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Professional setup, worth $100?

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by Robin UK, Sep 16, 2008.

  1. Robin UK

    Robin UK

    Feb 1, 2007
    I've just bought a new set of slightly higher gauge strings for my schack unique 4 basic, and was thinking of getting the bass setup by my local luthier (as in the best shop with a workship within 2 hours driving), becuase i'm not certain of the condition of the neck (might be going abit skewed), and i'm not very experienced with setting up basses. However i just phoned them up, and they quoted me £47 (in the UK, so i guess around $100). I was abit shocked by this. Is it alot? Should i just do some research or experiment with the bass myself? or am i just being a tight ass?
  2. RustyAxe


    Jul 8, 2008
    That would be an expensive setup in my area. Half of that would be the norm. But it depends on what needs to be done. For example, a good setup includes new strings (usually). The truss rod is tweaked to get proper relief, the neck might be shimmed (if bolt on) to get a better neck angle. The saddle(s) may be raised or lowered. The pickups raised or lowered. The frets need to be checked for level. And electronics may be checked out, too.

    I had all that (except new strings) done to my acoustic/electric Thunderchief bass, by a well known local luthier, and it cost me $46 USD.
  3. in short, no
  4. greencow


    Feb 7, 2008
    Not where I live.
  5. JaneBass1


    Jul 23, 2008
    $100 for a setup...depends on what they do

    Usually for what I had paid is:
    - $10 to $20, to check the neck relief, string height, intonation, pickup height, clean bass surface
    - $40 to mess up with the nut
    - More than $40 for other work, like working with the frets or electronics

    I have been learning to setup my bass for some time, as I am done with paying the $20 to the shop.

    I think the easiest is the intonation, string height and pickup height.

    For the neck, you should buy a micrometer, I think thats what is called, and measure the some distances between the fretboard and the string.

    I think how they explained to me was, on the E string touch the 1st fret and the last fret. With a micrometer measure the distance on the 7fret of the string and the fretboard. It has to be .010 to .014 inches.

    Check videos on how to move the truss rod with a hex key. They call it sight the neck, but I was never able to sight it. I am more a mathematical person.

    I think the micrometer way is the best way.
  6. +1 on everyone doing their own basic setup.

    For setting relief, a micrometer is hard to use on a fretboard, especially while trying to hold the bass and strings. Go to an auto supply store and get a set of feeler guages. Costs around $6. No adjustments - you just pick the right guage you want and slide it (a piece of metal) between the strings and fret.
  7. Robin UK

    Robin UK

    Feb 1, 2007
    Hmm, i'm slightly worried about doing a full set-up myself as i need this bass for my main bass for my year at uni starting in just over a week. I will try and do my own set-ups after this one though. Does anyone from the UK know how much they pay? and if they know anywhere in the South that is cheaper?

  8. LarryO


    Apr 4, 2004
    Just my opinion...............playing bass and not knowing how to make common adjustments (neck relief, saddle height, pickup height...etc) is like owning a car and not knowing how to change a tire........you don't always have to do it yourself but you definately should know how to do it
  9. Robin UK

    Robin UK

    Feb 1, 2007
    I can change the tyre, just like i can change my strings, and i vaguely know how to adjust my tracking and balance, but i wouldn't do it without the tools and guidance, equally so with my bass, i don't really know how to sort out my neck further than abit of truss rod and moving th saddles on the bridge for intonation, but i don't know how to adjust the nut or anything like that.

    maybe i should read up on it more, and get the appropriate tools, but i don't think now is the time.
  10. Fretlessboy


    Nov 29, 2007
    St Augustine Florida
    Endorsing artist GENZ BENZ/HERCULES STANDS/XSonics
    do NOT be scared of it. Most charge for a setup... so if it is really whack after you try to fix it at least you tried.

    TRUSS ROD fret the first fret with your left hand, fret you last fret with the pinky of your right hand... how much room is there between the string and frets? It should be minimal (almost none). I like a neck close to dead flat. Adjust an 1/8 of a turn at a time so you know how far to back off if you went too far.

    BRIDGE on a 5 adjust you "A" string to where it feels good...the mdjust the rest to feel the same.

    NUT unless you are playing a Warwick with a "just-a-nut" let some one with experiene do that.

    Pickups... is passive, raise them till they interfear with the string vibration then lower them till it stops.
    There you have it, set up in the nutshell. Hope it helped

    $100 is not unreasonable for a quality setup... esecially if the setup is being done for the way you play.
  11. Given the information avaialble on the Internet and the simple tools required, I think it's in each player's best interest to learn how to do their own basic setup. If you encounter problems that this doesn't resolve, I'd go to a pro.
  12. Yet, if there's any oddity about the neck, I'd go to a luthier. $100 for a setup WITH NEW STRINGS isnt bad. Around here its typically $40-50 + strings. I have gone over $100with some fret work, on a vintage Peavey T40, so I was glad a pro did it. He had the action just about a C hair off the frets. Just to show how good he was! I left it ridiculously low since its my home pracxtice 4 string, light touch stuff. For live work I need more room.

    I'd like to do my own fretwork on a backup bass which has issues just past the 12th fret. Trouble is Mark, the luthier, can eyeball the issues, where I havent a clue.

    Like a car, you have to know when to hire a pro.

    Tell you what, for L48, can you watch ? I hadn't asked to, but asked a bunch of questions which he was glad to share. Between that, a good tuner, and this site amongst other websources, I can do a decent setup at home.

    Till then, you might want to get a good reference standard like I did!
  13. Jim Carr

    Jim Carr Dr. Jim Gold Supporting Member

    Jan 21, 2006
    Denton, TX or Kailua, HI
    fEARful Kool-Aid dispensing liberal academic card-carrying union member Musicians Local 72-147
    I hate to say this, but I learned to do set-ups by several years of trial and error.
    That said, the right tools and a little guidance go a very long way.

    On at least one occasion that springs to mind, I've been unhappy with the results of a professional set-up. What? Yes.

    Matters of taste and individual needs come into play here. Learning how to do it yourself means that you can discover and (perhaps) achieve what you want. All IMHO.

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