Currently Browsing: News

Williams Audio

If you are a pedal user, and find that most of the modern stuff just doesnt have the vibe you want, then have a look at Williams Audio Pedals.

Pictures coming soon!

Up there in quality with ZVEX, Klon, Matchless/ Bad Cat, Dumble, etc these pedals are amazingly accurate recreations of the originals which are now either too rare or hard to obtain.  This guy trawls the world for the same components that the originals used and absolutely nails it.

Ben King – guitar player for The Yardbirds (yes, he’s filling the shoes of Page, Beck and Clapton!) uses Williams Audio to get the proper tones, and guys from all over the world (including staff on some of the USA’s biggest and best guitar magazines) have been using one of the UK’s best kept secrets for a while now.  A friend of mine who has produced everyone from Longview to Slipknot loves them and has had it in his studio for those moments where a guitarist cant quite coax the depth of tone from his gear that he needs.

I’ve had my wah pedal overhauled and an led added (so I know when its active) and I’d never have believed it if it wasn’t before my ears and eyes. I’ve used his boost pedal for several years now, and its thickened up my tone amazingly and made it much more ‘musical’ – if that makes sense.  Friends of mine have also used the same pedal, then bought another because they can’t stand to hear their tone without the boost on!

Its been one of those ‘ I’ve searched long and hard for the Holy Grail…and finally, I’ve found it!’ things.  One of those things that a good 335 or  strat with some BareKnuckle Pickups in, a beautiful old Fender amp and my Williams pedals just feels like after 30+ years of playing, I finally have a rig that I’m totally happy with.

Trust me, Williams Audio is worth getting into.

Virtuoso Guitar Polish: Curing a Nitro Cellulose finish

The kind of issues that we all experience with a Nitro Cellulose finish on a guitar are generally thus:

Dull, grimy finish with little or no luster

Sticky or milky effect on the body

‘Tide mark’ on body of the guitar where your arm sits

Gummy feel to the back of the neck Hand / finger prints that won’t clean off

I’ve tried to deal with many of these problems with everything from guitar manufacturers polishes to mildly abrasive car cleaners, domestic and industrial products and I’ve even made up some of my own, but  nothing really worked. I realised that many of the so called guitar polishes are in fact just domestic car care products in a different bottle.

There is no way that these products can care for you nitro finished guitar.  Chemically, they were never designed to work with nitro cellulose.

The worst of them compound the problem because when nitro hasn’t cured properly it can be a nightmare to deal with.

Thankfully the good people at Virtuoso Guitar products tackled the problem and eventually came up with an amazing product.

A while back I had a real problem with a Gibson J45 guitar that belonged to a famous footballer that had been “serviced” somewhere, and returned with 7 or 8 misty white palm prints on the body and neck.  The guy that had worked on it had had a natural reaction with the nitro cellulose finish (this is quite common) and the finish had become slightly sticky where he had handled it.  I’d heard that its a rare blood type that reacts with the finish (a customer confirmed this with me a few years ago), as well as some manufacturers finding that sometimes their finishes don’t seem to cure as quickly or consistently as they’d like. I’ve known for years that no polish available over the counter in guitar shops could help – most end up making it worse in fact.  I looked long and hard for something new and found (amongst other brands) Virtuoso. I bought one of everything available on the market and gently tested them all on my own Gibson guitar.  Once I knew it was safe I tried it on the J45, which was becoming a sticky, milky coloured mess.  The Virtuoso polish was as close to a miracle cure as I could have ever hoped to find!  Since then I’ve become a lot more relaxed with these finish problems, this stuff just seems to always do the trick. Companies like Gibson have been asked many times why they use a finish that can have minor issues like this when a cheaper guitar with a poly finish is far less fragile.  Their reply is best summed up as this:

“If you has a Stradivarius violin, would you dip it in plastic to get a tough finish, or would you continue to use a fine thin finish that allows the instrument to breath, vibrate and sound its best?”

Point taken.

Every guitar that has a Nitro finish that comes into the workshop gets polished with this stuff and its great to open the case when the owner returns to collect and have them see their guitar looking its best again, I know that they won’t have been able to get a gloss to shine like I can with this stuff!

I primarily use it on Gibson, Martin, Fender Custom Shop and Rickenbacker as they all still use Nitro Cellulose, but it works extremely well on all finishes. I use a clean new polishing cloth each time so there’s no chance of putting a swirl in the finish.

Finding that no one in the UK seems to sell Virtuoso, we became a dealer for it and now offer it for sale to all those people with nitro cellulose finishes.  Feel free to get in touch any time or drop in to discuss whether we can help you bring that guitar back up to its beautiful shine.

There’s also a cleaner available which is great for taking the gunk and spills off before polishing.  I’ve had guitars in the workshop that I thought would need to be re-finished but tried Virtuoso Cleaner before hand and its taken the grime away with a couple of minutes effort and left the finish feeling harder and more ‘cured’ than ever before.  Continual treatments seem to help the finish become hard and glossy and drastically reduce the stickyness – reversing it in fact.

Another great thing is that you only need a small amount each time.  One bottle has lasted me well over a year – and I use this stuff a lot! With normal domestic use I would expect the bottle to last several years.

Look here for customer comments (from the manufacturers website), and here for a review from Muscians Hotline.

Both Virtuoso Polish and Cleaner  cost £12.49 per bottle,  or £23.99 for 1 bottle of each.   P&P is £3.50 for one, £4 for two, £6 for overseas. I now use tracked courier for UK P&P You should receive a tracking number via email from the courier with an estimate of delivery. If you supply a mobile number in the PayPal notes they will use that to help with delivery.

Virtuoso Options

Alternatively, email us with the required quantity and postal address etc,  we’ll send an invoice via PayPal and get it in the post asap.


Alternatively please send a cheque made payable to The Guitar Repair Workshop Ltd to:

The Guitar Repair Workshop Ltd

c/o Professional Music Technology

Red Rose Retail Park,

Regent Road,

Salford Manchester

M5 3GR

Our workbench blog

My trusty old workbench sees a lot of guitars every week, and I thought it might be interesting to see some of the sights we see in here. It might be anything from a budget guitar with insane paint job, something thats really been in the wars (hopefully a before an after pic) or something old or rare that you dont get to see up close too often.

So check out our Blogger page for some interesting pics. Its always very busy in the workshop, but I’ll try to update at least once a week – its great to look back at the interesting jobs that have passed through here. Some had me scratching my head wondering how I was going to carry out the job, some are super delicate, and some are more routine but just as enjoyable as the instrument itself is so nice.

Anyway, have a look from time to time – there might be something of interest to you.

John East Bass Pre-amps: J-Retro

For several years now we have been supplying and fitting John East’s incredible bass pre-amps. John has an incredible range of products, but lets focus for a second on the J-Retro.

 They are simply the best way to get more from your Jazz Bass, with deeper lows and clear sweet highs. Together with a sweepable mid boost and cut you have complete control over your tone. A few home recoding guys we know have found that a Fender Mex or Squire with a J-Retro gives them tons of power and tone for a great all-in price.  Its useful too for gigging a less expensive bass that still has all the versatility of a high-end USA built instrument.

In our opinion this is the best thing to come out for bass guitars in a long time. The reviews say it all, but there is no better way to find out for yourself than to play a bass with an East on board.  Recently I’ve seen cheap imported copies of the J-Retro, and these customers have seemed happy to save themselves a few pounds, but the product they bought was in no way comparable to the East system.  Go for the real thing and I don’t think you’ll ever look back, in fact most customers that have one East pre-amp end up having them fitted in several of their main instruments…they’re addictive!

We keep the J-Retro, the new P-Retro and the Tone Lifter in stock, and can usually fit the J-Retro while you wait. Fitting charges are:

£15 for the J-Retro,

£25 for the P-Retro,

£30 for the Tone Lifter

See the John East website for more details.

We are based in PMT – 12,000sq feet and growing!

We are based inside the fantastic Manchester branch of Professional Music Technology (PMT). The store has everything including guitars, bass, amps, keyboards, FX, hi-tech, P.A, drums & percussion, books and gadgets. 

The shop currently has aound 12 thousand square foot of showroom space – and its getting bigger with even more expansion plans, to be honest – we need it to contain all the stock! PMT are main dealers for most top brands (does your local music store regularly get in shipments of 50+ Fenders or Martins?) and if what you want isn’t on hand in store its very likely that one of the 8 other branches nationwide will have it. The shop is run buy Colin Ford and Andy Hartwell, with over 40 yrs experience between them, they’ll be able to help you find what you’re after.

Please come visit and say hello. We are based just outside Manchester on the A57, and just 9 minutes from the city center on either the 33 or 63 bus.

There loads of free parking outside, and we can help you load up your car!

Page 1 of 212