All guitars can benefit from a proper set up; both old and new.  Changes in humidity and temperature will cause your guitar to expand and contract resulting in fret buzz or a guitar that refuses to stay in tune.  That’s why it’s wise to avoid extreme temperature changes, but even seasonal changes can lead to problems.    It’s for these reasons your guitar should receive a proper set up at least once a year.

How do I know my guitar needs a basic set-up?

  • The guitar won’t stay in tune.
  • There is ‘buzzing’ or a ‘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
  • It’s been more than a year since my last set-up

What’s involved in a Basic Set-up?

When a guitar first comes into the shop it’s given a full inspection and a detailed worksheet is produced outlining its current condition and a recommended course of action.  It’s then set aside to be properly humidified prior to any work being done.

The basic set-up includes:

  • Clean the body of the guitar and the inside (acoustics).
  • Clean and polish the frets.
  • Clean and condition the fret board.
  • Check tuning machines.
  • Check electronics (if applicable).
  • Supply and install new strings fitted according to the type of guitar and players style.
  • Adjust truss rod, as necessary setting the right amount of relief in the neck.
  • Check string height at the nut and saddle, adjusting as necessary for best playing action.
  • Intonation adjusted if possible (Not always achievable on acoustic guitars with set saddle placements).

On electric guitars, all of the above plus:

  • Pick-up heights balanced for output.
  • Locate the bridge for best intonation.
  • Check bridge radius against the neck radius and adjust if necessary.

The instrument is then left to stand for 24 hours before being re-checked and adjusted again if necessary. It is then signed off as finished.

All Set-ups come with a detailed invoice and worksheet showing the ‘before and after’ condition and measurements giving details of adjustments made.

Basic set-ups are recommended as an annual service after an advanced set up has been done.

An Advanced Set Up? Hummm… maybe I need one of those…