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View Full Version : Setup cost / dealbreaker line



mikelz777
05-31-2012, 07:27 PM
I'm in need of a setup and was wondering what I would typically pay to have the action lowered and the intonation checked. Mine is a starter uke (Lanikai LU21-C) and I spent a total of $107.00 for the uke, hard case and tuner so I didn't want to spend a whole lot on a setup if the cost was as much as the uke itself. What would you consider the "dealbreaker" line you'd no longer pay to have a uke at this price point set up? (Or in other words, what's the most you'd spend on a setup for a uke at this price point?)

TCK
05-31-2012, 08:04 PM
Uke at that price point is still your player. I got my first one done while I watched for $20...and I watched intently. And learned (with a good deals of fiddling around and research)to do them myself. Ought not cost too michand if you like playing the uke, set up will only improve it which in my estimation makes it priceless, but also a grea toting to learn to do for the future

bazmaz
05-31-2012, 08:13 PM
I know stores who, of buying a new uke, will do it for nothing. If you already own the uke, I'd say a few dollars. Perhaps free if you buy a few packs of strings and ask them to put a set on!

vanflynn
06-01-2012, 03:16 AM
Hi Mike, Call around to local music stores. I got one done for $15 and have done the rest myself. Luckly the frets were OK so I just needed to lower the strings. Lots of "how to" on the web.

stevepetergal
06-01-2012, 03:36 AM
Around here (Chicago) it's between 50 and 75 bucks. I consider it worthwhile if it improves the instrument. But, you have to figure out if it's worth it for you.

PoiDog
06-01-2012, 04:21 AM
Like Steve, when I called local places for setups they quoted anywhere from about $50 - $75 and up, depending on what needed to be done. A simple nut filing is cheap, but getting that, along with saddle filing (and possible compensation), fret dressing, and other things suddenly geeks up the cost.

But basically, it shouldn't matter what I or any of us think is the "break point" on this. It's your uke and your money. It really only matters what you are comfortable and willing to pay, not us.

mikelz777
06-01-2012, 06:10 AM
But basically, it shouldn't matter what I or any of us think is the "break point" on this. It's your uke and your money. It really only matters what you are comfortable and willing to pay, not us.

I understand that it's my uke and my money but my request is seeking out a kind of communal experience thing. If a bunch of people said that they wouldn't pay a cent over $30 to get the action lowered and I pay $40, then I'm going to feel less happy about my situation. If they say they wouldn't pay more than $30 and I pay $20, then I'm going to feel pretty happy about my experience. It's a relatively cheap uke and I don't want to spend a huge percentage of it's cost though I know it's somewhat irrelevent when the cost is amortized over time taking into account the additional pleasure it will be to play it but still, a cost of $50 - $75 quoted above would almost be doubling the cost of the uke.

Now that the stores are open, I called a local guitar store but I didn't say that I wanted a setup. I indicated that I wanted to lower the action on my uke and he said that it was probably a $20.00 job. I'll bite for that price and he said the turn around would probably only be one day. I've never checked the intonation against a tuner but I've been happy with the sound and I'm guessing that by placing the action-lowering into capable hands that the intonation will be as good if not even better than it is now. Plus, in a small way, I'm supporting a local business rather than a big chain store. I'll have to check the intonation now and then again after I have the action lowered to see if there's much of a difference but in any event, me and my left hand are looking forward to a uke that easier to play!

stevepetergal
06-01-2012, 06:42 AM
I understand that it's my uke and my money but my request is seeking out a kind of communal experience thing. If a bunch of people said that they wouldn't pay a cent over $30 to get the action lowered and I pay $40, then I'm going to feel less happy about my situation. If they say they wouldn't pay more than $30 and I pay $20, then I'm going to feel pretty happy about my experience. It's a relatively cheap uke and I don't want to spend a huge percentage of it's cost though I know it's somewhat irrelevent when the cost is amortized over time taking into account the additional pleasure it will be to play it but still, a cost of $50 - $75 quoted above would almost be doubling the cost of the uke.

Now that the stores are open, I called a local guitar store but I didn't say that I wanted a setup. I indicated that I wanted to lower the action on my uke and he said that it was probably a $20.00 job. I'll bite for that price and he said the turn around would probably only be one day. I've never checked the intonation against a tuner but I've been happy with the sound and I'm guessing that by placing the action-lowering into capable hands that the intonation will be as good if not even better than it is now. Plus, in a small way, I'm supporting a local business rather than a big chain store. I'll have to check the intonation now and then again after I have the action lowered to see if there's much of a difference but in any event, me and my left hand are looking forward to a uke that easier to play!

I'm glad you reframed your question.

I have spent 55 dollars or so on set-up a number of times. It has been worth it to me every time. At least around here, I don't know how a luthier could afford to do that job for 20 and stay in business. If you believe your person can do the work you need, address the details that you bring up, and has the expertise to advise you, 20 dollars is great. If set-up is 50 though, in my opinion it's worth it even on a 107 dollar ukulele, if it makes you happier with your instrument.

PoiDog
06-01-2012, 07:09 AM
I understand that it's my uke and my money but my request is seeking out a kind of communal experience thing. If a bunch of people said that they wouldn't pay a cent over $30 to get the action lowered and I pay $40, then I'm going to feel less happy about my situation.

I guess I just don't understand this. My own feeling is that it shouldn't matter whether everyone else on the board unanimously says that anything above $50 is too much so long as you are okay with it.

I suppose it would be different if you were asking whether the setup cost was fair or not (like, if you went to a shop and the guy was asking $100 to do a setup where other places cost $50), and if that was really what you wanted to know, then I apologize for not getting it. But really, if you were just trying to find out what the upper limit anyone else would spend on a similarly priced uke in order to reach your decision, I'm still a bit confused.

Anyway, I'm glad you found someone who will lower the action for $20!

franklin.habit
06-01-2012, 07:15 AM
I was just wondering about this myself. Good to have an answer without even asking.

The place my uke came from doesn't do set-ups, as it happens. That being the case, do guitar shops or luthiers have an issue with working on an instrument bought elsewhere?

(If that seems like an odd question, in my own field it is *very* touchy to approach a shop owner for assistance with a product you didn't buy in that shop, even if you're offering to pay for the assistance. It can get very ugly, in fact. I'm making enough noob blunders as it is, and I'm hoping to avoid at least a few.)

guitarsnrotts
06-01-2012, 08:20 AM
I've found that most places that do setups don't care where you bought it. I paid $60 for a setup on a $1K+ Martin guitar. The shop didn't care where I bought it. They made their money. Now this place was a repair shop not a guitar retailer.
For a setup, I do balance the cost of the setup vs the cost of the instrument. For my ukes, most costing less than $250, I've opted to go the do-it-yourself route with help from youtube. So far so good.

haolejohn
06-01-2012, 08:24 AM
I've never set up any of my cheap ukes. To me the cost isn't worth it. Then again i've never set up my koaloha or my meles either. I guess this us the advantage of buying from uke companies that deal with ukes. Even my factory second mainland are pretty decent for their purpose

mikelz777
06-01-2012, 08:33 AM
I was just wondering about this myself. Good to have an answer without even asking.

The place my uke came from doesn't do set-ups, as it happens. That being the case, do guitar shops or luthiers have an issue with working on an instrument bought elsewhere?

(If that seems like an odd question, in my own field it is *very* touchy to approach a shop owner for assistance with a product you didn't buy in that shop, even if you're offering to pay for the assistance. It can get very ugly, in fact. I'm making enough noob blunders as it is, and I'm hoping to avoid at least a few.)

I just got back from the guitar store and they didn't even bat an eye. They didn't care that I didn't buy the uke there. If the guitar store advertises that they do repairs, etc. then it should be open doors to anyone. You shouldn't have to worry about it.

For the poster above, as far as getting the setup or action lowered on a cheap uke, I really needed it. I was OK with the way it sounded but the action was really stiff up on that first fret. (I might have tried to do it on my own if adjusting the bridge height would solve my issue but most of the work is at the nut end and I'm not equipped for that.) Sometimes my left hand thumb would get sore from having to press so hard on the back of the neck to make proper chords and barres. I've played a guitar that has low action and it is so much easier to play. I don't want to have to work so hard at it and my left hand, finger tips and wrist will all thank me.

mikelz777
06-01-2012, 09:18 AM
I guess I just don't understand this. My own feeling is that it shouldn't matter whether everyone else on the board unanimously says that anything above $50 is too much so long as you are okay with it.


Call it my little psychological crutch. :) I'm going to spend what I need to spend and I'll be OK with it but it can be a good, bad or neutral OK. It's probably an insecurity of mine but what I do in light of what others would do in my same situation has a bearing on how I'm going to end up feeling about it. For example, I really wanted a certain box set by jazz pianist Bill Evans. The going price for the box set online was around $80.00. I considered it but was reluctant to buy it at that price. If I did buy it at that price, I would be OK with it by virtue of springing for it at that price but it would have been a "bad OK". In talking about it with several people on a jazz chat board, several people purchased the set ranging from $60 to $75. If I bought it at this price, I would have been OK with it but it would have been a "neutral OK" because I would be doing about the same as many others out there. I waited it out for a while longer and ended up getting it new one on a one time only deal for $27!! In this case, it was a "good OK", ecstatic actually, because no one got it for that price. I don't know why I unnecessesarily torture myself in this way but so it is. I guess like many people, I want to feel good about what I end up doing. :D

Dan Uke
06-01-2012, 11:01 AM
Call it my little psychological crutch. :) I'm going to spend what I need to spend and I'll be OK with it but it can be a good, bad or neutral OK. It's probably an insecurity of mine but what I do in light of what others would do in my same situation has a bearing on how I'm going to end up feeling about it. For example, I really wanted a certain box set by jazz pianist Bill Evans. The going price for the box set online was around $80.00. I considered it but was reluctant to buy it at that price. If I did buy it at that price, I would be OK with it by virtue of springing for it at that price but it would have been a "bad OK". In talking about it with several people on a jazz chat board, several people purchased the set ranging from $60 to $75. If I bought it at this price, I would have been OK with it but it would have been a "neutral OK" because I would be doing about the same as many others out there. I waited it out for a while longer and ended up getting it new one on a one time only deal for $27!! In this case, it was a "good OK", ecstatic actually, because no one got it for that price. I don't know why I unnecessesarily torture myself in this way but so it is. I guess like many people, I want to feel good about what I end up doing. :D

You don't have to explain yourself as long as you are happy with what you get. Sometimes I'm more into getting a deal than the actual item I'm buying. If your like this, don't check out fatwallet.com or slickdeals.net!!