Xylem Custom Basses and Guitars

Guitar, Bass & Stringed Instrument Repairs

Xylem Guitars offers a wide range of repair services for guitars, basses, acoustics, electrics and many other stringed instruments.

Anthony Olinger, the sole proprietor of Xylem, has over 15 years of guitar repair experience. He takes pride in the quality of his work, and in helping musicians achieve a more harmonious connection to their instruments.

Xylem serves the Durango, Colorado, Farmington, New Mexico and Four Corners area, but also takes repairs shipped from anywhere in the country.

Repairs are taken by appointment only.
Please call 970-903-8185 or email anthony@xylembassguitar.com to schedule today!

Fretless bass with blue burl radius ramp, single-cut shape

Prices do not include parts/materials costs and vary depending on the extent of the problem, nature of the instrument, and time frame in which the repair must be completed. We offer many additional repair, upgrade and modification services beyond those listed. Please call with any questions!


- I don't trust anyone with my guitars except Anthony. He is honest, meticulous, and detail oriented. Anthony does great repair, set up, and wiring work. He is also an awesome custom bass and guitar builder. His pricing is more than fair and I cannot recommend Anthony at Xylem Basses and Guitars enough.
-Brian G.

- I was referred to Xylem because I was looking to upgrade with a new bass. I brought my Fender Squire 4 string bass in for Anthony to evaluate so he could make recommendations on what to look for in a new instrument, based on what I have been playing and what I was looking for. In addition to a thorough evaluation of my bass, Anthony asked me a lot of questions to learn what type of player I am and my needs. He listened to me and was able to make several modifications to my bass that improved its playability so much that I decided not to purchase a new bass. In fact, several professional bass players have played my Squire and marvel at how well it plays for an inexpensive bass, even telling me they would not replace it if it was their bass!
-Tracy K.

- To say that Anthony merely goes above and beyond for his customers would be an understatement of the century… He makes dreams come true. Anthony is an incredibly kind person, very patient, and an amazing Luthier. His customer service is second to none. I would wholeheartedly recommend Xylem Basses and Guitars to any person out there.
-Allan S.

Common Guitar & Bass Repairs

Price: $65 - $80 (not including strings, add ~$20 if instrument has a tremolo/whammy bar)

Includes optimization of string action, neck relief/bow, intonation and pickup output, plus a restring and more. Improves overall playability and sound of an instrument.

Price: $25 (not including strings)

A full re-stringing of an instrument. A set of new strings alone can really help an old instrument sound better.

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Fret Leveling (Dressing)
Price: $175 - $250

Leveling of all frets to an accuracy of at least 0.0015". Includes re-crowning, dressing and polishing of all frets. Eliminates all fret buzz, removes divots/string-wear from frets and usually allows string action to be lowered, making the instrument sound better and easier to play. Includes a full setup for your guitar, bass or other fretted instrument.

Price: $400 - $750 (depends on extent of repair required)

Removal and replacement of all frets, followed by leveling, crowning, dressing and polishing. Includes any necessary leveling or re-shaping of fretboard, and repairs to fretboard "chip-out" resulting from removal of frets. Includes a full setup.

The Gibson Les Paul pictured below came to Xylem Guitars for a refret. Flatsawn ebony fretboards like the one on this guitar tend to chip out badly with fret removal (even when using a special "chip-stopper" tool and pre-heating the frets). Note the large chip-outs and finger wear on the fretboard in the first image. The fretboard was re-shaped and the chips repaired, as shown in the second image. New frets were then installed, leveled and polished, as can be seen in the third image.

Gibson Les Paul neck with frets removed and signs of fretboard wear
Gibson Les Paul neck with repaired fretboard chips
Newly refretted Gibson Les Paul neck with rounded fret ends

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String Nut Replacement or Upgrade
Price: $120 (not including nut material)

Fabrication, slotting and installation of a new string nut (your choice of material). Includes repairing and truing nut slot/seat at end of fingerboard (if necessary). A new nut is often required if you hear fret buzz when playing open strings on your guitar. Problems at the nut can also throw off your tuning at the first several frets, or make the string action higher than necessary. Upgrading your nut material from plastic to bone, brass or TUSQ can really improve the overall tone and sustain of your instrument.

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Smoothing Sharp Fret Ends (Filing Away "Fret Sprout")
Price: $50 - $100

Eliminates sharp fret ends by filing them down and rounding them over. "Fret sprout" occurs when fret ends just barely stick out beyond the edges of the fretboard/neck, enough so your fretting hand can feel sharp fret edges while playing. Fret sprout often occurs when fretted instruments are transported from humid to dry climates (such as those of Colorado or New Mexico). The neck wood(s) then shrink, causing the fret ends to "sprout" out from the sides of the neck. This repair can really help if your fret ends feel sharp or catch on your fingers.

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Wiring Repairs & Modifications
Price: $30 and Up

Everything from fixing grounding problems, to shielding your guitar to wiring the tone knob on your Strat to work with the bridge pickup. Does your guitar generate too much hiss? Do you want a killswitch like the one Buckethead and Tom Morello use? How about switching out your volume knob with a push/pull pot that coil-splits your neck pickup into a single coil? Whatever your electrical needs may be, we can get you wired!

If your instrument "hisses" or makes other electronic noise when it's not being played, getting it shielded with copper tape can really cut down on electrical noise (see image below).
Stratocaster guitar body shielded with copper tape

We also have these cool mini arcade-style buttons that work great for killswitches (stutter switches) on guitars and basses. Custom guitar killswitch that looks like an arcade game button

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Replacement of Electronic Component - knob, pot, switch, output jack, etc.
Price: $30 - $65 per part (not including component)

Replace any volume, tone, jack, switch or other electrical component that has gotten noisy, intermittent, unreliable or worn-out.

Pickup Replacement
Price: $35 - $80 per pickup (not including pickup(s), varies w/ wiring options)

Includes removal of old pickup(s) and installation/wiring of new pickup(s), plus any additional wiring modifications desired (coil-tapping, phase-switching, etc.). If you're dying for a new sound but can't afford a new instrument try upgrading your pickups, it can breathe new life into a guitar you already own. Not sure which pickups to choose? Contact us and we can help with that too.

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Pickup Installation - Acoustic Guitars
Price: $90 and Up (not including pickup)

Installation of an undersaddle, soundhole or piezo-electric pickup in an acoustic guitar. Often includes installation of an end-pin jack for connecting guitar to an amplifier. This is a great way to liven up or uprgrade an old acoustic guitar. We often recommend K & K pickups and various Fishman transducers for acoustic guitars.

Crack Repair - Acoustic Guitars
Price: $125 and Up (depends on extent of crack(s), damage to finish, etc.)

Repair of cracks in the top, sides or back of an acoustic guitar. Often includes placment of "cleats" for reinforcement, and repair of damaged finish surrounding the cracked area(s).

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Finish Repair & Touch-Ups
Price: $65 and Up

Repair of chips, cracks, dents and defects in the finish of guitars, basses and stringed instruments. Often involves color-matching bare wood exposed below the finish, and drop-filling of damage to nitro-cellulose, polyester and other hard finishes.

Below are some before and after images of a Martin HD-28 with damage to its lacquer finish and spruce top that were repaired at Xylem Guitars.
Finish damage and crack on the top of a Martin HD-28 acoustic guitar
Repaired finish damage on a Martin HD-28 acoustic guitar

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Broken or Cracked Headstock
Price: $85 and Up

Re-gluing of a broken or cracked headstock, including repair to surrounding finish and other components (if necessary). Have you given up on the guitar that took a dive off the stage during a past performance? You'd be surprised how much damage to a headstock can still be repaired. Bring that instrument to us and we might bring it back to life.

Saddle Installation or Upgrade - Acoustic Guitars
Price: $50 - $200 (not including saddle material)

Installation of a new saddle in the bridge of an acoustic guitar. Includes adjustment of string action. Upgrading your saddle material from plastic to bone or TUSQ can really enhance your tone! A cheap acoustic guitar can be noticeably enhanced by upgrading the saddle material. Installing a compensated saddle can also make your tuning and intonation more accurate, especially higher up the fretboard.

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Route New Cavity - for new pickup(s), electrical components, etc. - Electric Guitars & Basses
Price: $200 and Up (not including pickup(s) or component(s))

Routing a new cavity in an electric guitar or bass to add an additional pickup or other electronic component, such as a MIDI ouput, piezo pickups, a 13-pin jack, onboard effects loop, etc.

The images below illustrate a Stratocaster guitar that had a new cavity added (and shielded) to accommodate a Ghost Hexpander module.
Strat-style guitar body before routing a new cavity
Strat-style guitar with Ghost Hexpander installed
Modified Stratocaster guitar with new cover, cavity, jack and Ghost Hexpander

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Tuner Replacement
Price: $30 and Up (not including tuners, depends on modifications required to fit new tuners)

This upgrade is especially useful on cheaper bass guitars. Replacing heavy tuners with a set of Hipshot Ultralites can not only improve the balance of your instrument, but it can reduce its weight by as much as half a pound! Also useful for any instrument that has cheap tuners that won't stay in tune and need upgrading.

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Installation of New Accessory or Component
Price: $30 and Up

Upgrade your bridge or tremolo, add a thumbrest to your bass, add/upgrade a pickguard, add/upgrade a string tree/retainer, add metal pickup rings or covers to your instrument, etc.

Check out the Babicz tremolo Xylem installed on this upgraded white Stratocaster! Newly-installed Babicz tremolo on a white Stratocaster guitar

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Custom Inlay
Price: $100 and Up

Everything from installing brighter side dots in a neck so you can see better on a dark stage to inlaying a work of art in a meaningful instrument.
Custom inlay of a dragon in green polyester and abalone

Pack & Ship a Guitar
Price: $100 - $250 (not including shipping & insurance costs)

Need to pack and ship a guitar, bass, or other stringed instrument? We can help! We have the experience, boxes and packing materials necessary to safely ship instruments around the country and across the globe! We also have discounted FedEx rates and full-coverage insurance.

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Guitar Building & Design Consultant
Price: $200/hour (half-hour minimum)

Are you building a parts guitar, or getting into lutherie? Having trouble installing frets, building a neck or wiring a guitar-mod project and need expert advice? Want to know how to make sure your new guitar design balances? Xylem offers consulting services for guitar building and design. Call us today!

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Parts Fabrication
Price: $50 and Up

Want a custom exotic wood pickguard for your Stratocaster? How about some custom pickup rings or covers for your electric bass? We can make all kinds of custom guitar and bass accessories, including radius ramps, pickup covers, thumbrests, jack plates, truss rod plates and more.

Below are some wenge pickup rings we made and shipped to a client in another state. They came out looking great on his fretless 6-string bass guitar. Custom pickup rings made at Xylem Guitars
Custom wenge pickup rings on a 6-string bass

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I perform all repairs with the goal of making instruments function in unison with their musicians. Through my work I endeavor to help musicians achieve their goals, feel more inspired by their instruments and connect more with their audiences. Whether you need a major refret or a simple setup, I will work closely with you to ensure the modifications I make to your instrument completely satisfy your musical needs!

-Anthony Olinger, Owner of Xylem Basses & Guitars

Fretless 5 string bass guitar with ebony top