Ottawa's guitar repair shop

Contact Weston Instruments

We are lucky to be a very busy shop, but that can have the consequence of me spending to much time answering calls and emails, and not enough getting the work done on your instruments. For this reason, I have put together a short FAQ. Please read it carefully before emailing, as I will only answer questions that aren't already answered here. This allows me to spend more time at the bench, which means faster turn around times!

Frequently asked qestions:

When can I bring in my instrument?

The work shop is By Appointment Only. We are currently booked and not adding to the schedule at the moment. You can be notified once the schedule re-opens. Just send me an email asking to be added to the list, and it shall be done. I initially expected, in September, to be able to re-open the schedule by mid-November. However, the nature and volune of work that has come in during this run of projects will not llow me to do that. I will now likely only be able to re-open the schedule buy mid-December.

Thank you for your ongoing support and patience

How much will the service cost?

Our most common repairs are listed on our pricing page, right here. If what you are looking to have done is not listed on that page, you will have to bring your instrument for an evaluation, which is free and done on the spot at the counter during your appointment. Estimates cannot be provided via emails and pictures.

When will my guitar be ready?

Setups, fretwork, playability issues, hardware and electronic component replacement/modification as well as regular acoustic repairs (bridge re-glues, loose/broken braces, cracks) are our most requested services. I try my best to turn these types of work orders around as quickly as I can. Currently, they’re ready for pickup a week to two weeks after drop off.

More complex projects like structural repairs, cosmetic repairs and modifications requiring serious alterations to a guitar (think neck reset, or installing a Strat style tremolo on a Tele) are quoted once the project is received. Given that these vary greatly in nature, and the amount of these coming in is also uneven, turn around times will vary through the year.

Can you service my guitar while I wait?

I am sorry, this is not possible.

How often should I have my instrument serviced?

 The best measure is yourself. This is not like a dental office - we won’t call you every six months to remind you to come in. If you’re happy with your instrument’s performance, just keep playing it. If you’re not happy with it, even after changing your strings, we’re happy to do whatever is needed to restore your instrument to all its former glory.

My guitar was awesome six months ago, now it sucks! what the hell happened!?

Your guitar is basically a Hygrometer (device used to measure the Relative Humidity in the surrounding environment). Instead of a needle or a digital read out to tell you that the environment is too dry or too wet, things will start to go wrong: Your guitar may start buzzing, or be unpleasant to play; the bridge may come unglued, or the top and/or back may crack; fret ends will stick out and feel sharp (even drawing blood!). Fine musical instruments are made of wood, which is a Hygroscopic material. Climate control is the best way to ensure longterm performance and reduce damage. Keep your instruments in a 43% to 47% RH environment, and you’ll spend a whole lot more time playing, and less time swearing. You can read more on this subject here.

Your instrument still might not be completely satisfactory after reacclimatizing, but it needs to be in a known, stable state for us to adjust it. Please ensure that your instrument is stabilized at 43%-47% RH before bringing it in (give or take, that’s the perfect range, but nothing will explode at 40%, or 50%). There’s just no point in bringing your guitar for repair if it was next to a slow burning wood stove in February, or in the basement in the summer - you’ll just end up paying for it to sit in a climate controlled room before we can even lay hands on it.

I'm looking for information on "name an instrument topic". Can you help me?

I appreciate your curiosity and enthusiasm, we share the same passion, but I'm a Luthier, not a search engine. You will have to find your own sources of information if you're doing research.

105 Schneider Road
Kanata, ON. K2K 1Y3

We do not sell any contact information to any third parties. We keep all such information confidential. The shop is under 24/7 monitored camera surveillance.

Send an Email

Please read the FAQ above before submitting your message. If your question is clearly answered in the FAQ, your email will be disregarded. If the contact form is being dumb, and won't let you send a message, you can write to shop (at) westoninstruments (dot) com

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A Luthier for Ottawa

A life story would probably be useless to you if you're looking for a professional luthier. So I'm simply going to share with you the important facts relating to my story as a Luthier.

By definition, a Luthier is a maker of stringed instruments, and I believe that definition needs to be broadened to making And repairing stringed instruments. They are two seperate diciplines, yes, but they compliment eachother. Being skilled in repair makes you a better builder, and being a skilled builder makes you a lot better at repair.

I became fascinated with guitar making at the age of 17 while Ottawa guitar repair luthier in CEGEP at André Grasset (I'm originally from Quebec, CEGEP is the stepping stone between high school and university in Quebec.). My diploma in applied sciences. The subjects that I studied that directly affected my capabilities as a guitar maker were:

- Biology (3 courses). These classes allowed me to understand the structure of organisms on a microscopic level (wood)

- General Chemistry and Organic chemistry (3 courses). The material covered in these classes went hand in hand with biology, but also helped me understand finishing chemicals and adhesives.

- Physics: Mechanics, electrical and sound. What I was taught in physics is probably what re-enforced my comprehension of musical instruments. Understanding the engineering behind each instrument and hardware component is critical

- Calculus: Calculus is a tool that was necessary to master in order to apply physics and chemistry formulas.

After CEGEP, I went to England to learn Guitar making. Even though I love science, I wanted to follow my passion for the guitar. I took my courses at the Totnes School of Guitar making under the guidance of Phil Messer. Phil was a true inspiration to me and his course structure could not have been better for learning the craft. Our first day started with a large piece of paper where we started our manufacturing drawings. We then proceeded to making our instruments from scratch with hand tools. All the joinery was done by hand, routing done with a router plane. I learned how to make instruments like they did centuries ago.

Upon my return to Canada, I got a job at La lutherie MF in Montreal. I spent 4 years working with who I believe to some of the ultimate luthiers in our country. This is where I discovered instrument repair and restoration. Making a guitar is easy next to repairing a guitar that arrives at the shop in two garbage bags.

I also pursue ongoing education in my field by attending clinics and seminars offered by those regarded as the best. Events like the Northwoods guitar seminar at the Galloup School of Guitar Building, which I attend, offer clinics by some of the worlds most remown builders and repaimen such as Dan Erlewine, Eric Coleman, Linda Manzer, Tom Ribbecke, Roger Sadowsky, Tom Murphy, and many others. I have also developed relationships with manufacturers over the years, and am a service centre for C.F Martin Guitars, Taylor Guitars and Santa Cruz Guitars.

In late 2016, I started training with all of the Plek support technicians in order to become one myself. I now am part of the Plek Support and Software Development team, and I assist all users in North America. Thanks to world renown experts like Jow Glaser, Nick Glockner and Gerd Anke, I keep learning and helping in developing the next generations of Plek software and users.

The experience gained while repairing more than 10 000 instruments is simply priceless. I worked on all types of stringed instruments from all periods of time and in all sorts of horrible conditions. This has not only developed my skills as a repair Luthier, but also as a builder. Many problems that I have had to solve had to be approached from a builders perspective. When working on unique hand made intruments, thinking like a builder is what makes a repair successful.

I now live in Kanata, Ontario. I work in my sunlit workshop on instruments that need love. Anything can be made better for the musician, anything can be repaired.