Guitar Repair & Restoration       
                                                                     Reviews & testimonials  

I just wanted to take a moment to thank you again for the lesson on Friday. To say it was eye-opening is an understatement. The difference a true, proper set-up makes is incredible! Especially since that was a guitar that I thought was playing well to start, but the difference is huge. I couldn't put it down all weekend. I've started to take my other instruments and look at their setups with a new, clearer view. I learned more in those three hours than I have anywhere else in a long, long time. 
I'm not exaggerating when I say that I will carry what you taught me there with me for the rest of my life.                    Jeff
Mark Florio took several tutorials in Guitar Repair hoping to acquire the skills necessary to gain employment in the guitar making industry.In response to some advice I gave him before his interview and audition  Mark wrote:

You were right about expectations quality and speed, happy to say I will start final assembly and setup at Paul Reed Smith Guitars in Maryland come August, thank you for everything and I hope to keep in touch.
Mark http://www.florioband.com                                                       http://www.florioband.comshapeimage_3_link_0

                          Basic Guitar Repair Course Outline   

                                                       4 – 8 hr. Tutorials by Harry Becker , $60 per hour

Basic Set-up / Acoustic Steel String or Classical                                  4 hrs

Evaluating Need for Adjustment

Adjusting Truss Rods

Adjusting/Replacing Nuts

Adjusting/Replacing Saddles

Relocating a Saddle / Acoustic Steel String or Classical                     4 hrs

Determining the Location of the Saddle Slot

Determining the Orientation of the Slot Angle

Plugging the Saddle Slot

Routing / Chiseling a New Slot

Removing / Replacing the Bridge                                                          4 hrs

Heating the Bridge Glue Joint

Removing the Bridge

Preparing Surfaces for Regluing

Locating and Gluing the Bridge

Reconstructing a Worn Bridge Plate                                                        1 hr

Plugging Bridge Plate Holes

Re-drilling and countersinking

Re-gluing Loose Braces                                                                              1 hr

Probing for Loose Braces

Gluing with Props/Clamps/Mirrors

Installing Under Saddle Pick Ups                                                           2 hrs

Drilling Holes for Wire and Jack

Preparing Slot for Transducer

Soldering and Securing Wires

Correcting Imbalances

Repairing / Refurbishing Frets                                                                2 hrs

Re-seating Loose Frets

Leveling Frets

Re-crowning / Polishing Frets

Filing and Dressing Fret Ends

Removing / Installing New Frets                                                            4 hrs

Removing Frets

Repairing / Preparing Fret Slots

Installing New Frets / Unbound Fingerboard

Installing New Frets / Bound Fingerboard

Leveling the Fingerboard                                                                          2 hrs

Adjusting / Preparing the Neck

Planing the Fingerboard

Radiusing the Fingerboard

Polishing the Fingerboard

Repairing Soundboard Cracks and Seams                                  _          4 hrs

Humidifying the Soundboard

Gluing and Clamping

Making / Installing Cleats

Lacquer Touch Up

Repairing Back and Side Cracks and Fractures                                    4 hrs

Re-aligning Fractured Area

Making/ Installing Cleats

Using Rare Earth Magnets

Tinting and Lacquer Touch Up

Repairing and Replacing Binding / Purfling                                        4 hrs

Parting / Removing the Binding

Making / Matching Binding

Gluing / Shaping Binding

Tinting and Lacquer Touch Up

Repairing / Restoring the Finish                                                             4 hrs

Cleaning and Resurfacing Finish

Re-amalgamating / Removing Chipped Lacquer

Re-lacquering with Brush or Spray

Leveling and Polishing

Removing  a Neck / Steel String Acoustic Dovetail Joint                   4 hrs

Drilling Holes for Steaming

Steaming the Neck Joint

Parting Fingerboard From Soundboard

Removing the Neck

Resetting a Neck / Steel String Acoustic Dovetail Joint                      4 hrs

Carving Heel

Shimming the Dovetail Joint to Correct Neck Angle

Making and Installing Tapered Fingerboard Insert

Reattaching Neck to Body with Lacquer Touch Up

Removing / Replacing Pick Guards                                                        2 hrs

Pick Guard Materials

Removing a Pick Guard

Locating, Trimming  and  Installing a Pick Guard

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The tutorial with Harry gave me the skill and confidence to allow me to expand my repair business in areas that I would not have thought possible.  This was all possible due to the guidance and friendship of Harry Becker.

As a repairman role model, I constantly think back on the lessons learned during the tutorial.  As important as the technical skills needed for repair work is the approach to repair work.  The biggest gift to me from Harry is his methodical, organized approach at analyzing problems and implementing a focused solution.  During execution of my own repairs, I often find myself uttering quietly “Solve the problem, solve the problem”.  These simple words provide the clarity of thought and concentration that is required to properly carry out my work.  Whether it is removing the buzz from a fingerboard, setting the correct neck angle for a neck reset, or lowering the action on a guitar, this approach took me from trial and error to deliberate, focused execution.  Harry’s methodology is a guiding principal that serves me well.  More than all the repair techniques, I treasure this gift the most.

I did not know Harry prior to the tutorial.  In the few years since the tutorial, our friendship has developed.  A friend is someone who is there when you need him.  Whenever I needed assistance with my work, Harry has always come through.  I can call Harry after months of no contact, and the conversation continues where it left off.  He asks about the projects I am working on, shares some of the things he is doing and always has the time to catch up.  Harry then provides all the support I need to complete what I am doing.  I could not ask for a better friend. Harry the craftsman, role model and friend. He is a treasure to all the get to know and work with him.  

Bob Pittman, Massachusettes, http://www.pittmanguitarrepair.com

In an age where it becomes harder and harder to get your money's worth from a

purchase, I have to declare that I have not been more satisfied with a purchase

of an educational tutorial as I was with the "Repair Tutorial" that I received from Harry Becker. Harry is experienced in both instrument repair and in teaching technique. He doesn't attempt to "rush" you through the tutorial, but is moreconcerned that you understand just what it is that you have accomplished

through "hands on" experiences.

Harry, with his 30+ years of experience, has an abundance of information that

would be hard to replicate in any text book. It has to come directly from the

source and if you ever have that chance to experience this with Harry, you will

know what I mean... Thanks to Harry, I left his shop after the tutorial with both the knowledge and a great sense of confidence that will benefit not just me, but also my customers in the future.  Michael Ricciarelli, North Branch Instruments, Vermont http://www.northbranchinstruments.com/

Dear Harry,

Did you know that my most favorite team of any sport in any state, country,

and planet for that matter is "The Brooklyn Dodgers".  My passionate love for

sports died the day they left for L.A..You're from Brooklyn, aren't you ?

Well Harry. I guess that qualifies you as one of my favorite people. I wouldn't

expect anything less of you but honesty, integrity,and sincerity. This tutorial

means the world to me. What a privilege and honor.  Giving health and voice

back to guitars is what I really want to do when I grow up!!!!

Best Regards, Sean 

When William and I received a letter from a U.S. Air Force rock band called

The Fubar Fighters stationed in Afghanistan requesting donations in the form of musical gear I immediately thought of Sean and Claudia Barry to help out. A fund collected by some veterans in Texas allowed Claudia to research, select, purchase and ship the gear requested.  Her contribution was essential to the success of the project. Being of service to those who are in desperate need  has always been a priority for them. Sean, a medic in the Vietnam War took part in the rescue effort at The World Trade Center and then donated instruments to musicians of Lousianna who lost everything in hurricane Katrina.  They run The Music Store in Great Barrington,  Mass. http://www.themusicstoreplus.com/

John Mahon, a retired commercial airline pilot from Barbados took a forty hour course covering the basics of guitar repair. He had previously completed a guitar construction course with my business partner William Cumpiano nine years ago. The experience of making a guitar brings a knowledge that is extremely valuable to a repairman. Understanding the instruments structure provides a sense of how all the parts relate to the whole. It sharpens ones intuition and offers insight into problem solving. The major part of a guitar repairman’s education however requires experience with procedures involving disassembly, restoration and reconstruction. John is now better equipped to serve his community of musicians on his island. 

Many thanks for setting aside the time from your busy and full life to conduct the Tutorial on repairs. I came away with a good understanding and appreciation of the many and various repairs that are often required in the life of a guitar. 
The Tutorial was presented in a most methodical manner with each step being explained in full detail with a clarity and vividness only a gifted and patient teacher who loves his craft can express. Along with the How's and the Why's of each repair procedure came the gems of experience you passed on in how to use each tool effectively to perform the particular procedure, techniques  that would certainly take a long time to acquire by experience, this in turn reduces the chance of  'damage' that could be caused by inexperience in the use of that tool. 

Two of the major pieces of information you shared with me were I quote,
" All repairs and adjustments reflect the clarity by which you identify the problem and prescribe the specific course of action required to sort out that specific problem". Secondly, the revelation that your concept of Guitar repair is the Holistic approach or treatment of the guitar throughout the repair process. This has struck a chord in me that will resonate for a long time.

I thoroughly recommend this Tutorial with Harry Becker to any Guitar enthusiast who wishes to maintain his or her own favorite instrument/s, I truly believe you will be rewarded with a deeper understanding and appreciation of the instrument we so love. I have been.
John Mahon, Barbados


Thank you very much for the tutorial this past week. Thank you for guiding me in the right direction. There is immense amount of information out there that could easily send a person off in the wrong direction. I am lucky to have been able to spend the time with you to learn the skills required in order to take the next steps in my guitar making and repairing journey. I am confident that you have instilled in me the repair methods required to do what is “right” for my customers.

Your ability to teach is wonderful. You know when to hand over the reigns and let the student have a go at it and also to quickly correct mistakes so the student doesn’t form bad habits. I appreciated your patience and attention to detail. I would recommend that anyone who would like to learn the proper methods in guitar setup and repair should come spend sometime with you.

Coming into this tutorial I was afraid to do a neck reset but now I have the confidence to undertake this complex guitar repair thanks to you. It is hard to believe my six-day tutorial is over already. The time in the shop always goes by so quickly.Once again, thank you for your time. I hope someday I’ll be able to pass some of this knowledge along and say “I learned that from Harry Becker”

Best regards, Chris Shaltis