To keep it in a language that is easy to understand, it is a rare thing to find me handling a guitar, which plays well and does not need any adjustments or setup guitar action by guitar maker. The use of the word setup or adjustment refers to the string’s height over the fretboard, regardless of whether the guitar’s neck is straight or has the perfect bow or relief to it, how the guitar’s frets are way up the intonation and neck. Is there any fret that is taller than the rest? Can you think of how this may affect your playability and tone if the frets do not reach the neck of the guitar?
Table of Contents
- Important of Having A Proper Set up Guitar
- Things You Must Know About Setting Up A Guitar
- How Much Does It Cost For A Single Guitar Setup?
- List of Guitar Setup Tools You Will Need
Important of Having A Proper Set up Guitar
To tell the truth, if you do not have experience playing a properly setup guitar, then you do not know the potential of your guitar. A guitar that has a proper set up not only plays better but will produce a good sound because of the ease in playing it. It is quite obvious that any instrument including a guitar if adjusted properly will produce better sound. Nowadays, the majority of equipment are produced in huge quantities making it hard to individually check each equipment to ensure it is worth its price.
Things You Must Know About Setting Up A Guitar
Some people buy a low-cost guitar and then give it to a genuine guitar center, which has a skilled luthier who will undertake the necessary setup guitar action and give you back a guitar that sounds and plays better compared to expensive models. Smart guitar players always set up their guitars this way. However, keep in mind that this is not meant for replacing the Zakk Wylde Custom Gibson or the Jeff Beck Custom Shop Fender guitars or Eric Clapton Stratocaster. These guitars are expensive, and the setup guitar needs to be worth it.
It is not easy to give a description of the setup guitar action procedures. For one to comprehend the services and terms involved, you should consider going to Stewart-Macdonald, Warmoth, or Guitar Players Center where you will get comprehensive setup techniques that are used as well as excellent explanations in easy to understand terms.
One easy to understand analogy I usually use is that driving a car that is un–tuned or has not been set to specifications is not an enjoyable experience and not an efficient ride. The same applies to your guitar. You will find it easier and more fun to play a properly set up guitar.
How Much Does It Cost For A Single Guitar Setup?
The majority of the setup guitar action I am aware of cost between $50 to $100 in addition to parts or strings. However, what is more, important during the setup is precision craftsmanship rather than parts. Do no go to a luthier just because of his friendly prices. You can enquire from the BBB or go around asking about the business. Ensure you choose the services of a good and experienced guitar maker. In any setup guitar action, there is more than just the price; quality also matters.
Alternatively, you can try to set up your guitar yourself. However, You will need the guitar setup tools to perform the configuration.
List of Guitar Setup Tools You Will Need
Below is a list of guitar setup tools that I have obtained over the past years. I have not given a description or shown the entire lot to you, just those that can be able to make a simple set-up kit.
Screwdrivers will come in handy when you need to adjust the screws, setting the heights of the pole-piece and for height adjustment of pick-ups. It is also impossible to make Trem adjustments without them.
2. Hex or Allen Keys
It can turn out to be your lucky day as you these can come along with the guitar you buy, and in this case keep them together with the guitar and take good care of them. Hex keys are not only cheap but are also easily obtainable.
I have put handles on two of mine. This is because they make them comfortable to use apart from making them simpler to use. The tiny one belongs to the Strat and Tele’s bridge screws while the larger one is for changing the truss rod’s Strat. Hex keys also happen to be necessary for the adjusting of the trim units that are locking- type.
3. Wire Cutters
The strings on a guitar are made using extremely hard steel, and only cutters of high quality can help you to deal with them. Inexpensive cutters often get nicks inside the blades and are ineffective almost immediately you start making use of them. There are two kinds I use. Side cutters are suitable for different jobs, but all the others are best used for ease of access around the guitar’s head.
4. Steel Rule
Regarding this tool, the best to use is one whose level is 6/4 of one inch. It might not be readily available, but that does not meet it is impossible. You require this to set up the action as well as pick-up height and so on.
5. Feeler Gauge
Of the guitar set up tools, you will need this to take measurements of the action. A set entailing both metric and imperial are handy. I think in some instances some are known as spark plug gauges.
6. Socket Wrench
Sometimes just as with my very own Les Paul, the adjustment of the truss rod is made using a socket. To be let through you require a socket to be attached to the handle of a screwdriver. If the socket happens to be a deep type of “long throw” it can help.
7. Nut Tools
If you want to cut wound strings’ nut slots, the best tool to use is the needle files while a junior hacksaw blade piece bearing a set that is knocked out will cut the plain string’s slots.
8. String Winder
This is a very useful tool! It saves time that could have been wasted winding and also comes with a bridge pin puller to be used by acoustic guitars. Get one. Do not put it off. Get one now!
9. Bridge Radius Gauge
For as long as you have known the radius that is found on your guitar’s fingerboard you can be bale to make your very own. You are going to have to compensate the fact that all the strings that are wound will have to be put somewhat higher in the middle. You require this for the Fender bridges and here every string saddle will be changed individually.
10. Neck Block
This particular one keeps the head of the guitar from the flat surface that you are using as your work surface and makes doing work on that particular end much easier. It is to protect the guitar neck from scratching during the set up with the tools.