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1.  I´m here to make your guitar play the best it can,,most of the guitars I get need a lot of work, to get to them where you want them to be ,, if you don´t spend a lot of $$$$ when you buy it, then you will spend $$$$ or even more to fix the things the factory didn´t do to save money, they do not want to do more than they have to, to get you to buy it,,,then you have to fix all the things wrong with it. true story,,,,this guy comes in and tells me his palmer deluxe "les paul" copy said it don´t sound like a les paul,,,,and asked me what he needed to do to it to make it sound like one,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,I told him he needed to change everything on the guitar,, neck, body, pick-ups, bridge, electronics, everything,, I told him he could keep the output jack,, it wasn´t to bad,,,he asked me how much that was going to cost, I said "about $2500". he said he could buy a real les paul for that much, i said "there you go,,, if you want it to sound like a les paul,,,buy a les paul",,, he then told me he only has $50 to spend,,, i told him to buy some beer and think about it,,,,,,,,,,
2.  I know it is hard living in costa rica and not making a lot of money,,, but there are no "good" guitars out there for less than $800, that is about as cheap as you are going to spend and not have to start fixing things. Save your money and buy something you are going to be happy with.
3.   Spend as much on your amp as you did on the guitar,,,,,, if you saved for the last 3 years, got the money together and got the jackson you always wanted, spent $800, and now you are playing it through a $100 amp, it´s going to sound like shit,,, spend $800 and get a amp. get tubes,,, sounds better, easer to fix,, and stay away from amps that have effects built in,,,,something happens to it and you are screwed. same with a pedal board,, if it craps out on you, you just lost all your effects, better to get effects pedals,,, if one don´t work you still got the rest,,,,,,
4.   Strings,,,,,,you all want very low action,,, and want to use .09´s,,,,and use a drop D tuning,,,,,the bigger the gauge of your strings the lower the action can be without buzzing,,, and the better tone you will have,,more sustain,,,,,.11´s ,,  at least .10´s,, if you don´t have money for strings buy elixir´s,,, give them time,,, try them for a month before you say you don´t like them,,,,,they last a lot longer. they cost 2x as much but last 4x longer. If you got a trem,,, use ernie ball´s,,, they don´t break as fast.
5.   Low action,, you all want it,, few of you have a guitar with a neck that is good enough for the action you want,,, there is a fine line on how much buzz is OK,, and with a really low action you need to make adjustments to the neck more often,, hot, cold,, wet, dry, all affect the action,, you need a really flat neck,, i can do that,, but is not cheap, $200 for me to redo your neck,, and put on the new frets. most pro guitar players have a higher action than you think,,,, they play more so are better players,,, fingers can take the pain,,,low action has less sustain,, put on extra jumbo frets,,, easer to play,, less pressure you need to get the notes so you can play faster.

5a.  you got a hyundai? i can make it a formula 1 car, then you take it out and rap it around a pole on the first turn. same with a guitar. i can make it, can you play it?
6.   Practice, practice, practice,,,,,,work on your technique, try not to play so hard, the lighter your playing the faster you can play,, and lower action,, watch John Petrucci, he´s playing like a million notes, they are all clear,,, no buzzing,,,,low action,,,   practice,,,,,,,,,,
7.    Guitar woods,,,,,,,,,,,,the heavier the guitar, the more tone and sustain. thick necks are the way to go for tone,,, thin necks are good for playing fast,,,  I know there is not a lot of choices in costa rica on what wood you get or neck shape,,, but that is what makes this guitar different from that one. thats why there are 1000´s of guitars out there,,,, you need to find what is the best for you.
8.    Keep the WD-40 off the guitar,,, save it for your rusty nuts,,,,,it is very bad for your neck,,, it is going to get into the wood and make it softer and your frets are going to start loosening up,,, and you will start to have frets lifting up and have buzzing,,,, not to mention the skin on your fingers falling off.  don´t use WD-40,,, use baby oil on your strings to keep them from rusting,,wipe it on everytime you are done playing and wipe it off before you play.
9.   Please buy a good guitar cable,,, you have a nice guitar and are using a $2 cable,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,
10.  Depending on a lot of things, your guitar might need to have adjustments made to it, it is a very fine machine, and needs to be tweeked every now and then. Thats why when i do a set-up i will tweek it for free for a year after you get it calibrated, is normal, that´s why your guitar hero´s have guitar techs with them, to keep it tuned up and ready to go every night.
11.  I get asked to make a custom guitar all the time, and then they say they want a tele or a les paul, someone already makes them. i make custom guitars. one off. is made just for you. if the les paul is what you are looking for, then get one. body style is not what i'm talking about, i'm talking about making something that fits you and the music you play, making the best guitar possible, with the best parts we can get, and if we can't get what we want then i make it, you want a solid brass "floyd rose", with a different string spacing, we can do that, you want hand wound pickups, we can do that.

Here's an article that is pretty's from

The importance of good fret work.

In a previous article we talked about how important feel is to most players when it comes to bonding with a particular guitar. The feel really seems to trump just about every other aspect of an instrument when you put it in the hands of a player. A builder can select the finest materials and assemble them in the best way possible, but if a player doesn't enjoy playing the guitar from a feel standpoint nothing else really matters. As we noted in previous articles there are many aspects that contribute to the feel of a guitar, however in our experience fretwork is the most important. Honestly, good fretwork or lack thereof often is the deciding factor between a good guitar and a bad guitar. In this article we look at the different aspects of fretwork and how they affect the overall playability of a instrument and how we feel some builders set themselves apart from others when it comes to their "fretting prowess".

Honestly in last century of guitar building on a very basic level very little has changed when it comes to how frets are installed on an instrument. Though we have seen tons of technology change just about every other aspect of the guitar, frets have remained largely unchanged in their basic functionality. They are still just ribbons of metal often called "fret wire" that are pressed into the fretboard at precise increments determined by the scale length of the guitar. Most builders even still use the same basic tools that were used a century ago. The real "difference" comes not from how the fret is installed but rather how it is prepped once it is installed.  

Fret Dressing

When frets are first installed into a fretboard they are far from the finished form they will need to be on the finished instrument. In fact, installing the frets is only about 10% of the process of fretting when it comes to the time and energy involved. The real "work" and what really sets a good builder apart from the rest is in how the frets are "dressed". 

Here are the basic processes:

Leveling - Once all the frets are pressed into the fretboard it is absolutely crucial that all of the frets are level to one another. One fret that is higher or lower than the rest will absolutely wreck a guitar from a playability standpoint. No matter how well the guitar is setup, with an uneven fret the guitar will more than likely buzz when strings are fretted in the proximity of the high/low fret. Not to mention the intonation will be terrible. Great builders understand this and they take a great deal of care to make sure that all the frets are level once they are properly installed. This is done through the use of specially designed sanding blocks and files and is largely still done by hand. Needless to say this process can be time consuming and requires a good amount of skill to do correctly. 

Crowning -  After the frets are leveled, the tops, as in the section of the fret that touches the string needs to "finished". Most of the time fret wire in its raw form is pretty flat on top, and  the sanding done to level the frets can add a lot of roughness to the fret itself in the form of deep scratching/marring. If you were to play the guitar in this stage chances are you would probably not be very impressed. Not only would it be very difficult to bend the strings due to the roughness of the frets, the flat tops of the frets would also more than likely cause major issues with intonation as the actual place where the string is being fretted would not be exactly centered on the fret. At this point, a good builder will hand polish and bevel the tops of the frets in order to shape them into their final finished form. This process also takes a very long time to do correctly, and years to master the skill. 

Fret End Beveling - Typically the ends of the frets where they meet the edge of the fretboard a very sharp when the frets are first installed.  Most players at least once have played a guitar that had sharp fret ends. It is really uncomfortable to say the least and in extreme cases can actually cut your hand. Very skilled builders will take a great deal of time to round the edges of the fret as well as make sure that the fret end itself is in line with the edge of the fretboard and not protruding where it catches a players hand. This makes a world of difference in how the guitar feels. Master builders will spend a great deal of time to round off sharp edges, blending the fret into the edge of the fretboard.  

Master Builders vs. The Rest

As you probably can tell when you look at how frets are "dressed" there is a great deal of skill involved to get it right. This process is still done largely by hand and you can often tell right away when you look the fretwork on an instrument if it is built by a master builder or right off of an assembly line. Unfortunately, in our experience the fret dressing part of production is really where you see a lot of the larger manufacturers cut corners. In some ways it makes sense, and it is easy to understand that it is just out of necessity. It takes years to really learn how to properly fret an instrument as well as a great deal of time to get it just right. It is very difficult to build instruments in the numbers that the larger manufacturers like to and still maintain a great level of quality when it comes to the frets. Sadly, we have seen a lot of examples of bad fretwork right out of the box on many guitars from the larger manufacturers. Some are so bad they almost need a complete fret job before any player would even think of buying the particular guitar. It is not uncommon to see frets that don't really appear to have been dressed at all. Not only are they not level or crowned, but the edges are sharp and uncomfortable. If you ever want to know how to tell the difference between a great instrument and a mass produced one just look at the frets. 

This is really where you see the difference when you buy a "boutique" guitar. The fretwork that some of the builders perform on every instrument they ship is absolutely stunning. The reason for this is pretty simple, these guys know that this is really what makes a great guitar. Nothing else really matters unless the guitar plays great. This is what sets "boutique" guitars apart from the rest. Play one and you will know know what we mean :).