New Guitar Setup - Why Am I Afraid?

Happy Enchilada

Friend of Leo's
Gold Supporter
Joined
Mar 25, 2021
Posts
3,040
Location
God's Country
Unixfish:

Wise man once said you should do one thing every day that scares you.
There are a TON of YouTube videos on how to do this stuff.
Watch them first and don't be afraid to re-watch them as you go.
I recommend assembling all the tools you need on a well-lit and uncluttered bench.
Get a good tuner - I have an old Korg inline tuner that's easy to use.
Quarters make good "feeler gages." So do feeler gages ...
Then take it slow one step at a time and doublecheck everything.
Don't force anything and maybe leave it to settle in overnight and then readjust if needed.
You'll be amazed at what you can accomplish.
Simple things done right culminating in a much more playable guitar.
Telecasters are simple machines - far simpler than Strats - which is one reason some of us like 'em.

Good luck!
 

Happy Enchilada

Friend of Leo's
Gold Supporter
Joined
Mar 25, 2021
Posts
3,040
Location
God's Country
OK. Writing about this calmed my mind - a lot. Maybe that is why I like coming here. I had done the heel truss on my Baja and Strat, so I knew this would be easier.

I got out the feeler gauges from the garage, wiped off the 0.010 gauge, and started adjusting the truss. It took just about a quarter turn until it got down to about 0.010. I then lowered each saddle a half turn.

At this point, I am going to let it ride a day or two before I tweak anything further; just let everything settle.

The guitar feels better - slinker - easier to play. I may be able to lower the action a bit more, but we'll see. I had the intonation pretty good before I started, but I know I will probably need to adjust it again. Another day, after things settle.

I am about ready for new strings. I will probably wait to adjust height and fine tune intonation when I do that (unless intonation starts to bug me).

Thanks for letting me vent my fears a bit. I miss having my Dad to bounce things off of. Back in 1984, he described how to replace the clutch on my 76 Chevy, and I dove in without any further help. I just needed to talk about this a bit.
You're doing just great! 😸
 

Willie Johnson

Friend of Leo's
Joined
May 24, 2016
Posts
2,744
Age
102
Location
Chicagoland
It's a user serviceable component--were players back in the day taking their guitars into the luthier for adjustment (unless they were top recording stars, maybe)? That seems really unlikely to me. Just go slow--an eighth of a turn at a time.
 

unixfish

Doctor of Teleocity
Silver Supporter
Joined
Apr 20, 2013
Posts
16,118
Location
Northeast Ohio, USA
It's a user serviceable component--were players back in the day taking their guitars into the luthier for adjustment (unless they were top recording stars, maybe)? That seems really unlikely to me. Just go slow--an eighth of a turn at a time.

I remember the myths from when I was growing up. We didn't do setups; we just played poorly set up guitars. There was a myth that if you turned a truss rod 1/4 turn in less than 10 minutes, you could break the neck. When I went away to school, 4 hours away, that myth was repeated by others as well. So nobody ever touched a truss rod.

I remember taking my guitar to high school to use the strobe tuner to adjust intonation. Nobody understood what I was doing or why. "It's set that way at the factory for a reason!"

The internet has given us so much more data to work with. I don't know how people played some of the instruments we had back then.
 

JustABluesGuy

Friend of Leo's
Joined
Sep 2, 2016
Posts
3,916
Location
Somewhere
I've taken a guitar for a setup a few times, and never really been happy with the results. I get it. I just need to talk my self down a bit and start the job, then I think "what was I worried about? This is easy."
Once I had more than a couple of guitars, AND trouble finding a good tech. I went through two good ones, and then lost the second, added guitars and had a horrible experience at “the” big guitar store right before a performance.

I was “forced” to learn how to intonate and adjust the action myself. It was easy, and I realized I am the very best person to (once I figured it out) set things up for MY playing style.

It also allows me to pick up guitars that are setup very badly for a low price, and then make them great guitar again.

I used to pass on some guitars that didn’t play well because they weren’t set up at all, or were previously adjusted by someone who didn’t know what the hell they were doing.

I’ve picked up a couple of cheap, quite decent guitars that way. They were jacked up with (often wildly) incorrect adjustments, but they were all totally reversible issues. I’m guessing someone did their own adjustments, but didn’t know what they were doing.

Things like finding a guitar with the saddles “decked” in a vain attempt to lower the action, when they actually needed to reduce the neck relief by adjusting the truss rod.

There are plenty of poor, misunderstood guitars like that out there.

So why did a guitar have me worried? Ugh.
Are you a musician? I don’t know if you’ve noticed this, but musicians tend to be weird.
 




New Posts

Top