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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've never owned an offset, and even though I spent months researching and reading, the one thing I didn't do was look up someone who knows how to setup offsets. PROPERLY.

I do not want to mention names. I will say however, that I am slightly embarrassed to admit that I've had two setups done on my JM and I wasn't entirely happy with either. As a newb, even I know that. Because now I know what is done during a setup and what to look for. I did not go back to shop # 1. I could have, but dude immediately announced my guitar had the wrong bridge on it (it doesn't) and I was kind of in shock that I knew something he didn't, LOL

After setup #1, I had to scramble home because the weather was turning foul and my son had to be picked up from school. But when I got home, I checked intonation and it was completely off. And something was wonky with my g string sounding dead. Not flat, just doesn't ring out like the other strings, no sustain, sounds dull, very much dead.

Setup # 2, got NEW strings put on, g string still sounds dead and dull, e and a strings still buzzing somewhat. Messaged dude on FB, he gave me a suggestion. It didn't help. I replied. He's not replying now. -_-

I got fed up and decided to carefully follow the guide on offset.guitars and do it myself.

I did a damn good job. But then, as usual, I kept tweaking and mucked things up again, so now tweaking again, but now I know roughly what to do!

I still think I want a Staytrem bridge, as the spacing is correct, as opposed to the Mustang bridge on this particular JM. I'm now starting to think there's something wrong with this particular saddle. But I digress.

Also, being female in this gig/hobby is tough and you can't come off knowing more than other people, because you know, you don't :rolleyes:

As I've since read on many sites (including this one) I'm shocked to see how few setups include HAVING YOU PLAY YOUR OWN GUITAR FIRST. You'd think that'd...be...I dunno.....standard? Isn't that common sense?

Do you have a FAILED setup story? Was it a shop you've only heard good things about? What did you do about it? Did you go back and raise hell or say eff it and go elsewhere? Or learn to do it yourself?

I know there's a lot of longtime players here, so I'm curious to hear your stories! :)
 

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I made the mistake of taking a guitar to a pretty well known Music store in Canada and was very unhappy with the "setup". Great idea to take it on yourself . Now you actually have something else to compare a "pro" setup to. It's not frikkin rocket science like some would have you believe. Just takes a bit of time and patience.
 

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I haven't taken an axe for a set up in years. There's so much you can do with a few inexpensive tools and a YouTube video. You need the right amount of caution/fearlessness. It also helps to establish an order of battle, ie., check the nut and saddle before committing to a neck reset.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I've seen a few people suggest one ought to file the slots on their nut of a Jazzmaster if you have heavier gauge strings.

I put 10s on mine. Not sure it's necessary...?

Yup, couple of screwdrivers...a straight edge....I may pop into an art store just to get something longer than an 8" ruler. Amazon has a string gauge "card" that looks like it'd be useful instead of trying to read mm off a ruler.
 

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I've been playing since age 13, 34 years. I can't remember ever having a "bad setup" story for a guitar. I've had some setups that I haven't been impressed with, such as nut slots not cut to my liking or action not as low as I had asked. Going back about 25 years I had Mike Spicer from Peghead set up my guitars then Seppo O. Valjakka owner of Frankenstein guitars until he moved to the Dominican Republic and since then I take all my guitars to Folkway who is my favorite of anyone I've ever had set up my guitars.
To the OP, I would highly recommend Folkway. Its worth the drive.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
guitarman2, I've read nothing but good things about Folkway and Mike Spicer :)

I'm learning to do this on my own, but now I know I have personal recommendations for several folks!
 
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My experiences with "luthiers" has not been great. I got to the point I would sell my guitar when it needed a fret dressing / refret and buy a new (used) fresh one. I need work done every 3-9 months on my main player. I think I am going to spend $500 on some tools so I can do the work myself. Fret and nut files, straight edges, radius sanding blocks, etc.
 

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guitarman2, I've read nothing but good things about Folkway and Mike Spicer :)

I'm learning to do this on my own, but now I know I have personal recommendations for several folks!
Like you I contemplated learning how to do advanced setups my self but so far haven't gotten around to it. I'd have to buy some inexpensive guitars to learn on. I have 3 main guitars that between them I've got about 16k in to. I'm very finicky about my setups so I definitely leave them up to the professionals. Although I'm looking at retirement in about 7 years so I wouldn't mind having a hobby for then and setting up guitars would fit nicely.
If there was a decent course for not too much money I'd definitely take it.
I just received a custom pickguard that I ordered for my Tele. I think I'll put that on my self.:D
 

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Learning how to set up a guitar is pretty easy.

A little practice and some common sense is all it takes.

You just have to learn how adjustment A affects B, adjustment B affects C, etc.

Dan Erlewine has some great books on this.
 

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Learning how to set up a guitar is pretty easy.

A little practice and some common sense is all it takes.

You just have to learn how adjustment A affects B, adjustment B affects C, etc.

Dan Erlewine has some great books on this.
What I'd like to learn is how to do a proper neck reset incase either one of my Martin authentics ever need it. Not something I'd ever try to self learn.
 

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I've had setups where details were overlooked. Not sure I'd call them FAILS but I did not feel I got my money's worth. Brad at Shyboy & Tex is my current favourite. Every guitar comes home beautifully set up.

I had a second hand bad experience with one of the places mentioned above. They worked on a Ric between my 1st and 2nd visits when buying. I didn't pay close attention on the 2nd visit, and when I got home I found the guitar was unplayable. The high E was going sideways right off the fret board. I couldn't believe they would let it leave the shop like that. I took the Ric elsewhere to be fixed. By many accounts, he is a top notch luthier, but I'll never use him now. YMMV.
 

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I started doing my own setups roughly a month after I started playing.

It was the first time I changed strings. Small town, no guitar shop, no reputable techs in the area. I was lucky, my family has a lot of tradesmen, and old school techniques, so tools and ideas were never hard to come by.

I’ve done so many setups at this point that I would never even consider leaving my guitars at a shop now; I can do everything they can, plus I can do it cheaper and I enjoy the process.

It’s really not rocket science, but I recommend learning on a hardtail first; save a floating trem for your second attempt.
 
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Welcome to the forum patski.
Sounds like you have a handle on the basics.
I do my own too. Youtube is a great resource. You can find guitar specific too.
I tell players that once you understand the concept, it's not too difficult to do your own.

Regarding your problem with the saddles. Could be loose saddle screws that are rattling?
Just don't try to fix it like this guy. lol.

 

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I bought a limited edition Epiphone Les Paul Silverburst back in 06 from a reputable, national retailer here in Canada. It played pretty good right out of the box, but could have been a bit better. They have "free set-ups" within the first year, so at about the 10 month mark, I thought, ya, OK, I'll get it "fixed". When I dropped it off, I told the guy what I was looking for, he assured me, "Don't worry, we'll set it to Gibson's specs". I left kinda wondering.... shouldn't it have been shipped with those??
2 weeks later I got the call, so I went to pick it up, and HATED IT! I asked the guy what he did?? He said, "Gibson specs!" I said "it plays worse now than when I dropped it off". He replied, "But that is spec". When I said "Put it back" he told me "any alterations now would not be included in the original price, and set-ups start at $95! I'd like to think I showed restraint and didn't tell him what he could do with his set-up, but that was 12yrs ago, so I'm not sure I did.

What I did do, was drive straight from Toronto to Guelph, and dropped it off at Folkway music (which is now located in Waterloo). On the phone, Mark wasn't sure if they could actually do anything, but once I opened the case, he shook his head and said, "Give me a week".

It still plays like a dream!

Folkway are the only techs to touch my guitars!
 

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I can adjust my own action, intonation and truss rod. I don't have the desire to do anything else myself.

I have the worst luck with pickup swaps though.
 

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I never realized there was something called an offset guitar! Turns out I own a couple! Cool! Regarding luthiers, set ups etc...I've definitely had work done that made me think "that was a waste of money" - However, these days here in Kelowna BC we have the luthier Gary Norris - once Gary has waved his hands over your instrument it just sings like never before! I notice Gary usually carves a new bone nut when he does a set up - to me this makes a world of difference. Not everyone agrees. There is also a luthier named Ted Thompson in our area - Ted has the same magic hands as Gary. As I'm not adept in the fine art of guitar set ups, I rely on these kind of artists to keep the instrument in perfect playing shape. Once you find a good one, keep them!
As drummer Neil Peart says in one of his drum videos, miking drums is an art unto itself - he leaves that to the techs and just concentrates on playing the instrument! Kind of my personal approach to playing the guitar .... that said, kudo's to all the players that can do set-up work too.
 
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I wasn't aware that a setup on an offset was any different than a setup on any other guitar.
The trem throws most folks off; people don't realise there's a trem lock there for example or how to adjust the spring. Aside from that, one reputable setup guide is as good as another, and the one on offsetguiotars is a good one if memory serves.

As for me, took a vintage 79 Gibson RD Artist bass in for a refret. Dude said it would be done in a week. The day it's supposed to be done he calls me to ask if it's OK to break the nut cuz he can't get it out. I say sure just replace it. He says that'll be $30. I refuse that on principle; already a $200 job, late, and they're gonna charge me full rate of a stand alone nut job cuz he doesn't know what he's doing (shoulda been a red flag, but back in the day and I didn't know better). The call ends. He calls me back a few minutes later that me managed it.

A few days later I pick it up. He hands it to me across the counter and all looks good. Take it home and realise how he got the nut out. On the bottom (treble) side he pried under the nut with a screwdriver to pop it off, gouging/compressing the wood on the most expensive instrument I had ever owned up to that point, and a vintage out of prod one too (like, didn't the idjit ever hear of using a red robbie and a hammer to tap it out from the side?). That's why he handed to to me so careful like that, with the damage facing him not me. I had already took it home so couldn't complain cuz I knew that mofo would just say I did it after leaving the shop. I did go back to call him a piece of shit to his face tho.
 
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