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Process Essay On Setting Up A Guitar

1202 words - 5 pages

Frustration is the only thing that comes to many guitarists' minds when they have to face the prospects of servicing their own guitar. It's a daunting task that when trying to be done right could take hours. The worst thing that a guitarist faces when he is setting up his guitar is the fact that he could potentially damage it. Consequently, very few guitarists are up to the task of fixing their own guitars. There are just ten easy steps to a remarkably good, basic setup job though and most of them are the types of things a guitarist does every day. You will still need the right tools though, most things can't be done by hand.The tools one might need when servicing a guitar are as follows: a nut driver(1/4" or 5/16"), metal ruler or straight edge(20-25" long), and a small ruler with 1/16" increases. Other than those basic tools all that you need will be within you and possibly a new set of strings.Putting on that new set of strings is the first thing one should do when you are going to setup a guitar. You want it to be setup to ideal playing conditions. Lets face it, three month old dirt-encrusted green strings aren't exactly ideal playing conditions, however much you'd like to differ. So put those strings on that guitar the right way, and we've already begun to setup our guitar.The logical approach after putting on new strings to a guitar is to tune them. So tune the guitar up to whatever pitch you play in. It is advisable to have an electronic tuner handy to be able to tune as accurately as possible so that the rest of the setup doesn't go awry.Here is where the real fun part begins. Now its time to get that straightedge and check the straightness of the guitar's neck. This is to determine if truss rod adjustment will be needed. When you place the straightedge on the guitar's frets pay close attention to the middle and the ends. If the neck is bowed, there will be a space under the middle of the straight edge where the neck does not touch the straight edge. If the neck is "backbowed," the frets will touch in the middle of the straight edge. Hint: A slightly bowed neck is ideal for most playing styles so don't go crazy just 'cause you see a slight bow! If the neck is backbowed or has other problems you might need to adjust the truss rod or take it to a true professional.Here is the scariest part of setting up a guitar: The truss rod adjustment. Here you will need that nut driver I mentioned before. Most guitarists fear this more than they fear dropping their precious babies. Why? Because a harsh move or too much turns applied and the truss rod will break their guitar's neck like butter. The first thing one has to do is remove the truss rod cover and place the nut driver in the opening. If the neck is too bowed, you must turn the truss rod a clockwise turn of the nut. If it's backbowed, it is the opposite. When the neck is as straight as it is possible to get with the truss rod, then back off a bit for a bit of "relief". There that wasn't that...

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