At Brooklyn Lutherie, we aim to create a shop that provides superior quality repairs at affordable rates. We offer a full spectrum of repairs for acoustic and electric stringed instruments, both fretted and in the violin family. Whether you're coming to us as a professional player or a student, you will be in the hands of two experienced technicians who will meet your needs and those of your instrument.
As working musicians, Chloe and Mamie know that setups and repairs are not one-size-fits-all, but should be tailored to your needs. Additionally, we want our repair shop to be a place where musicians of all skill levels and particularly women feel comfortable and confident bringing their instruments.
In addition to our repair services, Chloe builds custom violin-family instruments on commission.
In Brooklyn, we are lucky enough to have a vibrant musical community that includes everyone from rock stars to front-stoop pickers and beginners. We are excited to accommodate the needs of this diverse music scene with a one-stop repair shop that offers fast turnaround, sensible rates, and most importantly, high-quality craftsmanship.
Chloe Swantner entered the world of lutherie by training with violin maker Thurmond Knight at the Vermont School of Violin Making for the year of 2008. Under his guidance she learned the process of constructing violin family instruments as well as a variety of repair and restoration skills. Through her work during the past four years as a repair technician at Retrofret Guitars, and previously at David Gage and Jalopy Theater and School of Music she has further garnished her arsenal of repair knowledge; branching out from the violin family to archtop guitars, mandolins and beyond. Drawing from these experiences, Chloe brings a uniquely fine hand and discerning eye to the full scope of instruments that make it to her bench. Her latest commission in the works is a sitka spruce and big leaf maple 151/2" Gasparo da Salo style viola for local jazz violinist Charlie Burnham.
Mamie Minch has always been attracted to old guitars—her first love was playing them. Mamie's career as a blues guitarist led her to find out as much as she could about repairing and maintaining instruments. She worked at Retrofret Guitars for six years, four of them as Head of Repair. While she was there, Mamie worked on instruments for musicians and characters as well known as Jack White, Bill Frisell, and Walter Becker, but she still finds her work most personally fulfilling when working for local musicians whose names are a bit less recognisable. Her background as an artisan is in fine art printmaking, and she finds that her attention to small detail and strong client communication dovetails well with her personal relationship with guitars to give her a holistic approach to diagnosing and fixing them.
We open our door to all acoustic and electric string instruments, fretted and in the violin family. Our specialties include structural restoration, fretwork, pickup installation and electronic repair, and troubleshooting to gain tonal balance and clarity. We offer all manners of violin family repair including bow re-hairing.
Our ears are bent to hear the entirety of each unique repair. Whether the issue be as simple as a loose brace, or as involved as fabricating a replica bridge or patching a splintered jack-hole, we are committed to treating each repair holistically, satisfying a high standard, and delivering you the playable, stable, well-treated instrument that you deserve. All repairs carry a 90 day warrantee. We carry both K&K Sound System acoustic pick-ups and LR Baggs acoustic pick-ups.
Repairs are by APPOINTMENT ONLY. If you’d like to schedule an appointment please send us an e-mail or call us during the hours of 10-7 Tuesday through Friday and 10-5 Saturdays.
|Guitar World article on Brooklyn's new Lutherie|
|Bust magazine article on the Lutherie|
|Mamie interviewed by Guitar World June 24th, 2011|
|Article about Mamie in Guitar Girl Magazine Sept. 5th, 2012|
|Mamie's oxidation chemistry tutorial for Stew-Mac Oct. 24th 2013|
|Mamie interviewed by John Thomas on WNYC about female workers the Gibson factory March 8th, 2013|
|Mamie and Chloe featured in 'Gowanus guitar shop honors women' article DNA Info March 1st, 2013|
Sometimes a musician’s best friend is the person who cares for their instrument. Chloe has been looking after my violins for the last three or four years, and it's the best thing I could have hoped for. Her workmanship is impeccable and her personal integrity has allowed us to build a solid, ongoing relationship. Everything from fitting bridges, setting up fiddles, repairing cracks and open seams, to building custom made instruments is in her domain. She's building a viola for me right now!
My 1967 Gibson is my most precious possession, not to mention my lively hood and best friend. So whenever I'm rolling through NYC I can rest easy knowing it's in good hands with the gals at Brooklyn Lutherie. I've recommended my band members to Chloe for years now, whether it be a fiddle, bass or guitar she has always done great work. Both her and Mamie have always been kind and skilled. Taking good care of those instruments that are your best friends.
I'm the guitar player in a super dynamic, three-piece rock band that relies heavily on alternate tunings, and I routinely capo as high as the 12th fret. I like to jump around a lot. My two Strats have to be 100% rock-solid, perfectly in-tune, and hold up to ludicrous physical stress night and night after night. You could say I take my choice of luthiers VERY seriously... When I want work done on my guitars, any kind of work—setups, repairs, modifications—I give them to Chloe and Mamie at Brooklyn Lutherie. A setup from Brooklyn Lutherie is always perfect and lasts for ages. A guitar that's been to Brooklyn Lutherie is worry-free. It clears your mind. It lets you forget your gear and lose yourself in music.
Brooklyn Lutherie is the only place I take my instruments to these days. They treat routine maintenance and major jobs with the same high level of care and attention to detail. Mamie has done incredible fretwork for me, including two guitars with microtonal fretboards, one in quarter tone and another in just intonation. That she was not only willing to entertain these esoteric jobs but knocked them out of the park is real testament to her commitment to working with musicians on a personal level to help them realize their own sound. I play violin too, so having Chloe's fiddle family skill set in the same house makes this the ideal repair shop for me. These two are the best!
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