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Does every new guitar have to be set up?

tomkatzz

Member
Messages
378
Does every new guitar need to be tweaked by a tech for maximum performance? I'm asking because I bought some relatively high dollar guitars under the assumption that for that kind of money they would be perfect. Way wrong assumption.

I.e., is there any guitar manufacturer that sends their product to the retailer/customer already tuned to perfection?
 

Polynitro

Member
Messages
23,616
My Tele came set up really well, but I bought it from AMS. I think when they go to stores the clerks unset them, I've seen Jags and Jazzmasters in unplayable condition and the clerks said they hadn't had time to set them up even though I know they set them up at the factory...Set up well is one thing, but perfect for everyone?
 

Jahn

Listens to Johnny Marr, plays like John Denver
Silver Supporting Member
Messages
28,931
Personally I'm fine with buying on ebay or online shops, because no matter what I'm already factoring in the cost of taking it in for a pro setup as soon as it lands - that kinda thing is a given.

From TGPers? Sometimes the same thing - everyone likes their axes set up for them, and it's not always the best for everyone. .09s vs. .12s, low versus high action, etc.
 

mprvise

Member
Messages
6,404
Nope. I've had a few arrive that didn't need to be touched at all, and a couple of those were delivered and unboxed at my tech's shop - no tweaking required per him. My PRS DGT was good to go right out of the box, as were both my Soloways.
 

buddastrat

Member
Messages
14,690
How could the company do that? Everyone's idea of a well setup guitar is different. Way different. Plus, there's always environmental issues affecting wood. Not their fault either. Everyone should learn to set them up for theirselves.
 

magnido45

Member
Messages
248
Every new guitar doesn't have to be...but I highly recommend it. For example, when I got my brand new 2007 Gibby Les Paul a couple years back, it needed a little file work on the nut, saddles and 1/3 of the frets needed a bit of leveling/dressing...
 

mad dog

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
10,981
I've only purchased new a couple times. G&L ASAT Classic in the early 90s ... that one definitely needed setup. I pretty much expected it, as so many guitars do -- new or used -- in stores. Just picked up a new JJ baritone on Sunday. It's set up to perfection. That wonderful feel was part of the reason I went home with it.

By contrast, cruising Guitar Centers reveals countless feel-bad losers. Failure to do even minimal setup on new instruments is completely counter productive if you want to sell things. There are some good guitars in outlets like that, but most of them are setup so haphazardly you can't easily tell.
 

Sean French

Member
Messages
14,173
How could the company do that? Everyone's idea of a well setup guitar is different. Way different. Plus, there's always environmental issues affecting wood. Not their fault either. Everyone should learn to set them up for theirselves.

Exactly.:AOK
However,filing of nut slots and bridge saddles are better done by experienced hands.
 

Tonekat

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
8,821
This is why I have Dan Erlewine's "How to make your Electric Guitar Play Great!" Valuable book, that.
 

Tone_Terrific

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
33,290
The nut and frets should be done right and those should be the same for everyone.
Imo, no cutting tools should be needed for setup. If the big buck makers can't do that the store should include it.
All the user adjustable parameters are at your discretion.
If you go to extreme strings expect some further setup work.
 

HRydarcik

Member
Messages
927
Both my Edwards Les Paul and Tokai ES 120 came setup perfectly....action was fine as well as intonation...didn't need to do any tweeking to either of them.
 

ZeeBee

Member
Messages
153
My Heritage 535 was great (for me) without set up (even the tech said "I wouldn't touch it").

My G&L hollowbody ASAT Classic was another story ... not bad but it needed some adjustments to make it work (again, for me).

Each of us has to decide if it needs something done (frets, action, strings, etc.) Some people are not sure if it needs a set-up because it feels and plays reasonably well ... however when they get it set-up right (based on a conversation with a good tech), they are often amazed at the difference.
 

Mike9

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
10,956
Believe it or not the best factory setup I've ever had was on the cheap Gibson Music Maker reissue I got from MF. It was just the way I'd set it up myself.
 

Celticdave

Seeker
Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
5,220
There is a setup "standard" so to speak that if you walk into a shop and say, "Can you set this up for me" and don't give them any special requests, they'll usually do. I don't remember the exact numbers but there is one.

I'm pretty sure most companies do this before shipping them out - but as with every guitar, they shift, move, change temps, etc several times before getting into your hands - even when coming straight from the factory.

I ALWAYS end up stripping my guitars as soon as I get them. When I get it home, off with the strings, usually the bridge, etc. It gets a good wipe down, polished up to protect the finish, and I condition the fretboard. Then, I throw on a set of strings (I use 11s at the lightest) and make the necessary adjustments.

So, to answer your question directly - NO. =)
 

84Bravo

Member
Messages
11,563
I think that the answer depends on how you like your guitars to play and who/what builds them. You can spend a LOT of money for a new Martin--well over $10K--and discover that both the nut and saddle are cut too high for your playing tastes, but Martin will err on the side of caution since no two players are alike. Collings does a better job of dialing it in than most, Hamer is (was) very good out of the box, I'm sure there are more but I am only drawing on my own experiences. You can spend a similar amount of money on a new Gibson and find that you need a major setup, something that is consistent with Gibson up and down their line, in my opinion. And I'm talking about Gibson electrics. Their acoustic guitars usually need to be dialed in way too much, for me. Poor nuts and intonation. Fender can be quite good at times or annoyingly off, regardless of custom shop or not. Regardless, of what you pay, it's more about how you play. I like nuts cut a certain way, lower on the bass strings, action set a certain way, higher on the treble side. I'm an inveterate knob pusher, which is why you will find me on these pages, seeking nirvana, and the perfect setup.
 

BarkingTree

Member
Messages
1,613
Ive had guitars that just play out of the box..in that case..you can just let em be for a while. Ive had some that buzz, or feel flat or dead..and then you have to start digging into the adjustments. Most feel different
after a good set. Set ups are no mystery and people charge a mint to do them..
Every guitar should be inspected for how it is set or set for player preference. My factory fenders came set way to high for string height with no variation for radius, this is a sure way to get a buzz free guitar out the door and everyones happy until they get fussy and most players..with experienced hands are fussy. Im not that much of a player but my hands have been on many guitars..and I know what I like.

C
 

mc5nrg

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
10,108
In the olden days, if you purchased a guitar a set-up generally was included. This would include basic adjustments, sometimes you'd have to spring for a set of strings. Serious fretwork would usually not be included.

Players needs and tastes vary. Just how well set-up a guitar is from the factory varies with the manufacturer. Changes in climate both from one part of the world to another, the effects of traveling and in-store conditions can be a factor affecting set-up and playability. Manufacturers that are really concientious make an effort to send out guitars that need much less tweaking out of the box.
 

benjammin420

Member
Messages
1,564
things can get bumped out of out of whack during shipping, or mishandling at the store (though one time i shipped a guitar cross country when i moved and when i pulled it out of the box it was still in tune)
 




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