Reviews of Dana Sutcliffe Master String Inst.Repair Sconset Rd. Ardentown DE 19810

- by Bobbi Fisher

Dana provides the utmost in professionalism and quality, timely repair. I have had him work on a Hofner very thin classic electric guitar, and a Takamine EN 10C acoustic. The repair work I needed on the acoustic was extensive. It had been butchered elsewhere and sounded horrible. Dana re-worked the instrument, kept me informed about what he was going to do and how much it was going to cost, and when he gave it back to me, it was like new. I thought his rates were also very reasonable. I would not take my instrument anywhere else, I know it is in good hands with Dana.

- by Jake R.

Dana did major repair work, refretting, reshaping of the neck, etc. to a 1917 Gibson A-4 Mandolin that I inherited from my uncle. The thing is a total antique, and Dana made it completely playable, while maintaining it's original integrity. He's incredibly knowledgeable, timely and responsible, a true lover of the music that these instruments can make. I never hesitate to call him with a question or concern. For a while now, I've been looking for an excellent and affordable mandolin mic, and Dana will routinely send me web pages unveiling the newest mics and info. I couldn't recommend Dana Sutcliffe more highly for his professionalism, care, and attention to detail. You will not be disappointed.

- by Erica

My guitars played and sounded better than ever after I had Dana work on them. I have a Martin and 2 Taylor acoustics as well as an American Strat. I had a pick up put in the Martin by a local music store and it never sounded good plus the action was awful. Dana kept me informed ever step of the way and replaced the pickup correctly. I will never again let anyone else touch my guitars. He is a true Master Luthier and a great guy too! He even picked up and delivered! And he did the repairs in a most timely manner. Highly recommend him for guitar service large and small.

- by Gene Guyer

I'm a professional guitarist and need my guitars to be set up perfectly. I won't allow anyone but Dana to touch my guitars. He's done set ups and refrettings for me for years with perfection. I know they will be right when Dana does the work. When I buy a brand new guitar, Dana gets it before it's used in a show. I've recommended Dana to other guitarists who also love his work. I highly recommend Dana for any work you need whether it is just a set up or an extensive repair.

- by mark unruh

I have known Dana for over 25 years. He has repaired and maintained a variety of vintage instruments of mine ranging from electric, acoustic and classical guitars to mandolins, banjos, basses as well as amplifiers. In my opinion there isn't a more skilled craftsman for stringed instruments anywhere. His attention to detail, virtual encyclopedic knowledge and passion for his work make him the best. When asked where to take an instrument for repairs where the work will be done right and with care, I send them to Dana.

- by jones purcell

dana is simply the best. nobody comes close

- by Steve Wood

I have a pretty large collection of high end and vintage basses, and I'm pretty picky about the setup and condition of my instruments. Dana is the only person I trust with my basses. One quick story: I had a Gibson Ripper with a bad pickup. Ripper pickups are potted in epoxy, and I had several pickup experts around the country (including some who you have heard of) tell me that it was impossible to fix them. Dana told me "no problem" and did the job in 2 weeks. He is THE MAN.

- by Michael Brook

Dana has my restored and repaired many instruments for me. He is honest and thorough. He has brought back some instruments from the dead.

- by Chris Gray

Dana's work is absolutely unparalleled. I've known Dana over 22 yrs. In that time he's built and or "Bettered" every Guitar I own. Knowledge, Passion, Craftsmanship, Artistry are just the tip of the iceberg in explaining his work. Dana Is the only person who touches my guitars period. And his is the only name I give to anyone who wants to maintain or improve their instrument or amp. Instead of Master it should be PHD Luthier. His work is nothing less than true art at it's best.

- by G

Superb workmanship. Exceeded expectations. Dana is a world-class luthier.

- by Michael Verruto

I M P E C C A B L E work from this fellow. Flawless, careful, conscientious and meticulous. Dana completely restored a vintage Gibson acoustic, rebuit a gibson ChetSAtkins with new saddle pickup, worked on my vintage L5, and L5s, and Martin.... even rebuilt my Mesa Lonestar....Very, very capable and a TRUE gentleman.



- by will marshall

Several years ago I took a 1975 Guild F150 with fret bindings falling off to a large music chain(Accent Music) to be worked on. They basically butchered the fretboard of the guitar and when I went to finally pick it up there were no strings on it in an effort to hide their mistakes.@!#$ Subsequently, I took the guitar down to Dana and actually felt embarrassed by what had happened to this poor instrument, but I thought I would give him a shot. When he opened the case he was not horrified but immediately saw the potential for this instrument. He miraculously brought it back to life and it is one of my favorite instruments that was handed down from an uncle. Since then Dana has worked his magic on several more of my guitars. His craftsmanship is AMAZING!

- by danclaro

Dana tuned up a couple of new Fender basses for me a couple of years ago, including fretwork and pickup installation. Since then, they've played beautifully and needed nothing except minor truss rod adjustments here and there. Dana also rebuilt my 1971 Ampeg V4-B and helped me choose what cabinet would sound best with it. His skills as a luthier and knowledge about tube amplifiers is incredibly valuable. He's a great resource to have in a local shop.

- by Nicole Passon

I work for a recording artist who is Extremely particular about the condition of his guitars and in fact all of his gear. Dana is the ONLY person he allows to work on his guitars. Dana has worked on everything from high end Taylor acoustics, classical, 12 string, etc to Parker Fly's to midi guitars for us. He did an Incredible custom fret job on a Trussart we have. He has worked on Amps for us, both vintage and new. Warwick Bass and on and on. Bottom line Dana is by far the best there is anywhere around here and if your not close by...he's worth the trip! Not only is he extremely knowledgeable and a true Master at his craft but Dana has the utmost integrity when exploring possible options for whatever your unique situation is. He will be honest with you about what your options are. Can't say enough good things about him! Whenever we sell a guitar we always put on "set up by Dana Sutcliff" as a selling point because those who know quality...know Dana and his work!!

- by mandorichard

Dana and Dave are outstanding. And every time I go in, I feel that all the staff are there to help me and treat me right. Sense of humor--yet professional, too. Some of my rock'n'roll buddies love the work that Dave Sumner does on their electric axes. I have to take them at their word; but I have lots of first hand experience with Dana Sutcliffe's work. Dana has worked on 6 of my instruments so far--ranging in age from a 1913 Gibson mandolin to a 2008 Les Paul. Great work on both electric and acoustic instruments. He has done both routine set-ups AND complex repairs and for me. I've been uniformly thrilled with all of his work. How thrilled? Well, I brought a friend of mine down from Malvern, PA, to have Dana work on a 1908 Gibson A-2 mandolin. Dana transformed it from a nice mandolin to an exceptional one. In short, I'd trust Dana with just about any electric or acoustic guitar, mandolin-family, or uke-family instrument. Great work. And a great little shop. One of my favorite stores in Delaware! I trust Dana Sutcliffe's work so much that I send my friends to him!

- by Rick Jensen

Dana made my Martin's sound exceed my own playing ability. Dana owns a Patent on a Guitar design! Most important, Dana tells you what to expect from his work on your instrument before he begins. I trust Dana with my prized Martin.

- by Mark K

Dana is the best!!! His work is very high quality and he goes out of his way to provide excellent customer service. He has worked on three guitars and a mandolin for me, and they always play better when he is done. One reason I attribute to his great work is that he is an outstanding player. He can pick up your guitar and tell you how he recommends setting it up, or set it up to your preferences. Why else would he have 18 top ratings (and more to come)!!!

- by Rory Sullivan

Dana is the ONLY guy I take my guitars to. He works with you and around the style you play to get the best sound, playability and quality out of your instrument. He regularly works on my Martin 000-16 and recently restored my 1938 Epiphone Deluxe. This job was a TOTAL restoration and included everything you can think of. This baby sings now and can't imagine of taken it somewhere else. You won't find better work than Dana. 5 Stars.

- by Paul Nowosielski

Dana is great. He was able to diagnose an issue I had with a faulty pickup in my Thinline that no other else could figure out or replicate. He didn't even have to plug it in. Experience goes a long way. He's really nice guy as well... Thanks Dana!

- by Mark from Club Phred

Dana has been working on my instruments since were in a band together in the seventies...He is, as the song says, simply the best. His tasks with me are complicated by love of Rickenbackers, which are temperamental by nature. Only use Dana if you want someone who will get it right the first time.

- by chris braddock

It is well-known among musicians in this area that Dana is an expert in guitar and mandolin repair. He has worked on two nice acoustic guitars of mine, plus a mandolin. But he also is great with more obscure things – my Turkish Baglama and Afghan rubâb have also received high-quality care from him. It is very hard to find qualified people to work on these instruments, and Dana does them all. He is also well-connected in the business, and recently helped facilitate a major overhaul of one my amplifiers, free of charge by the manufacturer. This is not something I could have made happen on my own. Perhaps just as important as his expertise is his consistent professionalism. Dana always picks up the phone when I call and is always cheerful and punctual with jobs. The follow-up tweakings he does are much appreciated. His price estimates are always accurate. He picks up my instruments and delivers them back to me at my home. That’s certainly a nice perk! It has been very good working with him.

- by Joe M

My vintage guitars prefer Dana's magic touch. For the best in restoration work, Dana is the man. Thanks.

- by Paul Hoffman

Dana was fantastic start to finish. He analyzed the problem(s) with my Fender Tele and expertlly turned it back into an instrument that is fun to play. He was also very prompt and reliable. After delivery he gave me expert advice on how to properly maintain my guitar. His service far exceeded any expectations I may have had. I was so impressed that I also had him work on my niece's guitar as a birthday present for her. She could tell a major difference right away and it increased her enthusiasm for playing. Thanks Dana!

- by Len Griehs

Dana has restored two of my guitars--a 1956 Gibson and a 1976 Fender Shenandoah. His work helped me recapture the memory of my youth. The Gibson is worth pretty good money today, and it was the first real good guitar I had. But it needed extensive work and Dana made it just like it was when I got it. The Fender 12-String was a unique instrument. He had to do a tremendous amount of work, including cutting off the top and rebuilding the tension bar. It has brought so much pleasure to be able to play both of these instruments again. Dana is a one-of-a-king repairman. His care for the sentimental value of the instruments is especially noteworthy. I've got a Taylor 910 I'm going to have him work on. It was custom made for me, but I want Dana's touch to make it personalized. I've recommended him to many of my friends.

- by Dan H.

I have known and worked with Dana for over 25 years. The cat is knowledgeable, meticulous and treats the instruments and equipment he works on as if it were his own. Done right the first time....

- by Jason G

Dana did an Excellent job on my Warwick Thumb bass. He fixed some major electronics problems I was having as well as some fret work that left my bass playing like it was new!!!

- by Chris K

Here's another voice in the choir of voices happy with Dana's work. My Gibson J100 was un-tunable due to neck warp. Dana replaced the frets, straightened the neck, and otherwise fixed the guitar so that it sounds great (at least when played by others). Thanks Dana.

- by Brian Sutcliffe

Sounds like you have the reputation and experience. That is one thing that I dont have, entirely self taught and know nothing about other guitars etc. I admire those who have taken the time and effort to acquire this kind of skill. Kudos Brian

- by Keith Ayars

I've used Dana, for maintenence and repair. Always a quick turnaround, which is important when you need your guitar, every weekend. Simply the best.

- by Rob Kessler

I was plagued looking for a shop in Cleveland. There are people here who call themselves "Master Luthiers". I do not doubt they have good skills but I had an issue with a vintage instrument some weeks ago and all the local people either threw their hands up or wanted to hack into my instrument and explained the repair would only be a little noticeable. After much research on Google I found Dana Sutcliffe. Admittedly he is in Delalware but the turn around with shipping involved was still under two weeks each time. The cost of shipping is negligible when you consider the peace of mind that comes with knowing the work will be done right the first time. It was a leap of faith to send the first guitar there as there so many web sites are filled with hype. When it returned home the repair had been made and Dana had addressed a few other issues (with my approval beforehand) that took the instrument to the highest level of playability. The level of communication is unparallelled and the work is nothing short of artistic. He truly is a master luthier. Find Dana here. I'd say good luck but when a craftsman with this much consumate skill and ability is entrusted luck has nothing to do with it. Bob Kessler 216-990-9061

- by Frank Ranieri

I took my older Ibanez acoustic/electric to Dana to get some work done on it. What I received in return was priceless. Dana is one of a kind. He is a master at what he does - meticulous, clean, knowledgeable, and a craftsman. He not only did phenomenal work on my guitar, but it was one of the best "customer service" experiences I ever had. He took care of me - my guitar felt brand new when I gt it back. Dana is the best at what he does in my area. Highly recommended.

- by Mike Bisignani

My Aunt had recently given me my grandfather's mandolin. It was a Martin Mandolin from about 1923. It had big cracks along the length of the bowl and several other issues. I thought nothing could be done for it. I met with Dana who was friendly and very knowlegeable. I felt very confident that I found the right man. Dana was able to clean up an earlier home attempt at glueing up some damage, re-hydrated it. and put a thin rosewood insert to finish the bowl. I know this is just a portion of what Dana did, but the result is a wonderful sounding Mandolin. I played a few strums for my Aunt over the phone and she was completely delighted. I can't believe I was so blessed to have such a skilled Luthier living in my area. I can't recommend Dana enough! :)

- by M

Dana continues to astound me with the quality of his work! He's worked on quite a few of my guitars, new and old, and each one sounds much better when he is through. The most recent work he performed was on an old Martin guitar that I purchased with the intent of having him restore it. The guitar had been abused by prior owners. He looked it over and gave me an estimate that I considered reasonable given the condition of the guitar. He gave me weekly updated on progress. Along the way he called me with choices, explaining each one very patiently. The work he did on the bridge and neck worked so well, that he was able to avoid some of the more costly repairs the we had anticipated might be needed and the project came in under budget. After a few weeks he delivered the guitar to me in excellent condition. I’ve been playing it every day since and want to thank him every time I pull it out of the case. Dana has done other fine work for me including straightening the neck on a carbon fiber guitar, and cleaning up some relatively new guitars. I was surprised that the relatively new guitars could sound and play better than before. He adjusted the action on each one to the right height for the playing style and use of that guitar, and got each one to sound its best. Because of his incredible knowledge of instruments he is able to discuss each instrument with you, understand your needs, and then put the instrument in the condition you desire. Dana has also restored the fingerboard and neck of a used mandolin I purchased. Before he touched it, it was unplayable. Now it is a dream. He also helped me sell another mandolin, cleaning it up so that it was in good condition for sale and then bringing it to the attention of other customers. He went way beyond the call of duty.

- by Charlie Hughes

Dana is the Man! He has worked on two of my guitars and breathed new life into each of them. Recently Dana was given my '87 Santa Cruz. I wanted some new tuners put on and some help with the effects of some pretty severe drying out that had gone on over the years from the previous owner. Dana took the guitar and spent some time working up his recommendations. Re-humidify the guitar, heat and free up the truss bar to make it adjustable again, make a new saddle, brass bridge plate support, and a fresh set up. This guitar had good tone and volume before Dana got it. Now it really does play like silk, it is set up light and low and no buzzing. Dana is a true gentleman and I can't imagine a reason that I would ever send a guitar of mine to anyone else.

- by George M

Dana's work is the best I've ever encountered - not only his abilities as a luthier, but his impeccable amplifier work. He recently gave a full overhaul to my Marshall JCM900 head, an amp which had long sat neglected in my practice space due to its flat tone. Dana was able to bring out the warmth, and now, it's my number one choice for my backline.

- by Beatlemania Bob

Dana took my '62 Hofner 500/1 "Beatle Bass" and pretty much brought it back from the dead. It was playing pretty badly, and was dirty and the neck was not feeling good. The bass was in such bad shape that I had put it away as unusable. Dana cleaned it up, dressed the frets, and brought the bass back to life. I'm now using it at all our shows, and it's my favorite bass once again. He also worked on my Rickenbacker 4001v63 and it's playing better than ever. I plan on making at least anual trips to see Dana, and possible more often, as our show schedule permits.

- by John du Pont

Dana is one of the few people in the universe that I'll let work on any of my many guitars and stringed instruments I have. I have had the good fortune of having some top repairmen work on my guitars in the past, and Dana is on par with those repair and set ups. Since I play different styles, I can ask Dana to setup, for example, my tele in a country style like (name player) and he DOES IT. That's dependable...

- by Paul Lewis

My guitar was snapped in half. Crushed. I was in a car accident back in 2006 and I was put in the hospital for several days. My guitar that i had since 1989 was destroyed. I went to Dana and asked him if there was anything that could be done. He looked at it briefly and said...'I can fix this no problem.' I have to admit I teared up a bit when he said that. I recently saw the pic of my guitar on his website & I am amazed and absolutely blown away. She looks fantastic. She ('LIZ') is back!!! After a tear or two I sent him an email thanking him. Thank you Dana from the bottom of my heart. You are in a league all by yourself. Your work is unsurpassed.

- by Brian Bluman

Dana while working at his own repair shop in Christiana De, always re-dressed frets set intination,no one was better.He also created his own pick-up called the Detenator. The best by far in guitar repair in the region.

- by Rob Fisher

I have a '74 hardtail Stratocaster that had never needed much work until it hit the wall. No longer a joy to play, I considered retiring the guitar. I had heard of Dana but over my 50 years of playing never thought of using his services. What a mistake in thinking that was. He took the time to understand how I played and what other guitars I have before restoring my Strat. This listening of his, colored the direction he took on the guitar from removing the dip in the neck to the fret wire he used in re-fretting to the incredilbe action he set up. This Fender is better than the day I bought it in '74. Bravo!!! Incredible !!! I have since this wonderful restoration placed my whole collection (over 10 guitars of Fender, Gibson and PRS) in his hands for set ups and maintenance. He took a PRS model and improved upon it greatly - not many people on the planet could ever claim that. This guy is a national treasure!!!

- by Dean Swift

I have had my 1997 jazz bass since new. I played in a southern rock band I played it hard for quite a few years 2001. Stopped playing until 2012 untouched the action was always high. Took it to Dana picked it up a few days later. Honestly, I do not know how I played it before, smooth as silk. That was 4 months ago. Going back tomorrow for a quick tune up. I tell all of my friends who play guitar. #1 in my book

- by Hursh

Quality will tell. As soon as I walked into his workshop, the professional layout, the welcoming smile and the general vibe of craftsmen at the very top of their game was palpable. This was in magnified contrast to some guitar techs I had spoken to on the phone (and one supposedly good guitar tech in philly who had tried setting up my guitar prior). Dana was ultra responsive, both on the phone and in person. He spent time explaining and talking about various issues without any feeling of hurry/pressure, responded to my texts about status updates instantly and on the whole, it felt like I was interacting with someone far above the level of most other people, both personally and professionally/technically. turns out is actually the case, since Dana is a master luthier, with (apparently) thousands of guitars constructed from scratch, and thousands others repaired. I was able to ship parts to his workshop directly and he came in under budget, with a setup/work charge that was 150-200 dollars less than I was expecting to be charged. He also gave me an intemized, descriptive charge sheet, did fret work as necessary (and these are stainless steel frets, very time consuming) and had all previous parts nicely packaged and sitting in the guitar case, along with the fixed guitar. He also fixed a subtle problem with tuning heads (which I had not talked to him about at all), replaced pickups and got the intonation as right as possible on this strat. I'm in Philly and the 30 min drive down is 100% worth it. It is probably worth it from NYC or even Baltimore. Very highly recommended...I'm very happy!

- by Brian Fin

Dana first worked on my Takamine 12-String and did an amazing job bringing it back from the dead. It now sounds and plays better than it ever has in the 20+years I've had it! When I recently purchased a Rickenbacker 4003 bass I took it directly to Dana. It now plays better than any bass I've ever had! Unbelievable what a difference he made. I would definitely recommend Dana to anyone near and far. Would certainly be worth a trip to get this high quality of work!

- by William McCracken

I have known Dana for over 20 years. He has worked on many of my guitars. Many of them high end Gibsons. I would not trust my guitars to anyone else. He takes in to consideration my own style of playing and sets my guitars accordingly. After having worked on many of my guitars, he knows what I like and I can count on my guitars being spot on every time I get them back from him. His level of knowledge and love of stringed instruments and amplification is unsurpassed by any other repair person I have worked with in the past. Dana cares about his customers. With Dana you fell like you have your own personal Luthier..because you do. Dana is not just someone who does work for me, he is someone who has become a trusted friend over the years. He is always willing to stop what he is doing and talk things over with you and always treats you with a high level of respect, which is hard to come by these days. Dana is the real deal.

- by Patrick Moore

I was so lucky to have found out about Dana Sound Research. It is nice to see a professional shop. We are honored to have such a shop as Dana's. If you love your instrument, I would definitely recommend taking it to him. I would not consider going anywhere else now.

- by Bill McAvoy

Dana recently restored for me a 1920's Fairbanks Style K, 8-string banjo, also known as a "banjolin." Dana's work was outstanding and the instrument sounds fantastic! In addition to his fine craftsmanship, Dana provided me with significant documentation on the history of the banjo, based on his own research. It was a great pleasure working with Dana and I have absolute trust in his restoration efforts.

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Dana Sutcliffe Master String Inst.Repair
5.0/5 - 46 reviews
Sconset Rd. Ardentown, DE 19810

About Dana Sutcliffe Master String Inst.Repair

Guitar and Amplifier Repairs in a new 2013 location..... by appointment only

Dana is a Master Luthier serving a 5 state region from an Ardentown, Delaware 19810 location.

Specializing in Historic restoration and repairs on all brands of guitars, basses, mandolins and banjos

For the discriminating collector/musician

Call to schedule an appointment 302-521-4215

Monday - Friday 11:00 AM - 5:00 PM

Ask for Dana

Same day service

Pick up and delivery available

Specializing in historic acoustic/electric guitar restoration, repair and redesign

Strict historic restoration protocol followed on all brands of instruments

Restoration references available

Custom guitar electronics and pickup design

Tour preparation services for all guitars and amplifiers

Proprietary guitar design for US and offshore production

Dana also offers Vintage amplifier restoration, redesign and custom modifications services

References upon request