How to setup a guitar

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How to setup a guitar
« on: August 19, 2010, 11:55:37 am »
by Paul Gian

How to Setup a Guitar â€" Set Your Guitar to Rock

A guitar is like a machine which requires servicing from time to time; hence it is very important to know some of the basics on how to setup a guitar. Setting up a guitar is no rocket science, but only if you know what you are doing and understand as to when your machine needs a trip to a repair shop or luthier. There are five basic steps involved; changing or adjusting the strings, adjusting the bridge and intonation, adjusting the truss rod, setting the string height (action) and adjusting the pickup height

Many players tend to ignore the importance of the strings, but in order to achieve optimum output it is essential to change the strings on regular basis. If the strings have dirt or rust spots on them, then you need to install a new one ensuring that they are properly stretched and thereafter tuned to pitch. In case you do not require new strings, then adjust the action by using an Allen key. The next step is bridge adjustments and intonation; after tuning the instrument open the E-string and listen, then fret the 12th fret and listen carefully again. If the tune is sharper on the 12th fret, then adjust the saddle on the bridge by moving the saddle away from the fret board; if the tune is flat, then move the saddle towards the fret board.

Next you need to check the neck relief or the extent to which the neck is bowed. If the neck is under bowed, then you need to tighten the truss rod by rotating the Allen key clockwise. Incase the neck is over bowed then loosen the truss rod by rotating it anti-clockwise. The fourth step is to adjust the string height or action; to do so check the gap between 17th fret and bottom of the string. To lower the action, rotate the Allen key on the bridge clockwise and anti-clockwise to make the action higher.

The final procedure is to adjust the pickup height; this can be done by either tightening or loosening the screws on either sides of the pickup. Tightening the screws lowers the pickup, giving you less tone; whereas loosening the screws raises the pickup leading to more tones.

These basic instructions on how to setup a guitar if followed properly and responsibly will help you tremendously in understanding your instrument and also saving some of your money. It also helps you in determining your personal choice of settings and if rightly done, then you and your guitar will be all set to rock.