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Why should I deal with Guitar Lab?

     Is your guitar more than just an instrument to you? One of the many reasons I became a Luthier was the fear of leaving my precious guitar with total strangers in a guitar store. Rest assured, whether you have a Custom Shop Gibson Les Paul or a Squire Stratocaster, it will be treated with respect and handled carefully by me, no one else.

     Have you ever called a guitar store and explained what you wanted done to someone who had no idea what you were talking about? Wouldn't it be nice to talk directly to the person who will be working on your instrument? Well, at Guitar Lab, you will! My goal is to provide quality repairs with reasonable turnaround times.

     Enjoy talking about gear? Why not send me an email? Playing guitar has always been my passion and I'd be happy to share my knowledge with you. Thanks for your interest in Guitar Lab. I leave you now with some comments from our clients...

Joel Reed


     Joel Reed's Guitar Lab has been my first-call, go-to guitar tech since Legato Guitars moved to Wilmington, NC in 2005. Joel has performed excellent setups on numerous high-end and vintage archtop guitars as well as repairing faulty pickup & pot wiring. Joel's estimates and charges are fair and reasonable, his work is impeccable and turnaround time is generally quicker than expected also give Joel high marks for not taking work that he is not comfortable with. Such discrimination inspires confidence that what he does do will be done right! Legato Guitars is fortunate that it found such a well-qualified guitar tech/luthier so close to our shop.

Bill Fender (Proprietor) Legato Guitars


     It's been about a full decade that I've been going to Joel Reed and Guitarlab. It goes without saying that his work is exceptional, but what really separates him is that he truly has a passion for instruments and making music. His knowledge of gear is encyclopedic and his willingness to talk to you about it and find out what's right for you is incredible. How much do I trust Joel and believe in his work? I live in New York City and I STILL ship my gear down to NC just to have him work on my stuff.

Todd Thomas (Guitar Player) Sensual Harassment


     If you live in the Wilmington, NC area and need luthier work done, Joel Reed at Guitar Lab is the absolute best around! He totally hooked up my Gibson Flying V Bass that came with a bad nut. He hand carved a beautiful new nut out of bone and it has been working great ever since. He also did an awesome set-up and my bass plays like a dream Joel is honest and as professional as they come! I will always use his services and will recommend him to every musician I know.

Angela Foxx (Bass Guitar) Thunderlip


     Joel at Guitar Lab is top notch. In my many years as a professional guitarist I have trusted several people with my prized instruments. (Acoustic and electric.) Joel is without a doubt the most competent and trusted of those professional guitar technicians and Luthiers. Meticulous in his detail, professional in his approach, fair in price and a nice guy to top it off. I send everyone I know to him.

Daniel Klein (Owner) Port City Amplifiers


     Joel Reed is the consummate professional luthier ...when I worked in retail.. a professionals son slammed his Les Paul on to a concrete floor accidentally and snapped the neck off the headstock, within 3 days Joel not only saved the guitar but the headstock was even stronger than factory and he had restored the break back to new.

Lee Venters (Director) Music School ILM NC


     I've never had my guitars setup to perfection before Guitarlab.. I must also add how picky and weird I am about letting people work on my guitars. Joel is who I take my stuff to when I need it right. It's more than right.. Perfect."

Dustie Waring Between The Buried And Me


     I have been using Joel's services for setup and repair of my acoustic guitars for years. I can recommend his shop wholeheartedly! His work is meticulous and thorough, and if a customer of mine has ever had a need or a question, he is right there with a solution! Thanks, Joel!

Ken Garm (ER Doctor) Wilmington, NC


     Over the years I have found Joel to be a wonderful asset to me & my business. His knowledge and expertise in his field is unmatched in my opinion. I can always count on Joel for quick professional service with a smile and know the job no matter how small or large was done correctly the first time. For the quality and speed of service provided I have found Joel's prices to be extremely fair and his appraisals and reports to be spot on. Joel is the only Luthier in town that I will call on for any kind of string instrument work

Jim Lamonda (Owner) Atlantic Jewelry & Pawn


     Joel Reed is the only person I trust with my guitars. Finding a good guitar technician is like finding a good doctor. You have to have somebody who knows what there doing and you can feel confident with that they will be professional and do the best job they possibly can. I have not been able to find anyone as good as Joel Reed yet and I travel all the way from New York to have Joel work on my guitars. Joel is my # 1 recommendation for guitar repair. My guitars are my life and I would not trust anyone else except for Joel Reed with them!

Lauren Vessio (Sound Engineer) Nashville, TN


     Joel at Guitar lab has been an immense help to me over the years. He came very highly recommending by almost every guitarist I spoke to in the Wilmington area. Always professional but totally accessible and has never made me feel like an idiot even when I had no idea what was wrong with my guitars, as has been my experience with other luthiers in the past. I have never had anyone do such high quality setups and repairs on my personal gear. I have had a lot of guitars come and go and I have always taken them to Joel. You really don't know how good a guitar can play until Joel has set it up. I have lived in L.A. for the past two years and he is still my go to guy and the standard by which I judge all other luthiers. Now, if I could only convince him to move west!

Tony Vincent (Guitar Instructor) Wilmington, NC


     I've known Joel Reed for almost 15 years now and he has been my go-to luthier since he started Guitar Lab. Joel has setup every guitar I own with impeccable results, but one always stands out to me. I own mostly vintage fenders and gibsons and they are great, but I decided to buy a Les Paul copy that was at a really good price($170). I played one similar to the model i wanted to purchase, and it was fantastic, so I decided to take a chance and bought the guitar. First reaction: this guitar is AWFUL!!!!!!! I was so bummed, but I called Joel and he told me to stop by and he would see what he could do. A few days later I got a message that the guitar was done and I stopped by to check it out. Joel handed me the guitar and said "here play it for a minute and tell me what you think." Half an hour later I was still playing that guitar, I hadn't stopped for a second, I think he attended to 2 different customers while I was "trying out" his setup job. I was floored. This guitar was not the same guitar I had given him before, this thing played better than most of the newer $3000 Les Pauls I had tried out. Point being, there is no better person than Joel Reed to work on your instrument in the area, hands down. Since then he's modded amps for me, done plenty of guitar/bass setups, and been a great friend. Thanks Joel.

Ian Millard (Recording Engineer) Wilmington, NC


     Anytime I have a question or concern about my rig, I go to Joel at Guitar Lab. His quality of workmanship, as well as knowledge and understanding in what I want from my instrument leave me satisfied every time. Joel has worked on an array of things for me: from guitar set-ups to pedal electronics. Most recently he was able to find me a vintage Silvertone. I have always been afraid to purchase one on eBay because you never know what you get. Because of the trust I have in Joel I jumped at the chance. When the guitar arrived Joel had it playable immediately. The action was perfect, the bridge was new. While I will not be taking this guitar out on stage, it is my main acoustic for home and studio not only because of the sound, but because of the excellent playability. If you have read this far and have an instrument that you need work on, stop reading, show your instrument some love and contact Joel. You will not regret it.

William Lusk Coppage (Guitar Player) Wilmington, NC


     GUITAR LAB RULES!!! I have been taking all my guitars to Joel for years. Anytime I've had to make a record or leave on a tour, I can rest assured my guitars are going to play perfect cause they received the care they needed. Before settling with GUITAR LAB as the only place I will have work done on my guitars, I had tried others in the area and ran into problematic setups time and time again. From the first time I got just a simple set up, to having countless pickups installed, tuners installed, or even something as big as nut replacement my guitars have played better than new after every visit. There really is NO other option. THANKS GUITAR LAB!!!!

Kyle Watts (Guitar Player) Wilmington, NC


     Almost a decade ago, I first met Joel Reed after purchasing a new instrument that had been sent to him for setup by the seller. From that time Joel has become my "go to guy"for any and all guitar work. I have a small stable of guitars that I revere. Joel is the only other person who is allowed to touch them or work on them. I found out quickly that Joel shares my reverence for guitars, but his knowledge, craftsmanship, and repair skills far exceed my own. His knowledge of everything pertaining to guitars is vast. His workmanship is absolutely first rate. Regarding any repair that you might require, Joel will provide all possible options. His pricing is good. I rate his customer relations as excellent. Over the years, Joel has doctored my babies on numerous occasions. Several of my instruments have received upgrades where I was blown away at the difference. On some of the upgrades, Joel advised me to go in a different direction, that proved completely satisfying to me. When any of my babies goes to the doctor, she goes to see Dr. Joel. I wouldn't consider letting anyone else work on them.

Herb Harton (Guitar Player) NC Film Studios


     Joel, I just have to brag again on you man, band practice this past weekend was epic...I played the crap outta my strat and still in tune, still fantastic!!! so thanks again, I hope to be taking 3 more of my guitars to you soon to have them setup..

Brad Lanier (Guitar Player) Law Enforcement


     It is hard to believe this was a $400 Ibanez backup guitar (when and if I break a string during a set list), but after Joel did his magic it has richer sound and deep tone that is not quite my Taylor (also setup precisely by Joel!), but much more than a practice/backup guitar! The action is that of my Telecaster (also setup & fixed by Joel's genius!) and its like getting a new toy for Christmas! JOEL REED has no match in NC! You are brilliant sir! Thank you for your commitment to excellence and bringing the best out of every guitar I own. What you do is magic. Its like I drop off a Honda Civic 4 banger for a once over by you and when I get the call to come pick her up I drive away with a Lexus with leather seats and all the bells and whistles.

Cory Orel (Guitar Player) Firefighter Paramedic


     I found guitarlab online after I bought a Gibson off of ebay. It looked cool, but it wouldn't stay in tune & my cheap guitar played better. I took it to Joel for a setup & explained my preferences. Turn around was a couple of days & it played awesome! Seems Gibson used cheap plastic nuts during this era, so Joel crafted a new one out of bone. Crazy! He's since setup my other cheap guitars w/ the same attention to detail. If there were any surprises during the repair he called or emailed to explain the situation & the options available before he finished. No brand name snobbery, just great work from a nice guy.

Stephen Southerland (Guitar Player) Wilmington, NC

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