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Guitar Set-Up & Maintenance


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Register at least 30 days in advance for an early registration discount. Find out about more about CSGM  here.


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.

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 the course may schedule additional hands-on workshop time in our Open Workshops.

This course is also part of our Electric Guitar Making Course. Check it out here.

  • Fee

    Fee includes instruction, reference materials and hands on time in the workshop with use of a workbench, specialized tools and shop supplies.

  • Materials and Supplies

    Students are encouraged to bring one or more instruments to work on.

  • 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.


These classes offer lecture and demonstrations, and varying amount of hands-on bench time.

The longer workshops offer more time at the bench, giving students a greater opportunity to develop skill and expertise while working on their own instruments.

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

Demonstrations will address different playing styles, and the pros and cons of various products and hardware.

The hands-on portion of the workshop offers students the opportunity to exercise their knowledge from the lessons learned.

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

Which class is right for you?

I Day fast-track seminar is 7 hours. This course is primarily lecture and demonstration, with Q & A. Perfect for those who prefer a thorough overview and taking notes.

Two day workshops are 12 hours.  Course time includes hands-on work at the bench. Perfect for those who enjoy learning by doing.

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


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.”