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Do you set up your own guitars?

Discussion in 'Guitars' started by Maggot Brain, Apr 8, 2021.

  1. Maggot Brain

    Maggot Brain Well-Known Member

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    just curious how many of you guys set up your own guitars? Or If you have a tech/shop do it, how much does it cost?

    I've almost always set up my own guitars, I find it fairly easy and another way to get to interact/tinker with my gear. My local guitar shop is always busy with set ups, every time I go in, someone is either picking up or dropping off a guitar. They charge $75 for a set up and string change... Idk but that sound fcking crazy expensive! I can change my strings and do a decent set up in less than an hour give or take depending on needing to fine tune intonation and it really isn't that difficult at all. I mean it's like if you can change your own strings you posses the skills to fine tune and adjust the guitar.

    I think it should be pretty mandatory for a guitarist to learn to set up his own guitar. You can spend years and years of dedication on learning the instrument but not take a few hours and some hands on experience to set it up yourself? I'm not judging anyone that doesn't do their own but I highly recommend it, plus you have the ability to experiment and find the perfect combo.

    A set up can make or break a guitar.

    So what do you do?
     
  2. GregM

    GregM Well-Known Member

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    Yeah, I am lucky I guess to live in a fairly constant temperature, but mostly all I do for my own set-ups is check the action and pickup height, if the intonation is less than 1/4 of a semitone out I don't screw with it.
    Otherwise I'll have a fiddle, but it's rare.
    But yes I'd do it myself.
     
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  3. Marshall50w

    Marshall50w Well-Known Member

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    I set my own up because I don't trust others to do it with the care/attention that I have . Also it's a task I can do for myself and save the money.

    The other potential issue is, what happens if you leave it overnight and the gear gets nicked ? I'm not sure if the shop has the insurance on that ?

    I am forever making small changes to the action/pickup height of my guitars. Trying to get a better sound or to avoid say string choke in a particular area on the neck or looking for better playability through a lower/higher action.
    I also have gone back to 10's from 9's gauge strings so this necessitates changes.
     
  4. Filipe Soares

    Filipe Soares Well-Known Member

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    I set up my own guitars because I love tinkering with things and I was broke AF when I started playing guitar, so it was a way to save some money and now 20 something years later I know that no one can setup my guitars, for me, better than myself.
     
  5. fitz288

    fitz288 Well, Known Member Silver Supporting Member

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    $75 for strings and possible truss rod, bridge height and intonage tweak seems insane.
    I've built a few guitars from scratch and kits, and set-up is a critical part of the process, so a few adjustments to a Gibson is a no-brainer to me.
    I move my pickups up and down all the time for different signal & tone adjustments.
    And who's to say some dude at a guitar shop is going to know how I want my guitar set.
     
  6. lespaul339

    lespaul339 Well-Known Member

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    I set up all my guitars too. I've also built a few guitars over the years. I don't mind doing it, and the more you know about your instrument the less you need to rely on other people. Plus, at least I know it's done right if I do it myself. There's really nothing to adjusting truss rods, setting the action and intonation, adjusting pickup height, and doing proper nut work. Just takes a little time and patience. I like the satisfaction of knowing what I'm doing and making an instrument play the best that it can.
     
  7. Chrome

    Chrome Firebird Freak Gold Supporting Member

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    I do not set up my own guitars. it's really a time thing, I know an hour of my day don't seem like much, but I work as an electrical engineer by day, and musician in the evenings. amongst all the other things I do. I have a guy who I have befriended is a great guitar tech. he don't have a day job because of disability, so I get to help him get by a little easier. not only that but because I play left hand upside down. as you could guess so does my friend and guitar tech. so he gets me and he understands how I want my guitars set up.
     
  8. KelvinS1965

    KelvinS1965 Well-Known Member

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    Pretty much, so saved me typing it thanks. :) The only thing I don't do is re-frets since I've only needed two and the guy that does them is a real perfectionist. He does do a set up afterwards as part of it, but I usually fine tune it a bit myself anyway.

    It's quicker for me to re-string and do any setup myself than it is to take over to my guy, so it has to be something beyond what I'm happy to do myself. Though the rate I'm wearing out frets, maybe I ought to learn how to do that as well...
     
  9. Biff Maloy

    Biff Maloy Well-Known Member

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    String changes and pickup heights yeah but structural adjustments and stuff like that i take to a Luthier.

    Silly for me to do that as long as I've been playing but for one thing i like the guy and it's right when i pick it up. A new guitar goes to him pretty quick. Plus, like mentioned above, i stay busy with work.
     
  10. Lo-Tek

    Lo-Tek Well-Known Member

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    I have pretty much just always tuned and played. Once in a blue moon I might take a guitar in. I would like to learn to do set ups but as with everything it comes down to amount of free time and how to use it.
     
  11. pedecamp

    pedecamp Well-Known Member

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    I agree with everything you said. :yesway:
     
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  12. JamminJeff

    JamminJeff Well-Known Member

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    Once you know exactly what you like, you then realize no one else can set it up the way you want it. I do my own for that reason alone and yet I live close to a VERY high end shop that has all the bells and whistles.
     
  13. TXOldRedRocker

    TXOldRedRocker Senior Discount Member Gold Supporting Member

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    Yes. Set up my own. Including neck adjustments, of course.
    Swap pickups. Rewire. I have converted a metric based guitar to imperial by enlarging pot holes, guitar cavity, etc.

    But I've rebuilt cars. I'm a pretty good welder, etc., etc.
     
  14. Matthews Guitars

    Matthews Guitars Well-Known Member

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    I'm a professional luthier. Yes I do my own setups. It's the last thing to do after I build a guitar, of course.

    The first thing I do is figure out what I want to make. Then I select the lumber from my stash, or maybe go buy more to suit the build plans.

    Skipping over a few minor details, I then do the setup. I demand that the guitar be able to take lower action than I like to play. So I spend some time getting the fretwork just exactly right.
     
  15. Sustainium

    Sustainium Well-Known Member

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    I do my own setups including Floyd Rose trem. I have yet to take a guitar to a shop in 20 years but won’t hesitate to pay a pro for a repair or upgrade I’m not comfortable with.
     
  16. ampeq

    ampeq Well-Known Member

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    I have to do my own, got nobody around to do it. Most of the so-called professionals will screw it up every time they touch it. Once you do a couple and figure out that it's not as touchy as you thought, it's pretty easy.
     
  17. KelvinS1965

    KelvinS1965 Well-Known Member

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    Funny you mention this: The guy who does my re-frets and any other fret levelling work always leaves the action too low for my taste. However, it shows how good it all is if the guitar can take a lower action than I need. I raise it up to my taste and then it feels 'like mine'.

    Leaves a bit in hand for the eventual uneven wear since I always seem to wear the lower frets down first. It's not like all I play is cowboy chords either. :)
     
  18. MarshallDog

    MarshallDog Well-Known Member Gold Supporting Member

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    I set up my own. Its easy to do. I dont find that my geetars change with temp and humidity but then again our home is air conditioned and has an auto humidifier.
     
  19. AlvisX

    AlvisX Garage Guerrilla Gold Supporting Member

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    Im a disciple of EVH (on the guitar tinkering front ....not the wheedelee wheedelee shit)
    Yeah , 'cept Im not as good on frets as Id like to be . I have a fckn mental block
    X wife used to do the fret work . Now I get John Mooney (yes that John Mooney) when I need some SERIOUS fret work
     
  20. LPMarshall hack

    LPMarshall hack Well-Known Member

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    I want it done right.













    therefore, I take it to someone else
     
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