Have you ever picked up a guitar and with the first strum, it just felt ‘right’? It was comfortable in your hands, ‘easy’ to play and you just couldn’t put it down. It might have been an expensive guitar you tried in a shop, or maybe just an old garage sale find. Either way, it suited your style and chances are, it was properly set up.
A properly set-up guitar will not only make the instrument sound better, but it will make you a better player.
Why is this?
A properly set up guitar takes into account your playing style and individual preferences. More importantly, playability is enhanced by setting the right amount of ‘relief’ in the neck, adjusting the intonation to ensure notes ring true up and down the fretboard and by setting the ‘action’ low.
A guitar’s “action” simply refers to the distance between the top of the frets and the strings.
Guitars with high action – strings that are too far away from the frets – are difficult to play because it takes more pressure to actually fret each chord or note. Guitars with action that’s too low can result in a rattling or buzzing when played. Either extreme results in a bad playing experience.
Many guitar players, especially beginners get easily discouraged and blame themselves for poor performance or slow progression, when often, it’s actually the instrument that’s the problem.
The goal is low action; high playability. A properly set up guitar can achieve this.