Setup Specifications

Discussion in 'The DIY Tool Shed' started by Toast, Aug 14, 2019.

  1. Toast

    Toast Tele-Holic

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    I'm wading into the guitar setup adventure :). I have 4 guitars to set up.

    Yamaha AES1500 (hollow body guitar)
    Am. Deluxe Telecaster
    Danelecto Hodad
    DeArmond M75t (Les Paul clone)

    I'm going to pick specs from the following list for guitars that kinda sorta match my own. Before I start though, any advice on selecting a setup spec. I fully expect to screw it all up, but I have to do that about 5 times before I gain any meaningful experience from the screwups :), unfortunately.

    https://www.stewmac.com/How-To/Onli...Setup/How_the_stars_set_up_their_guitars.html
     
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2019
  2. Toast

    Toast Tele-Holic

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    Edit: duplicate post
     
  3. jackal

    jackal Tele-Afflicted Gold Supporter

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    Just remember that how someone else sets up a particular guitar doesn't mean that it's right for you. At best set-up specs are suggestions and usually a good starting point. I would also start with the factory specs instead of one of the pros. Then adjust until it's right for YOU.
     
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  4. schmee

    schmee Poster Extraordinaire

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    It's just hard for sure. String size and fret height matter. personally I start about here .... mostly eyeballing that. Play some, listen for any buzzing, and adjust string height accordingly. Never been a fan of too low on string height.
    High E=.080 or 5/64
    Low E = .120 or 1/8"
    Clearance at fret 1 with string fretted at 3 (Nut groove depth) : .010 on the Low E, and almost nothing at the high E.
    Pickups: String fretted at the highest fret, no closer than 1/16" and usually more.
    Neck Relief: ~.010
     
  5. Toast

    Toast Tele-Holic

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    Thanks. I'm going to try to track down the factory specs and start with those. Anyway, I definitely want to find the right string heights for me, but that'll play out over time I think. Right now, I just want kill all the fretbuzz.
     
  6. E5RSY

    E5RSY Poster Extraordinaire

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  7. jhundt

    jhundt Doctor of Teleocity

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    I won't say much about specific specifications, except to say that Fender's website has their standard specs for Telecasters, etc. And I have used them pretty much as a standard and been quite satisfied.

    I am not familiar with your other guitars, so I will keep quiet about those specs.

    But I want to encourage you to go ahead and screw it all up. In fact, there isn't much you can screw up that isn't easily reversible. Take your time, and try to understand not just WHAT you are doing, but WHY you are doing it. Set everything to the factory specs and play the guitar until you feel the powerful need to change something. Don't just change a bunch ofr settings just for the heck of it!

    The only WARNING I will give is this: don't mess with the truss rod unless you really need to; and that means you understand thoroughly why the truss rod is there, what it does and why that matters, how it works, and how any changes might affect your neck.

    One of the biggest problems with beginner's setups is ruining the truss rod. Either through stripping the nut or the hex-key fitting, or being over-zealous and breaking the thing.

    I would master the easier bits - intonation settings, string height and radius setting, pickup height etc first. When you've done all 4 guitars, you will be more knowledgeable, relaxed, and in tune with what's going on. Then you will be closer to ready to start changing the truss-rod setting.

    BTW, I come from Oakland CA. I had a few old '68 Fenders and a '74 Gibson when I lived there (still have them, actually). I worked as a guitar tech roadie, too. And I never ever felt any need to change the truss rod on any guitar I owned, or worked with. Northern California is a pretty benign climate for guitars.
     
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  8. Toast

    Toast Tele-Holic

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    Yeah, I'm not obsessed with low action either because I like to strum chords pretty aggressively. In fact, I think I'm more of a rhythm guitarist at the moment. Thanks for the advice.
     
  9. E5RSY

    E5RSY Poster Extraordinaire

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    Speaking of Stew Mac, I think everyone should have a copy of Erlewine's "Guitar Player Repair Guide". It is a great reference for such endeavors. Get you a copy for your shelf.

    Good luck.
     
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  10. Toast

    Toast Tele-Holic

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    Thanks. I have no doubt I will screw it all up :).


    Too late. I've already turned the truss rod all the way in both directions. I've screwed around with pickup heights, too. Consequently, my guitars sound like crap (buzzing, pickup switch volumes uneven). I gotta get all that stuff back to spec.

    Yeah, I don't think the climate around here is much of a problem. However, I use a space heater in the room I play in so the temperature fluctuates a lot. I don't think it has caused any problem with neck relief. It's me who has wrought havoc on it all :). Anyway, thanks for the advice.
     
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2019
  11. E5RSY

    E5RSY Poster Extraordinaire

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    Uh, oh... :eek: Not sure what "all the way" means, but the truss rod shouldn't be turned more than a quarter turn at any one time and the effect evaluated before proceeding further.
     
  12. JuneauMike

    JuneauMike Friend of Leo's

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    This was one of my favorite set-up resources. Easy to follow and a fun read. Note, it's a Strat setup. I thought Ron did another for the Tele but I can't find it.

    Another entertaining resource for guitar setup, creative profanity and healthy cooking would be Dave's World of Fun Stuff. I think he's had pretty much all the guitars you mention on his operating table at least once. Cause it was Gooched!
     

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  13. Toast

    Toast Tele-Holic

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    Righty tighty till it can't turn any more, lefty loosy in the other direction, then returned to center. I don't think I messed the truss rod up, but I'm going to be a careful with it. My greatest fear is stripping the adjustment nut on the rod. I can see that that would be a PITA to deal with.
     
  14. Toast

    Toast Tele-Holic

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    Yeah, Dave is awesome. That is a good setup guide. It really helps me to have lots of explanations from good sources. Thanks!
     
  15. JuneauMike

    JuneauMike Friend of Leo's

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    Yep, and he talks a lot about the importance of adjusting things in order. Common sense really, but its easy to forget that. And then you find yourself chasing something that keeps running from you.
     
  16. Toast

    Toast Tele-Holic

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    You know the one thing he seems to avoid, at least I haven't seen him tinker with one yet, is the micro-tilt. My tele has one, but I need to read up on it to understand what it does. Got some reading and guitar work to do this weekend.
     
  17. JuneauMike

    JuneauMike Friend of Leo's

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    Cause micro-tilt is Gooched!!!! Yeah, and tell Leo I said that. Gooched!!

    (I'm agnostic toward micro-tilt, btw. Was just channeling The Dave).
     
  18. Toast

    Toast Tele-Holic

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    I picked up on the micro-tilt gooch vibe from Dave and then learned that, of course, my tele has one. I'm going to assume it does something really great until I figure out what it does :).
     
  19. jvin248

    jvin248 Poster Extraordinaire

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    .

    Watch a dozen 'daves world of fun stuff' videos, then 'sam deeks', and 'frudua' (sp?).

    You don't need fancy widgets to do the setup.
    -Use a fret rocker (or a crisp credit card) to test three frets at a time next to all strings and all frets, use a marker to dot the high points. You may find you want a fret level job.
    -Fret the first fret and 1-2 sheets of photocopy paper under the strings at the first fret. If too high then welding tip cleaner file set for $7
    -Fret first and depending on how tight you want to go fret the 17th, 19th, or last fret. Should be 3-4 sheets of photocopy paper to the 12th fret or adjust the truss rod
    -Lay a US quarter on the 12th fret and drop the low E saddle until the string touches. Most do that all strings but I use a dime on the high e with the others between.
    -Check intonation at the 12th, adjust saddles.
    Start back at the top and run through again.
    Sometimes shimming the neck can get better results, if you do that, start at the top again.

    .
     
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  20. Toast

    Toast Tele-Holic

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    Yeah, you're right. Now that I've watched a lot of setup vids I don't think I'll have much of a problem. My string gauge is all bent up (cheap Amazon tools), but I can get it to work. In one of Dave's last vids, he showed how the string teeth (or whatever they're called) on the saddle need to be flat (parallel with the guitar's body). The saddle on my bridge looks exactly like the one in his video. My guitars, even though they're old, are actually still very newish. I had them set up professionally in the past so I think they're in good shape. The frets all look fine to me, but I need to check them with a straightedge to make it official. The only thing I'm missing is Linn Seed oil and lighter fluid. I think after spending the last 10 years in a case it's time I gave some love to all my rosewood fingerboards. Anyway, thanks for the tips.
     
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2019
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