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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.

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.

Students who complete this course may schedule additional hands-on time in our Open Workshops.

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

  • 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.

  • Fee

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

  • Materials

    Students are encouraged to bring one or more instruments to 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.

  • 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 class includes lectures, demonstrations and hands-on work, offering the student a solid foundation upon which to commence their luthiery studies.

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.

The hands-on portion of the workshop offers the student an opportunity to exercise their knowledge from the lessons learned while working on their own instrument.


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

Student Testimonials

“Very informative and easy to understand. You guys rule, probably will see more Chicago Music Exchange employees coming through! Party on!”

“Learned a lot in two days. Both instructors were very helpful and knowledgeable. Shared a lot. Exciting, professional. Would advise to take this course and many more.”

“I genuinely understand the process now and feel confident practicing on my other guitars.”

“Very explanatory and helpful. Covered it all.”