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Affordable guitar set-up in Chicago

Where to get a guitar tuned-up for cheap, plus three places for used gear.
By John Dugan |

Where can I get my guitar set up for a price that won’t bankrupt an already-broke musician?

I’m going to guess your garage band is finally taking off (People like you guys! And not just your friends!), but the gigging and practicing are taking their toll on the fourthhand ax. My six-string-playing pals head to Logan Square upstart the Shake Shop (3247 W Fullerton Ave, 773-904-7690) for setups, fret jobs and more. A basic setup (“a complete adjustment of anything that’s adjustable to make it suited to the player’s preferences,” proprietor Tom Cassling says) is $38 plus strings and includes oiling moving parts, setting the action and intonation, and cleaning electronics—basically a complete guitar tune-up. That’s compared to $55 or $65 at competitors; you save because this is a one-man show with lower overhead. Fret jobs start at a reasonable $200, too.

Three music shops where you won’t get played

Midwest Buy & Sell The no-nonsense used-gear shop is known for cutting great deals on workhorse equipment like Marshall amps and Gibson guitars. 6019 W Irving Park Rd (773-545-2020).

The Music Store Laid-back and likely to stock mid-priced and low-priced gear, it also does amp repair work. 3121 W Irving Park Rd (773-478-7400).

Andy’s Music Chicago Head to the back of this import and specialty shop for a great selection of used drum kits, with prices (and condition) more suited to giggers than collectors. 2300 W Belmont Ave (773-868-1234).

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