#1
Hey everyone!
New guitar day for me! My Sterling Music Man JP100 came today, and immediately I unpacked it and started playing. Obviously it wasn't in tune, couldn't really expect that and I didn't. The first thing I did thereafter was to check for basic setup-stuff.
The first note I played I noticed fretbuzz. Then I started checking the intonation, and it's not perfect. The fretbuzz might be involed, but moving up the neck on the low E string around the octave (12th fret) goes a little flat, I checked with a tuner to be sure.
The action on the guitar is okay, and definitely lower than my previous one, which is good. What would you say the maximum height on the action should be? From the 12th fret and onwards?
Another thing I noticed was that some of the tuner-kobs are much looser than the others, which I thought was a flaw on my old guitar. Is this common? They're not loose in the sense that they wiggle, but they are loose when turning/tuning the string, making it seem less likely to stay in tune.
This is in fact only my second guitar, but I've played several different ones with band-practice and what not. It's safe to say that I'm a little bummed everything is not perfect, was I having too high expectations?
I would really love to hear you opinions on this, since I have a 7 days money-back warranty.
Another very helpful thing would be to list some things that I need to check, before (if) I send it back. It can be everything really. What do you ALWAYS check on a new guitar?
Also, this is the first guitar I've had with a tremolo, so there I'm basically lost. I have no idea how to check if it's flawed.

The high-fret access is great (really had my problems with that before), and the tone is also pretty decent for random pickups. And overall the guitar seems pretty sturdy.

I really hope you can help me! Every helpful comment is appreciated.

Best regards
- Kris
#2
Kris,

Congrats on the new guitar! Sterling has come a great way in quality and is definitely getting a buzz for being a great lil' budget company. I have a Stingray Bass from them that's absolutely fun to play.

For your situation, instead of returning it and waiting, I'd try doing a setup on it. Doing your own setups is a really valuable skill that you can actually take with you and turn to cash when you get good enough to do it for others. Scour youtube for some good videos. It doesn't take very many tools at all.
OBEY THE MIGHTY SHITKICKER
#3
I've gotten into the habit of setting aside up to $200 for a Good Initial Setup when I get a guitar that's new to me (used or new). It may not need that, but my experience has been that most manfacturers do a crappy (or no) setup on new guitars and that most owners who think they know how to do setups of their own gear....don't.

This has been true pretty much across the board; a brand new $4K+ Gibson that was supposed to have taken a trip on Gibson's own PLEK machines had a case of the Gibson Hump and needed a PLEK run at Gary Brawer's. A $200 B-stock Agile was excellent, except for a flyer fret or two. We superglued *all* the frets, ran it on the PLEK, and it's been an outstanding player ever since.

About the only new guitars that haven't needed work have been Carvins; they arrive from the factory in tune, intonated and with near-perfect action (assuming you've accurately told them what you want). I was *very* surprised when a recent JTV-89F purchase arrived the same way; no buzzing frets, very low action and in tune. I think that's because these were fresh off the boat and had just been updated (software) at the Line 6 plant, and I'd literally had mine mailed from Line 6 to the GC Distribution Center and then straight to the Pasadena GC.

Ratty tuners shouldn't happen. But you need to put new strings on it (these will go out of tune if not properly stretched), set the intonation, set the action, check the pickup heights, etc. If you don't know how to check understring radius, etc., either learn or visit a really good tech.
#4
But is it really common practice that you got to give a completely new guitar a setup?
I mean. The guitar was on discount, but originally the guitar is worth £600, so wouldn't it be to expected that the guitar had no fretbuzz and great intonation?
#6
$200 is crazy, any shop should do a setup free if they sell you a new guitar, online is risky in many ways, I always prefer to see a guitar before I buy.


Setups change with temp and humidity, depending when/where it was built, it could have left the factory perfect and arrived way out
Last edited by Tempoe at Nov 21, 2013,
#7
Yep. Ideally it would be great to play the guitar before buying, I doubt anyone would argue otherwise. The problem is that I live in Denmark, and the prices in the stores are often much more expensive that what I can get online from Germany or England. Another issue is that we're a small country, so the selection is pretty bad. Fenders and Les Pauls mostly.

I have a rookie-question: Is it normal that the action is gradually increasing towards the higher-frets, or should it remain the same everywhere on the fretboard? I would assume an even level is to be preferred, but I've seen many guitars where that wasn't the case.
#9
What people pay for their setups is not really helping me, and depending on where you live the prices will differ.
I will try doing a little setup of my own and adjusting the truss-rod a bit. Everything I've read leads to the neck being too straight or back-bowed.
However, I'm also getting fret-buzz at the first fret low E..
#10
Quote by Tempoe
$200 is crazy, any shop should do a setup free if they sell you a new guitar, online is risky in many ways, I always prefer to see a guitar before I buy.


Setups change with temp and humidity, depending when/where it was built, it could have left the factory perfect and arrived way out


Most of that figure was for the PLEK process & not a standard setup. $200 for PLEK is actually a very fair price form what I understand.
Moving on.....
#11
Quote by KrisHQ

I have a rookie-question: Is it normal that the action is gradually increasing towards the higher-frets, or should it remain the same everywhere on the fretboard? .


It should remain even. Sounds like you just need a truss rock adjustment, possibly a shim if it's a bolt-on neck.
OBEY THE MIGHTY SHITKICKER
#12
Honestly, setup will be wonky most of the time. Guitars typically go through a lot from completion to your door unless it's custom and made somewhere near you. If your guitar is made in Indonesia, it likely stays in the place it was made for awhile. Then it's sent to the distributor who keeps it for awhile. Then the reseller gets it and holds onto it until someone buys it. Then you finally get it. During this process, it has to travel a few times. It goes through so many changes in weather and humidity that it could have had a perfect setup overseas that was ruined by the process.