Get it fixed

Translation By: 
Alice Kok
圖 Photos Eduardo Martins
Matt’s Guitar Repair Shop, just down the road from Ponte 16.
Growing up, nearly everyone wants to learn the guitar. It just has a slightly cooler image than say a cello…right?  For aspiring musicians in Macau there are a few places in town you can buy guitars (but not many), and even fewer places you can get your guitar fixed if there’s something wrong with it.  So it will be music to the ears of avid guitarists to know that there is at least one very professional place in town, Matt’s Guitar Repair Shop, just down the road from Ponte 16. 
 
On such a busy street, it can be easy to miss this small shop though, despite several guitars hanging in the window and the black and white signage in the shape of a guitar pick.   But it’s certainly bigger than where owner Matt Lei first started.  
 
“I’ve been operating for two years, but only one year in this location.  The previous location was just in the corner of another person’s business,” he says. “I chose this location so people could see we are doing high level of repairs. And it also has high level of transparency, not like in some industrial building.”
 
Matt started playing guitar at the age of 10, but found his focus on the instrument was a bit different from others: “I liked playing guitar but I was also focused on the technical aspects of the different components of guitars.” 
 
Later he took a professional guitar repair and maintenance course when he was living in Canada.  And returning to Macau, he saw a need for his skills: “In Macau there were a few places repairing guitars, but I didn’t think they were really doing a good job. There’s always been a demand, but the city is small.”  
 
Matt explains that the major type of repair work he does falls into three categories: “Setup – adjusting the variables to get the optimal playability, to make it play right and sound right.  Fret work - because the fret height gets uneven due to extended playing or humidity and temperature.  And Electronics – problem diagnostic and repair, pick up replacement and wiring modifications.”
 
As for who his customers are…
 
“It could be anyone.  From elementary school students to big time stage musicians from the hotel-casino entertainers,” he says. “But for me, everyone is equally important. Sometimes I even go onsite to the casinos to do live support. Hard Rock Café, Roadhouse, House of Dancing Water, Thriller – I’ve worked with musicians from these shows.”
 
No matter who his customers are, Matt realizes that people can feel a very personal bond with their favourite instrument:  “Sometimes people have a very strong attachment to their guitar, maybe it was a gift from their mum or something, so they can be willing to spend a lot of money to repair it and keep it working. 
 
“I just enjoy being able to help out with the things that I know.  It really is my greatest joy and to see the happy faces of satisfied customers.”