Set up question

ChrisM84

Active Member
Joined
Aug 26, 2018
Messages
54
Reaction score
113
Location
Tampa, Florida
This is probably a dumb question, but I digress... I had my SG set up for .10s about three months ago. One night I decided to put .9s on it to give them a try as it has been a while since I've played "light" gauge strings. I didn't make any set up adjustments, just put the .9s on and played them for about two weeks before deciding I prefer .10s. So, I'm asking you brilliant set up aficionados, will the original set up for .10s still be suffice or did dropping to .9s for a period screw that up? Thanks!
 

donepearce

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 12, 2012
Messages
5,077
Reaction score
4,470
Location
London, new hearing aid project - exciting
This is probably a dumb question, but I digress... I had my SG set up for .10s about three months ago. One night I decided to put .9s on it to give them a try as it has been a while since I've played "light" gauge strings. I didn't make any set up adjustments, just put the .9s on and played them for about two weeks before deciding I prefer .10s. So, I'm asking you brilliant set up aficionados, will the original set up for .10s still be suffice or did dropping to .9s for a period screw that up? Thanks!
Reverting to 10s will have taken it right back to where it was before.
 

3bolt79

Active Member
Joined
Oct 31, 2021
Messages
189
Reaction score
122
What he said. Go back to 10-46 and the guitar should be like it was before without any fiddling.
 

MR D

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 9, 2021
Messages
893
Reaction score
426
Location
RIKER'S ISLAND,NYC
This is probably a dumb question, but I digress... I had my SG set up for .10s about three months ago. One night I decided to put .9s on it to give them a try as it has been a while since I've played "light" gauge strings. I didn't make any set up adjustments, just put the .9s on and played them for about two weeks before deciding I prefer .10s. So, I'm asking you brilliant set up aficionados, will the original set up for .10s still be suffice or did dropping to .9s for a period screw that up? Thanks!
it should just go back to the way it was before you switched to the .09's....do you do your own neck relief adjustements etc ? I've seen people type that they do their own set-ups and then ask them what they set the neck relief at and some have said they dont know !!!

N E Way, I've done whaat you did and then out of curiosity checked the relief at both string gauges and the difference was less than .002" @ 9th fret....so I'd not be concerned about it if it were my guitar.
 

donepearce

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 12, 2012
Messages
5,077
Reaction score
4,470
Location
London, new hearing aid project - exciting
it should just go back to the way it was before you switched to the .09's....do you do your own neck relief adjustements etc ? I've seen people type that they do their own set-ups and then ask them what they set the neck relief at and some have said they dont know !!!

N E Way, I've done whaat you did and then out of curiosity checked the relief at both string gauges and the difference was less than .002" @ 9th fret....so I'd not be concerned about it if it were my guitar.

If they know what they are doing in setting up a guitar then they will not be able to tell you what the relief is. If you know what you are doing you don't set up a guitar by numbers. You do it by dropping the bridge and adjusting relief until it plays cleanly all the way up the fretboard. Measurements are for manufacturers who have to guarantee their guitars will reach any destination in any climate without any frets choking.
 

Decadent Dan

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 15, 2021
Messages
678
Reaction score
538
9’s have less tension than 10’s. If anything, you might have noticed fret buzz with 9’s that wasn’t there with the 10’s.
Research “Tap Test”. That’s an easy way to check neck relief.
You can check intonation on a tuner.
 

MR D

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 9, 2021
Messages
893
Reaction score
426
Location
RIKER'S ISLAND,NYC
If they know what they are doing in setting up a guitar then they will not be able to tell you what the relief is. If you know what you are doing you don't set up a guitar by numbers. You do it by dropping the bridge and adjusting relief until it plays cleanly all the way up the fretboard. Measurements are for manufacturers who have to guarantee their guitars will reach any destination in any climate without any frets choking.
TRUE DAT, BUT.an opine is an opine.....see GIBSON USA recent video series on checking relief...its done both ways..setting neck relief w/measuring tools (NotchedtStraight-edge and feeler gauges) will give you a number, and its not a debate, its a fact...for exapmle, .003" - .004" @ 9TH Fret...what every single GIBSON USA Solid Body electric I own is set at.....and there isnt a choked note on a single one of them...and its about 10 guitars last time they were all in the same place and I cared enough to count them.

and just soooo you know I am not going to argue this point...I can do a set-up either way, with or without tools...only reason I do it with tools now is because I spent COINS on a Notched straightdege a few years back, and I figure I might as well use it....and to re-iterate a point, checking relief with tools will give you a number...and if if if the guitar has a straight neck and no twisted frets.....etc etc etc etc....
 

donepearce

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 12, 2012
Messages
5,077
Reaction score
4,470
Location
London, new hearing aid project - exciting
The one thing you can guarantee if you measure is that the action will not be as low as it could be. It will just be at some nominal high-ish level. No luthier worth his name should ever return a guitar in that condition.
 

living room rocker

Active Member
Joined
Mar 15, 2018
Messages
184
Reaction score
79
The one thing you can guarantee if you measure is that the action will not be as low as it could be. It will just be at some nominal high-ish level. No luthier worth his name should ever return a guitar in that condition.
I realize your statement is true after getting my guitar back from a professional fret leveling and setup. I had always adjusted neck relief "as per manual" so that action was .005 +/- at the mid neck frets. When I received it back from the pro setup, there was literally zero distance between the fret and string when checking relief yet there was absolutely no buzzing whatsoever anywhere on the neck.
 

MR D

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 9, 2021
Messages
893
Reaction score
426
Location
RIKER'S ISLAND,NYC
The one thing you can guarantee if you measure is that the action will not be as low as it could be. It will just be at some nominal high-ish level. No luthier worth his name should ever return a guitar in that condition.
So R U saying that string action should always be as low as possible ?

BTW, I am not a luthier, but I have set up 100's of GIBSON's and I can not remember the last time anyone complained about how I set up their GIBSON....I do ask before hand how they like the set up but generally go by what I see/hear......and I consider a well setup GIBSON SB Electric to be one that has DEAD-ON Ringing open 'E' 'D' & 'A' chords in the second octave...and let me tell ya, I hardly ever get a guitar put in my hands that has anything near that on the way in....almost never AAMOF. Every single one of my guitars does this, but I do not recall the last time one was put in my hands that was in that state of play, no....usually sharp as $#!T !
 
Last edited:

donepearce

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 12, 2012
Messages
5,077
Reaction score
4,470
Location
London, new hearing aid project - exciting
So R U saying that string action should always be as low as possible ?

BTW, I am not a luthier, but I have set up 100's of GIBSON's and I can not remember the last time anyone complained about how I set up their GIBSON....I do ask before hand how they like the set up but generally go by what I see/hear......
Generally speaking a guitar performs at its best when the action is as low as possible. Fretted notes are better in tune and string bends require less force. I'm sure there are people who prefer a high action, but they are the exception and they are very unlikely to need to send a guitar to a luthier to achieve it.
 

MR D

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 9, 2021
Messages
893
Reaction score
426
Location
RIKER'S ISLAND,NYC
Generally speaking a guitar performs at its best when the action is as low as possible. Fretted notes are better in tune and string bends require less force. I'm sure there are people who prefer a high action, but they are the exception and they are very unlikely to need to send a guitar to a luthier to achieve it.
I am glad u said that, and disaagree somewhat w/the 'plays their best part'..... uh, no, but that is just an opinion..U hav yours, I have mine....and thats coolio......I do know that not every player prefers low action....I know lots and lots of players that do not...and the last half sentence....uh, no comment.....

IDK if you think Luthiers are the only people that do setup's or if where you are from Luthiers and bench techs are referred to interchangeably ?....... but the 3-4 actual LUTHIERS that I know personally? They do not even do set-up's (not that they can't, they just have better paying/more important work to do)...... they leave the grunt work (like set-up's) to their bench techs.......
 

donepearce

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 12, 2012
Messages
5,077
Reaction score
4,470
Location
London, new hearing aid project - exciting
Well, I am an actual luthier - I have built three lutes. And certainly a setup does not require a luthier. Any tech can do one as can any guitarist who can overcome the dread of wielding tools near his prized instrument. It is actually very easy and unlikely to result in a guitar worse than when you started
 

MR D

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 9, 2021
Messages
893
Reaction score
426
Location
RIKER'S ISLAND,NYC
Well, I am an actual luthier - I have built three lutes. And certainly a setup does not require a luthier. Any tech can do one as can any guitarist who can overcome the dread of wielding tools near his prized instrument. It is actually very easy and unlikely to result in a guitar worse than when you started
What is a 'Lutes' ?
 

Go Nigel Go

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 12, 2020
Messages
718
Reaction score
611
Your action should be set the way you (or your customer) wants it, be that what it may. Myself I always go as low as possible without any fret grounding. I don't bother measuring them. My Gibsons, and Epiphone LP Junior are the low action kings, with my Fenders being a tad higher to avoid issues, but they are also my Tremelo bar equipped axes, so I really want something different from those instruments anyway.
 

MR D

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 9, 2021
Messages
893
Reaction score
426
Location
RIKER'S ISLAND,NYC
Your action should be set the way you (or your customer) wants it, be that what it may. Myself I always go as low as possible without any fret grounding. I don't bother measuring them. My Gibsons, and Epiphone LP Junior are the low action kings, with my Fenders being a tad higher to avoid issues, but they are also my Tremelo bar equipped axes, so I really want something different from those instruments anyway.
You are correct, I usually ask how a player wants his axe set-up...sometimes though, if we get to talkin, I might forget...then...in that case...I set up the guitar the way I setup my own.

BTW, just for a laugh, if you hit an OPEN 'A' 'D' or 'E' chord on any of your GIBSON solid body electric guitars in the second octave, with a tuner clipped on the headstock.....does the chord RING DEAD-ON ? or is it Sharp ? or Flat maybe ? good question ?
 


Latest posts

Top