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James Hood Guitar - Blog

1930’s maybell parlor guitar Restoration

June 14th, 2018 Posted by News 0 thoughts on “1930’s maybell parlor guitar Restoration”

restored maybell parlor guitar 1930A lot of us grew up with music in our family’s. Guitars being played by family members especially on Holidays like Christmas and Thanksgiving when all would gather and sing songs passed down from generations past, aunts, uncles, fathers and grandfathers joining in chorus. Old martin Guitars, gibson, Ovation’s and many other instruments would be pulled from a guitar case new and old to regale us with these songs. It was common to see maybell, silvertone & Harmony Guitars as these were the more affordable Guitars to own and readily available from the Sears catalog. These old guitars no matter what the brand have a very special place for us in our hearts as they preserve the great memories of days past. As our loved ones leave this world to another. Often these great treasures are left behind in a closet, under a bed or in the care of grandchildren, some of them are in great condition and others are in need of attention while cracks have formed or neck angles have dove into the abyss leaving these guitars with extremely high uncomfortable action making with the end result being that we don’t want to play them. The Maybell parlor guitar pictured in this post is one of these special guitars that is priceless to the family. It came to us with all of the back bracing completely popped off and the neck block came loose causing the top to crack on each side of the fretboard thus causing the sound hole to cave in. We were able to re install all of the back bracing and repair the loose neck block. The back was then reinstalled after fixing some more racing that we found to be loose on the top. After this a neck reset was performed to get the playability of this guitar dialed in.

Once all the repair work was completed the customer arrived to claim Grandpas old 1930’s Maybell Parlor guitar and was very pleased. It was important to us to retain as much of the patina as possible in this old guitar so we left the dark build up on the top. It just figures that the owner of this guitar would show up in a cool old New Yorker!

Here are some pics of the restoration process.


How often should my guitar be setup?

October 1st, 2017 Posted by News 0 thoughts on “How often should my guitar be setup?”

Quite often I am asked how often a guitar should be setup and my answer is always the same “once to twice a year but it depends on what the weather is like and a whole bunch of other factors, how often you play your guitar and how it is stored and how often you change your string gauge, just to name a few. In general you can expect to see a change in your guitar when the weather gets cold or hot or even the inbetween temperatures. Humidity is also a factor to be considered. If you have ever done gigs out side in the cold weather you might notice your strings feel closer to the frets, well this is because the neck of the guitar has decided to straighten out and possibly go in to back bow, This can cause buzzing issues and notes to fret out as well as a change in intonation causing your chords to sound a bit off. The opposite can happen when we are in warm or hot weather, your strings may feel farther away from the frets  and this also causes issues with how your guitar sounds and feels. Humidity fluctuations will cause expansion and contraction in the wood also causing changes in your instrument to occur. If your having issues with string buzz, fretting out or you have a guitar with action that is to low or even to high then it’s prolly time to have your guitar setup by a professional. You will be glad that you did. 

Ask us about our setup specials for this month. $30 off acoustic guitar setup’s and $15 off electric guitar setup’s oh and by the way, non coated D’Addario strings are included!

We also have a lot of experience working on banjos, mandolins, violins and ukuleles.

How to remove pickups from a Parker Fly Guitar

September 22nd, 2017 Posted by HowTo 0 thoughts on “How to remove pickups from a Parker Fly Guitar”

How to remove pickups from a parker Fly Guitar

Here is a quick explanation along with a video so you can see how to remove pickups from a Parker guitar. The two outside E string pole pieces are actually screwed into inserts in the pickup rout. First thing you want to do is raise the pole pieces on the pickup, go for the ones in the center so you have something to grab and pull on while you loosen the pickup. Now, Turn the pole piece on the high E string and the Low E string on the pickup counter clockwise until they are loose from the body inserts. give the center poles a tug and the pickup should come right out. Watch the video and you will see exactly how this is done. Keep in mind the variation of how Parker was securing humbucker’s into guitars can vary with different models, some used the A and B string Pole to fasten the pickup but this is how it went on this guitar.

Pro Sound Notes V1B1

October 25th, 2016 Posted by News 0 thoughts on “Pro Sound Notes V1B1”

Saving Money and Time Before Bringing Your Amplifier in For Service

October 4th, 2016




Disclosure – Amplifiers and many electronic devices are capable of storing potentially lethal voltages even if not plugged into a wall outlet and stored for periods of time.  Never disassemble your electronic equipment unless properly trained and certified.


Field Amp Technician Announcements

The following technician notes are now available and confirmed (If you own any of these Fender Amplifier models and are experiencing stated symptoms, please deliver your unit to James Hood Guitar Repair Fender Authorized Warranty Service Center to determine if warranty service is required):


* Bassman 100T – Intermittent operation or no output signal to speaker from tube power amp.

* Bassman 500 220V or 240V products ONLY – T1A fuse blows on SMPS module during power on.

* Bassbreaker 15 – Intermittent, noisy, or failed Gain Structure Switch (S1).

* Bassbreaker 15 – Excessive hum picked up by effects loop when cables are routed near power transformer.



With that out of the way, …Hi!  My name is David Nevin and I am the amp technician here at James Hood Guitar.  If we haven’t met yet, it’s nice to meet you and I look forward to seeing you around the shop in the near future!  A little about myself:  I have been working on amplifiers for about a decade, and have experience in music electronics in regard to just about every brand that is out there.  I have experience in vintage electronics, keyboard repair and service (Roland Certified, Fender Certified), and pro audio repair, as well.  I am married 12 years with three awesome sons and recently relocated to North County from the SF Bay Area at the end of last year to be close to family.  I had my own store up North and loved being apart of the music community for many years there.  Being so close to the beach and babysitters is definitely an upgrade though, and I’m excited to be of assistance to the music community here in San Diego.

Amplifier Service Defined

One of the things that happens when you bring your amp or pro audio gear to us is an inspection of functionality.  We confirm or do not confirm (Sometimes they just wanna work when you bring em in) the reported issue(s) and then, if agreed, will ask for a ‘Drop Fee’.  The fee is a discounted pre payment for an hour of service.  That service includes full testing, cleaning, deoxidation, lead dress, continuity testing, voltage testing, reseating of any connectors and diagnosis (and even repair) of any lingering issues.  Biasing can happen in this time period too if applicable, as well as tube replacement and any miscellaneous hardware replacement we may have on the shelf.

For the purposes of this blog, I want to talk about a couple of symptoms you may be able to address prior to bringing in your instrument, potentially saving you fees and travel time back and forth.

You should be able to apply these suggestions without having to disassemble your gear (check the disclaimer above)

If you are experiencing volume drops, intermittent operation, scratchy knobs or other signal deprecating examples, check to see if your unit has an FX loop, usually located on the back of the enclosure.  The FX loop may only defined on the enclosure as a ‘Send’ jack, and, right next to it, a ‘Return’ jack.  If so, this may be the problem!  FX loops are designed to be a ‘bridge’ between the preamp and the output section of your gear.  This way, you can bypass your preamp on your unit and just run the effects and color that you want directly to the output section of your unit.  Pretty slick, right?  This is also a common point of failure on most modern amps in production both tube and solid state.  When oxidation or debris gets into the jacks of the FX loop, they can actually disrupt continuity to the point that no signal will pass, or only a little.  If this sounds familiar, I’ve got just the trick to at least rule out whether your FX loop is the culprit or not.

First, a quick warning.  Do not use anything other than what I’m recommending for materials to use.  I’ve worked on enough equipment to determine what general product is acceptable for these types of exercises, and which can cause more damage.  Let’s do a quick materials list of what you’ll need:

-Isopropylic alcohol (not WD40, not rubbing alcohol, … not vodka… nothing other than stated)

-400+ Dry/Wet sandpaper (small squares rolled into ‘cigars’ big enough to fit in input jacks. Do not use a lesser grit.  Chunks can pop off inside of the jack making things worse!)

Got everything?  Let’s get started!  Put the unit on a table or somewhere comfortable and almost eye level for you so you’re not having to over work your back.  Position the unit so that the front interface is facing you.

Take your sandpaper ‘cigar’ and dip into the alcohol.  Make sure that it is well saturated.  Scrub each input jack on the front of the enclosure.  Make sure you are going in and out, and not ‘spinning’ the cigar.  Spinning can create a tear in the paper and leave debris behind, defeating the purpose of this exercise.  When the cigar is removed, 99.9999% of the time, there will be some evidence of corrosion being removed.  Black marks and even rust lines should appear on the paper.  Turn the amp around and repeat the process on the input jacks on the back of the enclosure.  Wait briefly to allow most of the alcohol applied to evaporate.  This is a great time to make sure all of the nuts and knobs on your amp are secured tightly, and any dust or dirt on the inside/outside of the cabinet is cleaned off (Simple, light detergent cleaners will do most of the work for you without damaging the tolex/finish, but test a inconspicuous area of the cabinet with the cleaner you have to make sure first).  Plug the amplifier in and turn it on!


If the issue has gone away

Great!  You just saved yourself some cash and time!  Good job!  It’s a good idea to keep the unit on for a extended amount of time to make sure the fix stuck.  If it returns, you don’t need to repeat the process, there’s likely a thermal issue causing the failure which falls into the ‘bring it to the shop’ category.  


If the issue remains

Well, we gave it go.  We now know that there is a bigger problem with the amp and it needs to be diagnosed further.  You can tell me or your preferred technician that you did go through these steps though… which will help expedite the diagnosis process, at least!



There’s a 50/50 chance that your input jacks and FX loop are the culprit in both modern tube, and solid state units when it comes to signal degradation, so why not give this exercise a try?  Also, it is good practice to do this from time to time, even when your gear is fully operational.  It’s necessary maintenance that, when ignored, will go awry at the most inconvenient time!  I hope this note reaches you in peace, and it was a pleasure writing to you.  I’ll post another blog here at jameshoodguitar.com next week around the same time.  

If you have any questions, or would like me to blog on a music electronics topic that you’re pondering, email us at info@jameshoodguitar.com and I’ll be happily oblige!


My Best,





Pro Sound Notes V1B2

October 4th, 2016 Posted by News 0 thoughts on “Pro Sound Notes V1B2”


  1. As I write this there are 9 Custom JHG Guitars left for purchase at $500.  These guitars will be going into production and retailing at $1,499 MSRP after the last 9 are sold.  I encourage you to contact us at the shop to secure your own custom guitar, with your own custom features and color, before this opportunity sells out.
  2. Currently, the shop is about 4 days out on turnaround times.  This includes amplifier service which has increased in the last couple of weeks.  We are proactively bringing in experienced help to get through our orders as promised and on time.
  3. This is essentially the last week that you can take advantage of our 1/2 setup special through the month of October.  I highly recommend you do so before the 31st.  James has made it clear that this promotion will being going away.
  4. We recently purchased a truckload of guitar and amp parts in June and are coming to the bottom of the barrel, although there is still a healthy selection of parts, complete’s, and projects, etc.  Calling all tinkerer’s and DIY’er’s!  We still have a dozen or so G12H30’s by Celestion, brand new for a third less than anywhere else online.  We have hundreds of tubes like 5Y3’s and 12AX7’s and even EL84’s we’re selling for half of online.  I have been proactive in selling them to our customers coming in, but you can buy them here on the website too.  Bolt on Neck plates?, backplates?, Cheap single coils?.  I have a boatload of them and I want you to come buy them from me for very cheap.
  5. As of 10/22/2016, we are the proud owners of somewhere in the neighborhood of about $60,000 in Fender Genuine Tweed Cases.  They go for hundreds of dollars each.  The cheap ones go for 50-60 and fall apart before you take them home, right?  Well these are the nicer GG cases with compartments and locks.  We’ll release at $99 Shipped tomorrow for Precision Bass and Jazz Bass models, and SHHHHHHHHH!  But, I think we just bought the remainder of the Telecaster Thermometer cases!  We’re gonna sell those at $150 Shipped.  Wanna pick it up?  Just give us a call for the final price.  If you haven’t considered us for a source online for purchasing accessories and parts, start checking in with us.  We beat other retail outlets hands down…



Alright, enough already!  Lets talk about tubes for a second.


“When was the last time new tubes were installed?”

It’s not that I make a big comish on the tubes.  It’s definitely not because I want to create more work for you and I.  It’s because tubes suck.  They fail often and for stupid reasons.  They sit in sockets.  They’re made to be replaced regularly.

‘But I’ve got an all original Fender ‘this’ or Ampeg ‘that’ Dave!’  Great – You can still replace the tubes for regular use and store the originals.  I’m well aware of the secondary market and how much people actually pay for old ink on old tubes.  Take advantage of that, but if you’re not selling yet, just store the originals and put new ones in to make sure the rest of your amp isn’t paying for the ‘mojo’.

Failing tubes look like functioning tubes.  You Can’t see what’s going unless you have a tube tester.  That’s an option, but for most of us, we’ll use it maybe 10 times in our whole lives, probably to confirm that our new tubes are working well, and matched well.  Scheduling maintenance on your tube amp is a good idea.  How often you should change your tubes depends on how many miles you’re putting on it.  The guys that are playing a couple hundred shows a year and practicing in between on the same unit should consider swapping tubes quarterly.  Yup, four times a year (I apologize to all the Mesa 400+ owners out there now).  If you’re a bedroom player, your tube amp is probably going to suffer from dust and corrosion before the mileage on the tubes actually runs out.  When you have another issue happen with the unit, in this case, just change the tubes then.  If you’re somewhere in the middle of these two scenarios, I would suggest planning on tubes being swapped every one to two years.

Changing your tubes regularly does two things:  New tubes take pressure off overperformance off of the cathode chain, assuring its longevity, and, maybe more importantly to you, provides consistency in the tone you get from your amp.  A third realization would mean less time in the shop and less money out of your wallet, in the long run. I should clarify that I’m really only talking about your output tubes.  The bigger ones.  The smaller preamp tubes don’t see the high voltages your output tubes do, and really only need to be swapped if they go microphonic or if some other catastrophe happens.  This is not always true with phase inverter tubes, which sometimes can quit early, too (PRO Tip: If one of your preamp tubes is microphonic, try swapping it with the phase inverter tube (closest to output tubes…usually) if they’re both the same spec and see if the microphonics go away after).

When you buy new tubes for your amp, make sure they’ve been matched, please.  Do not pull tubes from another amp, and definitely don’t mix brands and flavors.  Unmatched, used tubes can cause 10 times the damage if they’re leaky or failing and are impossible to bias (necessary, but we’ll talk about that later).  You’ll end up with struggling tone and a stressed output section which can be expensive if it fails.

Finally, don’t be afraid of your tubes!  When I get a new tube amp for myself, I like to pull a tube while it’s running (careful, they’re still really hot!!) to see what different failures happen and sound like when a tube fully quits to be able to diagnose later.  Some tubes may just adjust tone and volume, or the reverb won’t work, or no sound at all!  When one of these symptoms inevitably happens, I have some notes that I took now that I can refer to as what the issue might be, and I always start with the tubes.  It’s the easiest and most likely culprit when an amplifier is regularly maintained.  Check your manual or give us a call, as I refer primarily to guitar and bass units, some high end units may be more sensitive to this type of experimentation.

I’m gonna get back to work, but if you like these notes, let us know in the comments section below.  If you don’t like these notes, let us know in the comments section below.  If you have a topic regarding electronics you’d like me to talk about (to the best of my ability), just let us know.  I’ll post again next week with new announcements and a new topic.  Thanks for reading!


Banjo Repair & Restoration

September 13th, 2016 Posted by News 0 thoughts on “Banjo Repair & Restoration”

Banjo Repair & Restoration

We have done a lot of banjo Repair & Restoration, seen and worked on a lot of beautiful banjos in the years I was at buffalo brothers guitars. Some were arch tops and some were even fret-less if you can believe it. It was very common however to see 5 string banjos come across my bench. Over the years I have seen the popularity of banjos grow. It has increased across a wide age range with the influence of bands like Mumford & sons and a return to folk roots. With these changes we have seen a big influx of banjo repair and restoration come into the shop. With this influx the demand for our banjo repair and restoration services has increased significantly, so much so that I have brought in the expertise of Joe Zarola to help with the banjo repair. Joe has extensive knowledge of banjos and you will not be let down when you get your banjo back after restoration or repair. You probably have an old banjo that has been in the family for many years and you don’t know what it is and you want to know more about it. Maybe you are a regular player that is looking for improvements to be made on your banjo collection. What ever the need is we are here to help guide you to a solution that makes the most sense for you. Check out some of our banjo services listed below.


Banjo Setup: $131.25 (head tuning, neck adjust, nut slots, tension rod adjustment, tail piece and truss rod, clean fret board, polish frets, tuner adjustment)

Banjo Head Replacement: $210 (includes Setup and strings)

Banjo Head Replacement:
Calf or Goat skin $315 ( includes break down and reassembly of entire banjo and all major point adjustments)

Complete restoration:
Can include refinishing and also vary from instrument to instrument and is determined by customers desires. Shop rate for banjo restoration is $105 per hour. Restoration time can vary depending on the severity of damage caused by rust and weathering.

We are trusted by Deering and Stelling Banjos and have extensive experience working on the following banjos:

Gibson, conversion Gibsons, Paramount, Vega, Stelling, Huber and so many more.


Call us for a free consultation today! 760-729-8100



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🎸🙏Takeshi Akimoto picked up the guitar I made for him today. He said it’s exactly what he imagined. Thanks Takeshi for giving me the opportunity to do this for you and thank you @sheptonepickups for making such awesome pickups!🙏🎸 #ziggymarley #takeshiakimoto #jameshoodguitar #customguitar @sheptonepickups ...

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4901 El Camino Real
Carlsbad, CA 92008

OPEN 10am to 5pm Monday- Saturday