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John Boulding


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Luthier Since: 1980

Listing Created: 5/28/2012
Listing Updated: 7/17/2014

More About Me

My father Wallace Boulding was a well established instrument repairman in western North Carolina and I literally grew up in his shop. I have many great memories of seeing musicians come over to get their instruments repaired, and being in many great jam sessions. He also built many instruments over the years of his life. He has since passed away but I owe him a huge debt of gratitude as I would not be working on instruments today if not for him. Thanks Dad.
My apprenticeship under him lasted into my late teens, early twenties. Eventually I ventured out and studied with other prominent builders and repairmen and started some heavy reading about them. I 'officially' put out the shingle of my business name, "Note-Able Repair", about 25 or so years ago. It now resides in Mt Airy North Carolina, along with my lovely wife Robin and our dogs Buddy and Sissy.
Also being a touring/professional player for the past 30 years gives me really useful and practical insights into the set-up needs of players. I feel its a bonus, when dealing with repair and restoration of their instruments. Building is also something i do occasionally, mostly bluegrass banjos. But repair and restoration is the 'meat and potatoes' of my business.
My experience with instruments is broad, working on everything from electric guitars, to auto harps,zithers,accordions,upright basses and others. I 'specialize' in the 'bluegrass/oldtime' instruments. The value ranges of the various instruments I repair spans 100 dollar imports to six figure prewar collectables. The total number of repairs I've done in my life most likely exceed two thousand, and counting (dang, no wonder I'm nuts-haha).
I cover a wide area in my business, being a repairman for many regional music stores, and also for bigger name- profile stores. Instruments are shipped to me from all over the country, Canada and occasionally from overseas.
My dad also advised me to treat every customer the same, and "work on their stuff like it was mine". He also advised me to price things fairly and to do 'pro-bono' work for those in need. But also to charge everyone the same and to charge a fair rate. Number one on his list was stand behind you work. My dad was not only a talented player, singer and luthier, but a wise man.
Please contact me through my homepage here on the BHO, or email me or call, if you are interested in inquiring about repairs or restorations of your instruments. Thanks for reading this page. God bless! Im looking forward to working on your 'axe' sometime soon.
Oh-thanks to everyone for any and all reviews-much appreciated. Here's a link to more reviews, should you want to 'check up on me':

And here's a link to my simple business site:

My phone number is 336-483-7838


Hey Gang, Ive had MAJOR re constructive surgery done to my Granada as well as 2 fret jobs and some guitar setups and highly recommend John's services. He was in O.R.five solid HRS so I wouldnt have to leave it overnight. He's a good friend and know for a fact he'll treat ya right. - John Kuhn

Peg head on my Mastertone broke! Sent it to John, cannot see where it was repaired. He put a speed finish on the neck and gave it a super tune-up. Good guy and excellent work. "Sunday" - sunday

I bought an Aria Pro II (40 yrs. old)off ebay, had it shipped directly to John, he refit the tone ring, installed RR spikes, recut the neck to fit the rim, and did a great set up, action is just right on it. Great guy to deal with, and at a fair price. Thanks John - Poco50

John and myself live about 30 minutes from each other.
I have know John a long time.
He has gained a wealth of knowlege over the years working on the musical instruments we all love to play!
He is a fantastic banjo and dobro player and probably other instruments as well.
Unlike me, he is more versatile in that he repairs various other stringed instruments whereas I just do banjos.
I recommend him to people as he does me.
John and I help each other out if one has something and the other does not.
I find John to be a gentleman and straight shooter with acquired luthier skills and learned knowlege of his trade!
Don Bryant
- bryantde

I had John do a re-fret job for me and I couldn't be happier with it. His work was first class and his rates were very reasonable. If I need more work done on an instrument, John will be the man I get to do it. --banjoman56 - banjoman56

For more reviews, please check here-thanks!
- Banjophobic

I had John re-bind the deteriorating binding of an early 70s Gibson RB-250 resonator. The job was done so well that it looked original as he also colored the finish such that the binding looked matched that of the neck. He also removed the sliding capo and added spikes, and did a complete setup which made the banjo sound so much better than when delivered to him. His service was prompt, costs were imo very reasonable, and he was an awesome person to talk and do business with. Thanks John! - Buddur

I just got back my '70s RB250 neck that I sent to John to reprofile and also to patch and clean up a hack job done by a previous owner who had grossly over-cut the heel in converting the banjo from 2-piece flange to 1-piece. Of course, this work would require refinishing.

John did a great job. The neck now has a soft "V" profile above the 5th fret and feels noticeably smaller in the hand; less bulky. It's a joy to play.

The refinish is very well done. The refinish color had to go darker to hide the patch at the heel (which is totally invisible) and achieve a better blend overall because Gibson in this era put color in the lacquer. John executed a smooth transition to the peghead.

And John's price was very reasonable for the work involved.
- Old Hickory

I recently sent a neck to John to have the truss rod replaced with a double action rod. A couple of other Luthiers did not want to do the repair due to the delicate work involved but this did not faze John at all. During the work on the neck John sent me photos to keep me updated and explained what was happening at each stage. It was not an easy job but I was very happy with it once I got it back. Also, there was more work in it than when quoted but John stuck to his original price and also completed a SS refret at a great price as well.
Thank you John.
- Paulf

Just got back from visiting John at his new shop. My Gibson RB 250 really had some problems.... just sounded dead. After a complete checkup, John found that the tone ring did not have a proper fit, and was able to turn down the rim and refit the ring. He also did a really great job installing new frets. I never expected these results after the complete set-up, but let me just say, the banjo has never sounded this good.... I couldn't believe it. John is not only a great guy to deal with, he is a fantastic luthier. I would "highly" recommend his work. His rates are more than fair, and his primary concern is customer satisfaction. If I ever need any more work done on any of my instruments, John will be the guy that does it. - murphy302

I've had John do work on my banjo's, and if there is anyone around who knows his stuff, John does, and he is just an all around great guy jonah4832 - jonah4832

John re-set the neck, for the first time, on my 76 Mossman, and a complete re-fret. A studio guitar for me. He did an outstanding job-- high quality, professional work. A craftsman of heritage (studied under his father) and super NC picker as well. Thanks, John! - Ridgepicker

I sent my RK35 up to John to get it completely reworked. He took it apart and did a tone ring fit, cut the neck to better fit the pot, dressed and polished the frets, adjusted the tail piece, adjusted the truss rod and more. This banjo left sounding pretty decent and returned sounding like a tone monster. It plays and sounds VERY good, shockingly good actually and its all because of John. He takes pride in his work and it shows in his worksmanship. Thank you so much again John, I will not hesitate to use you for banjo work in the future. - MMcDougal

I had John set up my Deering Sierra. I don't know many things, but I was sure there were issues when I was enjoying playing my Goodtime more than the new Sierra. Neck, head, bridge, reseat everything, he basically took it down and made it right. I take alot of joy from playing the Sierra now, and I'm glad I found out about John on some of the old BHO forum threads.

One other thing I'll mention is that I live about 100 miles from John. I was able to meet him to drop off the banjo when he had a gig close to me, and then pick it up when he was back in the area for another gig. I really appreciate him working with me on the drop off and delivery. It made things extremely convenient, and I didn't have any shipping costs.

Thanks John.
- packpicker

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