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San Francisco (East Bay) Setup Pro?

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by CaptainWally, Apr 18, 2001.

  1. Anyone know a good setup professional in Contra Costa,
    Berkeley, Oakland, Alameda, etc. that can professionally
    set up my bass?

  2. Blackbird

    Blackbird Moderator Supporting Member

    Mar 18, 2000
    I think the guys at Subway guitars in Berkeley can hook you up. Also, Collopy guitars in San Francisco is also pretty good. The only one I don't recommend is Gary Brawer. He does work on all of Satriani's equipment. I once left a bass there (My Bebensee, no less) and I was told there was a two week turnaround time. It irked me, but hey, The guy can't help it if he's good. At any rate, I come in two weeks later and the thing still isn't done, so he did it on the spot while I waited! It's a story I hear every now and again.

    Will C.:cool:
  3. winston

    winston Supporting Member

    May 2, 2000
    Berkeley, CA
    Have you tried calling Univibe in Berkeley? They're kind of expensive but they could probably steer you to a good tech. Guitar Works in El Cerrito might be worth a try, too.
    I wouldn't trust a prized instrument to Subway Guitars. They are a very interesting junk shop (think Sanford and Son with guitars/basses piled everywhere-there must be at least 400 instruments crammed into a 15'x20' space) but their crapsmanship...er..craftsmanship is pitifully horrible.
    Their specialty is creating affordable instruments out of good parts-they buy closeouts/seconds/castoffs from the likes of Warmoth and Fender and sort of spit-and-glue them together into unique Frankensteins of questionable reliability.

    I bought one of their SubRay basses--that night the wires to the input jack came unsoldered. I took off the control cover to fix it and saw a wiring job that must have been done by a blind, drunk monkey. Beautiful Bartolini pickups and preamp...kluged together with gobs of solder and miles of cheap wire. Not to mention the fact that the bridge was held on by four completely different wood screws, each screwed in at a different angle...And the gap between the pickguard and the control plate...and the mismatched tuners...and don't even get me started on the neck joint!

    It was a fabulous sounding, great-playing bass...with by far the worst workmanship I have found on any instrument-ever. $600 was way too much for a bass that started falling apart the night i bought it so I took it back. When I was returning it I heard FatDog telling someone that he makes basses that are equal to Sadowskys at 1/4 the price. I'd have to disagree. That's not to say you can't get a great deal on soulful instruments at Subway. It's definitely the best place in the Bay Area to shop for funky, used, quality gear since Black Market Music shut down...but watch out and ask to check out the innards before you buy. In short, Subway is not a place I'd recommend for a pro setup.
  4. Blackbird

    Blackbird Moderator Supporting Member

    Mar 18, 2000
    True, Winston. I never had any instruments serviced there and their bass creations look a little too hokey for me, I thought I'd put the name out there anyway.

    Black Market music had an interesting selection, but the staff had a real bad attitude sometimes.

    Will C.:cool:
  5. ERIC31


    Jul 1, 2002
    Maricopa, AZ
    It's been 5 years since this post.

    I have the same question about pro setup. I don't even trust the local shops (Music Unlimited, ABC music). I want it done right the first time.

    Anyone know the setup guru for the East Bay?
  6. I went to Gary Brawer or Brauer and yes he was busy but he did my bass in the same day. I just got lucky because he is in high demand. I guess when you're the best, everyone wants you hehe. Anyways, my experience was good. I was also willing to wait 2-3 weeks for him to do it because I wanted it done right and he also said I can bring it back in for more adjustment if I need it tweaked more. In fact, after playing my bass for a couple of days, I realized that I'm a hard plucker and I hit the strings so hard that I get fret buzz so I'll have to have him raise the action a little more because I requested the action to be very low.

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