Proper setup tutorials and tools

muusicman

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Missouri
Once I start playing again instead of taking my guitars in every 6 months or so to check and see if they need a proper setup due to weather, I would like to maybe learn how to do it myself. Are there any good videos that anyone can suggest that I can learn from? Also what is the best brand of tools to buy to perform the set up needed?
I’ve heard good things about Stew Mac.
 

kuch

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You didn't include what guitars you intend to set up but here's a couple of guides for Fenders. I started setting up my own guitars about 25 years ago and learned a little at a time. If it aint broke, don't fix it.

Don't know much about U tube videos but I'm sure they're out there.

Stew Mac has quality tools but they are a little pricey.

Good luck
 

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gb Custom Shop

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For a basic set up, a set of feeler gauges, straight edge, and various screwdrivers and Allen/hex keys to adjust the truss rod, saddles, pickup height, etc...will get you pretty far. Calipers are also an invaluable tool. Most set up work is measuring and adjusting, and repeating that a few times over...unless nut and fret work is required...

If you plan to do some of your own fret or nut work, then the list of tools gets more extensive and expensive.

Stewmac typically have excellent tools, however they're also usually most expensive. Their warranty & customer service is probably the best out there, and should be considered when making your purchasing decisions. If a tool wears down on you or doesn't perform to your standards, they'll replace it free of charge no questions asked. (This is particularly beneficial for fret & nut files). But for the "basic" tools I mentioned above, you can get those from lots of different places.

As for order of operations when doing set up work, @Freeman Keller has written some really good posts on that. I follow his guide here:
 

Freeman Keller

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As for order of operations when doing set up work, @Freeman Keller has written some really good posts on that. I follow his guide here:

Thank you very much gb. That thread has been turned into a pdf without all the back and forth chatter. It can be printed and taken out to your shop - much easier than trying to read it off a PC. My setup spreadsheet and instructions are also available. They are too big to attach to a discussion here, I have to e-mail them to folks.
 

muusicman

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Feb 20, 2007
Posts
314
Location
Missouri
You didn't include what guitars you intend to set up but here's a couple of guides for Fenders. I started setting up my own guitars about 25 years ago and learned a little at a time. If it aint broke, don't fix it.

Don't know much about U tube videos but I'm sure they're out there.

Stew Mac has quality tools but they are a little pricey.

Good luck
My apologies. I have both Tele’s and Strat’s. I’d like to get other brands as well someday.
 

muusicman

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Joined
Feb 20, 2007
Posts
314
Location
Missouri
For a basic set up, a set of feeler gauges, straight edge, and various screwdrivers and Allen/hex keys to adjust the truss rod, saddles, pickup height, etc...will get you pretty far. Calipers are also an invaluable tool. Most set up work is measuring and adjusting, and repeating that a few times over...unless nut and fret work is required...

If you plan to do some of your own fret or nut work, then the list of tools gets more extensive and expensive.

Stewmac typically have excellent tools, however they're also usually most expensive. Their warranty & customer service is probably the best out there, and should be considered when making your purchasing decisions. If a tool wears down on you or doesn't perform to your standards, they'll replace it free of charge no questions asked. (This is particularly beneficial for fret & nut files). But for the "basic" tools I mentioned above, you can get those from lots of different places.

As for order of operations when doing set up work, @Freeman Keller has written some really good posts on that. I follow his guide here:
All the tools you listed. Does Stew Mac sell all of them?
 

gb Custom Shop

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All the tools you listed. Does Stew Mac sell all of them?
Yes they do, but for those specific tools I mentioned, stewmac is overpriced. You can get feeler gauges off Amazon for a third of the price of stewmac.

I've also bought luthier tools from Philadelphia Luthier tools and supplies for reasonable prices.
 

teleplayr

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Nicoma Park, Oklahoma
Like others have said, there are plenty of DIY videos on YouTube on set-ups.

Normal everyday tools will do the job, no need to got the StewMac route for over priced/re-purposed tools.

I was fortunate to have had two friends who were luthiers that showed me their way of doing various things, Don Teeter & Ron Lira.

I've been doing my own set-ups for over 40 years and all I use is a 6" machinist rule, Hex wrenches, long handled T-wrenches for truss-rod adjustments ( I bought from Harbor Tools). I use the Bass "E" string as a ruler for gauging neck relief (I eye-ball it) & various screwdrivers, and a decent strobe tuner (I use a Turbo Tuner).

After using these means for setting-up a guitar I actually broke out a capo & feeler gauges (something I've never used) and checked the neck relief as suggested by Fender and Gibson and found that my way of doing a set-up was actually lower that the recommended settings without any chocking or buzzing on the neck while doing bends.

It's not as complicated as some make it seem, don't over think things.
 
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