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Guitar set up

Velocity111

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
81
Question for the forum. I have a new to me "used" guitar that needs a set up done. I have two local shops that I'd trust to do the set up, but both are literally months out before I can get in. My question is are set ups always best done by your local guy, or are there shops/people out there who are known to be so good at set ups / work / repairs that people ship their guitars to them for set up?

If there are shops out there that people ship their guitars to for set up, and recommendations on who? End of the day I just don't want to wait months for a set up on a guitar that needs it and want to play today...lol. I also suspect that there may be some tuning issues with the guitar, and it likely will need more than just a simply normal set up.

Thoughts?...and thanks in advance....
 

chrisjnyc

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
7,574
I wouldn't ship a guitar for a setup... probably need another setup when you get it back

Where are you located? I have seen similar waits for a few guys I use, but I would bet you can find another guy who would do the setup a little sooner.
 

Steve Y.

Supporting Member
Messages
1,004
Dare I suggest - taking it to Guitar Center to have a cursory setup done? If the guitar is way out of whack they could probably get it back closer to where it should be, at least to make it more tolerable to play, and hopefully not as long of a wait. But I don't know that they would do a great job with any fine-tuning. I guess it would come down to the talent and care of the guitar tech actually working on it.
 

Salfordlad

Member
Messages
1,194
You need to learn to do it yourself. It isn't rocket science. All the basic setup involves is action, bridge adjustment, neck relief, pickup height, intonation, nut filing and lubing, perhaps cleaning pots and switch, perhaps tightening tuners as needed. I can setup any guitar in 30 minutes to an hour. Plenty of instructional videos on YT... why pay some knucklehead to do what you can do?
 

David Garner

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
7,215
Dare I suggest - taking it to Guitar Center to have a cursory setup done? If the guitar is way out of whack they could probably get it back closer to where it should be, at least to make it more tolerable to play, and hopefully not as long of a wait. But I don't know that they would do a great job with any fine-tuning. I guess it would come down to the talent and care of the guitar tech actually working on it.
After seeing the hack job a GC tech did on my buddy's LP, there is no way I would ever take one of my guitars to them.

I'm sure others are better than our local store, but the dude had one job -- install pickups. He wired them wrong and it sounded like both tone pots were always off. Horrible. And when my buddy played it the guy says "dude, that's thick as a milkshake."

It's a goat rodeo in our local GC's tech department.
 

Tachymetres

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
512
I'd do a basic setup for free if you lived nearby. I'm not a luthier but have setup my Fenders and Gibsons to factory specs or lower for years. I know enough to know what I don't want to do and have a luthier handle. Maybe someone local can help if you say where you are.
 

Steve Y.

Supporting Member
Messages
1,004
After seeing the hack job a GC tech did on my buddy's LP, there is no way I would ever take one of my guitars to them.

I'm sure others are better than our local store, but the dude had one job -- install pickups. He wired them wrong and it sounded like both tone pots were always off. Horrible. And when my buddy played it the guy says "dude, that's thick as a milkshake."

It's a goat rodeo in our local GC's tech department.
Jeez. Man that's terrible.
 

Yamaha 350

Member
Messages
8,824
After seeing the hack job a GC tech did on my buddy's LP, there is no way I would ever take one of my guitars to them.

I'm sure others are better than our local store, but the dude had one job -- install pickups. He wired them wrong and it sounded like both tone pots were always off. Horrible. And when my buddy played it the guy says "dude, that's thick as a milkshake."

It's a goat rodeo in our local GC's tech department.
The people in my Guitar Center is great. So it depends and how scared you are of the place.
 

stonem

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
2,864
You need to learn to do it yourself. It isn't rocket science. All the basic setup involves is action, bridge adjustment, neck relief, pickup height, intonation, nut filing and lubing, perhaps cleaning pots and switch, perhaps tightening tuners as needed. I can setup any guitar in 30 minutes to an hour. Plenty of instructional videos on YT... why pay some knucklehead to do what you can do?
This times 1000. Learn to set it up the way YOU hold and play the guitar. It's cheaper, more convenient, and better for you as a player.
 

Velocity111

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
81
I appreciate all the responses, and it kinda confirmed what I thought. I should learn to do all this myself, but that doesn't necessarily help me today, but I'd still like to learn it though.

In truth I'm not sure what is necessarily wrong with the guitar, it's just that after I tune it, it still sounds off and out of tune, but when I go back and check the individual strings they're still technically in tune. Fret board tune sounds right, harmonics tune sounds right, it all sounds right going string by string, but then when they are all cord strummed it just sounds slightly off. Intonation maybe??
 

amigo30

Senior Member
Messages
8,066
You need to learn to do it yourself. It isn't rocket science. All the basic setup involves is action, bridge adjustment, neck relief, pickup height, intonation, nut filing and lubing, perhaps cleaning pots and switch, perhaps tightening tuners as needed. I can setup any guitar in 30 minutes to an hour. Plenty of instructional videos on YT... why pay some knucklehead to do what you can do?
Right answer!

Once upon a time I didn't know how to do it.

A few cheap tools, some time with a few youtube videos - and I learned how to do it.. Not that hard - and on the plus sides: cheaper than paying somebody - no waiting - getting it EXACTLY how you want it - knowing it was done right - learning the limits of your guitar - more guitar knowledge in your head..

You can do it.

 

Tachymetres

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
512
I appreciate all the responses, and it kinda confirmed what I thought. I should learn to do all this myself, but that doesn't necessarily help me today, but I'd still like to learn it though.

In truth I'm not sure what is necessarily wrong with the guitar, it's just that after I tune it, it still sounds off and out of tune, but when I go back and check the individual strings they're still technically in tune. Fret board tune sounds right, harmonics tune sounds right, it all sounds right going string by string, but then when they are all cord strummed it just sounds slightly off. Intonation maybe??
Check the tuning of each string on the 12th fret. If properly intonated, they should all be in tune or within a cent of center. Also, are you fretting the strings too hard playing chords on jumbo frets and causing them to bend out of tune?
 

GitGeek

Legendary Member
Gold Supporting Member
Messages
357
Intonation maybe??
Excellent place to start. I think you know more than you think you know.

As suggested, you should mention the general area where you live, you may get some in-real-life help before you know it.

And for reference, what brand/model/year guitar are you referring to?
 

Malloc

Member
Messages
74
Just to answer the original question: only time I’ve ever shipped a guitar for setup was to the PRS Tech Center, but that was just because it was there getting other work anyway.
 

Mark White

Member
Messages
1,310
are there shops/people out there who are known to be so good at set ups / work / repairs that people ship their guitars to them for set up?
I've only been able to find *one* luthier in the country where I live who has a really good reputation, and he lives 800 miles away from where I live. I shipped my #1 to him to setup a month or so into lockdown last year and was happy with the result, though he said he never done a setup for someone who wasn't present before. Given the choice I'd much rather use someone more local or be present, but it wasn't an option at the time.

I plan to get a beater I can learn some skills on so I don't have to do this again in the future.
 

RicOkc

Member
Messages
2,915
Ask local players who they use for set-ups.

There are so many tutorials on YouTube on setting-up a guitar, and dozens of books available.

When I learned to do it there weren't many books available, but in Guitar Player Magazine there were plenty of articles on how to do it.

Luckily I knew two local luthiers who would answer my questions and one of them had two books out on the topic.

The only person who knows how you like your guitar set-up is you.

Count me in with some of the other posters that I wouldn't think of taking an instrument to GC.
 

Velocity111

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
81
Check the tuning of each string on the 12th fret. If properly intonated, they should all be in tune or within a cent of center. Also, are you fretting the strings too hard playing chords on jumbo frets and causing them to bend out of tune?
Nob question - how do I check the tuning at the 12th fret? I need to check, but don't believe the N4 has jumbo frets, but that aside while I have a firm grip I don't believe it's too strong as I don't have this issue with other guitars I have who also actually have jumbo frets - but good idea.
 

Velocity111

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
81
Excellent place to start. I think you know more than you think you know.

As suggested, you should mention the general area where you live, you may get some in-real-life help before you know it.

And for reference, what brand/model/year guitar are you referring to?
I'll definitely start to look into how to intonate a guitar. I'm in the Rochester NY area, and the guitar is a Washburn Nuno Bettencourt N4 authentic - not sure of the year but likely a 2017/2018. Freakin' love this guitar!!
 




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