A professional acoustic guitar is determined best not just from how it is played, it is supposed to meet a certain standard of sound quality. Tuning, playability of the instrument, and tone are some major affected settings that need to be balanced during initial as well as during time to service and repair. Let’s take a deep dive into some things to look into if you own or plan to own one acoustic guitar.
How a Setup Improves the Guitar
Guitar setups being the effective way to balance between different and numerous settings that an acoustic guitar has to undergo for rich quality sound. A setup will help in resolving playability issues of the instrument. It also helps in delivering proper tone and other factors such as incorrect intonation, fret out, rough fret ends, incorrect string height, and pickup height. Keeping your guitar clean and regular inspection will keep your guitar away from potential problems and leave your guitar great.
The Setup Process
A setup process is a formal process with multiple steps to the process. Guitar servicing centers use the digital tuner in their shops to do the process. The first step is to find the key component, then based on what is found during the inspection, they decide on what necessary adjustments should be taken. Often the saddle, bridge, or piezo needs adjustments. If you are a trained player, you can ask the servicing store to make changes according to your style and playing preference.
Steps Carried Out In Setups
Setting up the truss rod
Most guitars have a truss rod on the neck of the guitar. Adjusting the truss rod relaxes the neck that will lead to strings to raise or lower down to the fretboard. Refer to the manufacturer's website to ensure the right fit for determining the truss rod’s nut style. You will need a hex key, nut driver, or screwdriver, depending on the manual.
How the strings sit on the fretboard is called action. If the truss rod is tight, then the action becomes lower and when loosened becomes higher. If you are somebody who plays in standard tuning, then low action is set on the guitar. In case you use slide and alternate tunings, you might have to tune it a little higher. Only after adjusting the truss rod action can be setup.
The bridge is adjusted to manipulate the action of the guitar. It also helps with intonation. The bridge can be adjusted in several ways and every setting gives a different feel while playing. To find the perfect harmony between the intonation, action and proper bridge height will require patience and expertise.
In acoustic guitars, the screws aren’t available to adjust the height and thus the saddle is filed down to desired height by a trained and experienced expert in the area.
The nut is where the headstock meets the fingerboard. If there is a fret buzz, the best place to start to resolve the issue is from the nut. A fret buzz is caused when a string is placed too near the slot. Bone dust or glue is used to raise this area. In some cases, the whole nut area needs to be replaced.
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