The Guitar Setup

Demystifying_The_Guitar_Setup_PitStop_1.jpgIf you're still a bit of a hobbyist like us, you may be unfamiliar with the need to get your guitar setup. Do you, don't you? Will it really make a difference in your playing or the feel of your new guitar? What exactly does a guitar setup entail? “A guitar setup is a series of adjustments made to an electric or an acoustic guitar to ensure proper health and playability, and is considered “basic maintenance. Performing a setup addresses changes a guitar goes through over time and returns it to its proper condition.”

So, following that little synopsis, first things first, as soon as you get a new guitar, you may as well put it on the short end of your to-do list and just get it done. The basics of a guitar setup typically entails detailing the nuances of its action and intonation. In addition, the neck will be altered in how tense it is strung and crafted.

Many of us know that intonation refers to the tone that emits from the instrument, more specifically the “accuracy of pitch”, however the term “action” is a little more mysterious. The Vault states “Action refers to the height of the strings relative to the fretboard. The higher the strings are from the fretboard, the harder you’ll have to press to fret the strings. This can seriously slow down your playing. First, measure the action at several places along the neck of the guitar to check for consistency. 5/64” is considered to be a low action, which facilitates easier and faster playing. If your action is measuring greater than that, you should consider making adjustments.“

When it comes to the frequency of need, It’s important to note that the follow-up setups will be continuous for the life of the guitar. Depending on where you live, for example if you live in a colder climate, your guitar may need to be assessed on a more frequent basis, due to the tense environment that it has been placed in. 

The Vault fills us in on how to tell when it's close to time for the revamping with “There are several telltale signs that a guitar is in need of a set-up. If the intonation is off, the action is too high, the guitar buzzes when you fret a note, strings stop vibrating and buzz as you bend them, frets feel sharp, or neck appears warped, then your guitar definitely needs a set-up.”

The good news is that a professional guitar setup is likely to run you on the maximum end of $100 and the minimum of $40. We sincerely suggest continuously investing in this little spa day for your guitar, whether it’s acoustic, electric, a gorgeous custom built piece or just a nameless acoustic guitar that’s much like a drifter. You’ll notice there’s a difference in your playing, as well as the music that is brought to life through your newly nuanced instrument.