If I go to a luthier are they going to yell at me?

I tell him what i need/want to be done to my guitar.
With my first guitar, i explained that i screwed the intonation up. Next he suggested a setup.
That includes action adjustment (it’s somewhat different for every guitar, so we went over the height together and saw what worked,.), next up was a string change to the ones i liked, and if needed, a cleanup.
I left the guitar there and a few days later it was ready for pickup. The difference was very noticeable.
You can ask him/her about tone too. Do you like the pickups in your guitar or not? If not, talk about it. Tell him what sort of sound your trying to get. Do you like crisp tones or does it need to have more bass? Or something in the middle?
A good luthier will take his time to listen to you and ask you questions about what you want.
It all comes down to what you want and what 's possible.

I hope this helps a bit.

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if you re a a beginner just say : set ip up for the best for a beginner


Other than having the strap buttom added to your guitar what do you feel you’re missing. Larrivee are very well made guitars and easy to play.
If you have no fret buzz and your guitar is still easy to play you may not need a set up.
If you are having any problems with your guitar just tell him. If your not having any issues just ask him to have a look at it at to see if it’s still set to factory spec.
Think of the tech as a guitar doctor he’ll check your guitar and will either make it better or give it a clean bill of health.

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I’ve just set my Tanglewood up again after a few years of playing. I did have a word with myself considering how low I’d set the action, but it was great for fingerstyle … Just bloody awful for chord work. So … It’s now set to the happy medium where fingerstyle is sweet, but I can give it a good thumping without it rattling it’s hardware off.

No luthier / tech worth their salt is going to berate you for not getting your guitar set until your first visit to them … Unless you’re as self critical as I am :grin:

As already mentioned … Speak to them about your style of play, how you want it to play for you… And any decent tech will take it from there.

Thanks again, you folks are giving me lots of things to google and then think about. I am not having any notable issues with the guitar as is–or at least not any problems I am confident blaming on the guitar rather than my playing. I suspect @stitch is right and this guitar is just easy to play. And that’s probably what’s let me get away with avoiding a setup for 16 years.

I didn’t even know you set the action differently for fingerstyle and chordwork, @Wishbone71, so thanks for teaching me something new. And @GrytPipe I have never even thought about what kind of sound I am going for. I have always thought about the sound my guitar produced as just related to technique, which now I come to say that straight out, is pretty dumb. I really have a lot to consider.

One of the things I really appreciate about this community is the way people break things down to help me understand. And another thing is that you are so friendly and supportive. Thanks for demystifying this process for me! I have been playing on and off for decades but it’s only since I started in with this group that I feel like I’m really learning and progressing.


Let me push back on this idea. For 90% of players, both chord strumming and fingerstyle are played on the same guitar with the same action. There is no need for you to set your action according to whether you are strumming or fingerpicking, not at this stage of your playing (and likely not at any stage). Advanced players may well have different guitars for fingerstyle playing and strumming, but it doesn’t sound like you are anywhere near this stage. (If you were, you would know :slight_smile:

@GrytPipe here was talking about the sound of your guitar when amplified and possibly discussing with the luthier a change of pick-ups. This goes beyond what one would normally consider a “set up”. You said your guitar sounds good to you, so this is not an issue (also, not sure if your guitar even has a pickup).

This is oversimplifying (but only slightly): for an acoustic guitar, a set-up is for adjusting the action and putting on new strings.


No one is gonna yell at you and if they do turn around and leave. A set up is when the check the nut to see if it’s slotted correctly, check the sting height at the nut and 12th fret, check neck relief, check intonation neck relief. If it’s an acoustic they will look at the bracing inside check the bridge pins and bridge clean it up, polish the frets, put on new strings. If it’s electric they will also clean the pots and check out all electronics and adjust pickup height. You may need extra work in some cases like a fret level and dress or worn out parts replaced. It’s a good idea because after a proper set up it makes the guitar easier to play.

That’s really helpful to know what to expect, thank you. I got a name for someone my friend uses for his setups and I am going to call for an appointment on my next day off.

Thanks for all the great advice, everyone! This seems like it was scarier in my head than it will be in real life.


Never forget, the luthier is your friend in your journey into music. (and besides, you pay for services). :slight_smile:


Let us know how it works out for you. I like to hear how things work out.

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