Taming up the beast

Discussion in 'Guitar Gear Talk Forum' started by yazi, Apr 29, 2007.

  1. yazi

    yazi Banned

    Ok, this is one topic that I have been personally looking forward to. What things should come under consideration when setting up the guitar? Like a checklist. And how do you ensure justice?

    and no crap guys, lets put this up for sticky!
     
  2. raj.hendrix

    raj.hendrix New Member

    okay how do you set up a guitar? and how do u know it isnt set up?
     
  3. tallkien

    tallkien DIY GURU

    It comes down to personal preference really. I prefer heavier gauge strings so if a gat has a trem the springs need to be adjusted for tension, often changing gauges can offset the intonation so I guess that would be second. Then you go onto adjust the action depending on how you like to play. If you like to play soft and fast you might want a low action. I do a lot of bending so my action can't be as low as I'd like coz I keep grounding the strings. If you have a heavy right hand and like to strum hard or need more volume you'd want a slightly higher action. Some people like a sloped action where the higher strings will be closer to the frets than the lower ones.

    Then you finally adjust your pickup heights. I start with bridge pup and then match the others for volume. This is usually done at stage volume.

    My guitars seem to always need truss adjustments when the season changes so thats something I do at least 2-3 times a year. This one is tricky and should only be done with tiny increments. If you have to do a major adjustment spread it out over a few days.

    Most importantly, get a luthier's number


    Oh and you know it isn't set up if it just sounds all wrong or doesn't stay in tune or just feels uncomfortable to play. That said Set up is subjective. Like for instance my friend had this RG550 that I played recently, he had .008 gauge strings on it and the action was really low and fast but to me the strings felt like used rubberbands, I just didn't like it, despite being able to shred like I never can on my own gat, it just didn't feel right so IMO its important to know how you like it for your kind of playing style
     
  4. Nouman011

    Nouman011 New Member

    I always adjust the truss and nut height first. And then do the trem angle, action, spring tension etc.
     
  5. laneymaney

    laneymaney Banned

    Well, this is what i would to with a two way tremolo:
    Basically, however great the company is, they can never give you what you want in a setup unless your with the tech when they do it. So take out the back plate of the guitar and keep that + screws in a safe box or something.

    Measure the action with a steel or plastic scale. Probably it will be a little high because most guitars come with higher action. Decide on what action you want. Heres some suggestions:
    1.Hard hitters: Higher Action
    2.Rythym Players : Medium Action
    3.Solo Player : Personal Preferance

    So you decide everything and get your tools ready. Take a screw driver (star) and turn the guitar over and slowly (VERY slowly) tighten the two screws holding that plate thingy, which is holding the springs...that way you can adjust spring tension.

    The basic funda is spring tension=string tension. So if you want lots of tension on your strings , there has to be a lot on the springs. As it is a floyd rose exerts a lot of pressure on the guitar. So theres a chance you can mess things up.

    If you want to decrease and increase hieght of the floyd rose (WARNING) this can be a very tricky task IMO, there are two Nut kinda things that pivot the floyd rose on either side just after the bridge pickup. These things have to be lowered/highered to get the desired action. Turn them in equals...if you turn the left nut 40Deg you have to turn the right one the same amount. That way basically ive covered most of it. Theres also a lot of stuff you need to know about the truss rod, but i dont want to get into that. That, unless you have done it many times before, should be done by a pro.

    Anyone need to know how to change strings? I could cover that with pics also!
     
  6. yazi

    yazi Banned

    Yah. Post whatever.

    And some action guidelines for guitars that you own? Like for a strat? With vintage trem?
     
  7. laneymaney

    laneymaney Banned

    I never learnt my way around the strat....i was too ignorant then. I will get some TIP pics n stuff for you guys....Keep this thread alive till i get them. Im pretty tight for time these days :(
     
  8. raj.hendrix

    raj.hendrix New Member

    arre so thats called setting up! hehehe i didnt know the technical term.
    when i got my strat besides changing to higher gauge strings, everything else was pretty cool. lot of people tell me my action is on the higher side but i like it that way. gives me a tight and crisp sound.
    @tallkien - dude, pickup height adjustment?? is that really required?
     
  9. laneymaney

    laneymaney Banned

    ^Yes, different heights give diff sounds...anyway infinities are crap so i havent bothered
     
  10. raj.hendrix

    raj.hendrix New Member

    any suggestions about fender mexi strat stock pickups?
     
  11. laneymaney

    laneymaney Banned

    what do you need to know?
     
  12. raj.hendrix

    raj.hendrix New Member

    actually i was just wondering if anyone's tinkered around with pickup adjustment in a strat..i assume that it'll give a better output?
     
  13. laneymaney

    laneymaney Banned

    i messed uup the arrangement of my slammer once. put the neck in the bridge and vice -versa...lol
     
  14. thehundredthone

    thehundredthone New Member

    If you raise the pickups too much it will damp the string vibration. You have to find a balance.

    Neck profile
    A little bow is good. Boat shaped is bad, arched is bad. Turn the nut only 1/8 of a rev each time, let the wood adjust. Like tallkien mentioned, if more is required, do it over a span of days, the wood has to adjust.

    Action
    Some strats have nuts to adjust individual string height
    Higher action is like on your acoustic guitars. Makes it tougher to bend, but gives a tighter sound (IMO)
    Lower action, well, too low and you'll be scraping the strings against the fingerboard.
    Play with your adjusted action for at least a few hours before re-adjusting it. (unless it's horribly uncomfortable)

    Intonation
    Your guitar will suck ass if it isn't intonated properly.
    Tune your guitar, then play the 12th fret. If it is sharper, you need to increase the length, so you pull the saddle towards the bridge, and if it is flat you need to increase the length, so you pull the saddle away from the bridge.

    Setting up a FR bridge
    1. First choose your action. Set it using the nuts on either side until you're comfortable. Do this first because drastic change of action affects your tuning and intonation.
    2. Decide on your tuning. Forget the crap about using the fine tuners for drop tuning. It's idiotic. Use one tuning, stick to it.
    3. Tune your guitar, go 6,1,5,2,4,3 to maintain string tension somewhat better. Remember that when you tune one string sharp the rest go a bit flat. There are plenty of guides to tuning your FR, even on this site. Don't lock the fine tuners
    4. Check your intonation - saddle towards the bridge if sharp, away from the bridge if flat. You must loosen the string fully before moving the saddle or else the saddle will fly into your eyes rendering you blind forever!.
    5. Set the spring tension - tighten the screw (on the plate) to increase the tension, loosen the screw to decrease. Do this, a little at a time, until the plate of your bridge is parallel with the body of the guitar.
    If you don't know where these screws are, do a lot of reading up, look at a lot of pictures. You don't want to screw your guitar :p:
    6. If the guitar is out of tune again, repeat the process.
    7. Lock the nut.
    8. Fine tune.
    9. Don't ever mess around with it again. :p:

    Yes, you have to tune (at least the string in consideration, to the open note in your desired tuning), check intonation, loosen the string fully, approximate the amount the saddle must move, move it, tighten string, check the intonation, if required repeat. Old strings will require more drastic saddle adjustments, hence change your strings when they misbehave.
     
  15. Nouman011

    Nouman011 New Member

    For Pickup height adjustment, I bring the pups as close to the strings as possible, or as far away from them as possible. Then, bring them up in small increments and test after each increment, untill i'm satisfied with the sound. Again, everyone has different preferences here. I go by my ear for this.
     
  16. loyal

    loyal New Member

  17. angel_of_sin

    angel_of_sin bassist.....


    and u were trying to sell at to me.................lol.................
     
  18. laneymaney

    laneymaney Banned

    i put it back after an hr though...and its not for sale n e more...its getting modded!
     
  19. yazi

    yazi Banned

    Bro, I thing bending becomes a lot easier and playing notes and repetition becomes difficult with a higher action.SRV used to do this.

    And a lower action facilitates shredding. But bends become tough. Very few metal guitarists bend.They rely more on slides and hammer ons.

    And that second paragraph needs to be edited.
     
  20. tallkien

    tallkien DIY GURU

    @raj.hendrix: I take it you've never played Bill Lawrence pickups :) They happen to be extremely sensitive to pickup height. Some people have been fiddling around with a screwdriver for over a year and can't seem to nail it.... lol.

    what can you say... except, some mothers do indeed have 'em :)

    and oh.. after one horrible experience with tulsi I've been setting up my gat myself for about 15 years now
     

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