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 Scott - NOVA
 





    Glenn S. & Bryan Kidd - W. Loudoun County, Va
    

Email Testimonials

Gary,

I wanted to contact you and thank you again for the incredible setup you did on my guitar. I also would like to get the following testimonial added to you already long list of happy customers. I bought an American Standard Strat off craigslist and thought it sounded great. The previous owner told me it had never been professionally setup and I previously had a guitar setup by Guitar Center but was not impressed. Thanks to Google I found Gary and it turns out to be the best search I have ever done.

Like others have said when you first meet Gary you don’t feel like you’re talking to a stranger but an old friend. He took the time to get to know me and let me play a couple of his personal guitars to get a feel for how I played. He looked mine over while I was there and immediately identified some things that needed attention. When I got my guitar back I was blown away by the transformation. The adjustments he made make it seem effortless to play and made just for me. He is truly a skilled artist and brought out the best in my new addition to the family. What I thought was a great guitar is now incredible because of him.

The night I picked it up he called to see how I liked how he set it up and I told him I couldn’t be happier or more thrilled. The fact that he called to check up on how satisfied I was speaks volumes for how much he cares about his craftsmanship and customers. By the way did I mention it was on New Year’s Eve….that's dedication.

    Buddy Heiman

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Hello all,

Gary has worked on my guitar's for a long time. When you come in Gary treats you like a friend rather than just a customer. His work is top notch and you'll have your guitar back fast and in perfect shape to play. He recently built my new surf green strat, and it sounds better than any guitar I have ever played. Gary went above and beyond in putting this guitar together including six coats of shielding paint in the control cavity. The guitar is perfect and he did it for a price that surprised me. Quite honestly, he should have charged me more for such a killer professional job. You can't do any better than having him work on your instruments.

Thanks Gary!

    James Putcha

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Hello all,

When fellow VB member Don Shepherd passed away, Gary stepped up and donated this guitar to a Vanderbilly.com benefit raffle for Don's suddenly alone wife. I was lucky enough to win it. It was received perfectly set up with great action, and looks and plays beautifully. All of the components are of good quality, and assembly was flawless. The standard single coil pickups have been wired in a custom way, so that the pickups can be blended between series and parallel with the twist of a knob. One way, its your typical single coil Strat sound, go the other way, and the paired pickups perform more like humbuckers.

I enjoy playing this guitar, and it remains one of my main go to axes. Recently, I participated in a Rock School session, and there was never any question about which guitar I would use for my first ever live performance... it would be my SYA.

A couple of seasoned players, both vintage Strat owners, have tried out my SYA, and both had nothing but good things to say about it. During the Rock School rehearsals, my guitar instructor was impressed with the range of tones I could get with the series parallel-wiring.

My SYA is special to me, and I would never get rid of it.

    Herm
    Eblues at Vanderbilly.com

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Hello,

howlinmadI have been a fixture (more like a barnacle) on the Washington DC music scene for too many years than I care to remember, but I have had the joy of playing just about every night club back in the day, from the Bayou, to Desperado's, the Cellar Door and the 9:30 club just to mention a few.

The bands I played in: Razz, Artful Dodger, and Johnny Bombay and the Reactions took me through many musical experiences and unforgettable memories. I have had the privilege to open for AC/DC, the Monkees, J Geils band, the Talking Heads, Commander Cody, NRBQ, Roxy Music, The Romantics, Patty Smith, Danny Gatton and many others.

I name drop in this instance because during all of this time I have also met and worked with some of the best guitar techs in the world. Paul Reed Smith worked on my Travis Bean when he had a little workshop in Annapolis, long before his successful guitar line. Danny Gatton worked on my Dan Armstrong, installing a custom made pickup that I could slide in and out.

Now,

I am here to tell you about Gary Madison!. This guy is my go to guy for ALL guitar work for a couple of reasons. He is meticulous, honest, and his turnaround time is short. Every time I get a guitar back from Gary it plays beautifully!. This is a man who really cares about his work and his customers. He is an aficionado himself and that enthusiasm means the job will be done with an eye for excellence and respect for the instrument and musician. It's like having my own personal guitar tech. Gary is always advising, explaining and goes the extra mile to make sure you understand what your instrument needs.

Put it this way: nowadays, anyone who asks me about a guitar repair is immediately referred to my friend Gary without hesitation. SharpenYourAxxe puts it simply and perfectly: "A guitar that is set up properly is easy to play and not tiring".  Amen to that!

    Regards,
    Abaad Behram

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Hello all,

When fellow VB member Don Shepherd passed away, Gary stepped up and donated this guitar to a Vanderbilly.com benefit raffle for Don's suddenly alone wife. I was lucky enough to win it. It was received perfectly set up with great action, and looks and plays beautifully. All of the components are of good quality, and assembly was flawless. The standard single coil pickups have been wired in a custom way, so that the pickups can be blended between series and parallel with the twist of a knob. One way, its your typical single coil Strat sound, go the other way, and the paired pickups perform more like humbuckers.

I enjoy playing this guitar, and it remains one of my main go to axes. Recently, I participated in a Rock School session, and there was never any question about which guitar I would use for my first ever live performance... it would be my SYA.

A couple of seasoned players, both vintage Strat owners, have tried out my SYA, and both had nothing but good things to say about it. During the Rock School rehearsals, my guitar instructor was impressed with the range of tones I could get with the series parallel-wiring.

My SYA is special to me, and I would never get rid of it.

    Herm
    Eblues at Vanderbilly.com

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Hi Gary,

I just picked up my Breedlove acoustic guitar and it plays marvelously. You were right when you said a good setup is like night and day. I felt the difference as soon as took it home and started playing. Fretting is pretty much effortless now with no noticeable sacrifice in sound quality. It's like a completely different guitar! When I have some time to upload me playing some pieces on YouTube, I'll be sure to link so you can see/hear how awesome this guitar is!.
 
    Thank you so much,
    Alex Y.

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Greetings all, I have been playing guitar for over 25 years and I had never received a professional set up on any of my guitars. I was browsing the Internet when I found an add for sharpen your axxe. I read some of the testimonials and decided to give Gary a call. Let me tell you, that was the best phone call I ever made.

When I spoke to Gary he made me feel as if we had known each other for years. I brought him over one of my guitars so he could work some of his magic. When I returned the next day I was more then pleased. He did an outstanding job to say the least. The guitar I brought him did not look or feel like the same guitar.

Since that day I have brought all of my guitars to Gary and he even built me a custom guitar that I named the beast. Do yourself a favor and give him a call. You will be very happy that you did. I guarantee that you will never find another gentleman that will display more professionalism, honesty and customer service then Gary.

You might be as fortunate as I was and gain a true friend for life.

    Richard Scott Slepetz

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There were a couple of times in my brief 'professional' music career that I had guitar techs on tour with me who were responsible for the daily set-up and maintenance of my instruments. I can honestly say that none of those guys approached the care of my instruments with the same enthusiasm, care, or quality craftsmanship as Gary. Aside from being a skilled, knowledgeable professional who goes the extra mile to insure that his customers walk out of his shop happy, he's also an honest and trustworthy guy. Add the fact that he's also fun to hang out with and talk to, and that's a great and rare combination. In my estimation, if you go elsewhere for your guitar tech needs in Northern VA, you're wasting time and/or money.

    Mason Carlton

    Vienna, VA
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I have been looking for a long time for someone in Northern VA that I can trust to repair and set up my collection of vintage guitars and you are just the guy.  I am a 50 year veteran of playing guitars and I was looking for someone who loved and cared for guitars as much as I do. The local guitar shops either do not have anyone there to talk to, or you have to give your guitar to a stranger and hope it comes back in the same shape you gave it to them.
 
Your love of guitars is clearly visible and it is a lot of fun to hang out with you talking about guitars and the many satisfied customers you have. I was also impressed with your technical skills. You know exactly how to take care of changing pickups, pots, nuts, etc. I am glad to be added to the list of satisfied customers. I plan to bring in the rest of my Fender and Gibson collection so you can give them the same love you gave to my 2004 PRS Mark Tremonti.

 
    Joe M

    Centreville, Va
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Hey Gary,
 

I wanted to write to thank you for the great work that you did on my Line 6 Variax guitar.

The work that you did has made this guitar one of the best playing instruments that I have ever owned (and I have owned quite a few). When I strum chords or solo, everything feels much more solid and responsive.
Playing has never been this easy before!

I appreciate all of the work that you did- you went above and beyond on this one. I will be bringing you the rest of my "herd" for you to work your"voodoo" on.

    Thanks again!

    Todd C.

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I have played acoustic guitars all of my life, starting with a twelve-string Framus, and working my way up to a six-string Ovation . I was foolish enough, though, to put the guitars down for a few years, and when I was ready to play again I was unable to go for more than a few minutes.  Playing was painful on my fingertips, understandably, but it also seemed as though my left hand simply wasn't strong enough to play anymore.

So I went looking for a guitar wizard, and I found Gary. I took both of my old guitars, along with another new six-string acquisition. In record time, Gary had reconfigured and re-strung them. They now all handle beautifully, and I am able to play any one of them for an hour without problem. Yes, my fingertips are still sore, I know that will take time, but I am happily playing again.

 
     Thank you Gary,   


     Deb P.  

     Fairfax Station    

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I discovered Gary on Craigslist one day while looking for a Boss RC-2. I saw that he was local and that he had a website. So after checking out his website and asking the other members of the " Squier 51 " board about him, two members gave a glowing review of his services. I put his information on my review list and checked out the local shops in my town as well. They all wanted to ship my guitar off to some remote location with some unknown person working on it?with the guitar returning to me sometime between a week and a month! I had a bad feeling in my gut talking to the shops so I figured I better try a REAL person.

Initially, I requested advice from Gary via email regarding the difficulty I was having with my guitar's playability. He responded the SAME DAY! I was immediately impressed but due to gig schedules and life events, I wasn't able to get him my guitar for another 3 long difficult months. So November rolls around and I finally get some free time to get my guitar to him. I sent him an email again to see if he remembered me and my dilemma and he hadn't forgotten me (Impressed again). I made an appointment to come out and drop off my guitar.  

When I arrived there was another customer coming to pick-up his guitar (A beautiful Laguna sunburst model). After a nice initial introduction, Gary invited us both back to his equipment room to test out the other customer's "fixed" guitar. I swear, the guy did not stop smiling from ear to ear one time that he was there. He was so excited to go home and play his axe that he forgot the pickup that he had switched out of his guitar, hehe. Gary showed me one of his Strats and completely blew away my dislike for Stratocasters. I had never played or held one that was so perfectly setup. I asked him if he could setup my Squier 51 the same way and he said that he would get it as close to the setup as the guitar would let him. I left my partner-in-fun with Gary that morning and made the long drive back to work.

Let me tell you, when I got the call that afternoon that the guitar was completed I had a weird feeling in my gut because I was thinking that there wasn't much that could be done. That is only reason why it could be completed and done so quickly. When I got back to Gary's place the next morning, he handed me my guitar and I couldn't believe it.

This guitar was smooth with ultra low action, no fret buzzing, no strings sitting on top of the nut instead of in it.

This was the same guitar that had to be tuned slightly flat because the action was so high that the notes would go sharp when you pressed down on the fretboard to make notes or chords.

My open chords sounded right, My barre chords sounded right, my scale runs sounded right. EVERYTHING WAS RIGHT for the first time since I bought it!. I haven't put it down since!! I stayed up past midnight (From the time I got home that day) playing every song in my songbook (Over 150) just to hear and feel how easy they were now that my guitar was fixed. I played " Hotel California " until I literally fell asleep with the guitar in my hands and my wife waking me up telling me to put it up and come to bed.

Everything is as easy and smooth as I imagined it to be when watching the professionals.

Chord changes, Nailing em!!

Fast scale runs, Nailing em!!

Double Hammer-ons, Nailing em!!

Double Pull-offs, Nailing em!!

Squealies, Nailing em!!

Happy? Oh yeah, this is a new level of happiness and I have Gary Madison to thank for it.

Gary, God bless you in all you do my brother. If you ever need any computer work or advice, call me.

 

    D.M. Ancrum  

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In the 40 + years I have been playing on and off, I have always done the work on my guitars. I recently picked up a Les Paul BFG that I really liked, to my surprise, but hated the pickups so I changed them. After playing it out a few times, I realized that I really wanted it set up like a traditional Les Paul instead of the kill switch single tone control thing. I wanted it done correctly, I wouldn't leave it at a shop for whatever mystery tech they had that week and a couple of the other guys I talked to just gave me quotes and couldn't have cared less otherwise.

Then I talked to Gary. Great conversation, high level of interest in the guitar and what I wanted, great communication and understood everything I wanted to do. Plus, I felt like I was asking a friend to do the work. After just a couple of minutes, I knew this was a good guy, not just a good tech. He set up the guitar, conditioned the fretboard, replaced the tuners, added the second tone control, eliminated the kill switch, moved the 3-way back where it belonged, rewired the entire guitar, added new push-pull volume pots for coil taps for the P-90 and humbucker, changed the cavity covers and replaced the jack plate. He even replaced the switch and jack and did some other pickup work without even being asked.

It's a different guitar. I don't want to ramble but It's hard to put the thing down now. It plays like butter, and sounds phenomenal. Besides getting all my future work, I will tell anyone I can about the high quality of work he performs and the pride that Gary has in what he does. I sincerely believe that I made a friend and I will support what he does any way I can.

     John,

     Fredrick, Maryland   

 

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     Hey Gary 
 
 After I got home last night and the wife and daughter went to bed, I played the guitar for probably the longest I can remember, by myself, since I first started playing the guitar a decade or so ago. You gave my SG the exact attention that was required. It's a whole new world now, and exactly what I was hoping my SG would play and sound like when I first bought  It is so nice and effortless to play now and instead of me having to work hard at playing and thinking about 'containing' my sound so much, I can relax and just play what comes naturally. What a difference, I am so incredibly pleased with my new setup and truly, this was easily one of the most important decisions I've made toward the quality of my sound. SharpenYourAxxe, SharpenYourSound. You can keep that one Gary. :)
 
    Jay P.

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I learned about Gary one day I was looking on Craigslist. I decided to give Gary a call and talk to him about doing a setup on a couple of my guitars. When I talked to Gary I knew right away that he is a down to earth kind of a guy, I felt like I have know him all my life and we had never met. I was so impressed that day that my wife and I drove to Gary's place and as we were walking to his door he was waiting for us on the steps outside. We introduced ourselves and shook hands, I knew right then I have just met a new friend. Gary made me and wife feel right at home and the first thing he said as we entered the place, "Watch your step"; he must say that every time a customer comes over. He is such a gentleman and professional, he does excellent work on my guitars and we have great conversations. It is my pleasure and honor to know Gary and I know that we will be friends for a long time. I highly recommend him to everyone, please give Gary a call for your guitar work, you will not regret it. His guitar work is first- rate quality and his prices are excellent, but even better than that you have gained a friend.

    Gospel Bill 

    A servant of the Most high!

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    Gary,

 
Just wanted to say thank you again for the set up and the volume/pot repair that you did on my Epiphone Les Paul . It sounds amazing and the action is just perfect. The service you provided was very professional and way beyond what I expected. I'm a satisfied customer and will bring in my other guitars for repairs.
 
     Luis Hernandez 

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     Gary,

    I wanted to thank you so much for working on my Strat and the Jackson Dinky on such short notice. I really appreciate your professionalism and the way you make the guitar sound once it has been worked on by you. I am very pleased to have had you work on 2 of my guitars and the Epiphone Les Paul will be next. I will continue to tell folks about your service and just wanted to thank you for doing such a great job on my guitars. The Strat is like a new guitar now and the neck feels and sounds so much better. I look forward to working with you in the future and will be bringing all my guitars to you from now on.
         
     Sincerely, Kevin M  
 
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     Gary,

    The passion you bring to working on your customer's instruments is a welcome relief and your attention to detail you far exceeded my expectations. I felt very confident leaving two of my most highly prized guitars in your hands, which very capably resolved long standing setup issues. I'm delighted with the results of your having worked on them, and only wish I'd known about your service before I'd taken them elsewhere. I'll be recommending Sharpen Your Axxe to all my guitar and bass playing friends and look forward to having the benefit of your help with other specimens from my collection.

     Mark S    

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    I brought 3 guitars to Gary for set-up and strings, 2 electrics and 1 acoustic. One of the electrics was an older model Ibanez that Gary did an amazing job on. The guitar looked like it had seen better days when I brought it to him. When I picked it up, it looked like a brand new guitar! The other electric was an Epiphone Les Paul Silverburst.   This guitar was less than a year old and I wanted to get new strings and a proper set-up. While Gary was working on the Les Paul he found a defect from the factory that was causing one of the pick-ups to short out. Gary fixed this problem for me at no additional cost! The acoustic I brought him was a Martin that I wanted set-up for easier playing because my wife wants to learn how to play. Gary worked his magic and now I have a wonderful Martin that plays unbelievably easy. I was so happy with the work Gary did that I referred my father to him to have some work done on his '68 Gibson acoustic. I was so happy that I was able to find a place for my father to bring his guitar where he didn't have to worry about leaving it behind. Needless to say, my father was very satisfied with Gary's work. If you're looking to get your guitar serviced for a reasonable price and from a trustworthy individual, you need to go to Gary.

     Mike W.    

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    Shortly after purchasing my Takamine Jumbo Accoustic guitar, I was thrilled to play it at my next show. I was pleased with the way it sounded, but not with the discomfort I felt on the fret board just a few songs in. I thought, "Hey, this will go away. I just have to get used to it." It never did. Like clockwork, a few songs in at every show, my hand would be killing me. I was frustrated to say the least that this new guitar, which wasn't cheap, was becoming a pain to play. No pun intended. 

After a few weeks, I found Gary on Craigslist . I sent him an e-mail to find out if he could help me. He quickly responded, saying it would be no problem. I then brought it to him for the adjustment. The next day, I received a call from Gary , letting me know it was all ready to be picked up. It was like a new guitar! I was thrilled with the work! He lowered the action just enough for me to play all night without any discomfort whatsoever. On top of that, he shined it up like a diamond! The guitar looked way better than it even did out of the box.

I would definitely recommend Gary for all of your guitar service needs. He is very friendly, prompt, and professional.  His prices are great and the service is outstanding. This guy knows what he's doing.

    Thanks Gary !!! 

     Tom Bouch, Fairfax,Va     

    http://www.tombouch.com

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    I have taken acoustic guitars as well as electric guitars to Gary several times over the last year and a half. Gary provides a great service at a very reasonable price.  Each time the work was done on-time and at the price quoted. I feel very comfortable leaving my guitar in his care. You can tell he takes great pride in his work and this shows in the wonderful results you will hear.

     Karl C, Fairfax, VA    

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    There are certain times in life that you need to get yourself a guy--you know,like that guy who can make your car purr like a kitten,or that guy who knows how to fix your air conditoning. Well,when it comes to guitars,I've found my guy.

Gary Madison is a guy who can pick up a guitar and instantly figure out how to make it play better.

I handed him my go-to axe thinking it was actually in pretty good playing condition,but he handed me back an instrument that was an absolute joy to play. The fretboard,the action and the intonation were dead-on perfect. No longer was I fighting the instrument as I played it. Honesty,it was like the difference between night and day.It has never felt or played better.

If you want to experience the full potential of your guitar,give it to Gary and let him put some of his special Mojo on it. You will not be disappointed.

      Brian Wilson, Journalist/Jammin' Guitarist.

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    Gary has set up and intonated two guitars for me.Both guitars are Peavey Patriots. Gary made and installed a new nut on one of them,a task which had defeated me. Each of my Patriots now plays beautifully all over the entire fretboard,stays intonated and in tune,and sings like a bird. Gary does first-rate work at a very reasonable price. Turnaround was very fast;overnight in each case. No pressure,no upselling,no attitude,very knowledgeable and thorough. I count myself one of Gary's loyal customers. I recommend him to any serious guitar player.   

     Sincerely, J Reid

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    I have been playing music for about sixteen years. I own a Small Professional Recording Studio for the average musician. My experience with Gary's Guitar Service and Repair has been phenomenal. Every guitar that I drop off comes back sounding better than it ever sounded. Gary knows what he is doing and does a great job treating your instrument with extreme care.Every service comes with a cleaning that you cannot get anywhere else,your axe shines better that it did coming out of the paint shop. On my set ups Gary put the action exactly where I needed it so I can glide up and down the fret board. I recommend Gary's Guitar Service and Repair for all musicians no matter what level of musicianship they are at.  

     Michael Coy, Mike's Recording Studio
     www.MichaelCoyMusic.com/studio.htm | www.Myspace.com/MikesRecordingStudio

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    Mr. Madison has worked on several guitars of mine.He has done things as complicated as pickup installation to services as simple as setting up a guitar of mine. Each time I get the guitar back it looks and feels better than when I handed it to him. Now,that is what one would expect from a guitar technician,but it's not that simple. Each guitar I have received back has been visually stunning. I'm not sure how he does it, but there is some magic in it. Something that just makes it feel like a new guitar.It's wonderful knowing you can get your guitar set up for a cheaper price than most places,but also better than most shops I have been to. You can place your confidence in Gary to set up your guitars professionally and you can trust him to take excellent care of them. 

     Jordan Pedersen, Fairfax Va, 22030

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    Hi

    My name is Clay. I have known Gary for many years. He has done all the work on my 9+ guitars. From setups to pickup and wiring replacement, he does it all. They all play superbly.He is very meticulous and caring about his work. Nothing leaves his shop until it's the way he would have his own instruments play and sound. He is straight forward and honest to a fault and I'm proud he is my friend and guitar tech.

     Clay Alderman

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    I've been playing and gigging over 30 years.Having quality equipment and tone is of the highest priority to me. Gary is the "only" tech I allow to do work on my guitars.He has the ability to look at the neck, before he does the work,and will tell you if the guitar will set up nicely. I have seen and played his personal guitars. They too are set up very nicely.From the cheap MIM Fender Strat to his more expensive guitars.Remember,your entire guitar works as a complete unit. Gary will bring it all together and make you want to play it. I would listen to him and his advice if I were you. Bank on what he tells you. Its that simple.
 
     Scott Robertson

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    This was the right place for my electric bass!. I'll be taking my instruments back to Gary for more work in the future. He offers a very fair price, fast and friendly service,and his craftsmanship features an attention to detail that he would clearly apply when working on his own instrument. You won't be disappointed if you bring in your instrument for whatever it needs:set-up,intonation,pickup and electronics work.

     Peter

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     Gary was a shot in the dark.I found his ad on Craigslist. Initially I was a little wary about not going to a shop. Well the risk was well rewarded. Gary's work is by far the best I have ever seen.His passion for the guitar is mixed with his relentless work effort and attention to detail. From now on my guitars go to Gary,and only to Gary.

      Glenn Stern

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     Gary is an expert on guitars as well as an honest man,a rarity these days in a business I've been interacting with continuously for the past 34 years. My experience with Gary over the past few months has been more than good, it has been outstanding. He has setup most of my electric guitars,saved me from ending up with a Standard American Stratocaster with a warped fretboard and helped me redesign the circuitry on one my axes, and I'm sure more is to come. His workmanship is excellent;he is meticulous about his work and doesn't give up trying to make your guitar play as smoothly as it can. I have recommended Gary to my friends.

      Peace

      Hisham S "The Egyptian"

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     Gary is totally awesome!! He totally rocks!

     I go to him for ALL my guitar needs,from re-stringing and setting up my electric guitar,to putting strings on my classical. From the first time I used his services,he made me feel very comfortable because he's very knowledgeable,his prices are affordable,and he has such passion for guitars (he even showed me a few playing tips). He will care for your guitar as if it was his own. I seriously don't know what he does to the guitars,but he goes the extra mile to make them look as if they were brand new!. He has been VERY generous with me. If you're in the Norther Virginia area,don't ever take your guitar anywhere else.

      Gary, you Rock!!!  

      Carlos R.

 

 

 
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