In order to achieve the lowest possible action and to optimize playability, a full fret level and dress is performed prior to a basic set-up.
Most guitars – even new ones – suffer from uneven frets. Many believe that manufacturers do fret-dressing as part of their production process, but this is not true of most companies. And for those that do perform a basic leveling, all new instruments require a 12-18 month ‘settling down period’ to allow them to stabilize.
A full fret level and dress provides a stable foundation to build upon and ensures the actual set up can be done properly. Without a fret level and dress, the strings can only be lowered relative to the highest fret.
Some Luthiers and repair men perform a set-up by simply lowering the strings until they just buzz and then lifting them up so they don’t. By doing this, the guitar will never achieve optimum playability. As soon as a small change occurs in the wood due to temperature and/or humidity fluctuations, a buzzing string or dead spot may present itself.
How do I know my guitar needs an Advanced set-up?
- The frets are worn or pitted
- There is ‘buzzing’ or ‘rattling’ sound when strumming or playing notes.
- There are ‘dead’ frets.
- The guitar is difficult to play or doesn’t feel like it used to.
- Problems with intonation
- The guitar has never had a proper set up
So what is involved in an Advanced Set-up?
Once an instrument’s basic geometry is correct then a good set-up and optimum playability can be achieved.
The advanced set-up includes:
- The string scale length is checked for correct positioning of the bridge.
- Guitars with glued in necks are checked for correct alignment
- Necks are checked for adverse upturn on the fretboard.
- A full fret level and dress (re-profiled / re-crowned and polished).
- A Basic Set-Up
An advanced set-up allows for normal movement within a 12 month period due to temperature and humidity changes.