I’m the third owner of a newer Martin HD-28 that I liked but didn’t love. I didn’t love it because the feel of the neck was never quite right, and that made the tension on the strings heavier, the sustain weaker, and the overall playability something less than ideal. I contacted Kirby about setting it up to play 12s instead of 13s, and to do any nut work or saddle work associated with that for intonation. Within days he was at my house one evening, looking over the Martin, and also looking over some of my other guitars to see what I liked and didn’t like in terms of playability.
While there, he noticed some space in the HD-28’s dovetail joint that joins the neck and the body, and suggested that at some point, a neck reset was in order. Since the price he quoted me for a neck reset was so reasonable and fair – and a neck reset is a great deal of painstaking, exacting, difficult work – I had him do it straight away, while setting me up for the 12s.
Kirby dropped off my Martin earlier this week – turnaround time was fantastic, especially considering the amount of work he did – and I have to say, I’m beyond pleased with the results. Everything Kirby predicted about the job was spot on, and I appreciated the lesson I learned as he described why he did what he did and how it affects playability. In terms of playability, I think it’s safe to say that my Martin is now going to become one of my go – to guitars for everything from noodling around at home to gigging out with my classic rock band. Before this thing went to Kirby, that just wasn’t the case. Yeah, he’s good. If you live in the area and have need of an outstanding luthier and an all-around nice guy, Kirby’s your man.
I had a Gibson acoustic that had cracked from years of shifting humidity in New England. Kirby picked up the guitar (he offers pick-up and drop off for nearby locations) gave me a reasonable estimate, and took care of all the work. The guitar looks and plays great. Kirby was a pleasure to work with–kind, transparent, thorough–and I would definitely use his repair services again. Very happy customer.
I couldn’t be happier with the results of Kirby’s work. He correctly diagnosed the problem and resolved it ahead of his estimated time. Quality craftsmanship and reasonable rates.
Kirby did some work on a Martin/Sigma guitar I purchased at a yard sale recently, and I was very pleased. He replaced the plastic nut for one made of bone and also set the action, making it very playable.
As a professional musician I need quality work done with a fast turnaround time. Kirby pulled through by fixing my Takamine acoustic/electric within a few hours. Fast, friendly service is not just a motto. It’s the way Kirby does business.
What can I say about Francis guitar repair? I’ve dealt with a number of music shops and luthiers over the years, and as a gigging musician I can say there is a lot of trust required to let someone work on your instrument/s. Kirby is one of the nicest and most professional people I have dealt with in the business.
He went above and beyond what was asked of him and did it all for a really reasonable price. I asked him to swap out the neck on a rather well loved, read beat up, Banjo and in addition to fixing the new neck he cleaned the hardware and head, fixed the head tension, pointed out a future issue while there was still time to fix the issue, and returned in what I can only describe as perfect condition. The action and intonation were better then factory setup and I truly lack the words for the increase in sound clarity and quality. Do yourself a favor and let Francis guitar make you sound better!
The kilmainham three
Over the years, I have trained dozens of luthiers/guitar techs through my guitar setup and repair course. From the first few sessions onward, I found Kirby to be extremely gifted, creative, intuitive and conscientious. These traits are essential in our discipline.
In addition to his prowess with stringed instruments, Kirby is a master woodworker and helped me suss out a few thorny guitar-related issues.
The luthiers I have trained are my legacy. The best of them will carry on the tradition of excellence I have worked so hard to create. I am proud to have helped instill this work ethic in Kirby and highly recommend Francis Guitar Repair to take care of your stringed instruments.
Parsons Guitar Repair & School
Exquisite workmanship. Highly knowledgeable. I learned more about tone and resonance in an hour than the whole rest of my life put together. Highly recommended. My banjo sounded so much better after he worked on it. It was like a different and much higher quality instrument.
Kirby does excellent work. He is also, importantly, a very good communicator and listens to you carefully. He is very knowledgeable about the different woods and has great respect for older instruments. He has done some great work for me.
Kirby is an incredibly talented and detailed luthier. When the bridge started lifting off of my acoustic, Kirby got it sounding better than it ever has. Not only did he fix the problem, he explained exactly how it happened and gave me tips on how to keep my guitar in great shape. Kirby’s skill is only surpassed by his professionalism and attention to detail. I cannot recommend him highly enough.
A skilled craftsman with a deep understanding and love of the instruments he cares for. Top notch!
Kirby was a joy to work with. He restored an old and somewhat beat up banjolele I found at a flea market, and it’s now a thing of beauty. His work was high quality, his charges quite reasonable, and his customer service skills were impeccable. I’m delighted to be able to play this little gem, and would happily recommend Kirby to anyone looking for a skilled luthier.
Kirby is the man! His skills and knowledge are the best in the business. I strongly recommend him ! Kirby took a beautiful guitar with a broken neck and expertly repaired it even better than before. He explains the whys and hows of the process. I only wish I had his talent!
Kirby is my new go-to for all things guitar. He did fabulous repair work on a couple of guitars that were sounding off and felt very uncomfortable to play. Kirby’s repairs were top notch to the point where the difference in playability and tone was staggering. I actually WANT to play the guitars now, something I hadn’t felt for a while before Kirby worked on them. If you’re looking for a guitar setup or repair work, look no further than Kirby. The greater Newburyport area is lucky to have him!
First time working with Kirby and I will for sure be back! He was friendly, knowledgeable and has very fair prices. If you’re looking for quality work without breaking the bank, give Kirby a call!
I recently had a mandolin get pretty cracked up, possibly unrepairable. Kirby graciously offered to take a look and work on it as an educational experience. I can’t express how generous this is and how grateful I am. Great communication and seems like a great guy. Deal with confidence!