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jj1565 06-07-2007 09:08 PM

The ULTIMATE Guitar Setup Q&A thread & how to string a guitar
pretty simple. if uve got a guitar setup question, feel free to ask here.
so far, Madpickin and i have been able to check in daily for questions.

all i ask, if you dont know the answer, or if you arent 100% sure, then dont post here.
regulars will be checking this thread often, so no spam please.

if u have a problem or question involving:
action, fret buzz, intonation, neck angle (truss rod), bridge lifting, faulty input jacks, tuning stability, bad switches, trems, nuts, dented or dead frets, ect, this is a good place to post.

ok good luck, let's see how this works.
good luck, jenny. :cheers:

for FLOYD QUESTIONS check out the New Sticky at the top of the page :cheers:


Some tools you can start Collecting for your setup kit.
- A small plastic tool box.
- An electric tuner
- String winder / cutter tool
- A capo, not a bad investment if you play anyway.
- A universal Allen tool, in metric and in inches.
- An accurate, high quality 6 inch metal ruler with 64's and 32nds increments.
- Small screw drivers and Micro screwdrivers.
- Set of feeler gauges, .009 to .018. and metric. auto parts store.
- planet waves headstand, neck support.
- roll out mat, pad or rug.

- electrical tape, duct tape.
- soldering iron kit. ~35W, something that comes with a heat clip and stand.
- 60/40 solder.

thanks Zep_shizzle for the tool kit idea.

Sid suggested i add a few pictures, and some info in the first posts that might help.
this is still a Q and A, so feel free to post if you have any questions. :cheers:

Adjusting Action, fret buzz, dead notes
on a TOM:

detune a little,

loosen the screws at the top of the bridge posts,
(some TOMs don't have screws on top)

that should loosen the thumb screws enough so you can spin them up or down, (thumb screws pointed to by red arrows)

then tighten it all up again. questions? please post.

Strat style:

using a tiny allen wrench on the two pegs, front face of each saddle. lower them to raise an individual string. questions about keeping saddles level? please post.

if your trem bridge is lifted after changing string gauge

tighten the trem screws and / or add springs. dont put too much stress on those screws. not sure how to arrange the springs? please post.

if your output jack is loose, or output is cutting out and it's not your cable

Neck Relief:
Adjusting your neck
This is not action adjustment. That's done at the bridge.
A neck adjustment usually helps when a bridge adjustment can't get the the job done like: strings not low enough, or if you have fretbuzz that doesn't go away.

Please do not turn your truss rod without posting first. But here's a good way to see if you might need a neck adjustment.

with a balanced bridge...
fret the Low E on the first fret.
then - at the same time,
fret the Low E on the last fret, where the neck and body meet. ~19th fret.

with both places held, look at the middle frets, 7-9th

If the string lays on the fret wire there, you probably do not have enough neck bend.
If the string is more than a credit cards thickness up from the wire there, you probably have too much.

ideally, see if a thin-medium pick fits in the middle gap.


SETTING INTONATION: from icepoint...
Fine tuning String Length Makes Sure that your guitar plays in tune all the way up and down the neck.

Using an electronic tuner, tune your guitar.
One string at a time, play the harmonic at the 12th fret and then play the fretted 12th fret note.

If the fretted note is sharper than the harmonic, increase the string length slightly until both notes register the same on your tuner.
If the fretted note is flat compared to the harmonic shorten the string length slightly until both notes register the same on your tuner.
Repeat the procedure on all strings.

just to add, if you can't get the harmonic to match the fretted 12th, compare the
open string note and the fretted 12th note.
be sure to tune the open string after each intonation screw adjustment.

ANOTHER WAY TO Explain Intonation:
-Play the harmonic at the 12th fret, listen closely to the resultant pitch
-Now play the same note by fretting the note at the 12th fret. The two notes should match exactly if the intonation is correct.
-If the fretted note sounds sharp, then adjust the bridge saddle so that it moves back away from the fingerboard.
-If the fretted note sounds flat, then adjust the bridge saddle so that it moves towards the fretboard.

- again, tune up the open string note after every screw adjustment.

thanks for suggestions 311!

intonation screw #2 in this strat pic:
TOM intonation screw pic:

Adjusting pickup Height
=Blue lines in pic.
small turns, don't dont want to unscrew the screw from the pup.

too high and you might get a muddy tone. (and sustain loss)
too low and you might get volume loss.
just right for extra bite. yes, the pup can be tilted closer to thick strings for more bass, closer to treble side for more treble. some poles, with screw heads are adjustable for tone "fine tuning". dont go lower than flush to the pup.

depends on your preference.

Questions about anything? please post :cheers:

jj1565 06-07-2007 09:20 PM

how to string tutorial, also covers acoustic and slotted tuners



you string through the bridge and lay the string along the board.
it will be long and way past the tuner in the headstock.

you measure 3" past the tuner and bend the string there.
that kink in the string is a "MARK".

put the string through the hole in the tuner,

the string will be floppy, so hold it while you wind up. each wind under the first.

you should get 2-3 winds around the tuner before the slack picks up,
and the string feels tight. (use a friend's hand for help until you get the hang of it.)

clip off excess.

also, a helpful "How to Lock a String in place Picture"

thanks Ippon :)

All Work Below Done By MRFLIBBLE!

How To Restring a Guitar

The problem
Lots of people here have beginner or intermediate-level equipment, and they have problems with keeping their guitars in tune. Often they blame the tuners. Sometimes they blame the bridge. Slightly more experienced people will blame the nut.

However, the vast majority of tuning problems come simply from the guitar not being restrung in the correct way.

If you have something like a cheap copy of a Floyd Rose bridge then that will often be the cause of tuning problems. If you have a regular Stratocaster bridge and you've been trying to do Eddie Van Halen dive bomb stuff on it then that will also be a cause of tuning problems. If your guitar's nut or bridge is clearly falling apart then that will be why your guitar won't stay in tune.
When it's a case of "my guitar won't stay in tune but everything looks fine", it is almost always because you've not restrung it correctly.

The solutions
There are two ways to go about fixing this problem:

1. Buy locking tuners for your guitar. This is the lazy way to do it and frankly I don't see the point. It'll save you a few minutes of time but it costs money and means modding the guitar (and if you're someone who can't change strings correctly then I'm not sure you should be thinking of changing any hardware).
2. Learn how to restring the guitar properly. This is free, it's easy once you get the hang of it and it requires to modifications to the guitar so you can do it to any guitar any time.

This guide will therefore show you how to do #2.

So, how to restring a guitar correctly

I apologise for my crappy MSPaint diagrams. Hopefully they give you a good enough idea until I can get my video sorted out.

This is the key I'll be using throughout the guide, read it and make sure you know which side is 'outside', what I mean by 'top tuner hole', etc.
And yes, I am using a bright blue line to indicate where the string is. It just looks clearer this way.

Step 1:
Stretch your string. There's no real wrong way of stretching a string. Just get some of the 'spring' out of the string so it's easier to handle while you're restringing the guitar since the string will have been coiled up in it's packet for a while and that can make it hard to bend the right way.

Step 2:
Remember to only do one string at a time, and on a 3-a-side headstock (like you get on Gibson/Epiphone instruments), make sure you work from the 'outside' strings inwards; i.e. do the low E string, then the high E, then the A, then the B, then the D, then finally the G string. You do it in this order so you maintain the best tension for the neck and strings all the way through the restringing process. If you restring a guitar with a flat headstock and 6-in-a-line tuners (like on Fender instruments), you just go from the lowest string to the highest string in order (low E, A, D, G, B then high E).

Step 3:

Detune then cut the old string off, and set the tuner it was in so that the holes in the tuner post are parallel to the neck. This means if you're looking at the headstock front-on, the holes in the tuner post will be at the top and bottom, not the sides.

Step 4:
Thread the new string through your bridge. How you do this depends on the type of bridge your guitar has, but you can't possibly mess this part up whatever it is. If you don't even know how strings go through your bridge then you should just give up and take the guitar to a store to be restrung instead.

Step 5:

Bring the string up the length of the body towards the headstock and feed it through it's slot in the guitar's nut. Don't worry about it staying in the nut all the time, so long as it stays in there for the next step.

Step 6:

Take the string up through the nut slot and curve it round from the 'inside' and down through the top hole in the tuner peg. Which side is the 'inside' and 'outside' depends on which tuner it is. If it is the low E, A or D, then the 'inside' is on the right and the 'outside' is on the left. If it is the high E, B or G strings then the 'inside' is on the right and the 'outside' is on the left. If your instrument is left-handed then you reverse these directions.
At this point you also need to guess how much of the string you need to use. It's hard to tell with this and every brand of string and every scale length of guitar and tuner style is different, so it's just something you'll get used to guessing as you restring your guitar more and more. All I can advise for guessing the string length is when you're first threading the string through the top tuner hole, try and leave enough slack string so that it can be wound around the tuner peg 2-3 times for the lowest three strings (E, A and D) and 3-5 times for the highest three strings (G, B and E). Again, there's no exact measurement or guide for this, it's just something you've got to guess roughly at. You'll get used to knowing how much slack string to leave once you've done this a few times.

Step 7:

With the string now coming out through the 'bottom' hole of the tuner (going back towards the neck), curve it around the outside of the tuner (so it is now pointing 'up' away from the neck again).

Step 8:

This is the tricky part. Take the end of the string and loop it under the string where it first came through the 'top' tuner hole. I know that might sound confusing but there's not much of a better way to explain it. Hopefully the pictures help. Pull the end of the string so it now comes out 'above' the... string. Yeah like I said, confusing to explain in words but hopefully the pictures can help.

Step 9:
With the string now looped under and up around/over itself, hold the end of the string fairly tight and start to wind the tuner. For the low E, A and D strings, you want to wind it counter-clockwise. For the G, B and high E strings, wind it so it moves clockwise. If your guitar's headstock is straight with all the tuners on the same side ('6-in-a-line') then you should turn all the tuners anti-clockwise.
Of course if your guitar is a left-handed guitar (or you have a 'reverse' headstock on a right-handed guitar) then you should switch these directions around.

Step 10:
It is very common for the string to come out of it's nut slot while you're winding the tuner. Don't worry about this. The thing you do have to make sure of is that the string doesn't 'spring' up off the tuner peg. Because of the way the string is looped in on itself, it will want to jump around and move until you've wound the tuner a couple of times. You've just got to keep a firm grip and keep an eye out if the string begins to move. What I usually do is I keep a finger resting on top of the tuner peg, that way no string can pop off over it. If the string does happen to pop off out of place, sometimes you can force it back over the tuner peg, though often you'll have to take the string off and start again with a brand new string. Luckily it's not hard to keep the string in place anyway, just don't rush things and it shouldn't move much, if it does look like it'll move at all then just keep a finger pressed down on it. If you're really struggling, try getting a second person to hold the string in place around the tuner post while you turn the tuner.

Step 11:
After you've turned the tuner a couple of times, you can probably take your hand away from the string on the tuner as it is now 'locked' in place. From now on use your hands to keep the string in it's nut slot, and keep winding until you are roughly in-tune.

Step 12:
Cut off any excess string, get it in tune and you're done.

Also to add, in case anyone doubts my restringing method:
This is the method of restringing that Gibson Custom Shop, Gibson USA, Fender Custom Shop, Fender USA, ESP Custom Shop, ESP Japan and Gretsch USA all recommend for restringing a guitar, and it's how they all string their guitars during the factory set-up too. This really is the best, most effective and fool-proof way of restringing any guitar, as recommended by the best guitar manufacturers in the world.

__________________________________________________ _____

again, any questions, feel free to post.


jj1565 06-07-2007 09:22 PM

Stop Gounding Noise

quick way to get rid of unwanted buzz.
the kind that stops when you touch metal on the guitar.

if you dont have time to open the guitar to look for a loose ground wire,
alligator clip a wire to the bridge, and tuck the other end, with metal loop into your waistband to touch skin and stop hum while you play.

if your guitar falls out of tune or won't intonate

-make sure the strings are fresh.

-make sure you only have a couple of wraps around each tuner.
try using one of the guides above.

-lube all contact points, so the string is free to move. you don't want it to snag.

- if it's a trem bridge, make sure the bridge is balanced, or flush with the body of the guitar.

if you dont plan on using your strat style trem
and want to block it. here's a good pic from fretnotguitar.

this is just a block of wood, cut to size, wedged into either side of the bridge.
most trems don't need to be blocked. with a little work balancing, you can get
trem to stay in tune.

thanks for the suggestion squierLolz!

How to Clean a Fretboard!

-Maple board- don't use lemon oil.
maple boards are already finished, much like painted surfaces.
smearing oil on the board won't condition and might stain the wood.

for maple you'll want to use a polish, or a damp rag.

-Rosewood Board-use a product similar to dunlop lemon oil. (maybe a synthetic linseed oil) be careful with discarded oil rags.

don't use silicone products found around the house.

Again, Any Questions on above tips, just post!


thedude051 06-07-2007 09:26 PM

Originally Posted by jj1565
you need to flip the guitar over, open the cavity bahind the switch and hold the back of the switch, while u tighten it on the front.
letting it spin will rip off wires.

adding a gripping washer will also help.

Thank you. I should have asked here before I tried to tighten it without opening up the back cavity beacsue I was playing just 10 minutes ago, and when I was using it as a kill switch, I noticed it is making a weird crackling noise, and the kill has gotten weaker. This never used to happen and it used to sound good when I did it. I double checked my second pickups volume wasn't on etc. So did I possibly rip the wires already?

jj1565 06-07-2007 09:29 PM

loosened them is my guess.
i suggest u add a .10cent gripping washer, as the nut is getting stripped.
and possibly pick up a soldering iron. and note where those wires lead, should u need to resolder them. $8.

instructions how to solder are on the packet.

also, im not dissing it, but the lp100 isnt made for rough play.
eventually a new switch will be needed. $10.

thedude051 06-07-2007 09:36 PM

Originally Posted by jj1565
loosened them is my guess.
i suggest u add a .10cent gripping washer, as the nut is getting stripped.
and possibly pick up a soldering iron. and note where those wires lead, should u need to resolder them. $8.

instructions how to solder are on the packet.

also, im not dissing it, but the lp100 isnt made for rough play.
eventually a new switch will be needed. $10.

Ya, tell me about it. I already had to replace the tuning keys on it, and the input jack was hanging by a thread until my dad had to take it apart and tighten it. Now the pick up switch....Arrrgghh. Where does it end..

jj1565 06-07-2007 09:37 PM

yeah sorry. they should really discontinue that model, imo.

anyway, ive seen epi switches snap right off before so be warned. :cheers:

kai29 06-07-2007 09:46 PM

what is bridge lifting

jj1565 06-07-2007 09:48 PM

sometimes with a trem bridge, a change in string gauge will pull the bridge up away from the body.

this can cause tuning issues.

thedude051 06-07-2007 09:55 PM

Hi, I have a question about two guitars. My dad's Gibson LP Custom 57' reissue and my 100 LP 100. I like really like the feel of my dad's guitar, partly because of the setup. Is there anyway I can maximize the playing on my guitar with proper setup techniques? If so, what are some bang for the buck techniques that are easy to do? I change my strings regularly, and clean and polish the fretboard. But I know nothing about tuning the bridge etc.

jj1565 06-07-2007 09:58 PM

well hard to compare the two guitars, im sure u know.

but if u want to most out of the lp100, ull want to adjust the action, so it feels low enough to run up and down easily, but still high enough so there are no dead frets. or fret buzz.

also, adjusting the pickup heights cant hurt.

dudeman, please stop spamming ok, great thanks.

mrrman 06-07-2007 10:06 PM

What are the steps to correct fret buzz? Where do you start? Adust the truss rod? What is the typical distance that the strings should be above the frets?

jj1565 06-07-2007 10:12 PM

where is the buzz? what strings and frets?

no, u dont start at the truss rod.

jackal20 06-07-2007 10:13 PM

Originally Posted by mrrman
What are the steps to correct fret buzz? Where do you start? Adust the truss rod? What is the typical distance that the strings should be above the frets?

start with adjustments at the bridge, the truss rod should not be touched unless absolutely necessary as it is easy to screw up. You bridge should either be able to raise and lower via screws as a whole unit, or it has individual saddles for each string with small hex sockets that can be adjusted with an allen wrench. Typical height is whatever feels confortable sans fret buzz :liplick:

EDIT: I actually remembered a question I had for myself as well :) . I was considering changin my guage from 10-46s to 11-49s on my guitar that came standard setup for 10s. Would I have to have the truss rod adjusted for the extra tension or does a 1 guage increase not require it. Thanks.

lua4x 06-07-2007 10:42 PM

2 things.

When i turn my tone knob it crackles and such how do i fix.
Second, How do you lower action?

jj1565 06-07-2007 10:45 PM

ur tone pot is dirty. you can try pot cleaner with lube. shooting some in the pot while turning the knob can clear it up.
but a can of that stuff costs about $10. and u can get a new pot for as much.

and u can lower the saddles by using a tiny allen wrench to adjust the two pegs on the front of each saddle.

pretty sure uve got this type of bridge...

if u are desperate and have WD40, u can try shooting some of that into the hole between the pot and the guitar wall. in the guitar cavity. that might also clear up the noise. it's not as good as the cleaner, but if u were going to swap out the pot anyway, it's worth a shot. just make sure you use a small amount and that the pot is dry, before u turn it back on.

hendriko 06-07-2007 10:48 PM

great idea jenny :golfclap:

mr. riff 06-07-2007 11:14 PM

Hey I got a problem. I just switched the strings on my guitar (see sig) to Ernie Ball Light Top/Heavy Bottoms (10 - 52) so that I could get some lower tunings. But I get a crap load of fret buzz. I adjusted the bridge (a Floyd Rose Licenced Trem) to a reasonable height and messed with the trem springs in the back of the guitar but I can't get rid of all the fret buzz.

Also, on another note, I read that Ernie Ball slinky strings are bad for floating trems because of their elestacicity. Can anyone confirm this?

jj1565 06-07-2007 11:15 PM

where is the buzz? what frets and what strings?

also, as far as the type of strings being bad for a guitar... it might just make it harder to keep it in tune.

mr. riff 06-07-2007 11:22 PM

Around the first frets (really bad) and second frets (not so bad).

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