Every guitar owner’s joy comes from
knowing that they are responsible for the perfect intonation of their guitars.
Everyone wants to create a powerful sound. However, how can this be achieved
while being 100% successful? This can be done by playing your instrument
perfectly in tune with every key in synchrony with the other. Setting up your
guitar guarantees that you will produce much better sound. A proper guitar set
up will have your guitar performing at its peak. The following are the steps
which illustrate how to setup your guitar:
1: Tool Preparation
The first thing to do is identify the
tools you are going to need. Some of these tools include a ruler, Allen keys, a
chromatic tuner, a truss rod wrench, and screwdrivers. Make sure to buy
high-quality tools that fit well within your budget. The main advantage of good
quality tools is that they last longer and they do not damage your guitar.
2: Ensure Your Neck Is Straight
Check the neck for any signs of curving excessively
(bowing). It said that wood produces the most wonderful sound. Wood is however
sensitive to changes in temperature and humidity. It expands and contracts
regularly. Even though these changes take place they are barely noticeable.
They can, however, affect how your guitar. The curve along the length of the
neck, also known as the relief, should be inspected for any needed adjustments.
A straight neck can be identified by using the D string as a straight edge. If
the neck is straight, there will be a small gap between the neck and the frets in
the middle of the neck. This gap ought to be big enough for a card to fit
3: Adjust the Truss Rod
If your neck is still not completely
straight, proceed to adjust the truss rod. This refers to a long metallic rod
which is fit into the neck of a guitar. The truss rod is adjusted by using
Allen Keys. It affects the curvature of the neck through either loosening or
tightening it. If the neck is back bowed then it requires some much-needed
tightening. If the neck is front bowed, then we need to do the opposite which
is loosening it a little. When the neck is back bowed, turn the truss clockwise
in careful small turns. When the neck is front bowed (relief), turn the truss
anticlockwise in small turns. Making small turns ensures that you are handling
your guitar gently.
4: Use New Strings
Replace your old guitar strings with some
new ones. After doing this you are sure to hear the difference in the sounds
you produce. You will be able to create stronger and finer tunes. As you buy
your new strings make sure to buy the ones meant for your guitar. Do not buy
electric guitar strings for your
acoustic guitar and be shocked once you get home. Newer and stronger strings
will produce strong tones. Light strings produce very weak tones.
5: Examine the Gap between the Strings and the Frets
The tool to use here is a chromatic tuner
for you to tune your guitar with. Take a look at the gap between the strings
and the twelfth fret. A fret is a raised element on the neck of a stringed
instrument. On guitars, frets are the silver strips of metal that run up and
down the whole length of most fingerboards. A fingerboard (also known as a
fretboard) is a strip of a long and thin material usually made out of wood, which
is laminated onto the front part of the neck of an instrument.
After checking the gap, you can raise or
lower it by adjusting the bolts at the bridge. The bridge is just the device
which supports the strings. Turn the bolts anticlockwise to raise the bridge
and turn the bolts clockwise to lower the bridge. Measure out the gap between
the string and the fret with a ruler. Next, check every fret for buzz.
This is the buzzing sound produced as a
result of when the vibrating part of one or more strings strikes the frets
higher than the open note. This sound is known to be annoying to the extent of
dampening a note. If by any chance you find a buzz on a fret, minimize it by
raising the bridge.
6: Set the Intonation
At this step we are still going to use the
chromatic turner but this time to tune every string. Setting your guitar up by
yourself saves you money instead of taking it to a repair shop. Setting the
intonation requires you to move the saddles either forward or backward until
every note plays in tune. Sharp notes are adjusted by moving the saddle towards
Flat notes are adjusted by moving the
saddle in the opposite direction. All you have to do is pluck one of your
guitar strings unfretted. Having done that, press the twelfth fret and pluck it
once more. If the note you’ve played shows the correct string on the chromatic
tuner, consider your intonation well set.
Importance of a Guitar Setup
A successful guitar setup involves
adjusting a guitar so that it plays and sounds at its best after being
correctly intonated. The following show what can be achieved by a setup guitar:
No buzzing at any fret.
Is easier to play.
All rough edges are
Better production of
The final step after this entire process
is to play your guitar. You will hear the difference in the sounds produced as
you play your guitar. The higher the number of times you set up your guitar,
the more sensitive you will become to your guitar’s tones. Plus, you will
always be able to do the whole set up by yourself. This will ensure that you
know how to keep your guitar in tune.