I will focus on properly made saddles that are just a bit high or low, but first let’s talk about issues that may require the help of a repairman. on your lap or standing. If you play in dropped tuning—for example you tune your guitar to D standard instead of E standard—you’ll be exerting less force on the guitar neck.

; Sight the Neck – Please read the beginning of this article for thorough instruction on sighting your guitar’s neck.. eval(ez_write_tag([[300,250],'midlifeguitar_com-large-mobile-banner-2','ezslot_12',122,'0','0'])); This is where electric and acoustic set-ups differ. Learn more about our use of cookies: cookie policy, All About Guitar Inlays – Design, Carve, and Embed Inlays. Does it sound like someone’s frying bacon every time you do a volume swell? The preshaped saddles from StewMac are an option if the saddle should be replaced and you’d like to try it on your own.
The height of the pickups will influence the volume and tone and are adjusted last because their position is dependent on the final height of the strings. What's more, cheap, beginner guitars are usually set up poorly, which makes playing them more difficult. Note: Do not use abrasive polishes like automotive buffing compounds or steel wool unless you really know what you’re doing. Repeat as needed. Place a capo at the first fret or hold the string down with your finger, and fret again around the body joint where the neck starts to thicken, this is usually around the 12th to14th fret. The guitar I worked on for this demo has a rosewood finger board, so lemon oil in moderation is safe to use for cleaning and conditioning. All of the payments made, up to a maximum of six months, will contribute towards the purchase price listed below. If you are planning on having your guitar set up then deciding on your preferred gauge and even your most used tuning can have a bearing on how the guitar is set up. So, I will usually intonate a little flat at the 12th fret in order to bring the first position more in tune. You’ll totally hear as well as feel the difference. After you restring, make sure to check the neck curvature again and see if you need to tweak the truss rod or adjust the saddles. The truss rod is a steel bolt that runs through the neck of the guitar to reinforce it and prevent warping. If you are setting up an electric guitar, all that’s left is to set the intonation. D.I.Y.

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Chances are that it’s not properly setup. There is no law that says your twelfth fret has to be in tune, you can choose anywhere you’d like.

This step by step guide will cover the basics of setting up your guitar. Don’t be shy about reaching into the sound hole and feeling around for loose or squeaky braces. This is mainly for an electric guitar and is an excellent kit from StewMac. Whether you are an experienced player or a beginner, giving your guitar a set up on a regular basis is an important part of learning to care for and maintain your guitar. The acceptable pickup height below a string is from 1/8″ (3 mm) to 1/16″ (1.6 mm) when the string is pressed at the highest fret. The bass E side will need a higher action that the treble E side because of the difference in string thickness. Moving the string up and down over this fret will make it a little clearer, and this is easier if you are using a capo at the first fret instead of tying up both hands. Gear-obsessed editors choose every product we review. You need to know what the fretboard radius is so that you can set the underside of your strings with the saddles to match. If your guitar has open-gear turners—that is, if you can see the gears—add a drop of light oil to each mechanism. This site is owned and operated by Luke Winter.
Once you find a comfortable action for your playing style, you may be good to go. If you are getting too much noise, raise the two E strings by 1/64” (about .5 mm) at a time and reset the saddle radius on an electric. Planet Waves Hydrate Fingerboard Conditioner, 2 fl. Even super-fine steel wool can scratch the lacquered finish on maple and unlike rosewood or ebony, maple fretboards are normally sealed so the lemon oil won’t seep into the wood and it will be ineffectual. 10603316 Vat No. When tuners are under tension, they can feel firm. If it wiggles, tighten the bolts at the neck-body joint. Below, you will find all the information you need to setup your guitar, the right way. At any point during your agreement you can contact us to arrange the purchase. Tip: It’s very likely that the guitar’s intonation has been set accurately before it left the manufacturer – most of the time you won’t have to do anything here, but it’s not a proper guitar setup if you don’t check. First, check tuning. Tighten or loosen it to adjust the tension of the tuner. This is basic housecleaning, not major fret surgery, like a “crown and polish.” Cleaning and polishing takes only five minutes, but afterward your guitar will look and play like new. The following 12 steps are considered absolutely essential in a basic setup. If the guitar seems to play well at the higher register, but you are getting buzzing in 3rd-7th fret range, you may need a little more relief in your neck and you can loosen the truss rod a little. D.I.Y. When set correctly, the neck should have a very slight concave curve to it, which our repairer measures by resting a long, metal straight-edge along the fretboard. Ideal action is a subjective matter. I have just finished my 10th guitar (over five years). TOOLS Lemon oil or light wood oil, Windex, cotton rag, a guitar pick or a Popsicle stick. Before starting any work, we need our repairer’s expert eye to check over the guitar carefully to make sure there are no major problems and issues, such as cracks in the wood, or anything that will prevent the guitar from being set up properly. For now, we are essentially going to eliminate the nut and set it to zero. Remember, these are ballpark measurements that we can fine-tune later…it’s better to be a little high on an acoustic because it’s easy to remove more material and harder to deal with if you go too low. In theory, the nut is just a zero fret that is always fretted…so given that, the height of the strings over the first fret should be pretty close to the height of the strings over the second fret when you have a capo at the first. All purchased instruments are guaranteed for one year after the purchase date. You’ve just learned how to perform a professional guitar setup – now you can charge all your friends and make those tools pay for themselves. NY 10036. It is important to understand that as you tune the guitar the amount of tension on the bridge changes and will cause it to move, and conversely, as you adjust the tremolo your tuning will change. I prefer to use wood as a shim and you can find thin purfling at StewMac or wood veneer available online or in hobby stores. One of the most bedeviling aspects of guitar playing is the maintenance procedure known as a “setup.”. Rapidly flick each switch—or twist each knob—back and forth, and then play for a while, listening for persistent noises. To offset this loss of tension, players will usually play with thicker strings. If you have any questions, please contact us. Open strings move a lot, and most players tend to hit open chords a little harder, so give yourself some cushion here. Then, we’ll tell you how to perform them. Checking with the manufacturer or searching the internet should tell you if you are unsure. I will briefly explain and let you decide which approach you prefer for your own style.

HOW TO DO IT Simply wiggle the parts around a bit. A guitar setup is a series of adjustments that achieve a balance between three components: the neck, the nut, and the saddle. The adjustable end of the truss rod—either a male or female nut—can be found in one of a few places. Repeat the process if you are still too high. If you do any of these steps after the intonation is adjusted it will ruin all the work you did to the intonation and you will have to do it all over again. At any point during your agreement you can contact us to arrange the purchase. Double those numbers and you’ve got moderately high action. The depth of the grooves in the nut (the block of bone or hard plastic at the end of the fingerboard) affects the guitar’s string height or action, particularly on the frets closest to the nut. So make small adjustments to the claw, re-tune and check again until you find the point that the trem levels when you are in tune. Close one eye and look along the two edges of the neck, from the nut to the end of the fingerboard. If the neck is straight from the 2nd fret down and the first fret doesn’t touch the straight edge, then it is low. When these adjustments are completed in the correct sequence they will ensure that the guitar is optimal, both in sound and playability.

For anyone who’s curious to know how an acoustic guitar is set up, here’s a step by step guide to how we do it. Turning left adds relief, right straightens. Setting up a guitar perfectly can be challenging. You will need to determine what yours is, and if you have a Gibson style Tune-o-Matic bridge you will need a set of nut files to match each string.

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