Hogg Guitar Shop tricks out instruments

Andy Hogg’s workshop may be a small one, but it’s enough space for the experienced luthier to work his magic.

A luthier is the industry term for one who makes or modifies guitars, stemming from the history of the guitar originating from lutes, which are stringed instruments ranging from violins to classic guitars.

Hogg does guitar customization, tune-ups and restorations, and just about everything else you could want from someone who has spent more than a decade in the industry.

“Every problem, there’s maybe multiple ways of approaching it,” Hogg said as he sat behind his service counter on a recent afternoon. “You really gotta think about, well, how do you approach that?”

Hogg is highly knowledgeable about his craft and can talk for days about the intricacies of everything from re-fretting guitars to applying lacquer to the pros and cons of bone or synthetic guitar head nuts.

He’s also a factory-authorized Fender and Gibson service center, along with an array of other manufacturers.

Hogg started playing guitar in the 1970s as a teenager and later got interested in guitar repair and customization.

Through the 1990s, Hogg said he was buying lots of higher-end guitars, but realized it might work better to pick up some cheaper guitars to practice modifying them.

At the same time he was working for an ink company, spending a lot of time dealing with ink chemistry formulation.

He also got experience working with customers and honing his service skills.

“That really gave me a good perspective on just working with people,” he said.

Around 2002, more traditional means of printing began succumbing to digital printing and newer methods, so he decided to strike out on his own and open a guitar repair business.

He attended a large luthiers convention where he met crafters who had been working on guitars for decades.

There’s not much that’s directly translatable from his former career into his current, he said, but taking an analytical look at problems in both the ink industry and working on guitars is invaluable.

“I got very good at analyzing problems,” Hogg said.

One big takeaway is there’s never a perfect tool for any job, he has to improvise and use a variety of tools and his creativity to fix and customize guitars.

And he offers a wide variety of services such as surface restoration, re-fretting, replacing fingerboards, retrofitting electronics and pickups and more.

One finished project that hangs from his shop wall is a custom made guitar with Hogg emblazoned on the headboard.

Guitars, both electric and acoustic, require some maintenance to stay in top condition, especially coming off of winter or following exposure to dramatic changes in temperature.

Hogg has also worked for Mills Music as a guitar technician, which gave him a chance to hone his skills on the guitars that came through his shop.

Hogg Guitar is located at 8705 Willows Road N.E. and Hogg can be reached at (425) 890-3971 to set up appointments.