In a world with multiple guitar geeks and nerds in existence, the word ’set-up’ is used around like nobody’s business. You could often hear it being combined with guitar terms like action, neck-relief, as well as intonation. Well, it’s alright if you have no clue what we are talking about. Think of this blog as a Google translator for all you amateur or uninformed guitar players/lovers out there. And before you know it, you will be throwing around all cool and hip guitar lingos around. But, first let’s get back to why we are here in the first place.
A set-up is defined (in the most layman and basic terms) as adjusting a guitar so that it could be played at its optimum performance. If you take your guitar in your hand, and you find it almost impossible to fret a note without an irritating buzz in the background, or maybe the strings are quite far away to even be fretted, well, your guitar needs a set-up, and that too at the earliest. So, you could either do this noble task yourself, or hire services that offer a professional guitar setup. In Melbourne, Colourtone Guitars are the best at guitar repairs and setups. They are the best guitar setup experts you could contact for your much-loved musical instrument.
Going through the steps of a guitar set-up
Well, getting to know her/his guitar is a much-needed thing for any guitar player, no matter whether s/he’s a beginner, an amateur, or an advanced player. As a guitar owner, if you are looking forward to playing your guitar, you should know that maintenance is a key factor that ensures a great set-up. You might be wondering — what is a set-up procedure in general, and could you do it yourself? Well, you may need expert help for your guitar repairs in Melbourne, or you could try your hand at it, the choice is yours. In case you choose the latter option, these are a few things you need to go through for a proper guitar set-up:
- Neck adjustment: If the neck of your guitar is as straight as it should be, you could fit in a piece of paper through the gap that is present between the strings and the fretboard. If the neck of your guitar is straight, you will be free from any buzzing sound when the strings are plugged in. But in case it buzzes when plugged in, it may be the case that your truss rod or neck of the guitar needs adjustment.
- New strings: Well, needless to say, removing your old guitar strings and incorporating new ones shall maximize your guitar’s intonation. But make sure that your strings aren’t too tight, as this will lead to a weaker tone. Your string gauge should be anywhere between the range 0.9-0.11. A 0.13 string gauge will damage your guitar’s neck and also make it quite uncomfortable to play.
- Pick-up height: The next step is to adjust the pick-up height, which could really customize the response of your guitar, especially the electric ones. For example, if you want a softer tone, you bring the pick-ups closer to the strings, and if you want a fuller tone, then you compress the strings. If you are seeking a more ‘airy’ tone, you need to lower the pickups a bit.
- Fret gap: You need to check the gap between the strings and the twelfth fret. The standard gap between the sixth strings should be approx. 2mm, and for the first string, it should be 1.5mm. Adjust the bolts situated at the bridge to make sure the above readings are confirmed. You could measure the gap between the strings and the fret using a ruler. And if you hear no buzz on the guitar, you know you have done it right.
- Intonation: Checking the intonation of your guitar should be done using a chromatic tuner. You need to just pluck one of the strings, and if the notes are played correctly on the tuner, then your guitars intonation is in place. But, if the note is sharper than expected, you need to adjust the bridge saddle, and if it’s flatter, then the adjustment needs to be done in the opposite direction. Check the intonation for all the strings.
So, these were the most essential steps that fall under the guitar set-up category; and if done wrong, could cause real issues for you while you play. But, once you have completed all of the above steps successfully, you can play your guitar at its best form. So, yeah, enjoy being the rock star you already are!