Chicago-Land Service?

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by Speedbird, Jan 30, 2004.

  1. Speedbird

    Speedbird Supporting Member

    Jul 10, 2000
    Northern Virginia
    I'm kinda new to Chicago-Land and need a recomendation for a nice shop. Need to have my Modulus set-up / tuned / adjust neck / adjust G-string spacing / Clean pots ect. The only place I've noticed is Guitar Center and a crappy 2nd hand joint in my town. I do NOT trust them with my $2K bass. I live ~45 miles NW of Chicago but I commute to O'hare almost every day. The perfect solution would be something in between. I am willing to drive ~1.5 hrs for 1st class service. Any recommendations greatly appreciated.

    JAUQO III-X Banned

    Jan 4, 2002
    Endorsing artist:see profile.
    Hello I live in Chicago and the only person I would recomend is Todd Seefeld of Guitar Remedies(it's his own co.) he does repairs and restorations and he has done some very fine work for me in the past that has allways left me very satisfied.he can be reached at
    Tell Todd I said hello and in Chicago never trust a GC to do any setup work for you.
  3. Gsxtasy99


    Jul 10, 2003
    Boston, MA
    When i'm in chicago, i go to 3rd Coast. They know what they're doing, and they charge reasonable prices. I had them put new electronics in my pentabuzz and do some fretwork on my elrick, and i have only praise for them.
  4. Go with Todd Seefeld. I have used Third Coast and did not have a good experience. It depends on who works on your bass there whether you will. Todd is a one man shop and is excellent. His prices are reasonable and his work is first-rate. I live an hour and a half from the city in Indiana and I go to Todd. Good luck.
  5. Gsxtasy99


    Jul 10, 2003
    Boston, MA
    Can i ask what happened? I've only had good experiences, but would hesitate to bring my basses back to them if you have some horror story.
  6. Kindness


    Oct 1, 2003
    I'm also very interested. I've had several great experiences with 3rd Coast dating back to the days when it was Bob's Guitar Service. I regularly recommend their services, so if there is a reason I should stop sending friends there please tell.
  7. You can also contact Tim Schroeder here in downtown Chicago. He builds $10,000.00 jazz guitars and he has done some PHENOMENAL work on all of my custom basses. He is the go-to-repair guy whenever Lindsay Buckingham (Fleetwood Mac) needs to ship one of his fine axes out for serious repair.

    If you want a detail-oriented, anal guy who will make your instrument run better, give Tim a shout. E-mail me at and I will give you his contact information.

  8. The details of my horror story are a little complicated but I will be as brief as I can.

    Just over a year ago I brought a USA Spector to Third Coast. It was the first time I ever went there and I did so on the recommendation of Make'n Music, where I brought the bass. It was my belief that I had a serious problem, probably that the neck was twisted. Not so said the person who worked on the bass. When I picked it up it played worse than when I brought it in. I had asked him not to do anything major to the bass without calling me first since it was almost brand new and under warranty. When I picked up the bass and inspected it, to my shock and dismay I found that he had taken some sort of cutting tool and gouged some brass out from the saddle underneath the E-string. It almost made me sick to see it. The cut transformed an all black bridge to a mostly black one with one spot with exposed brass. The cut did not even look professionally done. It had a kind of jagged, rough looking appearance. I refused to accept the bass and demanded to see the owner who, it turned out, was not there.

    The following week I spoke to the owner and he agreed that the neck was twisted and should be sent back to Spector. He also agreed not to charge me for the work that the first tech had done. The bass went back to Spector who put a new bridge on the bass for free and said that nothing was wrong with the neck. When I got the bass back from Spector at Make'n Music, to my extreme disbelief, it was even worse than when I had last seen it at Third Coast. Enter Todd Seefeld.

    Todd looked at the bass and said that it needed a new neck because the neck was twisted, or, at bare minimum, serious work done to the old one. He called Spector for me and Make'n and wrote down the laundry list of problems with the bass on his own letter head. (This was the very day I received the bass back from Spector.) Todd said he did not want to charge me for this work since he had really not done anything in his opinion. He also did not not want me to pay for his long distance call. I insisted he take $20 for his trouble, and after an argument he gave in and accepted my money.

    I brought the bass back to Make'n, presented them with Todd's letter, and Greg, the owner, agreed to send it back to Spector a second time. A week later I called Greg and asked him what Sector said. He said that he had not sent the bass back and had not called them. When asked why he said that they (Spector) knew more about their basses than Third Coast or Todd Seefeld, both of whom he called "hacks." (This is an exact quote.) I pointed out that it was one of his employees who had sent me to Third Coast. He said it depends on who you get at Third Coast whether the work is good. I told him that the owner is the one who said that the Spector neck was twisted and that both he and Todd had arrived at the same conclusion independently. Were they both making up the same problem simultaneously and independently? Greg was unmoved by this reasoning.

    My next call was to one of my closest friends, a top flight trial attorney in Chicago. He said that I had an excellent case, but should propose a settlement before contemplating litigation. I offered Greg the Spector and an amount of cash I felt comfortable with for a USA Bob Glaub Lakland. He acceped my offer and I went right over to Lakland and dealt with Dan Lakin from then on directly. They made me a custom Bob Glaub with modifications to the standard nut, neck, etc. Carl, Lakland's virtuoso tech, set my bass up perfectly for me and has worked on it ever since whenever I have had a problem. (The only reason I did not recommend you to Carl and the Lakland shop is that the bass in question here is a Modulus.)

    Based on this experience I simply cannot recommend Third Coast. Todd was good to me and many of the best players in Chicago use him. I would not hesitate to ask him work on my bass.

    Best of luck with your decision.

    JAUQO III-X Banned

    Jan 4, 2002
    Endorsing artist:see profile.
    That sounds like Todd a very good person and as far as Carl working on an Instrument other than Lakland you can there is no conflict there(Dan Lakland supports it,don't take my word for it just ask Dan or my buddie Carl)
  10. RAM


    May 10, 2000
    Chicago, IL
    I took my Spector to Carl at Lakland. Not only did Dan support it, he even gave me a beer while Carl was making the final tweeks on my Spector!

    Dan is a GREAT guy, and Carl REALLY knows is stuff!

    I was never a Lakland fan before, but that's totally changed since my visit. I HIGHLY recommend them for set up work!:D

    As far as how far you'll have to drive, though, they're located between Ashland and Halsted, and between North and Armitage. It might be a bit of a drive for you, but well worth ahead and ask if they're able to work on graphite.
  11. I could not agree more with Ram. Still, to say that Dan Lakin is a great guy is an understatement. In all my years of being around music (my wife is a professional blues vocalist) and buying musical instruments and equipment (I bought my first guitar in 1968), Dan is the best person I have ever bought anything from. If you have gear questions, you can call and talk to him. He will give you advice on all things bass if you ask. If you live anywhere near Chicago, I highly recommend a trip to the Lakland headquarters.

    The only reason why I am not angry about the whole sorry incident described above is that it led me to Lakland. My wife and I make our living from music. Knowing Dan and Carl has been a godsend.

    Carl at Lakland is a great tech and a wonderful person. You could not go wrong having him work on your bass. The last time I had a small bass problem, he fixed it for free and then asked me how my wife and dog were (both of whom he had met on a previous visit). When I told him they were outside in the car, he came out to say hello to my wife and pet my dog.

    Both Carl and Todd Seefeld are nice, honest, intelligent people that it is a pleasure to do business with. You will not do wrong dealing with either of them.
  12. SuperDuck


    Sep 26, 2000
    As a matter of fact, I do live near Chicago. I go to school downtown, in fact. Where is Lakland located? Is he cool with people visiting the shop, or should I call ahead? Would he care that I'm too poor to buy anything? ;)
  13. To SuperDuck:

    The exact address of Lakland is:

    2044 N. Dominick
    Chicago, IL 60614

    Their phone number is: (773) 871-9637.

    The two people that work in the front office are Dan Lakin, the owner, and John. I would call ahead and get exact directions because Dominick is a small dead end street. The headquarters is tucked away in a factory owned by Dan's family. Also, there are times when Dan and John are not around.

    The headquarters does not have a showroom per se, but there are many basses on racks in the back that they can let you play. My strong advice is to simply call Dan on the phone and tell him that you have been hearing great things about Lakland in general and him in particular on talkbass and would like to come and see what all the fuss is about for curiosity's sake. You will find him to be one of the easiest people on the planet to get along with. Good luck.
  14. SuperDuck


    Sep 26, 2000
    Rockin'. Thanks for the info. :)
  15. I had a local guy in Bloomington, IL (the guy from Guitar World) install my Bartolini pups and preamp into my Peavey Fury sixer. The guy did a HORRIBLE job in that the bass knob would actually cause the sound to distort and then cut out and the asshat actually had the gall to say that was "normal."

    I then immediately shipped my bass to 3rd coast who diagnosed and fixed the problems very quickly. The asshat at Guitar World had screwed a locking washer onto the wire to the bass knob to hold it in, and the washer cut through the shielding and then connected the knob to everything else in the bass.

    3rd coast also set up the bass with the best action it's ever had, filed and leveled the nuts, cleaned everything, and had it back to me within a week. I wrote them a letter expressing my appreciation for saving my bass and I got a personal phone call back from the owner of the company. I can't recommend them enough.

  16. chicago_mike


    Oct 9, 2007
    Chicago - LA - Rome
    Endorsing Artist : Genz Benz
    If you happen to be north of Chicago, say in the Lake County area, then I highly recommend Mark Graf at Libertyville Music. He another great guy, knowledgeable, and does excellent work as well. IM going to have him do something very cool for me very soon.
  17. CamMcIntyre


    Jun 6, 2000
    Good finding this thread as I am looking for a tech to work on my StingRay5.

    Edit: I'm CTA dependent, so if there's any recommendations that are easily reached w/public transit-that'd be great.
  18. hbarcat

    hbarcat Supporting Member

    Aug 24, 2006
    Rochelle, Illinois
    Just as an alternative for those who live farther west in the Chicago 'burbs, Gene Liberty is a terrific luthier who is the owner (and sole employee) of "The Ultimate Guitar Repair Shop" in Sheridan, Illinois. I've been using his services for years and I've recommended him to fellow musicians and I've never had one reason to be anything but 100% satisfied.

    He is always happy to give advice on guitar and bass repair over the phone but if you bring in an instrument for repair or setup his attention to detail is amazing.
  19. Spinal Tapper

    Spinal Tapper

    Nov 15, 2007
    I recommend Geoff Benge's Guitar Repair - if u ask for him to do a "rush" job, he'll only charge an extra 10 bucks - he does amazing work.

    Also, Rock & Roll vintage is great. Ask for Ben - he doesn amazing setup work for a reasonable price and his turnaround is about 3-5 days max.
  20. bunkaroo


    Apr 25, 2003
    Endorsing Artist: Spector Basses
    If you're near the SW burbs, there's a small shop called Hidden Music in Palos Hills - great work and cheap. Been going for 15 years with my Carvins, EBMM's and Spector. Always a good experience.