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Guitar Set-Up & Maintenance Course


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Enroll now. Early registration discount is subject to expiration.  Class size is limited.


Learning the elusive craft of setting up a stringed instrument for optimal tone and playability will reward every musician with a greater understanding and appreciation of their instrument.

This course will cover setting up any string instrument —acoustic or electric!

Perfect for a beginner. No experience necessary.

Take this class before you buy your next instrument and I promise that the class will pay for itself!

Whether or not you decide to perform your own maintenance in the future, taking this course will enable you to deal confidently with the local luthier and to have the best interests of your instrument in mind.

Students are encouraged to bring as many stringed instruments as they like for both instructive demonstration and hands on bench time.

This course is a part of our Guitar Technician Program and our  Electric Guitar Making Course.

Students who complete this course may schedule hands-on time in  Open Workshop.

  • Fee

    Course fee includes instruction, reference guide, use of a workbench and all shop supplies necessary for course work.

  • Terms

    Please note that all registrations are final and non-refundable.

    In the event that a student cannot attend a class, written notice must be given in advance to receive a credit to be used on another tuition. Valid credit may be transferred to another course date, or to another student, if so desired.

  • Classroom

    Class size is limited to 8 students.

    Course is taught in a professional guitar service shop equipped with 8 individual workbenches stocked with specialized tools necessary for the course work.

  • Schedules

    Courses are offered with a varying number of completion hours.

    Longer courses offer more hands-on time with guidance from the instructor.

    Shorter courses are perfect for those who prefer to work on their own at home.

  • Materials

    Students are encouraged to bring as many instruments to class as they can for class demonstration and hands on work on in this course.

  • Workshop Saftey

    While we make every effort to keep the CSGM workshop clean it can be dusty and at times noisy. We recommend hearing, respiratory, and eye protection be used when working in the shop. We have this safety equipment available for use or purchase when in class and it is the students responsibility to exercise diligent use of these safety measures.

  • Parking

    Parking is free on the street directly in front of and in clear view of our building and space. 

  • Instructors

    Ian Schneller read bio

  • Location

    1240 N. Homan Ave. in Chicago, Illinois 60651   Map

  • Registration

    Register online, in person, or by phone: 773.489.483 . Cash, credit card or a personal check are accepted. Registrations are final and non-refundable. Payment credit is transferable.


Course Description

This course offers the student a solid foundation upon which to commence their luthiery studies, with lectures, demonstrations and hands-on work.

Lectures explain the fundamental mechanical operation of the guitar and all other stringed instruments.

Demonstrations teach set-up techniques and fundamental shop skills, and will address different playing styles and the pros and cons of various products and hardware.

One day course (6 hours) provides a lecture and set up demonstrations on the various instruments students bring to class. Students will learn about the nuances of working on a variety of instruments and the particular approaches they will require. Perfect for those who prefer note taking with Q and A and will to work on their instruments at home and of great use to the aspiring or current professional.

The longer two day course (12 hours) offers the opportunity to exercise knowledge from lessons learned with hands on work on the student’s own instruments. Day two follows the one day course and here the student will use various luthiery tools necessary for string instrument set up procedures and build their skill as they work at the bench on their instruments with guidance and supervision from the instructor.

 Topics include:

  • String height
  • Intonation/saddle compensation
  • Neck relief
  • Neck pitch
  • Truss rod adjustment
  • String break angles
  • Selecting string gauges and types
  • Nut and saddle
  • Fret wire
  • Tuning systems
  • Vibrato systems
  • Bridges
  • Finish care
  • Tooling