Common Setup Problems Affecting Beginners

Nut slot ruler, when setting up...

Correct Neck Relief Appropriate relief bow in the neck gives the strings amble room to vibrate without hitting the frets. Because they affect the shape of the wood, truss rod adjustments need a bit of time to sink in.

The height of the strings from the neck of the guitar should be as low as possible without having any buzzing. String Nut slot ruler At 12th Fret Saddle height directly affects how high the strings sit above the frets.

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I mention this because it can be the difference between a professional set up, and one "done by the numbers". Measuring the nut slot depth A guitar that has gotten overly dry may have lower action, and thus have the rattling described above. No fret should protrude from the side of the neck in a way that scratches your hand as you play. When I am certain of the condition of the frets I set action at the nut as low as possible.

The high E string is a mere few thousandths of an nut slot ruler above the fret wire. Let's start with nut slot ruler few measurements While a slight arch is quite normal, greater changes in the tops shape may be and indication of structural problems such as loose braces or a warped or cracked bridge plate.

This means that as you fret a note, you might hear some buzz when you play that note because the place where the string contacts the fret has worn itself into a groove.

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If you adjust the truss rod too much, you might cause it to break. Because the strings and the guitar neck do not follow a straight parallel line, this problem is sometimes more apparent on one part of the guitar neck and the other.

If you hold the guitar from the body, without touching the neck, and sight down the neck with one eye, you will see if it is straight or not. The distance between the string and the 1st fret would nearly always be below. No fret should be taller than the others, or have a rough, unpolished surface.

This problem does not affect beginners very often, because it is a direct result of playing a guitar that has been well-worn. When all six strings are tuned to concert pitch, their combined force can easily exceed pounds of tension. The optimal nut slot depth is as follows: If there is too much relief in your guitar neck, the string height along the middle frets V-XII will be very high.

It should not have the same resistance as the caesar slot finder on a car tire. Excessive wear in the nut slots may cause the strings to buzz when played open since they are now too close to the frets.

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Read more about this adjustment on the truss rod page. Try doing a quarter or half-turn, and checking again the next day. Excessive Backbow Sometimes if a truss rod has been overtightened, or heavy strings are replaced with lighter strings, the neck will begin to have a slight backbow.

This happens because frets are hammered in roughly and not smoothed out with a fret file. The consequence of this is that the strings are much higher than they need to be over the first fret, which means it will take more force than necessary to depress them in the open position.

During times of low humidity it is essential that you keep your instrument properly humidified. What is the most common string height? You can probably recognize excessive curvature in your guitar neck just by looking at it. Sometimes an over-zealous action adjustment can result in a string height that is too low. That will help you understand how to care for your guitar, what problems you can address at home, and when you need the help of a guitar repairperson.

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This problem can be fixed relatively easily by filing those frets until they are smooth and no longer protruding. Then, using some medium-grit sandpaper such assit the saddle on top, facing up as it had been when installed on the guitar, and shave off some of the bottom by pushing down and moving the sandpaper in a back-and-forth motion.

The truss rod is not meant to be set once and forgotten, and nor is it considered a job only for experts. This is less important for electric guitars, for which 10 is a fairly standard gauge. If the problem you are experiencing is not fixed after two or more full turns, then you should probably stop and ask an expert, or at least wait a day and try again.

It should turn fairly easily.