Setup required if guitar is being shipped to me?

I recently purchased a new Dell'Arte Hommage and it is being shipped to me from across the country. I have never bought a guitar online before. Will it require that I bring it to a luthier to be setup upon arrival or should I inspect it first? Also, I plan on switching the strings from Galli GSL10 (.45) to Savarez Argentine 1610 (.45).

One reason I ask is because it is easier for me to make an appointment with my luthier ahead of time and I would like to have the setup done as quickly as possible because I am very excited to play this new guitar!


  • stuologystuology New
    Posts: 196

    There’s no rule. Personally I would wait until the guitar arrives - but it’s never a bad thing to have a setup. Changing strings isn’t an issue.

  • Posts: 68

    I mean, if it were me I'd change the strings on my own and see how it plays first. In fact, I just got a new Django box shipped to me and spent a good 60-90 minutes changing the strings, cleaning the fretboard (no lie, this was the dirtiest fretboard I've ever seen...dude must have been eating cheetos while playing, had literal "goop" deposits), properly aligning the bridge and making sure everything else was looking good. And after that little bit of tlc, not going to say I was surprised, but the guitar plays wonderfully, no setup required at all! So yeah, I would definitely try playing it first before deciding. And if you're worried about wasting strings, just make sure you don't trim the ends and they can still be used even if it does ultimately need to be seen by a tech.

  • lorenzoplorenzop New
    Posts: 24

    In my experience, when I've taken an instrument in for a setup, they need to have the instrument about a week . . . they require the instrument sit in their shop and acquire the appropriate humidity levels before they work on it. So you might not have it in your hands a while.

  • pdgpdg ✭✭
    Posts: 449

    Along those lines, after being shipped the guitar will need a little time to adjust to the new humidity/temperature. So no point rushing it off to be adjusted before it settles down.

    Also, depending on your level of experience playing gypsy jazz, you should avoid making a snap judgment about the action on the new guitar -- such as "too high."

  • KlausUSKlausUS AustriaNew Cholet Intuition, Gaffiero Original, AJL Q&P
    Posts: 64

    I recently had two guitar shipped from France to Austria (Gaffiero and Cholet). Both were perfectly fine when they arrived as they were setup in France before shipping.

    It will depend in which condition the guitar was before it was shipped. 4-5 days of travelling will not do very much to the guitar if the packaging is appropriate and if it is just within the US.

  • JSantaJSanta NY✭✭✭ Dupont, Gaffiero, AJL
    Posts: 257

    Good points Klaus. My first Gaffiero sat in French customs for over a week before making its way to the States, and it was setup completely fine out of the box. My second Gaffiero departs France within the next couple of weeks, cross your fingers for me that customs doesn't take their sweet time with it!

    In my broader experience, the need to setup a guitar that is shipped to you has to account for a number of factors. Is the climate similar, is it going to be sitting in a hot or cold warehouse or truck for a long time, do you let it sit in the shipping box for 24 hours if the outside and inside temperatures/conditions very dissimilar?

    Give the guitar a couple of weeks to acclimate to your area/home, and then you can make decisions on what is or isn't needed. The Altamira I bought here came across the country in very different climates and the guitar held its setup quite well. Very few guitars I have bought have come to me needing a lot of setup work as long as I was smart with allowing an acclimation period. The last archtop I bought came to me from tropical Florida to cold and dry AF western NY and I let it sit in the box for 24 hours and it was perfect.

  • juandererjuanderer New ALD Original, Manouche Latcho Drom Djangology Koa, Caro y Topete AR 740 O
    Posts: 205

    I got an ALD shipped from France to the blistering August heat of Texas in 2020. As per the seller, it had been taken to the luthiers for inspection and adjustment prior to shipping and it arrived perfectly set up. I only lubricated the nut and had a friend do what seemed like 1/8 of a turn of tightening on the truss rod. It was shipped in a cardboard box, mind you - no case.

    Of course, your experience could be entirely different. It wouldn't hurt to have someone knowledgeable look at it and decide on a course of action based on what they find/suggest.

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