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Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by larrylover, Sep 7, 2004.
Can anyone recommend a great tech for electric guitars in the Chicago area? Thanks.
If you don't mind driving to the boonies, Gene Liberty in Sheridan is very good too, although I'm not sure how much repair work he is doing now. I believe he was concentrating more on building recently. www.guitarfix.com
Damn, his guitars look incredible.
Indeed. Hell of a shop, too.
My jazz instructor always highly recommended Tim Schroeder. I believe he works out of the Fine Arts Building in downtown Chicago. Good luck.
Second vote here for Tim. He's done great work on a couple of my guitars, and his prices are very fair. He makes some cool guitars and amps too. He is indeed in the Fine Arts Building - corner of Michigan and Van Buren.
If you're in the Wicker Park area, I'd also recommend Ian at Specimen Products. He really knows what he's doing too. Also makes cool guitars and amps.
The only guy who has touched my guitars is Cremer in West Aurora.
I am pretty much a jerk about having someone else work on my gear and he has never disappointed me.
What job are you looking to get done?
Just discovered those guys myself. So far, so good. Plus, Make 'N Music is close as well just in case GAS strikes without warning.
Thanks for all of the responses thus far. Most of what I need done is to have electronics and bridge upgraded and the pickups changed in a stock Strat Deluxe Strat Plus and a Gibson SG. the SG may also be in need of a fret job and need an evaluation of that possibility and, if so, have the work done. Also, I am considering a guitar that may need some luthier work.
Hipfan, I am aware of Specimen guitars, but I did not know they did repair work on existing product.
illinimax, I have to heavily discount the Third Coast Guitars recommendation since one of your recommendation points is proximity to Make n' Music. I consider that a strong drawback since that store just takes my time trying the many amps and guitars and leaves me frustrated that I don't walk out with something. In fact, that store has waiting a Dr. Z Prescription Extra Strength with my name on it. Maybe the new and improved Fuchs will get there in time for a comparison.
Couple of comments on Third Coast and Specimen. Take these with a grain of salt but....
I'm pretty sure Third Coast majorly f'd up one of my guitars. I don't think they realized it had a biflex truss rod and cranked it the wrong way. They were very wierd about it when I picked it up, telling me it was a problem with the guitar not them. I had the neck replaced to be safe, but I didn't find them competent. That may just be the one guy there I dealt with, they're a fairly substantial shop. Edit: Maybe I should have told them about the truss rod, who knows. The best quote from the tech was "yeah that's a pretty nice guitar though." My thought was "Yeah no sh*t" regarding my Melancon Custom Artist.
Specimen- I got a really bad arrogant vibe the only time I ever went into that shop. At the time I was in the market to have a custom guitar built. I stopped in the shop to check it out, grab some strings, say hey, and inquire about custom work. I asked the question "Do you build custom guitars?", ready to lay out what I had in mind, when a woman working at the counter quipped "Yes, they start at 2 thousand dollars" or something to that effect. Needless to say she said it in a way that made me feel like she didn't think I could afford it or was worthy of one of their creations. The guy working on a guitar in the shop merely looked up and then back down without saying anything. The interesting thing is I don't look like the type of person who can't afford that, I have my sh*t together. But whatever, I never went back there after that, guess I wasn't mod enough.
Like I said these are my experiences. I take customer service very seriously, especially when substantial amounts of money are part of the equation. Rather than demand good service, I politely take my business elsewhere.
All that being said, I haven't found a tech I trust here in Chicago, but I'll be checking out those mentioned in this thread.
Sorry to hear of your disappointing experience with Third Coast and Specimen. Another guy that may be of help can be found here in the western 'burbs. Great guy with a ton of experience. He prefers that his name not be brought up on the 'net as he works strictly by referral. E-mail if you want his contact info.
Tim Schroeder did some work on my Thorn awhile back.
Excellent work quality, and a nice guy. Makes a very spiffy archtop as well.
Lou V. put me in touch with him.
Chip Jurkovac at the Music Gallery (Highland Park) is my #1, and not just because he's in my hometown. I've had many pros set up my guitars, and he's the best I've experienced. Chip is also just about the nicest guy you could hope to meet.
Pete Flynn of Flynn Guitars in Evanston is right up there in terms of work quality and attention to detail. He's done a wide variety of work for me over the past 13 years, and I've never been disappointed.
I've never worked with Tim Schroder or Specimen, so can't comment on them.
I've used Third Coast for setups only, and while they've done good jobs, I'd rate Chip and Pete a cut above.
I have experience with others who are competent, but none who rank with others mentioned in this thread.
i lived in chicago a long time and my experience is that midwest buy & sell at irving and austin is the BEST guitar shop in chicago. wayne and ron are both very down to earth, laid back, frendly people who know their stuff.
i think that specimen is the place to go. never had any work done with tim, but i know that ian does the job right.
I've used both Gene Liberty & Tim Schroeder. Both do excellent work at fair prices. Although Tim's a *lot* faster..
I took a set up class at Specimen, and Ian is great. Someone mentioned a bad experience there.. they are a quiet group, but the story about the arrogance surprised me. Ian lives and breathes guitars - he cares about them and really does what is right for the guitar. if he doesn't think a repair will help it, he'll tell you that (and vice versa).
Re specimen products
Sorry to hear about your bad experience with Specimen. Ian can be very standoff-ish. I don't know his wife. Once Ian warms up to you, he couldn't be nicer.
My first class, I built a tweed '57 50 watt twin. It's better than any amp I've ever played at half the price. The only thing I can imagine that could be better is a vintage 50w twin with NOS tubes. In this class, I didn't think Ian liked me.
The 2nd class, guitar maintenance. Ian was great. He still answers my questions by email, and the class was 6 months ago. I will definitely take more classes.
If I were you, I'd go back. He's WAY TOO VALUABLE OF A RESOURCE. His advice has saved me a lot of mistakes and money. He reminds of a guy that is so smart, he lacks good social skills. But that's Ian.
Schroeder. Those guys are incredibly nice.
Tim Schroeder does great work, don't know about the fine arts building. From what I know (having seen him a bunch of times) he's next to Maken' Music on Hubbard 2 blocks e/o Ashland. Hubbard is a block s/o Grand.