Fretted Instrument Repair

Harrison Phipps Repair

We are pleased to announce that local luthier Harrison Phipps (aka Fretted Strings) is now doing the bulk of the fretted instrument repair work for Watermelon Music.  The quality of Harrison's work is top notch, turnaround times are quicker than we've ever had before, and prices are right in line with what you've come to expect from our repair department.

Fretted Strings offers full service repairs for all fretted instruments.  California shop.  A specialty is setting action on acoustic and electric guitars to optimize tone, ease of playing, and correct intonation.  You can learn more at Harrison's website:

Harrison joins Devin Hough (orchestra instrument and bow repair), and Brett Brinkley (woodwind and brass repair) at Watermelon Music.  The circle is now complete!

More About Harrison Phipps

Harrison Phipps built his first guitar in 1978 while apprenticing with the renowned guitar builder Arthur Overholtzer in Chico California.  Mr. Overholtzer is famous not only for his guitars, but for his numerous guitar making tools.  He built and sold – electric heated side benders, router bases for binding and rosette slots and fingerboard fret cutting miter boxes.

Mr. Overholtzer authored the book “Classic Guitar Making” which was published in 1974.  The 323 page book contains written descriptions and 302 figures of his tools and techniques for making a classic guitar.  One of his Brazilian Rosewood classical guitars (#13) won “Grand Champion” at the 1969 Competition of the International Violin and Guitar Makers’ Association.  Charlie Robinson, Chico’s preeminent jazz guitarist played “In the Garden”, “Rock of Ages”, and “Amazing Grace” on #13 at Art’s funeral in 1982.

In Mr. Overholtzer’s shop Harrison learned from a master guitar builder the skills necessary to select premium woods, make superior gluing surfaces, optimize tonal properties of guitar woods during preparation and assembly, proper sharpening techniques and use of hand tools and a reverence for life, wood, and guitar building.

Richmond Talbott did fretted instrument repair in a local Chico music store.  It was here in the late 1970’s that Harrison met Richmond and learned the skills and techniques of fretted instrument repair.  While learning repair techniques from Richmond, Harrison met Lynn Sparks, another local instrument builder with a strong passion for searching out and collecting instrument grade wood.  Lynn and Harrison spent many days and weeks in the late 1970’s stockpiling spruce, mahogany, ebony and rosewood for later use.


Violin, Viola, Cello Repair

Devin Hough Repair

Call for enquiries: (530) 750-1132

As most people are just wrapping up their day, Devin Hough is settling into his Davis, California, shop to focus on his next Baroque instrument creation. Stay-at-home dad by day and luthier by night, Hough began studying violin making and repair more than 25 years ago with his grandfather. The twosome worked on several projects together, and Hough found himself drawn to period instruments, their sound and design. He now duplicates old designs for instrumentalists looking to replicate the Baroque sound, but unable to afford antique instruments.

Hough focuses on subtle and elegant design work, be it ornate carving or just deftly applied glue and varnish. Violas, Baroque violins, violas d’amore, vielles, and viols are just a few of the instruments found in Hough’s studio shop.

Devin also does repairs, both great and small, from bow rehairs and peg fittings to cleating cracks and splits. Turnaround times vary depending on the job and the time of year, but are typically 1-2 weeks.

More About Devin Hough

I began my training as a violin maker in 1970 at age 12 with my grandfather, Paul Schaupp, and worked summers with him in Inglewood, California for seven years.

In 1980, I moved to Davis and started working for Albert C. Muller in Sacramento in 1985.  In his shop I refined my violin making skills and learned to do stringed instrument repair and restoration, working with him until 1991.

Currently I work repairing all forms of bowed string instruments and make violins, with a speciality in recreating instruments from the baroque, renaissance and medieval periods.


Band Instrument Repair

Band Instrument Repair

Brett Brinkley

Brett Brinkley has been involved with music for over 35 years, starting with piano lessons in Elementary school, then playing trumpet in Jr. High and High Schools.  After graduating from Red Bluff Union High School, he attended Shasta College in Redding, receiving his A.A. Degree in General Education, then transferred to California State University, Chico where he received his B.A. Degree in Music Education and a California Teaching Credential.  Mr. Brinkley has taught music at Tule Lake Elementary and High Schools, Live Oak Middle School in Tulare, Summer Music Camp in Lassen, Red Bluff High School and Shasta College.  He has also served 2 years as conductor for the Tehama County Band, which has been in continuous existence since 1895.

Brett has performed with a variety of musical groups including: the Shasta Symphony, the Chico Symphony, the CSUC President's Brass Quintet, the Rich Little Christmas Tour, the ARC Wind Ensemble Hawaiian Tour, the Sierra Nevada Winds Pacific Northwest Tour, Davis Musical Theater, Consumnes River College Theater, and the Auburn Music and More Theater Co.

Mr. Brinkley studied instrument repair during his tenure at both Shasta College and CSU Chico, then apprenticed for two years with Tom Dodson, (NAMM University Master Repair Technician), at the Brass Reed in Redding.  He has been an instrument repair technician for Gottschalk Music Center in Sacramento and Stockton since 1992 and joined the Watermelon Music repair staff in 2008.  Mr. Brinkley currently resides in Sacramento.