I have an old Fender, handed down from my grandfather, which I just love.  My relationship with that guitar has lasted my entire life, and now, in my 40s, I can’t imagine a time when I won’t have it.

Because it’s such a lovely instrument, with a low mellow tone and great action, I take special care in its maintenance.

A musical instrument needs minor repairs now and then to remain playable and serviceable. This is inevitable, and you may complete many simple tasks if you handle it with care. However, there are also times where a simple fix is not enough. When this happens, you are faced with a dilemma: what to do with your musical instrument?

More often than not, because you wanted it to be repaired instantly, you search for DIY videos posted on the internet to help you fix your instrument without the need of hiring a professional repair technician. But is the satisfaction and joy you’ll get from repairing it on your own worth the risk? When would it be necessary to have it fixed by a repair technician? Or better yet, when would you need a restoration specialist for an overhaul?

You would certainly encounter lots of question over this matter. In this article, we’ve listed some factors you need to consider before deciding on how to get your instrument fixed.

How serious is the problem?

You should have an initial assessment of how serious the problem is. If you think it is something that can be done easily like string replacements or fine tuning your instrument, then you may do so granting that you know how. But if it is as significant as punctured and chipped parts, skewed parts that can’t be realigned, or broken and missing parts, then it’s best to visit a repair technician.

More so, if it is in an awful shape because of untoward incidents, then you would definitely need to hire a restoration specialist and ask what they can do for your instrument to get fixed.

Do you have the skills for repair works?

Although the DIY videos available online will give you the step by step process on what to do, you should still at least possess the necessary skills for repair work. Do you know how to replace strings, keys and other parts, fix chipped and cracked areas, make adjustments to get the perfect tune, adjust bridges, warp, varnish, and the like?

Remember that your instruments are made from fine woods and special materials, so your technical skills and aptitude is essential.

You must realize by now that seeing how the repair is done is not a guarantee that you can do it correctly on your own. Often, repair work is harder than it seems.

Do you have the time for the repair process?

Do you have the time to fix the instrument yourself? Of course, this question is directed to the repair process that would take a generous amount of time from you because of the difficulty of the task. It would be very inefficient to start a repair then giving up the process just because you cannot continue what you’ve started due to lack of time. This is certainly a waste of time, effort, and money since there are instances that you may be charged extra for doing the repair yourself, which may lead to more problems. Hence, more repair tasks to do and more money needed to pay for the service.

Are you familiar with every part of your instrument?

You think you know what you’re doing.  When you are in the process of fixing your device and got to a part not explicitly described in the DIY video, you may find yourself in trouble. Or you might encounter difficulty in assembling the parts back after repairing the area where the problem is. These are only two of the dangers of fixing your instrument by yourself. If you are not entirely familiar with the parts of your instrument and their function, it could be unwise to attempt the repair by yourself.

Do you have the right tools and replacement parts?

You can’t just jump into the repair process if you don’t have the right tools or the appropriate replacement parts. You have to understand that improvising or using what seems to be the same kind of device will not always generate the best result. Also, you may encounter unfortunate outcomes by using inappropriate repair tools or incompatible parts for your instrument. The mistakes you may make are many: chipped tools, bent pieces, or off-center bridges are all possibilities. So instead of having it fixed, you could create more problems than you had in the first place.

What is the value of your instrument?

Your musical instrument is an investment, and it may have caused you a considerable sum of money. If you have high quality or top brand musical instrument, you don’t need to think twice about how you intend to get it fixed. Entrust it to a repair technician - the risk is definitely not worth it.

The same principle applies when your musical instrument means a lot to you.

Do you understand that some DIY tips are not permanent fixes?

The DIY videos won’t spell out everything to you, and sometimes their fixes are not suitable for what your instrument needs. So you have to be careful. You also have to be ready of failed outcomes and understand that these are not always a permanent fix. Sooner or later, you will still need to have it fixed by a repair technician (which you could’ve done in the first place for a long term result!). So before doing it on your own, reflect and think things thoroughly to save your time, money and effort.

Are the repair technician and the shop reliable?

The reliability and reputation of the repair shop and their technicians are also an important factor to consider. Try to find a certified technician who is experienced with your musical instrument type.

It is not only a guarantee that you’ll have your instrument fixed but will also be a cost-effective move since you know that the repair can be completed.

Is there a need for an overhaul?

When your instrument is not in a good playing condition, you don’t always need an overhaul job. Full restoration of the device is only necessary when a minor repair can no longer resolve the problem at hand or when you want to restore a vintage instrument. But be careful when deciding whether or not your instrument needs such restoration. You must do a background check with the repair shop, and it's restoration specialist so that you’ll be confident that they can and will provide a quality service for you. You must also get other opinions from other professionals just to be sure an overhaul is what you need.

Always consult with a reliable musical instrument specialist before anything else

We understand that you feel a personal connection with your musical instrument and that is why you sometimes want to get things done solely by yourself. However, always ask yourself if it is worth the risk. Sometimes, trying to be too thrifty is not the more practical choice.

There are many instances when hiring professional repair technicians, or restoration specialists prove to be cost-effective and time-efficient. You just have to understand that there is a big difference between “just making it sound good again” and “making its playing integrity and structure in perfect shape again.” By asking a reliable musical instrument specialist, you can get impartial advice on what you can do. Next that’ll save you time, money, and energy.

Someday my hands or my eyes will give out, and I will no longer be able to play. But with a little care and help from a certified technician, I know my Fender will keep making music for members of my family for generations to come.