I need to repair the electronics on my Stratocaster, which will require me to remove the strings. I then want to get the guitar set up. Will sending a guitar to the workshop without strings affect the repair-person's ability to analyze my guitar prior to putting new strings on it and setting it up?
It's best to let the luthier put the new strings on as part of his setup.
It's also best if he can see what it's like before he starts.
So... best of both worlds...
Put the old strings back on & in tune - & send a pack of new strings with it.
That way you cover three aspects.
- Luthier gets to see it as it was.
- He gets to put on the new strings at the end for final checks without risk of damage. He can do all his fiddling - strings off, strings on, strings off... using the old set.
- You ensure you get the correct strings.
& a late 4... it's not sitting around for days unstrung.
This even applies if the string gauge will change. He should have sufficient experience to make an educated guess as to what differences that will need in his set up even before he starts.
There's always the consideration that the first set of strings used for a setup are somewhat sacrificial. Account for the price of another new set in the not too distant future as part of the total setup cost.
Like you, every setup I've ever had done required new strings be put on by the tech, so all the old strings I've had on when dropping off guitars were thrown away. I can't see any reason to string up a guitar just to have the strings removed again for the setup.
You could ask the tech what they prefer, but I'm sure they would be happy to put a set of strings on for you either way.
It sounds like you need to do the electrical work, then send the guitar off for re-stringing and set up. The present strings will come off for the work, but then you say you don't like the existing gauge. On the assumption you do have a replacement guage in mind, if you know how to put them on correctly, do so, and get the guitar to the luthier.
All this is on assumptions. That he will need to take off the string again is unlikely - unless he dresses the frets, or changes the nut. With the new strings, he can tension the truss rod, check the intonation and adjust the action. All assuming you know what strings you need. If you don't know much about how to do the luthier's job on your guitar, you may be choosing the wrong gauge, so it makes good sense to go with the guitar as is now, and discuss with him. He'll measure the strings, and suggest what you should get as replacements.
As far as keeping the old 'uns; providing they're not rusty and worn, they may do for replacements if you don't already have some extras.
As Todd says, you could always ask what the luthier prefers - old or new, since he's actually doing the job!