Every guitar can experience small adjustments that alter its performance and sound over time, due to factors like humidity, temperature or how often its strings need replacing. These changes could be caused by factors like humidity or temperature variations as well as whether or not its strings have been recently changed.
As with a car, your guitar requires regular care to ensure its optimal functioning; this process is known as setup.
Acoustic guitars require different maintenance than electric ones, yet still benefit from regular upkeep and setups. Even if you only play it for a few hours each week, an acoustic upkeep routine will allow it to perform at its best while helping prevent minor issues from turning into major ones that cannot be fixed quickly.
Acoustic guitars should also be tuned regularly. Even though your instrument may appear to hold tune well, if it starts shifting out of tune while playing it can be a telltale sign of a larger issue – usually caused by string size changes; but other issues could arise as well – bringing your acoustic into the shop for setup could help pinpoint its cause and solve any potential issues quickly.
Most acoustic guitarists should bring in their instrument at least once annually for professional set up, which is usually enough to prevent problems from developing which result in unsatisfactory performance and playability.
As acoustic guitars are made from wood, it is normal for them to react to changes in temperature and humidity by reacting in different ways – which can impact their action height, neck relief, fret alignment, intonation and holding pitch. A professional can often resolve such issues by adjusting nut, truss rod and bridge saddle adjustments.
As with other stringed instruments, acoustic guitars need to be tuned regularly. At least once every week is recommended; for optimal results consider scheduling routine checkups every two to four weeks depending on how frequently you play them. This will ensure accurate tuning and strings conditioned properly.
As with any product, new acoustic guitars typically need at least some form of setup when they leave their factory. This is due to shipping – often via cargo ship – before waiting in an importer/wholesaler warehouse until being ordered by a guitar shop; during this period the instrument may become susceptible to warping and shifting over time.
Electric guitars require more regular care and maintenance than their acoustic counterparts due to constant usage, increasing wear and tear on its components and leading to issues like buzzing strings, loose necks or intuned strings. A good setup can ensure smooth playback of your instrument with zero hassle – and can even help avoid embarrassing live performance miscues!
Most guitarists who regularly practice should get their instruments set up at least twice annually, particularly those who practice daily. How often your guitar needs resetting will depend on various factors including frequency of playing sessions and string changes.
Many new guitars need to be properly setup even before leaving the factory, due to some manufacturers cutting corners to keep prices low, and this resulting in guitars not properly adjusted before shipment. Temperature and humidity changes during transit also can have significant repercussions for quality and playability of new instruments.
When you bring in your guitar for professional setup, the technician will typically start by inspecting and adjusting its truss rod, tuning machines, pickup height and intonation settings. They will also clean any hardware they find as well as lubricate its nuts and saddles before polishing its fretboard – with particular attention paid to ensuring each note played is in tune with all others along its fretboard. Intonation plays an essential part in keeping every note playing properly balanced against its surrounding notes on the fretboard.
While it may be possible to do some basic setup at home, this can be hazardous for your guitar. Without experience or the correct tools and advice it’s easy to cause permanent damage – better leave this task to an experienced professional!
All fretted stringed instruments, from guitars and violins to electric guitars and bass guitars, should be regularly inspected and adjusted. This applies equally to acoustic, electric, bass and violin stringed instruments – each needing regular maintenance to bring tuning stability and proper intonation. While an acoustic may require more attention due to its thicker strings and unique construction, basic setup will help all stringed instruments perform at their best.
A professional bass guitar setup involves all of the same components as for an acoustic or electric guitar setup. In essence, this means having the instrument cleaned, its strings replaced and setting its action (the distance between fretboard and strings) at an appropriate height for your playing style by either lowering or raising saddles (Photos 15-16). Classical musicians may require lower string action while metal and rock musicians might require higher string actions to reach notes without buzzing out their strings.
String action plays an essential part in defining the quality of sound you can obtain from your bass guitar. Low string action results in thin sounds while higher action provides fuller and thicker tones. In general, for optimal tone production and playing style experiment with different string action lengths until finding one that best matches both instrument and style.
Making sure the strings are in tune is an integral component of bass guitar setup, and should be done regularly to maintain accuracy. An easy way to know if your bass guitar is out of tune is to play an note high up on the fretboard before inspecting its nut and bridge for sharp or flat spots.
If your bass guitar has become out of tune after changing strings or its action has altered significantly, or if its fretboard action feels tighter or looser than expected, a guitar setup may be in order. A basic setup typically entails general inspection, intonation adjustment, fret leveling/resurfacing adjustments, saddle height changes and height adjustments, cleaning/detail work as necessary as well as new strings/nut lubrication services to get things rolling again smoothly.
Your instrument requires regular care and maintenance – including cleanings, string changes and setup – in order to function optimally and sound great! A properly set up instrument will make playing easier while sounding even better, plus regular setup can prevent small issues from getting worse over time.
Guitars made of wood are extremely sensitive to humidity and temperature changes, affecting their necks, intonations, and playing actions. Without proper setup, an unplayable or uncomfortable guitar may make practicing music harder while potentially leading to serious damage on its own.
Setting up your acoustic or electric guitar regularly will allow for optimal playback while preventing small issues from compounding into larger ones that you might not be able to solve on your own.
Professional setup services typically cost $50; however, repairs could become more expensive if needed. To save yourself the expense and visit to a shop, consider investing in a guitar stand; this simple device can prevent leaning against objects that could throw off intonation and action of the instrument, while protecting it from falling over or being stepped on by passerby.