Took my new guitar in for a setup. What’s your experience with luthiers vs DIY been?

$50 for a setup! What a dream. Here it was AU $135 plus strings (about $85 US…). Seemed to be the going rate around here after I did a couple of price checks.

This guy seems to know what he is doing, and @Eddie_09, same kind of thing happened where he played it like Jimi Hendrix, but casually as if doing nothing while inspecting it, and I hope my jaw didn’t drop too obviously from amazement.

@CT Somewhat of a similar thing with this guitar, further down the neck was fine after my adjustments but 1st and 2nd fret were a bit iffy.

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Usually i change my strings myself. Once i tried to change the string height on my pacifica, but that taught me a thing or two about intonation. Even so that i had to take it to a luthier to get it right again. This time, i have that same pacifica set aside for a makeover and overall learning project.

So i’m going to mess about with that one. But my other guitars, beside changing the strings, get handled by a luthier.

For instance, my Ibanez has grown some fretbuzz recently around the 7th fret. I’m absolutely not comfortable with fiddling with the truss rod, so it’s off to the luthier we go. I’ve made an appointment and she’ll be in the hands of a pro.


Initial and first set up after purchase, normally a few months after bedding, done by my local man. General running maintenance and adjustments then by me. Best purchase in recent years for changing strings was one of these :sunglasses:

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I’ve not but certainly considering it in a few months time for the acoustic. The electric I don’t feel needs it as I can’t say I’ve got any gripes with feel at all.

It’s only a consideration on the acoustic at the moment as it’s still bedding in and there’s an element of me getting back used to the difference in playing an acoustic again, but I’m thinking there’s little tweaks that could be made. Intrigued by many others comments here about the difference it can / does make, assuming you find the right person I suppose!

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I’d not touch setup on my acoustic. That was done by a luthier and improved playability noticeably.

On my Epiphone LP, I had a go at the basics ie relief, action (bridge adjustment), intonation. Subsequently also took it to the luthier, who said the set up wasn’t bad.

I too wouldn’t do anything invasive ie filing a nut-slot or bridge.

Seems like my luthier is high-value based on USD 50 and AUD 135. As I recall the set up was ZAR 600, new strings included.

Now I have the new PRS. I haven’t done any checking of relief and action, but do know a couple of strings need to be adjusted to improve intonation. I also haven’t changed the strings and feel a little nervous as it does have the PRS floating tremolo system.

Studied YT videos and seems as if one can just take all the strings off as per usual. So nothing different in that regard. But still feeling a little nervous. I shall probably post a question before I do anything, just to build confidence.

As for my luthier’s play grade, last time I visited he was learning a version of Steve Vai - For the Love of God (2021 Upscaled Version) - YouTube and was telling me about various challenges to play it and get the tone dialed in using his Kemper.

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A PLEK service is expensive but it does make absolutely sure that the neck is set up properly and the frets are mirror polished, the rest of the setup is usually very nicely done.
Watch this for a better idea:



Yeah it’s £150 in the UK. The guitar company I use tends to run promos every now and then on new guitars offering free plek service.


Who’s that? I’m in the UK also might be interesting as I’m likely next year to have to downsize and replace a few with one really nice one!

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Peach Guitars. It’s a great store, worth having a look at their website every now and then as every guitar over £300 is individually photographed to see if anything catches your eyes. They run events from time to time to in their saloon as well. This month they had an evening with Paul Reed Smith for charity.


My local guitar shop has a PLEK machine. Amazing in itself for a country region - probably only a handful of PLEK machines in Australia. A PLEK machine is a serious investment at around $AUS250K.
But these guys sell nationwide, and are pretty reputable, so they obviously deemed it a worthwhile investment.
These guys PLEK all their guitars, included, upon purchase. Cost for your own guitar is $AUS299, so roughly 3x the price of a basic setup. Thinking about getting my LP done.
I’ve seen theirs in operation. Absolutely amazing to watch, and from others who’ve had it done, worth every penny.
Now, who’s got my $300? :rofl::rofl::rofl:

Cheers, Shane


One thing I tell may patients, those who I treat for Parkinson’s disease, is that sometimes you don’t know how much better you can be if you don’t try to adjust the medication (there is more too it, of course, but this is a guitar analogy).

Largely, as @CT mentions, us beginners don’t know how much better the guitar could be.

We don’t yet have a feel for what the guitar should or could play like. So with any new or new to you used guitar, it is probably worth running it by a Luthier and see if anything should be tweaked.

I will do that with my new (used) acoustic soon, after I play with it more. It seems fine, but it will be worth the small fee to get it looked at.


Looks like an amazing place James! How can you stay out of there if it’s local?! :wink: :rofl:

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Oh no, I should have known, that I shouldn’t click on the link :see_no_evil: :heart_eyes:


Yes, you are correct sir! I did not triangulate for inflation and politicians that… (self edited – figure this part out on your own and if you have the ability to vote in your locale, please vote accordingly).

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What are you doing,…this is the direct incentive to buy guitars :thinking:,…Here you have put a G.A.S. warning in front… But (or because) it’s a really good site you pointed me to before):roll_eyes:


Mine was £50 including set up, action adjustment, change of strings, electrics check, clean & polish and a re-sanding of the back of the neck, which is now nice and smooth.

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James @Socio

Peach Guitars looks fantastic, would love to visit, only problem it is 280 mile from home.

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Here in the Uk I’ve sent both my Strat and a 61 Broadway Acoustic and it’s not cheap but I know that any issues are NOT THE GUITAR!!! :joy: :rofl: :joy:

The strat is much faster now, but it did cost roughly £100 (with strings). Love the lowered action on it and much more comfortable to play.

The 61 Broadway was bought at online auction and when I went to collect it the Body stayed on the Table and I’m standing there with the Neck in my Hand, so off it went to Robby Gladwell (ex Fender Rep and Master Luthier) and £250 later I’ve got a guitar that sounds tremendous. Everyone who plays it is in instant lust! LOL. Still, its a right sod to keep in tune (the strat never needs tuning) so watching concert documentaries from the 70’s I now understand why they keep stopping to tune or take so long to do it!

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I can imagine the shock and disappointment at this moment.

I’m happy with truss rod/action/intonation myself, but for fret levelling, I’ve used a tech. I also used a tech when I got a new neck for my strat (swapped maple for an Allparts rosewood one). He did a great job on the neck - beautiful rolled edges and a nice non-gloss finish on the back. I guess I’m now the proud owner of a partscaster.