"...it's everything I ever wanted, and more."
In 2008 I contacted Nielsen Custom Guitars looking for help with repairing my guitars: an older Epiphone flattop, a Stratocaster, a Gretsch 5120, and a 1966 Guild Starfire III. Dale’s work on each of the instruments was amazing, but the Guild project was especially noteworthy. When I brought it to the shop, it needed new frets, tuners, pots, the jack was bashed in, and the finish, especially on the neck, was bad – real bad. No one can look at this instrument and not be impressed by its beauty. Kidding around, I told Dale it was like someone adopted one of my kids and dressed her up all fancy-like. That doesn’t come close to describing how thrilled I am with my Guild. She looks gorgeous and plays like a dream.
While the pictures were one thing, the guitar in person is beyond words, I am a little afraid to play it to be honest. It is a real work of art. I could go on, basically repeating the same phrase, but no matter how I say it, I am completely blown away by your work.
Dale has previously worked on my guitars, hand making one-off pickup rings, invisibly repairing body damage, replacing nuts, and so forth, so when he put his LP up for sale, I knew it would be a good one! He's re-topped this one and the color is faithful to the early 60's gold tops. He used the original bronze flake and components to replicate the vintage color. Amazing. Add the usual attention to fretwork and setup and the guitar is a winner. I don't pretend to understand exactly how Dale does what he does, seems like voodoo to me. His attention to detail, fit and finish and playability is extraordinary."
Dale, just wanted to tell you what a great job you did refretting the Les Paul. I've been playing the guitar about every opportunity I've had since I got it back, the neck is perfect, and the polished fret work is a real pleasure to play on. Thanks again for your work on bringing the guitar to this level."
1958 6193 Country Club Gretsch guitar
In 2008 I contacted Nielsen Custom Guitars Dale's restoration of my Gretsch guitar is fabulous. In every detail he maintained the integrity and identity of a vintage Gretsch instrument and made it a better guitar than it ever was, even when it was new. I have been a guitar player and music store retailer for 25 years. This is the best work I have ever seen. I have also played Dale's custom-built guitars...CHECK THEM OUT!"
The Phoenix Project:
Just keeping the story short, this has been a very interesting 7 month journey. Without the help of Dale Nielsen this would not have been possible. Needless to say, the guitar was in extremely poor condition. The pictures of it in the red color, which BTW was house paint slopped on with a brush. The strings were not tightened in the photos for fear of snapping the headstock off. But what was under the surface was an original 1958 6193 Country Club Gretsch guitar. Aside from new knobs and pickup covers (which were all retained) the electronics are completely original. It plays and sounds like a dream! It truly has risen from the ashes. Dale and I have agreed to call her Gretsch-en, so be it. Dale, I can't thank you enough for the fantastic job you did.