Power Amp

Ashdown Fallen Angel 4x12 Cab

Back up guitar ... Yamaha 712 Pacifica.....plays really nice, sounds really nice, but I'm looking for something to replace it now.