Starting my own little setup business

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by Freaky Fender, Jan 2, 2004.

  1. Ok, I'm planning to start my own little setup business for some cash on the side. I've gotten the basics of truss rod ajustment, intonation, action and pickup height down, but I would like to know how to file a nut down, as well as any other things I would run into (My main instruments would be guitars and basses). Also, I was making a list of tools I need. If anyone can improve upon this, please post.

    Allen Wrench set (I got one for christmas, but it didn't fit my basses. If anyone has a good suggestion for one on instruments, please recommend.)
    Feeler Gauge
    string winder/cutter
    Tuner ( I can borrow my dad's korg for a while, that's really accurate)
    Guitar polish for polishing the finish and cleaning fretboards.
  2. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Staff Member Supporting Member

    For Allen wrenches, go to Home Depot or Lowe's and get the largest set you can get with both SAE and metric. Make sure that the SAE goes down to the .050 inch size, and the metric goes down to 1.27mm - These tiniest allen wrenches are necessary for some guitar and bass saddle screws, and are hard to come by, other than in the largest sets.

    I have a 13 piece SAE set, and had to look high and low to find one with the .050 inch, which I need for the bridge saddles on a couple of my basses. Finally found the right set at Home Depot, after trying a dozen so called tool shops. I should have bought the 25 piece that also had metric wrenches from 1.27mm - 10mm, but I was strapped for cash at the time.
  3. Jeff, how much did it cost you?
  4. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Staff Member Supporting Member

    The set I bought was around $10. I think that you can buy the big set with SAE and metric for around $15. Just make sure that it has the smallest wrenches.
  5. Check with STEW MAC.COM I'm sure they have all the tools in stock and even a "How To Do" dept!

    BTW, it's nice to see you back Freaky Fender, I missed ya!

  6. thanks treena.

    I think I'm a little over my head here guys, but I'll try to get through it. If you guys would reccomend a book, which would it be?
  7. alright, I'm ordering a DVD setup on bassics of setup for guitars and basses. I just need to find an affordable nut cutting set so I can still afford the allen wrench set. I'm working with 100 dollers here, unless anyone wants to donate to a good cause... ;)
  8. I've made several of my own tools from weird things I get from work. I can donate a nifty fret leveling tool I made that can be used on fingerboards too. Cost of postage.

    Anything to get someone else hooked on this stuff!:cool:
  9. Hambone, could you give some info on that fret leveling tool? Im dieing to learn how to level frets (have a jazz bass that is in desperate need of some fretwork.)

    A picture and description of parts as well as how it works would be awsome. Thanks in advance.
  10. Stu L.

    Stu L. Supporting Member

    Nov 27, 2001
    Corsicana, Texas
    IME, it was easy to get started on doing set ups. The hard part is winning a customers trust to let you do these things with their insturment. I used my Steve Harris P as my main showpiece, and have won many customers as a result of them playing it.

    If I remember correctly, Embellisher even complimented on how well it played at the Dallas GTG :) Razor likes it too, but he doesn't matter :p :D

    EDIT, I'm not claiming Embellisher or Razor as customers. Just using them as examples. :)
  11. Aaron


    Jun 2, 2001
    Bellingham, WA
    You'll probably need fingerboard radius gauges; plenty of pickup, bridge, and saddle screws; foam to put under pickups; spare sets of strings; and files.

  12. Oh yeah, I've already done my own setups on my basses, but the last time I ajusted the truss rod was a year ago
  13. Stu L.

    Stu L. Supporting Member

    Nov 27, 2001
    Corsicana, Texas
    But are they done to a point to where they "wow" potential customers? I'm sure you know, and I'm not trying to be insulting, but anyone can adjust a few things here and call it a set up. Take your time, and treat every job like it's your own insturment. That kind of TLC will get repeat customers.
  14. Well, I would think that most of my customers (if I have any) would be beginning musicians. And I think when I ask them "How much relief would you like", I'm going to have to explain relief...
  15. frederic b. hodshon

    frederic b. hodshon Supporting Member

    May 10, 2000
    Lake Forest, CA
    beyond the tools of the trade, you may want to also think about the business/accounting side too.

    i started a design business 9 years ago and suffered from extreme tax shock my first year filing as a sole proprietor.

    if you have a name for your biz, you need to file a DBA (doing business as) and run an ad in a local paper.

    with this, you can then start a business bank account.

    your federal ID number can be your social security number. i went ahead and got a fed id #...seemed more pro.

    remember to save 50% of you receipt amounts to pay your quarterly taxes.

    there's a lot more to think about.

    if anyone is interested in this stuff, feel free to contact me, or we can include this tangent as part of this thread.

    i've had many people over the years ask me about the nuts & bolts of starting and running a biz. they've all thanked me profusely years later.

    i love talking about it, so use me and learn from my nightmares!

    good luck.

  16. You're reading TOO much into this Fhodshon. Unfortunitly, I've lost my sarcasm meter, so I don't know if you are being serious. I'm just dealing with kids in my grade that have no one else to go with there setups.
  17. frederic b. hodshon

    frederic b. hodshon Supporting Member

    May 10, 2000
    Lake Forest, CA
    nah, i just read the first post.

    too lazy for the rest and missed whatever joke was a happenin'.

    oh well.

    thanks for waking me up.


  18. bizzaro


    Aug 21, 2000
    Their are no cheap fret files. It takes a lot longer, but you can file a nut with Drill bits of the appropriate size for the string slot. Then again this will only work on bone, micarta,and harder, quality nuts. I don't think it will work very well on plastic nuts that you will probably encounter, but maybe. I have also used fine sand paper wrapped around something,(like the shaft of a drill bit). It is much faster and only works on the larger slots. When I buy a bass if it has a plastic nut I replace it with bone so This works for me. But it is a lot of work as I said. Files are probably well worth the price, but man they are pricey. I recommend you get a hold of some junker basses and guitars,(garage sales etc) to mess around with. There is nothing like hands on experience.
    Good Luck
  19. well, I got 35 more dollers, so that makes me able to buy the nut files, the allen wrench set, and the double DVD set on guitar and bass setup!
  20. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Staff Member Supporting Member

    Wouldn't a Dremel work pretty good for filing nut slots?