JW Guitar Restoration, Inc.
Setup Repair Restore Custom Contact  
Guitar Repair, Restoration & Custom Shop

Music can fundamentally change lives. With this principle in mind, it is our goal to provide and service the tools with which musicians can realize their passion.

We give the same time, attention and care to all instruments, regardless of how inexpensive or valuable they are. Everyone deserves the best sound and feel from their instrument, and we strive to fine-tune every acoustic, electric, or bass guitar to its fullest potential.

Our shop is located outside of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. While serving the local community, we also accept guitars for repair and restoration from around the country. We continue to build distinctive, hand-made instruments as well.

The photographs on this website are here to illustrate some of the work we do and have done in the past.
Please roll your mouse over any photo on this site for more information regarding the work performed on that particular instrument.

Feel free to check out our new links page.
Curious what the restoration process is like?
What do we do and how do we do it? We've taken
a series of photos so you can follow the restoration
of this 1953 Les Paul from beginning to end.

1953 Gibson Les Paul Restoration

1963 Fender Jazzmaster

Paul Reed Smith Hollowbody

1966 Gibson SG Special

Peavey EVH Wolfgang

1981 Gibson Les Paul Custom

1979 Gibson The Paul

Carbon Fiber Les Paul

Paul Reed Smith McCarty
Gibson Les Paul Elegant
Custom strat with binding
All pictures, text and information ©1996-2008 JW Guitar Restoration, Inc. 1 2 3 4 5 - text-only

home setup repair restoration contact While our primary focus is on repair and restoration work, occasionally we get a request for a custom guitar unique enough that we become curious ourselves as to what the guitar would look or sound like and how we could go about building it. It is requests like these that prompt our custom guitar building.There are a couple companies out there who produce custom necks on a fairly large scale. Most of these necks are of decent quality and we would recommend checking with them before you contact us. If you need a neck that is outside the norms of what they make, or a reproduction of a neck that is otherwise unavailable, please let us know.Again, there are quite a few companies that produce guitar bodies. If you are unhappy with the quality of these companies or need something built that they are unable to, please contact us. We generally prefer to take on custom jobs that need to be produced with exceptionally high build quality or are outside the boundaries of what is typically produced, either technically or tonally.The custom guitars that we build are truly hand-made instruments, produced almost entirely without the use of power tools. We prefer using chisels, hand planes, rasps, etc. to craft guitars. We make a very limited number of guitars throughout the year and do so on a first-come first-serve basis, if our repair and restoration schedule allows it. We generally only take on custom jobs that need to be produced with exceptionally high build quality or are outside the boundaries of what is typically produced, either technically or tonally.We can setup your guitar with virtually any combination of pickups, switches, controls, wiring and shielding that you would like. We can also modify your instrument, if needed, to accept new components.There are a few individuals working in the guitar field who do immaculate inlay work. If they do not offer or can not do what you are looking for, please feel free to contact us with your project idea. We specialize in wood inlays for the fretboard, headstock or body. We also work with metals and all the usual natural inlay materials. Let us know if you are looking to inlay your guitar with an uncommon material.There is very, very little in the way of modifications that are not able to be done to a guitar. If you have an idea for your instrument and are serious about making it a reality, please drop us a line.The order for this guitar was the first time we had specific requests from both the artist and his guitar tech on the construction of the guitar. The guitarist requested a Strat made from one solid piece of maple, a rosewood fretboard, a black-cherry lacquer finish, and no plug, skunkstrip, or headstock located truss rod adjustment. The guitar tech needed to be able to adjust the relief easily as he was frequently doing relief adjustments during outdoor shows and between each city the tour stopped at to compensate for humidity changes.It took several months, but we were eventually able to find the perfect piece of maple for the guitar... the right size, age, and curl. This is a true one-piece guitar, not a set neck or neck-through. The only glued-on piece of wood is the fingerboard. Note the small hole below the transition of the neck to the body. This is an adaptation of an old Gretsch idea, a two-way adjustable truss rod with access from the back of the guitar.The feel, tone and sustain of this guitar is second-to-none. Finding the right pickups to fully exploit the solid-maple construction took some time, as we had to adapt to the very bright, clean tone of the wood. The right combination came by way to two Fralin pickups and a custom-wound RWRP center pickup of ours which really brought out the single-coil sparkle in positions 2 and 4.This LP looks pretty standard at a glance. The only noticeable difference is the pickups. This client wanted a LP with a vintage mini-humbucker in the neck and a vintage full-size humbucker at the bridge.Of course, the client had more specifications for the guitar than that. The body is carved one-piece mahogany, not mahogany with a mahogany top. The neck profile starts out as a slim-taper 60’s and deepens to a late-50’s feel. The inlays are vintage as well as the original 1969 Gibson pickups. It also has a narrow headstock with push-in bushings.Besides having a unique look, it has a very versatile sound. Mixing the mini and the full-sized humbuckers really paid off. We’ve heard from the client that he occasionally swaps a P-90 in place of the mini-humbucker for further sounds.We always enjoy a challenge. We were asked to make a Strat style guitar with a 5A curly maple top, bound in ebony and silver with the design running up the middle of the body. After we finished the guitar, the client told us that he had approached four separate well-respected luthiers who told had him it couldn't be done. The body is fully chambered alder with a curly maple top. That part was easy. The binding channels were all done by hand with a hammer and chisel. The real challenge was the continuous silver accent binding.Once the silver binding was in we bent and laminated ebony, fitting it to the channel. The result is truly one-of-a-kind.The client who ordered this guitar was very, very particular about details. He gave us CAD drawings, supplied all the raw woods, hardware and electronics, and provided us with a small book he’d written on how he wanted this guitar to be built. This is our kind of customer, someone who will accept nothing less than perfection.The guitar body was fully chambered and only an inch and a half thick, made of lightly figured cherry and finely-grained, clear Port Orford cedar. The neck is one-piece mahogany with mahogany skunkstripe, walnut plug, dual-acting trussrod, Honduras rosewood fingerboard and gold mother of pearl markers. The electronics were out of a Clapton Stratocaster, rewired to eliminate ground loops, and the cavities were all copper shielded.This Strat had the thinnest finish we’ve ever applied, barely thick enough to fill the grain... but as the client specified. The finish was satin with the exception of the back of the neck, which was polished. The neck scale was an odd 25.25 inches, which we custom slotted. We had never tried this combination of woods on a guitar before, but after listening to the finished result, we’d recommend it to anyone.