Please excuse me for the long post....

I've been having some problems with my guitar from time to time that requires setup, but every time I take it to a local tech I end up feeling like the money were wasted and not getting the result I wanted. I've been searching for too long and wasted too much money, I'm almost giving up finding a "decent" tech who really knows what he/she is doing here in Bangkok. Now it seems like my only option, and as some other guitarists around here suggested, is to learn to do the guitar setup by myself. And that's exactly what I've been thinking too, I mean, to be able to do a decent guitar setup by myself. That's quite awesome, not only it will save myself a lot of money to buy other guitar stuffs like effects or etc, I can actually set it up step by step and try it out at the same time and make sure it fits my needs however I like (I think this is one huge advantage that you might not get if you take it to a tech). And I've seem lots and lots of video tutorials on Youtube, step-by-step instructions on Google, and of course I can even ask here on the forum if I get stuck.

BUT my only concern is, as a total beginner, sad to say... but the easiest, most simple setup like changing strings, I can't even do it myself to be honest. I guess I've been relying on others too much in the past. AND I certainly don't have the money to purchase another cheap guitar for myself to mess around with. Besides, cheap guitars may not be the same setup like my Fender Stratocaster.

Long story short, my point is, I don't have the confidence to get into my expensive "Fender 57 Reissue Stratocaster Maple Neck Made In Japan Since 1993" right away with no setup experience at all, well at least to me it's really expensive, and it's my best buddy. I can't afford to make any mistakes on it. Because first of all, like I said, I'm almost giving up finding a good tech here in Bangkok. So basically no one will be able to fix the damage I have done. And second of all, I'll not have enough money to buy another one, that's for sure. So what do you guys think? Should I just go for it and risk the chance of either making my guitar worst or better? (I'm talking about stuffs like getting into the guitar and adjusting the truss rod and some major adjustments here that could really damage the guitar if it goes wrong.) Extremely tough decision for me, because if I do it right by luck it will be great, problem solved, but if I do it wrong, I'm total a dead man. LOL

BTW. If you guys have a good site that explains about guitar setup (any knowledge about guitar setup) really clearly for total beginner like me, and it worked out well for you, please share so I can take a look and try to decide if it's too complicated for me or not. Cheers : )
Unless you have really bad bow or warping in your neck you should be able to do almost all your setup on your own with a little time, patience and a little know how that is WIDELY available on youtube and internet.

Changing strings, intonation and action are all things anyone can do. Truss rod adjustment can be done as well, but not recommended if you are totally clueless.

As scary as it may seem, its pretty easy, and you will learn how your guitar "works" and will feel more confident the next time around.
Last edited by Axe Murderer at Apr 13, 2012,
It is actually hard to wreck the neck when adjusting the truss rod. You can actually let it bow (don't though) and it will be fine. There are many videos about all of that stuff. If I was in this situation I may just take it into the shop simply because I am lazy when it comes to that I just want to play.
good luck
There are lots of good information on the web about setting up guitars. I really don't see why people take them to shops in the first place; it's just a waste of money. Even shops aren't perfect. A buddy of mine had his guitar set up for drop A by a shop and the neck became warped after a few years. It's pretty easy to set up a guitar, especially simple ones like Strats, Teles, and Les Pauls. I've set my guitar up and modded it (new pup's and blocked trem) by myself and I'm not a very handy person.
Quote by francesco18
My experience :
setup by myself : crappy
setup by guitar store : slightly less crappy
setup by luthier : amazing

The luthier even explained me how to properly do some adjustments; with youtube videos and google informations I was just making a mess...

Wow. Sad to hear. I did my string changes, action and intonation on both my guitars and they were great. I even recently sold my Strat that I set up myself and the buyer remarked how well the guitar was set up.

Win some. Lose some I guess....
Check out this guys videos, its simple, and his broken english makes it even simpler: http://www.youtube.com/user/FruduaTv , even for adjustments like the truss rod

I changed the strings and did a setup on my guitar today, I'm kind of freaked out at how low I got the action to the point where I'm contemplating raising it a bit
Last edited by seljer at Apr 13, 2012,
Quote by francesco18
My experience :
setup by myself : crappy
setup by guitar store : slightly less crappy
setup by luthier : amazing

The luthier even explained me how to properly do some adjustments; with youtube videos and google informations I was just making a mess...

I can do just about as well as the average guitar store, but luthiers always do a better job. For instance, my Flying V was giving me a significant amount of fret buzz in certain places, so my reaction (and the guitar store's as well) was to simply raise the action; however, it didn't quite fix the problem. I took it over to a luthier and he immediately noted that some of the frets were uneven, and so I had to get the fretboard leveled.

In the future I will always take my guitars to him because they emerge from his shop playing like perfection.
2010 Carvin ST300C
1994 Jackson Soloist XL Professional
2008 "Jacksbanez"
2007 Gibson Flying V
2003 Epiphone Les Paul Plus

Peavey 6505+ Combo
Peavey Classic 30
Peavey Vypyr 15
Its well worth learning how to get your guitar up. Its very simple and its easy to get good at it with practice.
Roses are red
Violets are blue
Omae wa mou

Quote by Axelfox
Yes learn how. A year or two ago if my floating bridge was angled at all or even a string broke I'd take it to a tech. The local store charges 105$ for a setup and restring, with cleaning.
The guitar was 425$ish. Well 7-8 setups later I was broke and had a go at it myself and have never looked back. I've completely rebuilt/painted/wired/etc 2 guitars now, both with trem bridges. Any major issues I was unsure on were answered very quickly by Jenny (JJ from eg setup sticky thread).

Tl;dr do it. Start with something relatively simple like a restring and then learn how to fix whatever else your guitar needs. Also read the setup sticky, its good.
I love my PRS.

Doesn't stop me setting it up though.

A guitar isn't made to be a 'delicate instrument' and if they were the average gigging guitarist would probably go through about 20 a year if he played regularly

A guitar is meant to be able to withstand bumps, being dropped, having someone sweat over it. Thats why they have laquer on them to prevent these problems being visible otherwise we'd see guitars with flaking paint in a week and have horrible buckle rash instantly.

Get stuck in, your guitar is precious to you yes but its by no means some squier bullet. From your point of view, you have an advantage, because you have a guitar which was well built with good quality parts and a good truss rod.

Its a hella lot cheaper too, but imo get some good tools. Getting the right allen keys and hex wrenches will make your job so much easier. Look at what you need, look up the specs for holes online and just research it. You'll learn a lot about your guitar, and probably won't be afraid of setting it up once you get the know how and understand it + do it a few times.
Upgraded HSS USA Fender American Series Strat
G&L USA 30th Anniversary Legacy
Laney Lionheart 20 112
Generic Boss DD-3
Blackstar Ht-1
and an old Beaten up dunlop Mr.Crybaby.


Abnormal Super Loud Buzzing Problem
I have no problem with the 60 cycle single coil hum, because when I play on a decent amp that has a ground wire. The hum would be barely noticeable while playing. However, something wrong about my Stratocaster that once in a while the buzz would go extremely loud in "All five switch positions". Even positions 2 and 4 that should act something like a humbucker has the exact same amount of extremely loud annoying buzz comparing to positions 1, 3 and 5. I even changed to a new set of Lindy Fralin Blues Special pickup recently that has what they call the "reverse wound". And this super loud buzzing noise problem still continues to occur very often. It's like, I plug my guitar into the amp, any amp, I'll hear these 60 cycle hum that seems absolutely normal and doesn't bother me much, but a few minutes later, the super loud buzzing noise would just suddenly come out of nowhere that I can't even hear my playing clearly. Even if I try to point the guitar in different directions the amount of super loud buzzing noise is still exactly the same. It wouldn't decrease at all. I've been experiencing this problem continuously since I bought the guitar second-handed. It's getting really annoying. What do you guys think? Is it loosen wire inside that should be solder again? (BTW. what are some ways to decrease buzzing other than changing to humbucker pickup / changing the plate? Is shielding going to help much in reducing hum?)

Abnormal Super Tight Strings Tension
"I used to be able to bend in tune", and the .10 gauge strings on my Stratocaster were a bit loosen that I can bend comfortably in tune for hours of playing. However, after I change to a new set of Lindy Fralin Blues Special Pickup recently, the tech changed the strings to new ones and might have done something with the setup as well, the strings tension becomes extremely tight now that I can barely bend in tune and my fingers get killed very fast. Even when I go back down to .9 gauge strings which should be relatively easy to bend. I really don't think it's my lack of practice problem, because I've been playing for a pretty long time already, and I practice very often. Point is, I used to be able to bend in tune, I still can now, with other guitars, except mine... something is wrong with the setup...
For the Abnormal Super Loud Buzzing Problem. Basically, I'm getting two kind of buzz at the same time, and if you imagine two kind of buzz coming out together at the same time it does sound very loud and annoying. The first type of buzz I'm getting is not so loud and only appears in position 1, 3 and 5. In position 2 and 4 with the reverse wound, it's almost silent, the buzz can be barely heard. I believe this type of buzz is the normal 60 cycle hum single coil hum, which I don't mind at all, I understand that's just how single coil pickup acts, there's no way for it to be totally silent without any buzz. The second type of buzz I'm getting appears in ALL five positions. And it's MUCH louder than the first type of normal buzzing sound. And this type of buzz is not always there like the first type, it comes out once in a while. However, what I forgot to mention in the previous posts is that, when I touch the strings or the cable's metal part with my hand. This second type of super loud buzzing noise will be gone and only left with the first type of buzz. Which someone mentioned as well: "If it's stopped by touching the strings with your hand, it's likely to be a general shielding problem." So my conclusion is my Stratocaster probably has a loosen wire (Although giving the guitar a bit of a shake didn't seem to have an effect?), and it's pretty bad, the buzzing is really loud, if I let my hands off the strings while playing, I think that buzz is going to scare people and at the very worst ruin the song lol. Now I know where the problem is for the abnormal super loud buzzing, I believe? How do I know which is the loosen wire that needs to be solder again? And I'm not so sure if I can fix this one on my own...

For the Abnormal Super Tight Strings Tension. I used a guitar tuner so I'm pretty sure it's in tune, and I'm still using DAddario as always. Yes my Stratocaster has a tremelo bridge but I don't have a tremolo and never used it before, I don't know how to find out if it's a locked down bridge though? If it's locked, does that mean I have to unlock it? I'm still trying to find out how to loosen up the tremolo bridge and raising the action to see if it solves the problem.

BTW. Thankfully, yesterday I was introduced to a guitar tech by another foreigner guitarist that also lives in Bangkok. He gave me the tech's number & e-mail and said that the tech has helped him with some construction and repair issues and is a guitar builder himself. I e-mailed the tech just asking him if he could do some shielding like this for me: http://www.artandtechnology.com.au/guitar/shielding-strat.html ,and he replied "shop open tuesday we have copper tape also carbon powder, but im an electronic engineer many fact are not like those webpage said believe me." Hmm he sounds like he knows what he's doing eh? lol I hope... I'm thinking I should still definitely at the very least learn how to change strings myself. But perhaps I should mention the two main problems I have to the tech and have him figure out where the loosen wire is and solve the tight strings tension problem for me? Hesitating... I'm just praying and hoping this time I'm not going to end up feeling like money wasted again like always lol. Oh and, these kind of problems that I have aren't huge problems right? They shouldn't cost much if I let the tech fix it right?
The kind of buzzing that randomly shows up may be your mobile phone recieving/sending signals from/to the antenna tower. If you have one try placing it on another room (or in the same room on a metal surface also seems to mitigate this noise)
Depends, do you want to spend a nauseating amount of money for something you can learn to do in 30 minutes?
Spin 'round carousel when your horse isn't screwed in.

My band:
Fractured Instinct
(For fans of Death/Groove/Prog Metal)

Ibanez RGA42E
Ibanez S420
LTD H-301
Ibanez RG520
Peavey Predator USA
Douglas Grendel 725
Line 6 Pod HD500X