Luthiers in Wellington for setup/repairs?

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Luthiers in Wellington for setup/repairs?

Post by sirvill »

Hi all,

Used to frequent this place YEARS ago under another username - which unfortunately I can't use anymore as I've forgotten my password and the email I registered with has been cancelled. D'oh!


Anyone have any recommendations for a good luthier in Wellington for setups and for some repairs/finishing work on a guitar? Need to get my Godin tune up, but importantly get my Custom Strat finished off and singing.

I've seen a few threads but they're pretty old now, so thought it might be good to get the updated info!

Cheers.

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Re: Luthiers in Wellington for setup/repairs?

Post by Eruera »

I've only had good experiences with Weta, out in (I think) Island Bay

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Re: Luthiers in Wellington for setup/repairs?

Post by sizzlingbadger »

I usually use Kenny Duncan in Manners Mall.
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Re: Luthiers in Wellington for setup/repairs?

Post by slash-ed »

To reiterate my oft stated opinion - I despise Kenny Duncan. The one time I walked into his workshop to discuss a quote, he was unprofessional, unfriendly, and just a bit of an all round dick. He gave me a pretty expensive quote for a refret, and when I asked whether that was adjustable as I'd been given a much lower quote by another reputable luthier, he basically said to fuck off and go there if I wanted to.

I walked out quite happily and took my business elsewhere.

Quality of his work aside, I would never ever deal with that fuckwit if my life depended on it.
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Re: Luthiers in Wellington for setup/repairs?

Post by Polar Bear »

Hi OP, what exactly do you need done? You can bring it in to me at. Music Planet on Cictoria at and I can take a look and give you a quote. :)
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Re: Luthiers in Wellington for setup/repairs?

Post by hamo »

slash-ed wrote:To reiterate my oft stated opinion - I despise Kenny Duncan. The one time I walked into his workshop to discuss a quote, he was unprofessional, unfriendly, and just a bit of an all round dick. He gave me a pretty expensive quote for a refret, and when I asked whether that was adjustable as I'd been given a much lower quote by another reputable luthier, he basically said to fuck off and go there if I wanted to.

I walked out quite happily and took my business elsewhere.

Quality of his work aside, I would never ever deal with that fuckwit if my life depended on it.
Guy I worked with contacted him for a quote and just never heard back, despite following up.
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Re: Luthiers in Wellington for setup/repairs?

Post by Vince »

Polar Bear wrote:Hi OP, what exactly do you need done? You can bring it in to me at. Music Planet on Cictoria at and I can take a look and give you a quote. :)
I think you meant Victoria St? ;)



Not sure where I stand on Kenny Duncan.

On the one hand, he works alone in a converted office so, if he's running late or not coming in at all, there's no way to know. It happened to me the first time I went there, before he had a website with contact details. You're best off ringing his mobile first to see if he'll actually be there. I see that the site now has a booking form so you can make a time to see him and that you can leave your guitar with the office next door.

I found him friendly enough, though he seemed a tad harassed by life or something. Ed's tale rings somewhat true though Kenny D was never rude to me and he seemed like a nice guy.

Fucking expensive: I guess a Manners St. address does not come cheap.

His work was very good indeed. Pricey, but very good.

All up, I'd give the experience a B+
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Re: Luthiers in Wellington for setup/repairs?

Post by sizzlingbadger »

I spoke to Kenny yesterday at his shop, I'm taking a guitar in today.

We had quite a long chat, he said the last couple of years have been manic with new kids, house, business premises and website etc and he was feeling pretty burnt out at the end of this year. I think he has been stressed and he is cutting back on his work load this year to make things easier. This may be why he came across rude to some folk, I don't really know of course its just my take on things.

His shop hours have changed and he is now far more likely to be there when you turn up un-announced. He also has an assistant/apprentice to help out with stuff.

His work is very good, it may not be the cheapest but I have never had any issues with what he has done for me. His refret on my Les Paul was superb.

Music Planet (Victoris St) can also do a lot of the work most people require at a good price.
Tube amp and guitar tones straight from 1958… amazing how believable the sounds were back then, even without the modellers...

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Re: Luthiers in Wellington for setup/repairs?

Post by slash-ed »

My experience with him was about 2 years ago now (at least), so if he's been treating people like shit for that long it's no excuse :D :mental:
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Re: Luthiers in Wellington for setup/repairs?

Post by sirvill »

Polar Bear wrote:Hi OP, what exactly do you need done? You can bring it in to me at. Music Planet on Cictoria at and I can take a look and give you a quote. :)
Oh great - was thinking about KD, but always keen to spread the love around the forums.

Main thing is the Strat, which needs the tremolo looked at (pokes out the back cavity cause it sits too high), check the pickups (think the input jack might be wired backwards, as it hums more when I touch it!), new pickguard, and a setup.

Given all that its probably best if I come in and see you to chat about it! Haha. You working tomorrow or Friday? (Feel free to PM if you prefer)

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Re: Luthiers in Wellington for setup/repairs?

Post by Scooter13 »

My experience with Kenny has been nothing but spectacular. I thought his prices are fine too. I've always found him really friendly.

He's always tried to get people in to help him with his huge workload, but his standard of work is so high that he's never found anyone that can hack it. I think he's currently trying to get a non-techie assistant to handle shop front and admin stuff.

He's got his online store up and running now too. Unfortunately for him, you can buy most of that stuff off Ash who supports, (or at least used to?) the forum.

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Re: Luthiers in Wellington for setup/repairs?

Post by Polar Bear »

sirvill wrote:
Polar Bear wrote:Hi OP, what exactly do you need done? You can bring it in to me at. Music Planet on Cictoria at and I can take a look and give you a quote. :)
Oh great - was thinking about KD, but always keen to spread the love around the forums.

Main thing is the Strat, which needs the tremolo looked at (pokes out the back cavity cause it sits too high), check the pickups (think the input jack might be wired backwards, as it hums more when I touch it!), new pickguard, and a setup.

Given all that its probably best if I come in and see you to chat about it! Haha. You working tomorrow or Friday? (Feel free to PM if you prefer)
PM'd
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Re: Luthiers in Wellington for setup/repairs?

Post by cholera »

I've only used Kenny for a few years now. He can sometime seem a bit rushed, and he REALLY likes to talk about his business,though he always takes the time to talk to you to find out what you need. My only complaint is that he often doesn't seem aware that money actually IS an object to some customers (he often tries to tell me I should go ahead and change ALL the hardware on a guitar, if for example, I'm looking at tuners, but it's not that hard to tell him no thanks.)
As far as I'm concerned I have never found him rude, I don't know anybody else who has ever had a problem with him either. Even if I did find him to be a dick I'd probably go anyway because you only talk to him for 20 minutes, then you leave and have a beautifully set up guitar for a year. I think I can handle that.

I don't really like to drag some small business down to the ground, but Weta on the other hand were actually rude to me, then charged literally 3 times a quoted price. KD came along at just the right time, so I stopped going to Weta.


To avoid any payment issues, make 100% sure that you get a quote first, the one issue I had with Kenny was that he charged me around 250 bucks for a complete rewire, and setup for a guitar. It seemed expensive but after seeing the results of his work, to this day I don't regret it.

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Re: Luthiers in Wellington for setup/repairs?

Post by slash-ed »

cholera wrote:Ed, has something else happened with you and KD since? They seem very strong words for someone who gave you an expensive quote. I'm just curious.
I'm sure we've had this exact discussion before. It wasn't the fact that the quote was expensive, it was the fact that when I asked about it, he quite aggressively told me that if I didn't like his quote, I could just get out of his workshop and just go elsewhere.

I won't deal with someone who doesn't show respect for a potential new customer, and I think that's fair.

Kenny Duncan inspires fanboys and extreme haters (and it's not just me, I know a LOT of people in the Wellington scene who won't deal with him either), and we're obviously on different sides of the fence on this, so let's leave it at that.
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Re: Luthiers in Wellington for setup/repairs?

Post by Vince »

cholera wrote:I don't really like to drag some small business down to the ground, but Weta on the other hand were actually rude to me, then charged literally 3 times a quoted price. KD came along at just the right time, so I stopped going to Weta.
I really like Weta, it's just a pain getting out to their new place. The Really Rude Guy seems to have mellowed out a lot since the move and that was my only quibble. I love the really quirky retro instruments they build, too. I've heard that they have a bit of a tendency to return the instrument saying "Oh, and we discovered that blah blah blah so we changed that" and up-sell that way but I can't remember if that's ever happened to me.
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