Is it worth it to service an electric guitar?
Most of the time the answer is no, but sometimes the answer is yes.
What does "service an electric guitar" mean?
My definition of a guitar servicing is whenever you have major work done to a guitar.
And what is major work? Any guitar work that requires a luthier to repair or recondition. Or to say it very plainly, any guitar work that needs actual woodworking and requires a luthier's woodworking knowledge to be performed.
Warranty repair isn't servicing
I have had guitars repaired under warranty before, but that's not guitar servicing. That's having screw-ups from the factory repaired.
I consider guitar servicing to be something done to the instrument after it's been played for a while.
I will be sending out my red '89 Squier Strat to be serviced soon
Not-so long ago, I mentioned that there would be the possibility I would have my '89 Squier sent out for real-deal servicing.
Recently I confirmed that yes, it's going out. I'm shipping it off to a luthier I know where the entire neck will be refretted, all with stainless steel frets. The 5-way selector will also be replaced, all the pots will most likely be replaced, the top strap button hole will be filled and re-drilled since that hole was stripped out many years ago, and the tuners are all getting replaced with a Fender replacement set.
Under the pick guard, all the wiring will probably be yanked out and replaced with new, being it's almost 30 years old.
As you will see and hear in the above video...
...some of the frets are majorly messed up. I purposely "squeaked" a few notes so it could be heard.
What you can't see is that there are some fairly large fret dents from almost three decades of play. And no, these dents cannot be repaired by filing down the other frets. Maybe that could have been done about, oh, 20 years ago, but certainly not now. New frets are definitely needed.
Is it worth it to send a plywood guitar to be serviced?
My Squier is now old, rusty, dented and chipped. But soon enough it will be playing great again.
The pickups at this point in the guitar's life have matured to the point where they sound pretty much perfect. I've never been able to get the sound I get out of my red Strat from any other guitar. Having a Strat with "that quack" sound is amazing.
Certain years of Squier Strats have The Sound to them, even for ply bodies like the one I have. Yes, it's totally worth it to have it serviced. It sounds great, plays great and will play even better once I get it back.
It hasn't been shipped just yet but will be either this weekend or sometime next week.