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Electric guitar setup advise

Machew

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,893
I am going to bring my Ibanez "Woody" into be set up. I have never done this before, and want to know what I should let them know I want. Here is what I know to tell them.

Round the fret ends.
Set it up with 10's and down tune it a half step

What am I missing? How do I tell them how low to set the strings? Also, how much should I expect to pay?
 
Messages
953
I'm no expert, but I'll help. Techs can be a mixed bunch (like I don't know about the quality of Guitar Center techs), so try and be as specific as possible, and sound him out first to make sure he's not an idiot. If he's got good experience he shouldn't mess it up.

If you have the string height measurements that you prefer you could bring those. Otherwise it's hard to be specific. The good news is that adjusting the action by yourself is an absolute piece of cake, so if it's not perfect just do it yourself. Even Floyd's aren't that tricky. Truss rod adjustments are nice too, lower relief is my preference. Again, if your tech isn't an idiot then telling him that you like low relief shouldn't stray too far from the mark, but people's perceptions of what "low relief" means can vary. If you have the measurements that would probably help. Someone could tell you how to measure it, I don't know how that's done but whatever.

If your frets don't need a level then you shouldn't have to worry about that.

I've paid around $50-$60 for setups in the past, but I'd say more than $100 is a ripoff.

Again, I'm basically the opposite of an experienced setup person, but that's what I think.
 

Machew

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,893
I'm no expert, but I'll help. Techs can be a mixed bunch (like I don't know about the quality of Guitar Center techs), so try and be as specific as possible, and sound him out first to make sure he's not an idiot. If he's got good experience he shouldn't mess it up.

If you have the string height measurements that you prefer you could bring those. Otherwise it's hard to be specific. The good news is that adjusting the action by yourself is an absolute piece of cake, so if it's not perfect just do it yourself. Even Floyd's aren't that tricky. Truss rod adjustments are nice too, lower relief is my preference. Again, if your tech isn't an idiot then telling him that you like low relief shouldn't stray too far from the mark, but people's perceptions of what "low relief" means can vary. If you have the measurements that would probably help. Someone could tell you how to measure it, I don't know how that's done but whatever.

If your frets don't need a level then you shouldn't have to worry about that.

I've paid around $50-$60 for setups in the past, but I'd say more than $100 is a ripoff.

Again, I'm basically the opposite of an experienced setup person, but that's what I think.
Thanks! Ive spent some time reading about it. I think the part I want to be perfect is the frets leveled and crowned, polished and the fret end to be rounded and comfortable. The rest seems pretty basic and possible for me to tweak as I see fit.

Where I bought this guitar, which was a discontinued model, normally comes with a setup, so I never had to think about it. But unfortunately he was in some sort of accident that messed up at least one of his hands and had to send me the guitar without it done.

I also figured out that he lists what he does on his website.

https://www.ibanezrules.com/new/setup_levels.htm
 

bildo

Member
Messages
184
I do this and this is how I approach a customer.

If I do not know their playing, I ask them to play for me. We need to know how heavy handed you play. I will add to how you play as you will play harder in a band situation. Do you care if your strings rattle at all? Do you use a lot of distortion?

Then we need to check you guitar to see the shape of the frets. You want a low setup, you must have good frets with a slight fall away. And you necks condition.

Once all of that is known. The tech can do what is needed to get you setup.
 

Dana Olsen

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
7,902
Thanks! Ive spent some time reading about it. I think the part I want to be perfect is the frets leveled and crowned, polished and the fret end to be rounded and comfortable. The rest seems pretty basic and possible for me to tweak as I see fit.
Hey Y'all -

Having the frets leveled and crowned is not part of a regular setup - the tech will charge extra for that, propably $75-$100 ish. However, the tech should take a look at it first - maybe it doesn't NEED a level and crown, maybe all it needs is a basic setup, which I agree should be $50-$60 ish, more if the tech needs to make a new nut - like $35-$40 more.

Hope this helps, Dana O.
 

Machew

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,893
I do this and this is how I approach a customer.

If I do not know their playing, I ask them to play for me. We need to know how heavy handed you play. I will add to how you play as you will play harder in a band situation. Do you care if your strings rattle at all? Do you use a lot of distortion?

Then we need to check you guitar to see the shape of the frets. You want a low setup, you must have good frets with a slight fall away. And you necks condition.

Once all of that is known. The tech can do what is needed to get you setup.
I pick pretty hard. I dont think I want the strings to rattle and I dont play with a lot of distortion.

I ended up finding a list of stuff that they guy I buy my Ibanez guitars from and emailing it to the luthier. I wanted the frets leveled, crowned, polished and the fret ends rounded as well as a simple set up.

He told me his services were guaranteed, so if there is an issue he will fix it. Thats good enough for me.

I took it to Victor Guitar in Denver.
 

Machew

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,893
Hey Y'all -

Having the frets leveled and crowned is not part of a regular setup - the tech will charge extra for that, propably $75-$100 ish. However, the tech should take a look at it first - maybe it doesn't NEED a level and crown, maybe all it needs is a basic setup, which I agree should be $50-$60 ish, more if the tech needs to make a new nut - like $35-$40 more.

Hope this helps, Dana O.
Thanks! Looking forward to getting my guitar!
 

Machew

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,893

Even though I have had this guitar since January, it has been sitting in a closet. Now that it was finally setup I can play it.
 

Troglite

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
160
Wow... really unique. Incredibly inlay work... and that guard... and those pickup covers! Druel.



Even though I have had this guitar since January, it has been sitting in a closet. Now that it was finally setup I can play it.
 

Machew

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,893
Wow... really unique. Incredibly inlay work... and that guard... and those pickup covers! Druel.
Ya, its a bit on the crazy side of guitars, but thats the point Im guessing. I've always wanted a Jem but cannot afford most of them so this was it. Does not seem as refined as my Japan Ibanez.
 




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