Guitar setup help

Discussion in 'Electric Instruments' started by wardog, Jul 6, 2016.

  1. wardog

    wardog What the gravy and cheese!!!!

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    So, I finally want to do my own setups on my collection and felt it best to ask my forum family for help.

    What do I need to do:

    Basic setup- the one where i put on strings, check neck and bridge saddle radius and string action. Tool, you guys use recommend?


    Advance setup- all the stuff in what I described as a basic setup as well as neck adjustments ( trust rod), possible nut work, and fret work. Again what tools or techniques.


    I see that Stewmac has a lot of tools for this and I am not trying to become a Luthier, just want to be able to do a good setup on my guitars and not have to rely on always going to a tech to do.
     
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  2. Dusty Chalk

    Dusty Chalk alberngruppenführer

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    Can't answer your questions, but I can get you started -- someone once recommended this set to me.
     
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  3. kes7u

    kes7u Wife's husband and Dog's dad

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  4. vchizzle

    vchizzle Birdman.

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    Honestly, all I use is a capo and a tiny 6" ruler that goes down to 1/64", a feeler gauge, and the standard PRS tools.
    https://smile.amazon.com/General-To...8&qid=1467813169&sr=1-1&keywords=ruler+6+inch
    https://smile.amazon.com/OEMTools-2...&qid=1467813363&sr=1-13&keywords=feeler+gauge

    You could get something like this I suppose, if you wanna spend the money(you'd still need the feeler gauge IMO):
    http://www.stewmac.com/Luthier_Tools/StewMac_Tool_Sets/Basic_Setup_Kit.html

    I just bought the nut files that applied to my string gauge:
    http://www.stewmac.com/Luthier_Tool...r_Nuts_and_Saddles/Double-edge_Nut_Files.html

    Not sure if these are new or if I missed them way back when I bought my files(more sizes):
    http://www.stewmac.com/Luthier_Tool...ts_and_Saddles/Gauged_Nut_Slotting_Files.html
     
  5. sergiodeblanc

    sergiodeblanc Get in, loser, we’re going shopping.

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    I agree with vchizzle and could even go so far as to say you'll only mostly need the ruler and PRS tools. There's a cool John Ingam video here:
     
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  6. wardog

    wardog What the gravy and cheese!!!!

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    i actually have that set. It is awesome. I was checking stewmac and saw their basic setup kit and was wondering if anyone uses it for their guitar setups?
     
  7. wardog

    wardog What the gravy and cheese!!!!

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    Thanks guys for the info. I will look into getting a ruler and feller gauges. I will wait for more input on the nut, maybe level this one to the tech I use.
     
  8. kes7u

    kes7u Wife's husband and Dog's dad

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    Some of it depends on what you already have. I needed the Capo and blade thickness gauges to help with neck relief. Could have used a different tool for string cutting, but nice to have everything all in one place.

    KEvin
     
  9. Michael_DK

    Michael_DK New Member

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    I use this kit as well. Very useful, gets the job done.

    I would count the truss rod adjustment as "basic setup", and the nut and fret stuff far more advanced. Adjustments can be brought back, not so much an overfiled nut or fret.

    A truss rod can't kill you. You have to be careful what you do to it (especially for old guitars where it might have set!), and always loosen and FEEL how it feels BEFORE you tighten and go in small increments. It isn't that dangerous, really. Just study how to do it for a bit. And give most necks time to settle before making the next adjustments.

    Think about what you change and how that affects all the other variables. There's a certain order to go by this stuff. Also, make all the measurements when all strings are tuned to pitch. Tune, Measure, Adjust, Tune, Measure. Repeat as needed.
     
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  10. Screamingdaisy

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    Tools required: tuner, trussed wrench, screwdriver.

    Remove the trussrod cover.

    Bridge height - With new strings, properly wound and tightened around posts tune to the pitch you usually play at. Starting at fret 13, string 6, play to fret 22. If any notes "buzz out" you need to raise the bass side of the bridge until all notes are clear. Repeat on string 1, raising the treble side to get rid of buzzes. If the string height is too great on these frets, lower the bridge until you get buzzing and raise until it stops.

    Relief - Now play string 1, fret 1 to 12 . If you have buzzes you need to increase relief (loosen the trussrod) by 1/16 turn. If you have no buzzes but high action, decrease relief (tighten trussrod) by 1/16 turn until you get a buzz, then slightly back off until you are buzz free.

    Intonation - Now set your intonation. The harmonic and the 12th fret fretted note need to be the same. If the note on the 12th fret is sharp the saddle for that string needs to be moved away from the nut. If the note on the 12th fret is flat the saddle for that string needs to be moved toward the nut.

    This is the system I follow. Unfortunately I can't remember where I got it and can't give credit. No real measurements, all done by feel. I find it works better than measuring everything since you're paying more attention to the actual guitar instead of being a slave to the ruler.
     
  11. Michael_DK

    Michael_DK New Member

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    You should always adjust the truss rod (relief) before adjusting string height. Otherwise you will likely end up compromising both aspects.

    1: Neck relief (truss rod). You judge that by capoing at the first fret, fretting at the last fret (or according to manufacturer's recommendation), ensuring there is sufficient distance between bottom of string and top of fret number 8 (or according to manufacturer's recommendation). This can be done by feel, eyeballing or feeler gauge.

    2: Bridge angle/height (depending on bridge type - stay away from bridge height adjustments on a PRS unless it actually needs it and you know what you're doing)
    3: String height (if different from bridge height)

    4: Intonation

    5: pickup heights, by ear. Go slow. Find the sweet spot for each pickup. See how the various blends/in between sounds sound like. See if you can get closer to the sweet spot for the in between positions, without compromising the "pure" pickup sounds - one pickup might be more forgiving than the other (have a wider sweet spot). Find the best compromise for what YOU play. Take frequent short breaks to avoid ear fatigue, as needed. Don't forget that volume and tone controls can make an OK compromise better.
     
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  12. Screamingdaisy

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    Action has no effect when setting the bridge height by checking for buzzes above the 13th fret.
     
  13. Michael_DK

    Michael_DK New Member

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    That is of course true (apart from freak examples where there is something screwy with the neck/rod). I might try your method next time I'm doing a setup. My tele is not very setup friendly, this might help - worth a shot :)

    So to the OP: don't mix methods unless you think about order of adjustments too :)
     
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  14. CoreyT

    CoreyT PRS Addiction

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    He he, best little toolkit.
    I have bought quite a few more tools from Stewmac too to stock up my new tech station.
    Changing strings on the new station is easy.

    The tools are not that much $$$, but the tech station was, but I have everything organized and at my fingertips.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
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  15. wardog

    wardog What the gravy and cheese!!!!

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    I have a few tools already, need to see what esle I need to get my workstation ready for setups.
    Corey, how do you like the powered string winder?
     
  16. CoreyT

    CoreyT PRS Addiction

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    I bought the winder for the SE Kingfisher bass, but have not changed strings yet on it.
    I watched the tech though we're I bought it use one when he changed out the factory strings to the Cobalts I have on there now.
     
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  17. vchizzle

    vchizzle Birdman.

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    I wish my bench at home was this organized. Mine looks like a bomb went off, which is not very "like me", but it is what it is for now. Once I get around to spring cleaning the basement, maybe I'll tidy things up a bit.
     
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  18. bodia

    bodia Authorities said.....best leave it.....unsolved

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    ummm, I hate to point this out, but you missed the window :p
     
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  19. wardog

    wardog What the gravy and cheese!!!!

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    I too have a wrecked out work area in the basement next to the furnace!!!. Reminds me of shop class in college with the noise LOL. Maybe why I like the spot so much. I guess I missed the window too on spring cleaning. Well, I will be hitting homedepot for some stuff to get my new work space in order. I did end up getting the basic setup kit from stewmac. Having a number of tools already for when I do mods, I just need to add some for setups. Still looking for more things, ( vise for general stuff not just guitar, maybe really do a rearrange on storage area to get a descent work area going in the basement. I would love to do an acoustic build kit one day.
     
  20. wardog

    wardog What the gravy and cheese!!!!

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    The guitar tech I use, swears by it. I guess with all the guitars he sees daily and the fact he builds his own basses, it's a must have
     

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