Home Mandolins Pickup Rewinding Pickups Testimonials Faq Links
Frequently Asked Questions



Customers wishing to save a few bucks may elect to do the prep work themselves. The following guidelines are included to help make that part successful or help in making the decision to do some or part of it yourself.


Finishes such as nitrocellulose, enamel, or polyurethane can usually be removed with a chemical stripper such as Stripease or 5F5.   The gel formulations are easier to apply and clean up but these are still very caustic and one should carefully read the directions on the back of the can before starting.  Wear an apron or old clothing with long sleeves and use gloves. Chemical strippers will attack most anything plastic so bindings should be avoided and the old finish removed with a scraper or hard sanding block afterward.  Do not use masking tape as it will allow the stripper to seep underneath.  Strippers will also attack glue so don’t leave it on any longer than what’s recommended.   Most finishes will require at least two applications.    Avoid stripping any area that has factory markings. 

If the finish is Fullerplast or polyester then chances are it will have to be removed by sanding which will take plenty of abrasive paper and lots of elbow grease.  Power sanding is a possible route to take but not recommended for novices. 


Non-loading sticky back abrasive papers offer a myriad of possibilities.  You can make sanding blocks to any shape for sanding tight curves, angles, and inside corners.  Start with a coarse grit (100 or 150) and successively work up to 220.    On arched or flat surfaces be careful if you decide to use power tools. Edges can easily become rounded over and surfaces acquire hollows and gouges by an unwary operator.  Hold the surface up to a light to spot any irregularities.   After the final sanding it’s a good idea to raise the grain by wetting the wood, letting it dry and then sanding again.  Do this twice.  This will keep the wood from getting a fuzzy surface during the initial finishing process.  If you're ready to ship, read on.



Shipping an inadequately packed instrument can be very hazardous to it’s health.   Spare no expense to ensure that it makes the round trip safely.

  1. If you are shipping an entire instrument, ship it in a case and inside a cardboard box.   Some guitar retailers have extra shipping boxes and would be more than happy to get rid of one.
  2. If you ship it with the strings on, loosen the strings.  Rough handling can easily jar a neck joint loose or possibly fracture the peghead if the strings are left tensioned up to pitch.   
  3. Remove any unnecessary objects in the case such as batteries, capos, pliers, tuners, etc.
  4. Don’t skimp on packing. The instrument should be packed snugly in the case to prevent it from moving around.
  5. Don’t skimp on insurance either. Compared to replacement cost, insurance is cheap and every shipper offers it.   Insure it for the full replacement value.  
  6. Lacquer continues to off-gas for several months after it’s been buffed out.   Newsprint, packing foam or bubble wrap will leave an impression on the surface by the time your instrument gets home.   If you do not ship the instrument in a plush lined hardshell case, include a cloth towel or blanket to cover the whole instrument or body for return shipping. 
  7. For at least the first six months do not leave it on a hanger or stand for any length of time as the solvents in the rubber or plastic will mar the finish.
  8. Please call or email notification prior to shipping.  If you intend on shipping the package by U.S. Mail or FEDEX be sure to notate to the carrier a signature is required. Otherwise it will be left in the parking lot if no one is in the shop to receive it.  UPS is still the most reliable carrier.

Shipping address is: 

Steve Ryder Stringed Instruments
278-A Lincoln St.
So. Portland, ME  04106



Refer to the finishing price list to determine the finishing charge.  No less than a 50% deposit is required to be placed on the waiting list.   Return shipping will be included before sending the last payment. Method of payment can be a money order, personal or cashier's check made payable to Steve Ryder.   Credit cards are not accepted at this time.  The deposit can be included with the instrument  but send the final payment to the mailing address below.

Steve Ryder
280 1R Lincoln St.
South Portland, ME 04106


Email Steve RyderTelephone 207 329-1023 • Mailing address 280 1R Lincoln St. South Portland, ME 04106
Shop and shipping address
278A Lincoln St. So. Portland, ME 04106