Getting my guitar setup is like a...

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by cram, Jan 17, 2008.


  1. cram

    cram Member

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    Getting my guitar setup is like a haircut and a new pair of shoes all in one.

    Whenever I get a haircut or get new shoes, I am left with the same feeling.

    "Wow - this feels great! Why didn't I do this earlier?"

    I'm on the otherside of about a 3hr session of jamming out on my newly setup guitar. I had been playing with action a bit high in the center of the neck for a while now. Coming to that point was like noticing every now and again that my hair is getting too long or that my feet hurt near the end of the day. My fingers feel at ease with everything and I rode the wave and went through a bunch of stuff I've been trying to get right lately and it just flew by.

    So I finally got around to it and I'm left thinking that same thought I do with newly cut hair and new kicks!

    Simple as that.
     
  2. jbird

    jbird Member

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    It's even better when you accomplish the feat yourself!

    The guitar setup, that is!
     
  3. mcdes

    mcdes Member of no importance

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    i just got a brand new fender deluxe tele, looks real hot! 3 colour sunburst with maple neck and white binding around the body...... mmmm nice, played it for one hour then rang my tech and booked it in for a setup, fret level and intonation! sounded nice but not perfect, but will sound friggin wicked when i pick it up tomorrow and crank it!

    funny how they never set them up perfectly?!
     
  4. Gasp100

    Gasp100 Member

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    What's a straight ahead setup for an electric cost nowadays? The local shop said it's "around $60, but they send it to a "special guy"... I remember it being closer to $25 years ago, has it gone up that much?
    I've messed a bit with my partscaster and it's playing "just okay". I just got in Dan Erlewine's book on guitar repair / maintenance (but haven't I cracked it open yet) and I'm wondering if maybe I should take my guitars (4 out of 5 could use a once over) to a pro. It's not rocket science, that's for sure but I have to assume someone who does this for a living is better than me doing it out of a book.
    That being said, I don't want to drop a lot of cash to get this done if I can do it myself (the right way) - plus it's cool to learn and do stuff on your own anyway. Maybe I should get one done by a pro and try the rest myself.
     
  5. cram

    cram Member

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    Mine cost $50.
    It's just a local guitar shop and the guy there is pretty cool so I've turned to him for the first time while I've usually gone to a guy near boston that I found while living there.

    A thread came through recently.. http://www.thegearpage.net/board/showthread.php?t=332660

    and there it is...

    Some info on doing this maintenance. While I usually get it done in the fall and spring for my main guitar, I had it setup in the summer and didn't think I needed it, but wow what a difference.

    - On doing it myself vs someone else?

    My hand is on too many pots as it is. (family, work, rehearsals, home studio build are some that top the list these days) This is one of those things that I would take a while to get right and I don't want to screw up my one good guitar, so I take it to a person who does several per week.

    I have a couple books on hot to do setups for guitars, but until I put some time in my lesser guitars, I'll pay someone to do it in a fraction of the time it takes me.
     
  6. mprvise

    mprvise Member

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    I've been taking my new guitars to the same guy for over 20 years, and taking them back periodically as well. He's known as the best in the area and seems to know EXACTLY what to do to make them absolutely perfect for me. Took a Tele to him recently that I've had for 10 years. I liked the Tele before, but only used it occasionally on gigs. Since I got it back it's been to most every gig I've played, fast becoming the current #1.

    Also, what do you guys get for you set up dollars? Standard set up, or full cleaning (including electronics - pots, etc.), pickup adjustment, etc? Every time I take a guitar to my regular guy it comes back looking brand new, even in those hard to reach places.
     
  7. Guitar Josh

    Guitar Josh Resident Curmudgeon Silver Supporting Member

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    My local guy is $65. But he will NOT take your money when he gives you your guitar back. He requires you to take it home, play it out, then come back in a week with your impressions. Then he does a final adjustment and you pay him.
     
  8. RL in Fla

    RL in Fla Member

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    Similar here . Local shop does it for $40 if no hardware/fret/nut issues/your strings , free re-tweak if needed within 6 weeks .
    $60 includes new strings/re-string .
     
  9. bluegrif

    bluegrif Member

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    Cost depends on what you mean by setup. When my luthier refers to a "full setup", it includes a fret level and dress, in addition to all the easy stuff (trussrod, action, intonation, etc.). Many shops do no more than the easy stuff if they think the fretwork's acceptable. But frankly, most new production guitars need the full treatment. Some come from the factory with nice fretwork (PRS and Hamer come to mind), but most production Fenders and Gibsons (and even some Custom Shop models) will require the full meal deal in order to both play and sound their best. I've taken guitars in that played and sounded pretty decent because I know it's going to be night and day when I get it back. These "full setups" push $100, assuming you don't need a new nut, which is about $20 more.

    I've long thought it would behoove manufacturers to go the extra mile and ship all their guitars with great fretwork and beautiful setups. It seems to me they'd sell more guitars. But I guess the bean counters among them take the position that a deluxe setup would raise the price too much and the average buyer is not that discriminating. That's one reason why those expensive Custom Shop axes sell though. They take the time to get the fretwork right. Maybe that's it. If their production guitars played as well as the Custom Shop models, maybe they're worried fewer players would pay three times the price for a CS guitar(?).
     
  10. mprvise

    mprvise Member

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    Ever talk to anyone who has worked final assembly/set up at one of the larger factories? Scary! :eek: I talked to a guy who did a stint at the Fender factory in CA recently. I was shocked by some of the stuff he told me. Small shop guitars for me please.
     
  11. devinb

    devinb Member

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    There's a great guy just south of Cleveland, trained under a violin maker, is factory certified by just about everyone...he's close to $25 unless you bring him something with a Floyd Rose or whatnot...he's my favorite tech by far...I found him when I was looking for someone great for a bigger acoustic project (looking for someone with a real shop, not just a bench)...but I use him for everything now...very fair too...
     
  12. bluegrif

    bluegrif Member

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    There's not doubt all they get is a quickie setup at the factory. But look at it another way. You pay X amount of dollars for a small shop guitar. It seems worth it because it plays and sounds great as soon as you pull it out of the case. Yet, virtually any production guitar that isn't actually defective can be made to play as well as anything for an additional $100 or so.

    With a little experience, it's not hard to tell which production guitar is going to sound great with a proper fret dress.
     
  13. mprvise

    mprvise Member

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    Good point, however the guy I talked to had a 30 guitar per day quota for final assembly and set up. Not much room for attention to detail there. BTW - I do have an early 1990's American Strat that I love.
     
  14. cram

    cram Member

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    BTW - an update: after one night of play with that work, I noticed it fret out with bends on the E, B, & G strings up around fret 15. Took it back and he adjusted it again with no charge. The humidity is the same where I keep this guitar as the shop so it must have been the wood settling after the adjustment. That's what the guy said to me atleast.

    All that and I actually got a haircut today. I think it helps me play with better ease... Kinda like new pair of Zips® sneakers will make you run faster...
     
  15. gkoelling

    gkoelling Member

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    I've had guitars change a few days after set-up quite a few times.
     
  16. strumminsix

    strumminsix Member

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    Anywhere from $25 - $125 depending on: what is needed and if I bring in strings.

    Say I bring in strings and my guy: cleans frets, pots, quick polish on the guitar, adjusts truss, sets intonation, breaks in strings a bit so it plays well outta the shop $30. If the neck/intonation are good $25.

    Say the frets are outta whack and need leveling etc or the nut is shot or needs major overhaul to get the intonation it's been $125.

    This guy is also my amp guy and my tone guy and worth every penny I pay him and then some. He's old school. You don't like something in your rig? Bring the whole thing into the shop and you and he sit and gig level volume talking about what is good, bad, desirable, needed, limitations by the pickup or amp, etc, swaping tubes, adjusting bias, setting up pickups, etc for well over an hour without thinking twice. He's awesome!
     
  17. strumminsix

    strumminsix Member

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    Oh and do all us guitarists procrastinate setups, changing strings and haircuts?
     
  18. brentrocks

    brentrocks Guitar Hack/Player Gold Supporting Member

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    the thing i like is when i buy a guitar and get it home, put a new set of strings on it, check the action, adjust the truss rod, set the bridge....just screwing around. that is fun for me.

    that last EVH i bought i had to take the neck off and shim it so i could lower the action...that was scary!!! especially without a workbench!
     

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