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How much will a "setup" cost me at Guitar Center??

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by brink22, Dec 6, 2003.

  1. brink22


    Oct 5, 2003
    I want to take in my bass to get new strings, and get any adjustments it might need (neck, action, etc). How much should this cost me approximately?
  2. The 0x

    The 0x

    Aug 24, 2003
    Timonium, MD
    50 bucks. :(
  3. Zillium


    May 27, 2003
    You might want to spend some time reading the setup forum, all the info you need to do your own setup is in that forum.
    You'll learn somthing and save yourself some scratch.
    Leo Smith likes this.
  4. nonsqtr

    nonsqtr The emperor has no clothes!

    Aug 29, 2003
    Burbank CA USA
    Aw geez, I wouldn't take my bass into GC for anything in the world. They couldn't PAY me enough to let them work on my bass. There's no possible way I would trust those bozos to set up an instrument for me.

    The preferred way would be: do it myself. If someone else does it, at best it's going to be an iterative process till they get it right. I'm very particular about the feel of my basses. However there are a couple of techs I've worked with over the years who know what I like and who I'd trust to set up an instrument for me.

    I'm with Zillium, I'd try it myself first, and if all else fails as a last resort I'd find a small local luthier (someone who has time to talk and listen to exactly what I want) and let him do it.
  5. mgood


    Sep 29, 2001
    Levelland, Texas
    No matter how good a tech may be, his preferences are going to be different than yours on string height, etc. And he is never going to use the exact same amount of pressure fretting a note as you do (affects intonation adjustments). So, the best you can hope for is finding a good tech with good comunication skills, willing to listen to what you want. I'll admit I've never tried to find one, but that sounds more difficult than learning to do the setups yourself, which is what I did.
  6. petch

    petch Supporting Member

    Mar 25, 2001
    Medina, Ohio
    I learned to do it myself- trial and error- especially back in the 70's. Nowadays there's tons of info on the internet on "how to". More so than the money, doing it yourself lets you get it exactly your way. It's not that difficult once you learn the basics.
  7. cods


    Sep 16, 2003
    can the techs at guitar center do preamp replacements?

    when i get my gt-7, i want the preamp replaced so i can have a three band e.q., and i don't really know of anyone else who could do it.
  8. HeavyDuty

    HeavyDuty Supporting Curmudgeon Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Jun 26, 2000
    Suburban Chicago, IL
    Moved to Setup...
  9. Go to the chain stores of guitars and a setup will cost you your entire bass... Literally. I wouldn't trust half the shmucks at samash with my basses.... they can't even get their own stocked basses a good setup to sound half good.:rolleyes:
    It's like expecting walmart to fix your TV... they sure as hell sell TV's there, but I'm sure they couldn't fix a thing on it if they tried.

    Im sure are techs at these stores that aren't bad AT ALL, but when you don't know who they are, I wouldn't trust them with a truss rod while you're not there standing over trheir shoulder watching them. I may just be paranoid, but hey, better safe than sorry is the way I look at it. I've done my own setups. And I plan to keep doing it until the day comes when I order myself a custom bass that I worked my ass off for, then I'll be willing to spend $50 on a 'properly' done setup. I dunno:D
  10. mike mcd

    mike mcd

    Dec 11, 2002
    At my local guitar center all repair work is subbed out to a reputable local luthier who does excellent work. Of course, I would recommend avoiding guitar center and going straight to the luthier yourself.
  11. Somebassguy


    Nov 5, 2003
    Everett Wa
    Learning to do your own setup is just as important as learning how to play. If you feel uncomfortable doing it, go to a pawn shop and spend that 50 bucks you would have spent on a setup and buy a hack bass instead and pratcice on that. You can also practice your soldering and anything else without fear of ruining it and end up saving a ton of money in the long run!
    Afc70 and Phil60 like this.
  12. pkr2


    Apr 28, 2000
    coastal N.C.
    Wise words!
  13. ebozzz

    ebozzz Supporting Member

    May 17, 2001
    Setups are kind of funny. They come very easy to some but others have to really work at it IMO. I also would not trust Guitar Center with my setups unless I had a lot of confidence in the tech who was going to do the work. In my area GC outsources a lot of their work to local luthiers. The luthier that I have used, Tenorio Werx, is one of them.

    I started off by attempting to do my own but I never could get it done to a level that I felt was acceptable. So, I took a few of my instruments in to Mark Tenorio. It cost me for those setups but in my mind it was well worth it.

    Why? I was able to get Mark to share a lot of information with me on the techniques that he uses to evaluate what an instrument needs and I wound up with the best setups that I'd had up to that point. Once I was able to get a feel for what I felt a good setup is, everything else just started to come to me lot easier.

    Now I do all of my own adjustments and I have no plans to change that unless I run into something that's beyond me. Even if that scenario occurs, I still plan to try to learn as much as I can so that hopefully I will be able to take care of any future issues that are related. Mark did a great job for me but I feel that I do a better job adjusting my instruments to my needs.

    I still keep in touch with Mark and occasionally pose questions to him about various maintenance concerns. He's pretty busy and it may take a few days before he get's back to me. He has always been willing to help and actually encourages me to take on a lot more of the responsibility of maintaining my basses. Yeah, I spent a little on the front end but I really feel that it's going to payoff for me long term.
  14. ChildoftheKorn


    May 21, 2003
    hmm sam ash near me i have these 2 guys there that are really experienced and i strike up a good converstaion onm usic while im there and ask them to do it and they dont see any problem with it....sure its probably becaus ethey pitty my sad gear but hey its a free adjustment lol
  15. bassmonkeee

    bassmonkeee Supporting Member

    Sep 13, 2000
    Decatur, GA
    Hold on a second there, folks...

    My guitar player works as a repair guy for the Marietta, GA Guitar Center, and he does an excellent job with setups, etc.

    Heck, he even built the three guitars he uses with our jazz band--one of them is a hollowbody archtop.

    He's done two fretjobs for me, and is currently replacing the bridge saddle on my 6 string acoustic bass guitar.

    Don't assume that just because someone is in a Guitar Center that a repairman doesn't know what he's doing. The least you can do is ask for a couple of referrals, or ask him his credentials. My guitar player, for example, has his certification and learned from the likes of Rick Turner. I think he can handle a setup.

    Sure, doing it yourself is better--if you are comfortable doing it. But, it doesn't hurt to pay for a couple and watch what they are doing.

    Why don't you simply talk to the repair guy at Guitar Center (or where ever) and ask, "How much for a setup, and what all does that entail for that price?"
  16. ArtisanLuthiers

    ArtisanLuthiers Commercial User

    Feb 21, 2019
    Kennesaw, Georgia, USA
    Artisan Luthiers is a guitar repair and maintenance shop in Kennesaw, GA
    To understand this you should think about why a setup is priced like it is. First there is the scope-of-work which is the list of tasks that will be done. Next is the vendors “cost of doing business”. Also consider your local cost of living, I.e., an item will cost multiples more in New York City than it would in a small mid/America town.

    A big-box store’s overhead and profit is a big chunk of the fee. The tech, let’s say doing it in an hour, with hourly wage benefits and payroll taxes is probably around $15-2O of the total price. There’s nothing magic about what they do so there’s no boost in value to you.

    An independent guitar shop can charge less, do a more comprehensive set of services and give more personalized service, but they still have hefty rent, insurance, inventory, etc. which drives their prices.

    An individual guitar tech has the lowest overhead and can do the same (or better) work than the near minimum wage tech at the big box store.

    Accordingly you could get a similar scope of work done with prices ranging from:

    Big Box store $65-90
    Small Guitar Shop $50-75
    Indy Guitar Tech $35-55
  17. fhm555

    fhm555 So FOS my eyes are brown Supporting Member

    Feb 16, 2011
    Learn to do your own setup. It’s the only real way to get exactly what you want. There are plenty of step by step guides available, i started by printing out the Fender bass setup guide and took it from there and have been doing it for a number of years now.
    ArtisanLuthiers likes this.
  18. ArtisanLuthiers

    ArtisanLuthiers Commercial User

    Feb 21, 2019
    Kennesaw, Georgia, USA
    Artisan Luthiers is a guitar repair and maintenance shop in Kennesaw, GA
    Definitely agree - if nothing else, you learn to setup your guitar/bass like you want it instead of the so-so generic setup by a big-box store. There is a lot to be said for learning your guitar, car, etc.
  19. Picton


    Aug 16, 2017
    Reading, MA

    Zombie thread by SIXTEEN YEARS. I wonder if the OP is still alive...
    Inara and JLS like this.
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    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

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