I'm thinking about buying a S12 MSA Classic. If the first fret is lower or higher due to wear or design, these specs can be adjusted accordingly. It's easy to make it a bit better if it's really bad. The harmonic will stay the same, the fretted note is what we want to change. What is a truss rod and what does it do? If you can’t, it may not be worth worrying about – especially on an electric guitar. Lowering the pole pieces will ‘mellow’ the tone of the pickup, and reduce magnetic interference with the strings which can create ‘wolf-tones’, ‘stratitis’, or other strange overtones. Neck relief, or a forward ‘bow’ in the neck, simply allows the strings to vibrate freely without too much interference from the frets, which may cause buzzing. You’ll see why in a second…. To raise the action higher, use a 3 mm allen wrench and turn the screw on each side of the bridge counter-clockwise. Do so by using a screwdriver and turning the spring screws counter-clockwise. There are two things you can do to balance the trem: Remember that no ‘vintage’ design whammy system will ever play 100 percent in tune, particularly compared to a Floyd Rose or other modern designs, so it is important to have realistic expectations of what can be achieved. PROBLEM: dull-sounding pickups, with no sparkle and poor string definition. high. With Dynasonics the problem is exacerpated by the amount of magnetism generated by the huge ‘slug magnet’ pole pieces - which may interfere with the strings and actually result in a reduction in output! I know the one about adjusting the truss rod is very bad, along with the one about filing the nut. Thank you so much for wtiting this!!! You can use a small file to trim down the string slots in the nut. If they are not the same, you need to adjust the scale length of the string to compensate. From many players, 85% may be more than close enough. Guitars come stock with certain gauge strings so be sure to look that up on the manufacturer’s website to continue using the correct strings and avoid issues. The fretted note is sharper than the harmonic, meaning the string is too “short.” Use a screwdriver or Allen wrench to move the saddle away from the nut (usually a clockwise turn). Don’t adjust it more than half a turn in one session, a quarter turn would be considered a big adjustment. However, even something as simple as adjusting a pickup may be fraught with danger – simply dropping a screwdriver can horribly damage the finish on your guitar. Set of automotive feeler gauges (.002-.025) (0.05–1 mm) 6" (150 mm) ruler (with 1/32" and 1/64" increments) (0.5 mm increments) One of the most important steps of a setup is hydration. Here’s a little guide on installing locking tuners if you’re guitar isn’t fortunate enough to have them!). 1. QUESTION. Finding the sweet spot of proper bridge height, action and intonation can require finesse and patience. So, good luck, and remember this: playing out of tune never did John Lee Hooker any harm! Does it play in tune all the way up the neck? Well, here are the Fender recommended adjustments: These figures should be a good starting point - although personally I think they set the pickups a touch too high – but then, I’ve always been prepared to sacrifice a bit of output for a smoother, woodier tone, and that might not necessarily suit you. Desi Serna has built a substantial online platform as an engaging and approachable guitar guru-a guitar player and teacher with more than 10,000 hours of experience providing private guitar lessons and classes. I sincerely hope that you have learned something from reading this. Repeat these steps until your fretboard is clean. Now you should be able to just slide the string right out. Searching around for the perfect ‘happy medium’ to suit your individual playing style takes a long time and much experimentation - so don’t worry if you don’t hit the ‘sweet spot’ first time, just try and try again. You do not need to turn this very much, a little turn goes a long way! Found it very informative. BUT, like it probably says on your medication: ‘If symptoms persist, consult a Doctor’. Also be sure to check out our shop! If you are setting up an electric guitar, all that’s left is to set the intonation. If you're having to force your fingers down hard in order to connect the strings with the frets, then you may need to adjust the action on your guitar. Setting up a guitar really well takes a lot of experience, so it is not necessarily something you will be able to get right first time. You can have a professional repairperson do your setup for you, but you can also perform many of the tasks involved in a setup yourself. Bar Bridges, Space Control Bridges, Aluminum Bigsby Bridges, and Wooden Bridges: Preparation Wood expands and contracts with heat and cold or changes in humidity, it warps and twists, relaxes or sags over time, it occasionally does completely inexplicable things, just because it feels like it. If you are lucky enough to own a guitar with these fine pickups on - it couldn’t be easier! Turn it Counter-Clockwise to loosen - which has the effect of adding more forward bow (more relief) by allowing the string tension to pull the neck forward more. By setting them a little higher, the better-behaved 5th and 6th strings can be kept at a more comfortable height. Setting up a guitar can be a daunting undertaking, even to seasoned players. Turn the screws carefully — the screws can strip easily, especially when the saddle is under tension from the string. So, we thought we’d touch on a related subject that often frightens guitarists who have had little or no experience with this. When you tighten the clamps on the locking nut, the strings will go just a tad bit sharp, this is why I told you to tune them a tiny bit flat. Lowering them will have the opposite effect. In this case, you are effectively raising or lowering both the body of the pickup and the pole pieces - which makes adjusting Fender pickups a rather interesting balancing act. Bigsbys were originally designed for ‘vibrato’, i.e. I have been playing for many years but never really attempted to set up a guitar by myself. It is between you and your wallet if you want to go and buy them, however, I will describe ways of proceeding without them. 2). Only the tools listed above are what I would describe as absolutely ‘necessary’. Worst thing that can happen is that your guitar will REALLY need a set up after your try ;) But that's how you learn to do it. Not the most ‘scientific’ method! The right string action on your guitar can make all the difference in the world. The harmonic is played by lightly touching the string directly above the 12th fret and plucking it. A truss rod makes simple work of providing optimum relief. We have a detailed guide on adjusting your truss rod if you need some help. This is OK for vintage Tele bridges, though - where two strings share a single saddle. The science part, which for anyone with the necessary tools, will get you 85% of the way there. This may be a dumb question but what do you do if all the strings in between are set at random saddle heights? PROBLEM: Unsatisfying tone. There are some remedies to a badly pitched neck, but those are surgical, and beyond the scope of this article. We offer re-string and setup services here at Bananas at Large. What you are trying to achieve with a ‘good’ set-up is a guitar that plays in tune, that plays easily, and sounds clear and loud - OR - and this is really getting to the grist of it - achieves the best possible compromise between all these requirements. Recently, I realized the insanity of spending $60 a guitar to have some one turn an allen wrench a few times and screw a few screws. With experience you can learn to judge it pretty accurately by eye, but if you need a reference and don’t want to shell out for feeler gauges, try this DIY method: get an old e-string and cut off a short length of about 1 ½”. don’t force it. For Fenders, use the same method, except you hold the string down at the last fret, and check the gap between the string and the top of the 8th fret. The technical elements that determine guitar playability and set up are: 1. On an electric guitar, the truss rod is accessible at the base of the headstock. Adjust the pole pieces with a flat head screwdriver. Very often, most of the ‘problems’ you are experiencing will disappear with new strings anyway. It may be that you have tightened the truss-rod as far as it will go, and there is still too much forward bow in the neck - however, if this happens, it is really important that you don’t try and force the truss-rod, because it may shear - and you really don’t want a broken truss-rod!

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