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Setting up a guitar.

PostPosted: Wed Nov 08, 2006 11:29 pm
by todd
Need a little help.....

I've only been playing for about a year and a half, just bought my second guitar......a cheap, used Epiphone, that's probably seen better days, but that for the price and the sound which was really good.....

Anyway, I'm dissapointed with my local (i.e., 30 minute drive) guitar shop's service. They tak etoo long, and it's hard getting them to get the action just right, for what I want. Closest decent shop is 90 minutes away.

I prefer not to tear up enough guitars to self teach myself how to properly set one up. Therefore, are their any websites, books, etc. that anyone would recommend that could help me learn how to work on a guitar some. I don't need to be able to build one from a tree from the back yard, but just keeping one in optimal shape, setting up a new one (about to order a new acoustic, and don't want to take it back to this guy), etc.

Any recommnedations or do I need to just buy a handful of $20 garage sale/Pawn shop guitars and do some dissecting?

PostPosted: Thu Nov 09, 2006 12:38 am
by ricochet

PostPosted: Thu Nov 09, 2006 1:41 am
by todd
Cool stuff, much more detailed than the stuff I've found so far.

Is the procedure the same for acoustics?

PostPosted: Thu Nov 09, 2006 2:41 pm
by ricochet
The only difference is that acoustics generally don't have adjustable bridges. And you don't have to concern yourself with pickup heights.

PostPosted: Thu Nov 09, 2006 6:19 pm
by Mississippi John
Re doign work yourself.

Personally, I wouldn't worry too much about doing work on your own guitar. So long as you read up a little and be sure to take _little_ steps, you should be fine. One of the easiest action adjustments is simply to shave the saddle a little, thus lowering the action. Just take it out, shade the bottom edge with pencil, and sand until all the pencil is removed. Repeat as necessary. Replace in bridge.

sometimes you'll need to adjust the neck relief (the curve in the neck) after doing this (be sure to read about neck relief theory first) - take it easy, going only 1/4 turn at a time. If the nut becomes really difficult to turn, STOP. Above all, when adjusting the neck remember that the proper way to lower action is at the saddle.

If you do a poor job and all else fails, take it to the shop you were trying to avoid. It will probably cost the same amount to do the set up regardless fo what you did to it!

Good luck!

check out....

PostPosted: Thu Nov 09, 2006 9:36 pm
by WeirdOlAndrew

detailed instructions, with pictures, of most guitar repair and setup procedures. You'll have to judge for yourself, just how handy you are with fixing things, and what tools you have or can easily get. There's lots of sites for guitar parts and tools, google 'luthiers supplies'. some of these have helpful hints and techniques sections as well.
Down through the years I've done most of the work on my guitars myself, although some things, like neck resets, are way beyond me. I can do a good refret job, it just takes me a long time. Gotta say, though, I used to be a master machinist and I'm an amateur watchmaker, so handy and tools aren't a problem for me.

PostPosted: Fri Nov 10, 2006 2:37 am
by ricochet
Thanks for posting that, WOA. I'd meant to come back and post the link to too.

PostPosted: Fri Nov 10, 2006 2:53 am
by todd
Good stuff fellas thanks......think I'l be doing my own work from now own, unless I just happen to be near a good repairman.

PostPosted: Fri Nov 10, 2006 12:14 pm
by maxx england
One advantage is you will always have a deeply concerned worker doing the job. And he can't bull.... you either.

PostPosted: Tue Nov 14, 2006 10:21 pm
by todd
Thanks for the info fellas. I set up my first guitar yesterday.....worked out fine, sounds great.....great action.

PostPosted: Tue Nov 14, 2006 10:38 pm
by allanlummox
Just to put it out there...

I started doing some basic work on my own guitars years before I had internet access - I was lucky enough to work for a Luthier for a while, but most of the detailed instruction I gleaned from Ralph Denyer's "The Guitar Handbook" (Knopf).

My copy I bought in 1982, and today it's swathed in tape, filled with annotations, and naturally falls open to 2 pages - setting intonation and truss rod adjustment. I've done these dozens of times, but I always read through the book before I begin...

It's also got handy tips on wiring, Studio and other technical areas, and good chord diagrams (for Standard only).