I've been so wrong (Setup)


New Member
Feb 4, 2017
France (Haute Savoie)
Since I received my first PRS (a 509), I believed that PRS guitars were somehow created to have a "vintage" feeling with an action a little bit high which seemed ok with a chunky neck (sorry, I've been raised with a IBZ Wizard neck in hand...).
So, I kept a little relief in the neck and accomodate myself with an action a little high for my taste.

Everything changed when I discovered this video :

I then created a magic tool as indicated and followed exactly this video. I have now under 2 mm of action at the 12th fret for the low E and I know that it can be tweacked to go some fraction down.

So, PRS guitars have nothing "vintage" except for the craftsmanship and the quality. They can play as any very high tech shred guitar created these days but with a classy look ;)
I have very little idea whether the setup technique is correct, but it seems pretty good. I’m not into using the green cleaning spray on the fretboard, however. Seems to me that cleaning with lemon oil (naphtha) is a safer bet, then wiping that off and finishing with what PRS uses, which I believe is a light furniture polish like Behold.
Simple green is natural, but undeluted a very strong cleaner... I use it to clean my coffee roaster. Would have never thought to use it on a fretboard. I use Seymour Duncan fretboard cleaner. Then lemon oil after its cleaned.
great thorough presentation, and now Im hungry for Olives ;)

amazon have string action gauges for cheap
this guy might not have any fear cutting strings in this brutal way, but i suggest you to put a cloth under the tail of the bridge to avoid damage on the top and maybe detune strings before cutting.
Seems to me that cleaning with lemon oil (naphtha) is a safer bet,
I don't understand the identification of lemon oil with naphtha. Are you saying clean with naphtha and then follow with lemon oil?
I don't cut them at tension because I'm too afraid of losing an eye. There's nothing wrong with intonating a guitar on the bench, good luthiers do it all the time. Intonation is based on string length, it doesn't change when you rotate the guitar 90 degrees.

The way you fret the notes when intonating may change based on position if you're not fretting the same way in both. Ideally in both you want to use just enough pressure to fret the note cleanly, no more no less for the most accurate intonation.

I use a little painters tape to secure anything that might want to take flight with no strings attached. Free lesson on my first LP with a close call that fortunately didn't leave a mark :)
I can usually set my action much lower and not get buzz, fretting out, etc., than I prefer to actually play with. I like to bend strings, and have the adjacent string able to push out of the way with my finger instead of slip under and start to add an unwanted note. But the necks can be set to almost dead straight and the action quite low, which is exactly what we like, action that can be set lower than our preference, not the other way around!
My Hawaii tech is known all over Oahu for setting the lowest possible, playable action for these cats out here. He was pretty aghast at my action height. "How do you play this thing this high", Man, I'm from Texas and we grab some meat"! To me, it is factory normal as bought and has never changed and is perfect for me. He wanted to change it so bad, but I wouldn't let him. He now knows not to bother to ask on all the marks I bring him.