How much for a pro set up?

Discussion in 'Setup & Repair [DB]' started by TenorClef, Mar 24, 2004.

  1. Took my first UDB to get assessed, he reckons it's gonna cost me £150 ($300) for a set up. Is that kinda steep?
    I'm paying to have something done to the finger board, the sound post adjusted, tail pin correctly aligned and bridge thingy fitted as well as putting on new strings which i provided. What did you other guys pay for a set up? Just hope i'm not being stiffed.
  2. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    No. Or I should say, depends on what you're getting done.

    For my carved bass, my initial setup cost me about $400, which included the stuff you mention, plus fitting a new tailpiece and cable. Around these parts, fingerboard dressing alone runs about $150 to start with, more if it takes longer than usual. When you say "tail pin correctly aligned", it sounds as if some woodworking will need to be done. When you say, "Bridge thingy fitted", that could mean many things. What are the details?

    Edit: fixed quotes
  3. Thankyou for the reply, on the reciept he gave me for the work he is doing it says the following-

    Adjust Soundpost/Tonal Adjustment
    Resurface Fingerboard
    Reshape Nut/Adjust string heights
    Fit new strings
    Refit endpin


    I'm guessing he knows his stuff as he studied violin repair at college in the UK. Does the price seem about right for the work he is doing?
  4. FunkySpoo

    FunkySpoo Supporting Member

    Feb 6, 2002
    My set up consisted of:
    fingerboard dressing
    sound post adjusting
    File down the nut
    new flexible tailwire
    install new strings that I provided
    and new "D" string tuner,
    All for $190.00
  5. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    I'm not the best person to ask, having only my limited and mostly positive experiences with luthiers to go on. The real proof will be in the pudding. In addition to the $400 that I mentioned in my above post, I bought a top-of-the-line endpin and some new strings at the same time, bringing the total cost of that first setup (+ materials) to about $600. That might have seemed outrageous had the bass not played about 10 times better afterwards than when I took it in, which it did. Considering that I play the bass every day, and have played hundreds of gigs on that setup since (with only a redressing of the FB about 3 years later because of wear), it seems an incredible bargain. See how your bass feels and sounds when you get it back before worrying about the cost. If it saves your body a lot of wear and tear, it will be more than worth it.
  6. Depending on what shape the bass was in, it looks like perhaps a couple of hours work - did the £150 include the price of the new strings? If it did, then you've a bargain! Even if it didn't, it still is a fair price. Here in the NE USA I pay the dealer around $60-70*/hour to have a grease-monkey work on my car (Toyota).

    - Wil

    (*$90 if I watch, $120 if I help… ;) )
  7. My experience is almost identical to Durrl's--with the exception that he has a much better instrument. My whole setup ran approximately $600 and was worth every penny. Even though I was a raw beginner when I had the setup done, I could tell a great difference in the playability and tone of the bass.
  8. FunkySpoo

    FunkySpoo Supporting Member

    Feb 6, 2002
    Yep after the set up I had done my bass sounded and played way way better. I couldn't believe it was the same bass.
  9. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    I wouldn't be too sure of that. Obviously, you haven't been conversing with Nnick Lloyd (my current Lluthier), who keeps "reminding" me I deserve a better instrument. :D
  10. I would be happy to make the sacrifice and take in either of your ppoor iinferior bbasses if you ever decide to throw them out in the street. I would even take the Stark strings--my vehicle's winch needs a new cable.
  11. Thanks Guys, as you say the proof is in the pudding, if my bass sounds better when i get it back then it's worth the money i have spent on it. I'll repost in a few days with my findings.
  12. Well the luthier kindly brought the bass to my house today and i must say it does sound quite wonderful for a student bass, nothing like pre-set up. The new strings have made a huge difference as well as the other work he did. The resurface did reveal a couple of knots in the board but nothing critical. He reckons this is generally the case with student basses with ebony necks. I purchased the 'Eurosonic Light' strings and i really like them, they are huge strings compared to what was on but have a lovely feel to the touch and a great warm pizzicato sound. Conclusion.......yes it was worth the money i spent.
  13. mxr255

    mxr255 Supporting Member

    Jul 21, 2003
    Williamsport, PA
    If the person doing the set up is good then it is worth every dollar. It has been well documented that a good set up can take a bad bass and make it.....well....a less bad bass....Glad to hear that you spent the money and glad to hear that your guy did some good set up work....
  14. Marcus Johnson

    Marcus Johnson

    Nov 28, 2001
    Any luck finding a La Scala to test drive? (Prolly not, or we would have heard about it). You gotta try one out! Surely you and the family are due for a Maui vacation by now!
  15. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY

    None so far, but I won't give up. That Cleveland I played was so killing that I've just GOT to see a La Scala! There's a chance that I may make it up to FOGHORN'S neck of the woods this summer, and if so, I'll make sure to find one I can check out before going.

    And thanks for the offer to check one out in Maui, but considering I sunburn from just looking out the window, it may be a while before I head that way for a vacation. :)
  16. Whow! What wonderful music Chris, i really love your version of Shadow of your smile. Do you have any guitar, bass and drum trio material?
  17. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    Thanks! Not yet, but hopefully this summer.