Here's something some of you may find helpful in setting up your guitar. While these instructions are general guidelines, they should be able to assist you in setting up your own guitar.
First, change those nasty strings that are all limp and out of decent sound. Depending on how much you sweat and play, you may need to change your strings more frequently than others. Also, don't try to use the same strings Ed uses just because Ed endorses them. Try out several different brands and gauges over a few months to find the ones right for you. Some people prefer different brands over others, and this is because strings are a matter of personal taste. If you have a Floyd Rose
on your guitar, it is much easier to change the strings one at a time to avoid having to adjust the tension on the Floyd.
Once you have the strings changed, go ahead and tune and stretch each one by pulling up on it while running your finger under the string, starting at the bridge and moving down towards the nut.
Retune the guitar. Now check your intonation. Intonation is when the guitar can play anywhere on the neck, and stay in tune. You heard about the mathematical properties of the guitar? well, there is quite a bit more when you take into account the radius of a neck and so on, but for intonation, we want to know the distance for the string inside the nut, to the middle of the 12th fret wire, then double it to adjust the distance of the saddle... Adjust accordingly... X=Z+Y2...#$@^!
Mathematical formulas get a little complex, so you can set your intonation with a tuner. The open note on your guitar should be the same as the fretted note on the 12th fret. You can use your ear on this, but using a tuner is much more accurate.
12th note fretted:
If the pitch is a little flat, move the saddle of the string forward.
If the pitch is a little sharp, move the saddle back just a hair.
Do the above for each string.
There is a special tool to easily do this on a Floyd Rose trem because to adjust the saddles, you need to make the strings slack otherwise when you loosen the saddle, the string tension will automatically move the saddle forward.
As a general rule, I donít recommend you dicking with the truss rod
unless you are truly competent at maintaining your guitar. The reason is that if you adjust improperly, you could snap the truss rod in the neck. Then you're fucked. I am including truss rod adjustment simply because quite a few players are curious what it can do in a setup.
When you are all strung up, the strings are pulling up the neck because of tension. The truss rod helps realign the neck to counteract that tension and bring the neck back into position. Some folks argue you may have to adjust the neck frequently, but I am totally against it. Once you are set up, you really shouldn't have a need to jack with it on a regular basis. Of course, drastic temp changes or exposure to humidity can necessitate an adjustment. Use common sense, and try to avoid the truss if you can [img]images/smilies/icon_thumb.gif[/img]
Truss Rod Adjustment
Get a capo and clamp it on the 1st fret. Fret the last fret, 6th string, and measure the distance of the top of the 8th fret to the bottom of the string. You need a small ruler with small increments on it. You should have a measurement of approximately .010 inches. If you need an adjustment, GENTLY
turn the truss rod 1/4 of a turn, and check it again.
Headstock truss rod - Concave neck, turn truss rod counter clockwise. If convex, go clockwise. AGAIN, only a quarter of a turn each time.
Heel truss rod - Concave, clockwise. Convex, counter clockwise.
If you meet with resistance, stop and let a pro look at it.
String height is subjective. If you play a lot of slide (on the guitar), a higher string height is good for your playing. Many players like a nice low action on their guitar.
Whip out the handy little ruler you just used, and measure the height of the bottom of the string from the top of the fret at the 17th fret. What did you find? 1/16th of an inch is right about where you want to be. You can raise or lower the stings either at the saddle, or the pivot screws like on a Floyd. Again, this is subjective, so you may want to try to go a little higher or lower. If you try to go lower, look out for string buzz. Try out each fretted note all the way up the neck to make sure there is no buzz when going lower.
That's it! If you didn't screw up at the truss rod, your guitar should be setup like a pro [img]images/smilies/icon_jam.gif[/img]
Generally, after I setup up my guitar I don't have to do anything else, but once in a while I may have to do some MINOR adjustments after breaking in the new setup for a few days.
Disclaimer: I am not responsible if you screw up your guitar. The info is offered "as is". No warranty is expressed, implied, or available in any other manner. Capiche?