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Setting Up a Guitar

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How to Set Up a Guitar


This is not an easy task and should be ideally preformed by an experienced luther. The luther will normally go through a check list of tasks to be actioned in order on the guitar. These tasks are listed below.

Check the neck is straight

This is not so obvious as is may seem. As the luther generally looks down the neck from the top and then around the other way. He would be looking for a dip in the neck or in some cases a bowing. It would be also checked if there is any neck twisting. If it appears the neck is dipping then the trust rod which runs inside the neck will have to be carefully adjusted to take out any dips. There is normally an adjustment hole at the top of the neck where a key can be placed in order to adjust the trust rod.

Remove fret buzz

The neck is checked on every string and every fret to make sure there are no places producing fret buzz. This is removed by adjusting the string height. Though the string height does not want to be too high but comfortably low to allow a good fast action and ease of playing.

Stone the frets

Fret can often gain wear through time and have dips across their length. This is obviously not a good feel for playing so the luther will use a fret stone to gently take down the frets to a level height and hence remove the dips.

Intonation adjustment

If the string lengths across the fret board are not the correct length then this will cause the intonation to be out and hence cause the guitar to be out of tune in certain spots across the fret board. There are adjustment screws normally at the bridge which when turned will adjust the string length and correct any intonation faults.

Electrical test

On an electric guitar the electrical connections will have to be checked to ensure good earthing, correct wiring of all circuits and to check all joints are true. Where the guitar lead socket is placed is often a weak spot due to the mechanical stress of plugging in and removing the guitar lead, often the screws and nuts will loosen and have to be checked.


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