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View Full Version : Differences in setup prices set by techs



kissing
01-05-2011, 10:58 PM
So I wanted to get my 8-string baritone strat uke setup.

I go to the music store that's on the way to work, and they quote me ... $190 for the setup >_< Which is like.. almost what I paid for the uke itself.

I go to another music store, and they say it'll cost me $80.

I didn't really ask the first store what and why it's so expensive (I kinda got shocked at the price and left the store), but what could they possibly do which would be worth so much?

Is this kind of big price gap normal amongst professionals who set up instruments?

mm stan
01-05-2011, 11:23 PM
My guess is that a you get what you pay for....more or less...
A professional guy will do a full set up rather than address issues...me thinks..

Ronnie Aloha
01-06-2011, 05:25 AM
The standard rate in my area seems to be $50 plus the cost of strings.

SweetWaterBlue
01-06-2011, 08:23 AM
I think I am in the wrong business.

SailingUke
01-06-2011, 09:48 AM
The standard rate in my area seems to be $50 plus the cost of strings.

I agree $80 is a lot and $190 is ridiculous (IMHO).
Most techs get $40 for a guitar, a ukulele should be easier since there is no neck adjustment. (truss rod)
At those prices you can go buy a cheap ukulele and practice your own set-up, then do your good ukulele.
I prefer doing my own set-up unless I have a real issue with frets or intonation.

fitncrafty
01-06-2011, 10:31 AM
Wow.. that seems high.. I am not sure where you live either. However, I took my sons electric guitar in to the shop for a 'tune-up' they put on new strings, adjust the neck and intonation and it cost me $40. It sounded SO incredible you wouldn't believe it was a fairly cheep guitar! They only charge more if they have to do major adjusting or anything...
Good luck I hope you get it situated...

MGM
01-06-2011, 11:11 AM
even if you fret dressed 100% every fret end and adjusted nut and saddle it couldnt take more than an hour...being real generous on time... 180.00 I"d walk out the door

jerickson
01-06-2011, 12:24 PM
Kissing,

Curious, and off-topic....Who makes the uke in your picture that looks a lot like a Fender Strat? Looks like something I may need to check out!!!

On-topic, The most expensive set-up I ever paid for was $90, but it was for a complete set-up on a 6-string bass. I was changing brands and string guages, so there needed to be more than usual nut and bridge set-up. I have a feeling the guy just didn't want to bother!


Jon

ukeeku
01-06-2011, 12:28 PM
I have my ukes, and guitars when I use to play them :P, setup by a master Martin guitar Tech (Which mean Matin trusts him to repair $10,000+ guitars)/Taylor certified guy that only charges $50 for a setup. I think the first guy just did not want to do it and threw a crazy price.
I would punch him in the nose, jus sayin'

OldePhart
01-06-2011, 02:09 PM
$190 for a uke setup is excessive, period. A friend of mine recently had a fret done on his strat - the guy replaced all of them because he couldn't exactly match the frets that were on it - and it cost him less than $100. The work was superb, too. I think I may have finally found someone in the area who I can trust with my guitars.

$80 is probably high even for an 8-string, but I could probably bring myself to pay it if I knew the person was going to do a bang-up job. I can do my own setups but I don't enjoy it and it takes a lot longer for me than it does for the pros. At some point I have to ask, "what is my time worth," and a thorough 8-string setup might take me three or four hours depending on how much work is needed.

John

experimentjon
01-06-2011, 02:15 PM
$190 is ridiculous.

I believe one of the reputable local music stores here in HI charges only $35 for a uke setup, which I think is about fair. At the same time, I took my Taylor 812 in there to get serviced and he did a terrible job on the action that I got buzz. So now my guitar has a shim under the saddle. Was sort of irked since I paid $50 for that rubbish job plus the cost of strings. Really, I could have done a better job myself, and have been doing my setups myself ever since. So in a way, you do get what you pay for.

But at the same time, $190 is way too much. I am a fan of DIY, and I like to get my hands dirty and tinker with my own instruments. The exception is where I might need fancy tools and experience like a full refret or neck reset...although I have reglued a guitar neck myself with some red Titebond and clamps. Hehe. It depends on the cost of the instrument too. Clearly, a $190 setup for a $200 uke is not worth it.

pdxuke
01-06-2011, 05:28 PM
Which is one reason I'd really like to learn to set up a uke--what MGM said--fret polish, adjust nut and saddle. Anybody know of a DVD or class that teaches these skills? It would just be fun to learn to do.

Bradford
01-06-2011, 05:42 PM
In two months I'm going to be a vendor at the Gorge Uke fest. If anyone wants to drop by I'll gladly show you how I set up a uke and answer any other questions on lutherie you may have.

Brad

Ukuleleblues
01-06-2011, 05:45 PM
Here's what I'd do, if you are married and have the money. Tell your wife it's $180, and if you buy some nut files you can save $100-$140 (you can find them for $40-$80). Do the work yourself and spend $75 on something else (case, strings, tuner, etc) and take her out to dinner with the rest. Eveybody is happy and you have the nut files for the next uke.

BTW, Around here it's $35-$45 for a setup with strings is the norm.

pdxuke
01-06-2011, 05:53 PM
In two months I'm going to be a vendor at the Gorge Uke fest. If anyone wants to drop by I'll gladly show you how I set up a uke and answer any other questions on lutherie you may have.

Brad


Ach! I missed the deadline for registering--sold out. Can anyone get in to see vendors, or do I need registration?

Bradford
01-06-2011, 06:44 PM
As far as I know the vendor area should be open to the public. Come anyway and hang out, there will be a lot going on.

Brad

kissing
01-08-2011, 12:52 AM
Thanks for all the replies!

Yeah, I used to think the store that charged $80 was a lot... but the other one really is ridiculous.
I still remember the who quoted me saying at the end "... but it'll play sweeeet" -_-

This is Australia though - maybe things like instrument setups cost a bit more than in USA? As many things music-related here do tend to cost more :(
I ended up taking it to the store charging me $80 for the setup. Didn't have much of a choice, and I had a setup done by them before and was happy with the results.
They're not my regular music store of choice though - the other store I used to goto a lot (and they gave me cheap setups) is unfortunately 3 hours away because I moved after graduating from Uni.


Who makes the uke in your picture that looks a lot like a Fender Strat? Looks like something I may need to check out!!!
That's the uke I'm getting set up lol!
It's an 8-string electric strat "uke". I have mine tuned in DGBE with the D and G octaved, B and E in unison.
Sounds pretty good through my Microcube, though the action was high and killing my fingers (hence why I'm getting the setup).
I ran into it coincidently on eBay by a seller called 'knownknight'. When I saw it, I just had to get it.

It's a steel string electric with 3 single coil pickups. Fairly well made, though the setup it comes in kills the fingers (compared to my other steel string ukes).