Customer Testimonials

Just wanted to let you know the package arrived today (already!) Everything looks GREAT. From your pictures, I couldn't discern the nice taper you put on the plexiglass MiniMoog props (they just looked rectangular somehow in the pics.) But "in person" they look terrific. And your cabinet guy clearly does high-quality work. I couldn't be more pleased. My Mini project is off to a great start now.
- Scott, Carolina

Thanks again for your passion to customer satisfaction ! I will certainly continue to recommend your Opto-Key upgrade to all who have a beloved Minimoog and want to enjoy trouble-free keyboard action. 
- Alain, Charlemagne, QC, Canada

Chris, Just spent over on hour playing the Minimoog- wow great job sir!

Can't tell you how much it means to have it back-to-life in good form after too long a hiatus until now, and it sounds great as ever- just as I remember it should be.

The keyboard feels particularly good with fresh bushings and the Opto-key mod seems to perform perfectly- it's a relief to know the oxidation problem is forever gone.

I realize I'm very fortunate to have found someone so dedicated and knowledgeable to do this restoration as it shows in the work. Big kudos :)

As far as I am concerned everything regarding our transaction has been flawless, and on top of everything I much appreciate the very reasonable price. I'd recommend you to anyone needing Minimoog work without hesitation.

I'll stay in touch. Many many thanks!
- John Walker, Frederick, MD

I left 3 synths with Chris – a Musonics MiniMoog, Taurus 1 pedals, and a Roland RS-505. All were in various states of disrepair – and some needing a major overhaul – the Mini in particular. Not only did Chris fix these units to 100 % operational specs – but he did at a very reasonable price. He is an excellent communicator, easy to work with – and documents what he is doing with progress reports throughout the entire process. I can’t recommend him highly enough .. he is an amazing technician, and I will be going back to him again for sure. br /> - Chris, Pacifica, CA

Chris has repaired several items for me ranging from vintage synthesizers, drum machines and guitars, to modern day samplers. His skills, insight, communication, and rates are top notch. A true blessing to the local community of musicians in need of his services.
- Lance Hill, USAforLSD Oakland, CA

About This Old Synth

MiniMoog and Moog ModularThis Old Synth was created to bring a reasonably priced vintage analog synthesizer and Drum Machine restoration and repair service to musicians in the bay area and is located on the edge of Campbell, CA. We are in a throw-away age, but that should not be the default case; spending a little to extend the usable life of a loved instrument is the "green" thing to do.

Vintage analog Synthesizers from the late 60's, 70's, and up to the mid 80's have seen a resurgence in popularity, and they keep increasing in value. My software, hardware, and marketing skills suited this perfectly, so in 2010 "This Old Synth" was launched to specifically address this market.

A large number of repairs have been successfully completed which resulted in an increasing number of happy customers. The resurgence of analog synths has led to major vendors in the industry creating new analog devices, and re-issuing classics like the Korg MS-20. My focus in 2015 has moved more to Moog, and in particular the MiniMoog which with the acquisition of Opto-Key has become the center of my business. I also enjoy working on early Roland gear such as the SH, TR, and SR series.

I'm avoiding large/heavy synths these days as I have neither the space or the strength in my back to deal with them. The "no list" has piano tine or strung type keyboards such as the Fender Rhodes, Clavinets, and Wurlitzers, along with Vox and Farfisa organs. I do not have parts or test machines for the Roland Jupiter 8 / J6 so I'm not taking them in.

Also on the no list are the Moog PolyMoog and MemoryMoog. These suffer so many failures due to their design and I do not have parts for them. With the PolyMoog its common to spend a lot of time repairing one only to have it fail with another issue a week later. I feel I would need a staging/test machine for each of them in order to support them and I'm not in a position to purchase them. They are large and need extensive renovation which leaves them on the bench for far too long.

Location I'm located in the SF bay area on the edge of San Jose, Saratoga, and Campbell, currently working full-time on repairs. Pick-up and drop-off can therefore be arranged during the weekday work hours (preferable), Saturday mornings, or occasionally early evenings.

For shipped items my zipcode is 95130 and I prefer FedEx Home Delivery as I can divert it to a local store for pick-up if I'm not in the shop.

Rates and Policies

My Rates
My repair prices are considered very reasonable (for instance I often look at gear for folks who took their item for repair to a place up the peninsula that charges $125/hr, and a minimum charge/bench fee of $250, then wants another bench charge when the item does not work correctly after their repair; so they bring it to me to sort it out for them. Another repair company in SF wants an $85 bench charge, and $130/hr). I continue to get positive feedback for my communications, attention to detail, and providing pictures inside folks gear such that the owner is included in the process.

It seems that for every hour of repair time I spend 3 hours organizing, handling drop-off, pick-up & test, quote and invoice writing, etc., etc. For 2014 I have to move to a 2 hour minimum (vintage synths tend to need a minimum of 2 hours anyway to open, clean, repair non-complicated issue(s), and tune), and raise my hourly rate from $50 to $60. I spend 60/hours a week on repairs, and barely make a profit from it, so I'm sure you understand. I would be happy to look at your faulty items and quote for repair.

The services I offer include:
  • A 2 hour assessment/repair/service fee of $120 (+ parts).  During this session I will vacuum out the unit, wipe-over clean the keys and case, replace the battery if required, attempt to repair your item, and if this cannot be achieved then provide a quote for what I think is required to finish the repair
  • My hourly rate is $60 for each hour following the initial 2 hour repair/assessment above
  • Ordered parts are cost + 10% and a share of parts shipping

I provide free advice you as to whether or not I think the repair is economically viable for personal use or sale before starting a repair. I only have a small environment here, and no storage capabilities.

Sometimes I have great difficulty in getting folks to pick their gear up. I scanned the sites of other repairers and saw a common policy emerging, so I'm posting my policy here that is based on common practice.

This Old Synth non-Warranty Repair Policy

Non warranty repairs are covered against defects in labor for 30 days.

Unless prior arrangements have been made, completed repairs are expected to be picked up within 30 days of completion. After that date, a storage charge of $5.00 per day will be applied.

If an item is not picked up within 90 days of completion it will be considered abandoned and will become the property of This Old Synth.

You must respond to an estimate within 30 days for it to be valid. After 30 days without a response, the item will begin to accrue storage charges of $5.00 per day. If estimate approval or arrangements for pickup of the item are not completed after 90 days from the date of the estimate, the item will be considered abandoned and become the property of This Old Synth.

If the contact information you give us is not accurate, we cannot be held responsible for your item for more than 90 days. If you have not contacted us within 90 days, your item may be considered abandoned and become the property of This Old Synth.

About Chris Hewitt 

Chris Hewitt Having obtained a UK college degree in electronics in the 70's when tube's were king and transistors were the new upstart, I went into the audio servicing business. I gained extensive hands-on experience and gradually migrated to digital electronics. The digital electronics career took me to mainframe computers and their storage subsystems. Learning to program these systems brought me to Silicon Valley as a software tools development engineer, and development manager which morphed into professional services program management.

More recently I have come back to my roots and combined my love for the guitar with a renewed interest in the electronics around guitars, amplifiers, and synths. It has been great fun taking old and tired instruments and bringing them back to life. I then decided to take this hobby and make a small business from it such that others can benefit from an efficient local service at a reasonable price.