About Ed Mitchell
Here are a bunch of frequently asked questions…
Who are you?: My name is Ed Mitchell. I’m the bod behind the popular Ed’s Shed guitar maintenance column that runs in Total Guitar and Guitar World magazines every month.
What’s ‘Ed’s Shed’ all about?: It’s a monthly two-page feature in British guitar magazine Total Guitar that teaches readers to maintain and repair their own instruments. The column began five years ago and the feedback it has generated from readers of the magazine has been amazing. The column has been running in Guitar World since May 2010.
So what’s ‘Fix Your Own Damn Guitar’ then?: I don’t own the Ed’s Shed brand name. That belongs to the publisher of Total Guitar. I chose the cheeky ‘FYODG’ as my own brand name. Fix Your Own Damn Guitar follows the same basic premise as Ed’s Shed: I’ll show you how to maintain and repair your guitars (electric, acoustic, bass etc), amplifiers and pedals to save you money and help you understand how your gear works.
What do you know about fixing guitars?: Quite a bit actually. I began repairing guitars back in 1986 when I got a job at a music shop in Glasgow. I’d bluffed my way in by claiming that I could play the piano. I couldn’t. Luckily, they didn’t ask me to play. I could just about play Yesterday by The Beatles with one finger… and that was it.
I ended up working in the guitar department as a poorly paid tea boy and general dogsbody. I soon took an interest in setting up and repairing guitars. I’d asked another guy in the shop to set up my first brand new guitar (a white Fender Heavy Metal Strat no less) and wasn’t satisfied with what he’d done. So, I had a go myself and the guitar played much better. Even if I do say so myself.
The shop I worked in had a ‘guitar repairer’ – nickname ‘The Butcher’. He only really tackled guitar repairs by default… no one else could be bothered, bless him. His ‘toolkit’ was a hammer and an old butter knife. I kid you not. These were used to knock the top nuts off of customers’ guitars. It was a terrifying spectacle to behold.
I realised that if you’re going to repair guitars properly you need the right knowledge and tools. So, I took over the guitar repair duties of the shop; ordered some tools and a bunch of repair books; and built a reputation for quality repairs and set-ups.
Can anyone learn to fix their guitar?: Yes. With the right knowledge and tools – and a bit of patience – I believe everyone can do it. Even if you only learn to restring your guitar correctly, you’ll save the time and money involved in getting someone else to do it.
Imagine then if you could also tune your guitar, set the action, adjust the neck and tweak the intonation. I can show you how to do all that and a lot more. I’ll take you from the most basic tasks (restringing, setting the action and intonation etc) to big boy stuff like refrets, fret dressing and repairing finish damage. So, stick around… you’re gonna learn something.
How do I get involved?: Subscribe to the blog for starters. You can also email me with any questions you might have about guitar maintenance – or gear stuff in general. Please remember that I get a lot of emails so it might take me a while to reply. If your email is urgent please make it obvious and I’ll try to prioritise it.
How do I get in touch with you? Easy… just drop me a line at email@example.com