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What is a "Set-Up"?

Usually, when you buy your instrument from a big box store or online, the instrument is strung and "tuned". However, this does not mean the instrument is in its peak playing condition. A guitar usually needs a proper set-up. A guitar will also need a set up yearly due to environmental factors and string tension over time. A guitar will also need a set-up when it's owner changes string gauges, as this changes the level of tension on the instrument.


A set-up includes:

  • Removing strings

  • Cleaning and polishing all parts of instrument

  • Tightening all hardware

  • Assessing all electronics and cleaning (if there is repair work to be done on electronics, you will be informed of what is recommended and discuss the process moving forward)

  • Assessing and adjusting the truss rod* to ensure proper relief**

  • Restringing and tuning instrument 

  • Assessing and adjusting saddle positions and heights relative to the fretboard radius

  • Assessing and adjusting tremolo tension for a level bridge (if guitar has a tremolo style bridge)

  • Assessing and adjusting the position, height, slot depths of nut (if needed)

  • Intonating guitar. This means ensuring the tone of the string plucked open matches the tone of the string when fretted at the 12th fret. This ensures the instrument is in tune across the fretboard and is an integral part in peak playability and tone

  • Strings, hardware, and other items added are not included in set-up price and will be discussed with customer as needed to determine whether customer wants this done/added.

What is a "truss rod"?

  • The truss rod is an integral part of the guitar's anatomy. The truss rod can be found in the neck of the guitar, hidden beneath the fretboard and can be accessed at the heel of the guitar or above the nut at the headstock. 

  • The purpose of the truss rod is to counteract the natural movement of the neck from the way wood expands and contracts due to environmental factors (temperature/humidity) and the tension of the strings on the neck.

  • Guitar necks may become bowed forward, called "relief", or backwards (back-bow). Guitars should have a small amount of relief, but never back-bow.

  • This affects playability, causing fret buzz, degrading the tone of your guitar due to the strings touching frets when vibrating in ways not intended.

  • Adjusting the rod is a step in the process of reducing fret buzz and providing proper string action (distance from bottom of string and guitar frets) by countering the bow in the neck either towards or away from its current state. This gives the guitar a straight neck to prepare it for a proper set-up.

"How long will it take to get my guitar serviced?"

  • The answer here is purely situational and depends on many factors.

  • This depends on the work to be done as well as the current workload in the shop.

  • When it is busy, repairs may take longer than when things are slower.

  • I can give you a rough estimate after assessing the instrument and understanding what all will be involved in the process, but all repairs times are subject to change as there may be unexpected variables in the process. (Example; A guitar needed a fret level and crown, but when it came time for the final set-up, a part such as the nut or saddle may need replacing as it has been slotted too deep for string clearance over the frets. Depending on what kind of replacement is needed, the nut may need to be ordered, sanded, slotted and polished, which would add time.)

  • I can give you the best estimate possible, but nothing is guaranteed as far as turn around time.

  • I do not do "rush jobs" as the quality of my work comes first and I do not want to cut corners for the sake of quick turnaround. 

  • Any and all changes in time will be communicated to the customer with reasonable promptness.

"How much will it cost?"

  • Similar to turnaround time, this can always be subject to change and depends on many factors.

  • You can visit the prices page for estimated costs on general services, but each guitar is different and may require one or more services to put it in peak playing condition.

  • Anything after the initial estimation before beginning work will be communicated to the customer promptly upon discovery to discuss options

  • A guitar in for a general set-up may need parts replaced in order to give it the proper set-up, additional parts and time add to the fee for service.

  • Any time additional materials are needed, those materials will be added to the final fee.

  • (Strings, Nuts, Saddles, Wires, etc. fall under materials to be charged)

  • There may be rare times where additional tools may be required that I do not have on hand, cost of tools will not be charged, but may add to the turnaround time due to the time required to purchase/order tools.

"I removed the neck, can I bring that to you for a level or refret?"

  • I require the full instrument. I cannot guarantee any work to be done properly without the full picture.

  • A holistic approach needs to be taken with a guitar because changing one thing can affect the entire instrument.

"Do I need to bring a case?"

  • I highly prefer you bring a case or gig bag

  • There are lots of guitars in storage at any given time and anything can happen when a guitar is stored unprotected

  • I cannot guarantee the safety of unprotected instruments in the shop

  • If you do not own a case, please communicate that before dropping off your instrument and I can try to ensure a gig bag is available.

  • I have a very limited number of bags, so if one is not available, we will reschedule your drop off for when one is available.

"When do I pay?"

  • Upon pickup

  • Your fee final fee will be communicated to you over the phone before any work is done and again before requesting you come pick it up

  • I will not return your instrument without payment in full

  • DO NOT have extra room to store guitars beyond a week after repairs are finished

  • Once repairs/maintenance is complete, you will be contacted immediately for pickup

  • You will be contacted once more before the first week is up

  • If you have not come to pick up your instrument, You will be charged a STORAGE FEE  of $2 for the first day and doubling every 24 hours. After a second week of non-pickup, the fee increases to $20/day.

  • I do not have extra room to store instruments after they are finished.

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