Setting Up A Guitar

JSopp

Member
Messages
21
Hey guys,

So one thing I've always wanted to learn (but have been too hesitant to try) is setting up my guitar. I know there is a wealth of information available online, but does anybody have any reputable sites/videos/books I should look into specifically?

Any info or resources would be greatly appreciated!
 

Sockets

Member
Messages
4
There's so many helpful videos on Youtube for the various aspects of setup, but nothing can replace diving in and losing yourself in the process. Not recommended if you don't have a clue and/or have an investment-grade guitar. If you can tweak saddle height, truss rod and adjust intonation, you will teach yourself a lot.
 

BluesForDan

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
8,592
Sockets made a good point. Don't practice on your boutique or custom shop guitars. Get something relatively inexpensive. I would recommend something like a Squier CV series. Chances are, you won't need to do a whole lot to make it playable. In fact, it may be just fine from the get go. But be daring, take the neck off, polish up the frets. Swap out the bridge saddles for something else, that will teach you how to set up and intonate the guitar.

Once you get comfortable with the nuts and bolts and screws stuff, get ready for the electronics aka soldering for fun and profit. At this point, practice on spare parts before you do it on a guitar. Knowing how to solder and by extension how to swap out pickups opens up a whole door of guitar tinkering, without having to pay somebody 75-100 dollars to do 10 minutes of work but make you wait 6 weeks for it to come back.

The recommendation for Dan Erlewine's book is spot-on. I was lucky enough to spend many hours hanging around a guitar shop and learned from watching a master at work.

One warning. Once you learn how to set up guitars, you might want to start trying to build them. If you start trying to build them, they might start coming out pretty nice. If they come out pretty nice, you'll want to keep them instead of selling them like you said you would to recoup your costs. Don't ask me how I know that.:brick
 

JSopp

Member
Messages
21
Sockets made a good point. Don't practice on your boutique or custom shop guitars. Get something relatively inexpensive. I would recommend something like a Squier CV series. Chances are, you won't need to do a whole lot to make it playable. In fact, it may be just fine from the get go. But be daring, take the neck off, polish up the frets. Swap out the bridge saddles for something else, that will teach you how to set up and intonate the guitar.

Once you get comfortable with the nuts and bolts and screws stuff, get ready for the electronics aka soldering for fun and profit. At this point, practice on spare parts before you do it on a guitar. Knowing how to solder and by extension how to swap out pickups opens up a whole door of guitar tinkering, without having to pay somebody 75-100 dollars to do 10 minutes of work but make you wait 6 weeks for it to come back.

The recommendation for Dan Erlewine's book is spot-on. I was lucky enough to spend many hours hanging around a guitar shop and learned from watching a master at work.

One warning. Once you learn how to set up guitars, you might want to start trying to build them. If you start trying to build them, they might start coming out pretty nice. If they come out pretty nice, you'll want to keep them instead of selling them like you said you would to recoup your costs. Don't ask me how I know that.:brick
Hahaha understood. Looks like Dan Erlewine's series is what I'll look into, since you and Tone_Terrific both recommended. Wasn't even aware of that one.

Thanks!
 

boyce89976

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
8,295
That looks excellent, I'll definitely read through it. Looks like it hits a lot of points
Except for the part where he adjusts the truss rod AFTER he sets the intonation... You should always adjust the action, string height and neck relief prior to adjusting intonation... Most importantly, neck relief... That's a foundational adjustment.
 

RL2792

Member
Messages
331
Wanted to resurrect an old thread to ask some stupid questions. I've got a Les Paul and I want to go up a gauge in strings (from .10's to .11's). Will this throw my current set-up of the guitar off? If so, do I need to simply raise the action?

Thanks in advance for your advice.

RL
 

Dana Olsen

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
7,921
Here's the "guitar logic" of it:

11's pull harder on the neck than 10's. This will tend to put more relief in the neck, therefore RAISING the action a tiny bit. Because of this you won't have to raise the action - just using heavier strings will lift it a bit. You'll perhaps have to lower it a tiny bit, depending on the relief.

Restring it, THEN check the relief first thing. Get the relief right, now it's time to check the action. I'd expect you may want to lower it a tiny bit, but you have to see where it actually is before you adjust anything..

Another thing to remember - thicker strings usually ride higher in the nut slots than thinner strings do, so the nut may need a little attention for the guitar to play and intonate as well as it can. Just play it for a couple days - if you like the bigger strings, then take the guitar to your tech and have them dial in the relief, nut and action.

Hope this helps, Dana O.
Wanted to resurrect an old thread to ask some stupid questions. I've got a Les Paul and I want to go up a gauge in strings (from .10's to .11's). Will this throw my current set-up of the guitar off? If so, do I need to simply raise the action?

Thanks in advance for your advice.

RL
 

old goat

Member
Messages
1,987
Here's the "guitar logic" of it:

11's pull harder on the neck than 10's. This will tend to put more relief in the neck, therefore RAISING the action a tiny bit. Because of this you won't have to raise the action - just using heavier strings will lift it a bit. You'll perhaps have to lower it a tiny bit, depending on the relief.

Restring it, THEN check the relief first thing. Get the relief right, now it's time to check the action. I'd expect you may want to lower it a tiny bit, but you have to see where it actually is before you adjust anything..

Another thing to remember - thicker strings usually ride higher in the nut slots than thinner strings do, so the nut may need a little attention for the guitar to play and intonate as well as it can. Just play it for a couple days - if you like the bigger strings, then take the guitar to your tech and have them dial in the relief, nut and action.

Hope this helps, Dana O.
Just remember that once you set the nut up for bigger strings you might have to replace the nut to go back to lighter strings. So try out the heavier strings for a while and decide if you're going to stay with them before you touch the nut.
 






Trending Topics

Top