Slide: Save Money On Set-Up

So you decide one day that wanna learn slide? Here is a small guide to help you properly set up your guitar for it.

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So you decide one day that want to learn slide. Ok easy enough. You go buy a small hand book on it and you get a slide. You come home open the book and realize that you can't play slide with your action being so low. Alright, so you now know that you are officially screwed. To adjust your action you need, normally, to take your guitar to the shop where the guitar tech says that he has to do a whole set-up because everything is out of whack. And there goes $120 down the drain. Also, you would have to leave the guitar there for a week or more. No guitar. No money. 2 weeks. No f--kin way. All because of a small action adjustment. So here is what to do instead. Take your guitar to the shop. Instead of asking the tech if he can adjust the action, ask what size allen wrench you need for the saddle screws. Usually good shops will have spairs of every kind around. Most Strats and Teles need a 1 1/2 milimeter wrench. Les Pauls, all you have to do is twist the knobs on the tune-o-matic. A wrench will usually cost about $1. Now go home and adjust the screws to the height you want. Make sure that each screw is adjusted the same amount so that the saddles stay even. Make sure that you pay attention to the radius of the fretboard and accomodate the curvature of string height accordingly. Never make the strings level with each other. That will f--k you beyond belief. But you're not done yet. Now you need to screw with the intonation. This is a lot easier than most people think. Get a chromatic tuner and plug your guitar in. First make sure you are in tune. Through out this procedure, if you have a tremolo bridge, pay attentino to how far up the bridge is floating. If brdige height and intonation are screwed with too much you may need add or take a spring or tighten or loosen the claw screws. Now hit the 6th string harmonic at the twelfth fret. THe fret it and hit it. If the fretted note is sharp of the harmonic move the saddle back. If the fretted note is sharp move the saddle forward. Repeat for each string. Two important things to note: 01. First, If the neck is bowing either way a lot, do not make any adjustments. This will increase string tension and possibly cause your neck to snap. If the neck is bowing you're going to hav eto front the 100 bucks for the pro to screw with truss rod so nothing goes wrong. 02. Second, do not try and screw around with the truss rod yourself. You will most definitely snap your neck. Next, your going to have to raise the pickups. With the strings now so far away from the pickups, your going to have a dramtic loss of volume, drive, and sustain. So take a regular screwdriver and adjust accordingly. Things to look out for. If you raise the pickups too much, especially the rhythm, when you try to hit high notes the strings are just going to clatter on the pickups. so as you raise them continually hit the highest fret on each string so that you know when you'ver gone too high. Also, if the strings are too close to the pickups, the pickups will create too much of a string pull (because the strings are metal and pickups do attract metal). So your going to lose sustain majorly. So just wathc out for that. Hope you've found this helpful.

27 comments sorted by best / new / date

    dangerlives
    "do not try and screw around with the truss rod yourself. You will most definitely snap your neck." That is not a joke, good advice/article
    dajosguitars
    I do guitar setups in Detroit for $35. You folks in CA are getting ripped off! www.dajosguitars.com
    alfaguitarist14
    well i sorted out my action myself for the first time and it was fine until someone kicked a ball at it and knocked the nut out of place... but thats a different story...i lowered the strings to where i found it comfortable to play then i changed the saddles till it was true all the way up using a chromatic tuner. well with all that text i could have written my own article!
    LeoKhenir
    And I suspect that this is the same article writer as the one who wrote "Restringing your guitar" and got properly flamed, cause I see some of the same BS.
    LeoKhenir
    If your local store doesn't have allen wrenches that fit, your store suck. I can't open a drawer without tons of allen wrenches falling out on me. And what's this shit about 120$ for maintenance? From what you described should be done, I'd charge perhaps 25$... And do it while the customer waits. And for truss rod: The important thing here is to go gentle, as andy_p_ said... Don't turn more than max half a turn at a time, and even that is quite much. When done, let the guitar rest for a while so the wood in the neck get to react. But as said, let a store tech do it for you, rather than messing about yourself.
    andy_p_
    "do not try to screw around with the truss rod" i did. i didn't break my neck. i used it gently
    Something Big
    If you still learn guitar, and your teachers NOT a moron, you can get an allen wrench that fits and get him or her to do it properly
    Phoenixblade
    heheh, 120... I pay 45 for it, usually. But the ninja puts the action waaay too low, so you get a wicked fret buzz if you try to play it clean.
    webking537
    Rankles: Jesus 120$ for a set up? Yanks are gettin ripped off... it's free in the UK at most shops. [POSTED: 27 April 2004 - 17:50]| geez, i want a free set up...i got my guitar with a crushed input jack and i went to guitar center and they fixed it free so i thought that was pretty good...
    pay attentino
    ???
    Rankles
    Jesus 120$ for a set up? Yanks are gettin ripped off... it's free in the UK at most shops.
    WhiteKnight123
    yeah and instead of spending the 50-120 dollars u screw up your action on the neck and buy a new guitar for 900..... geat F***in idea
    freebirdisepic
    Good article, but I'd check out that "spell check" feature on your computer for next time. Good advice, though.
    skasolo
    I agree with seany, I'd rather mess around with an old guitar first
    TheAxeAbuser
    not the best article. but not the worst. but the "not the best article" over powers the "not the worst" well now i have confuseed you!
    civildp1
    this is crap. the only thing this article is good for is breaking your guitar. if your action is too low for slide than just tune down into a blues tuning. my favorite slide tuning is EACFAC. try it its fun
    thomas_wh
    yes this is a good article, seany you wont need a spare electric to try this its completely safe and youll feel good because you will know you can handle another thing on your instrument.
    Jon reed
    set ups are 30 to 40 dollars here in seattle and I thats way too freakin much
    Ace From Space
    yea... here in south florida it costs like $10 and usually only takes the shops a few hours to a day.
    msierragtz
    here in mexico they do charge like 10 dollars , or if you need that they fix something they do it for free
    vortical
    Damn I was hoping to get the article on the front page and yes most shops in southern California do charge $120.
    d.floresumana
    $120 FOR A SET UP!? DAMN!! Here in Costa Rica they cost around $30 and I think is way too expensive! (No comments about the set up, just its price haha)