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-A proper Setup improves Playability and Sound.
If the strings are too high off the fretboard 9high action), they will be difficult to fret.

-If the Neck is bowed too much or not enough this will create high action of buzzing strings.

-If the intonation (open string length) is off then the fretted notes and chords will be out of tune.

Follow the steps below for a successful setup:

  1. Before you begin the setup install a fresh set of strings.  Use the string gauge you will stick with on this guitar as changing to a different gauge will change neck tension and throw the setup out of wack.
  2. Stretch the new strings to seat the windings and tune up using a Tuner.
  3. The 1st thing to check is how much bow the wooden neck has.  The neck is actually quite flexible.  Make the following check with the guitar in the playing position as gravity will cause it to bow a little if it is laying on its back.
    1. Tune Up.
    2. Fret the High E String at the 1st fret and the last fret (use a Cappo to hold the 1st fret)
    3. With your free hand use a feeler gauge to check how much space there is between the string and the 10th fret.
    4. There should be (?????)in or (?????mm) gap.
    5. If there is less, the neck is too straight and will not provide enough clearance for the oblong shape of the vibrating string (resulting in buzzing). FIG.?
    6. If there is more then the action will be too high making it difficult to fret.
    7. The gap is adjusted using the Truss Rod.   The Truss Rod is a metal rod running through the neck which when tightened (turned clockwise) flattens the neck thus reducing the gap.  When loosened (turned counter clockwise) the neck will bow forward thus increasing the gap.
    8. Make small adjustments and recheck the gap with the feeler gauge until the correct gap is reached.
  4. The 2nd thing to check is the Nut height.
    1. Tune Up again.
    2.  Remove the cappo.
    3. Play each string OPEN and carefully listen for buzzing of the string against the frets.
    4. If you hear one which is buzzing you must now determine if the Nut is too low by pressing the 1st fret of that string and picking the string again (this effectively takes the Nut out of the equation).  If the string still buzzes then the Nut height is OK and the string requires a height adjustment.  If the buzz is gone then the Nut groove is cut too deep and the Nut must be raised until the buzz is gone.
  5. The 3rd thing to check is the String Height of the open strings (without the Cappo).
    1. Tune Up again.
    2. Starting with the Low E String play all the frets of that string and carefully listen for fret buzz.
      1. If you don’t hear any then lower the string height at the bridge in small increments until the string begins to buzz at one of the frets (diagrams).  Now raise the string height at the bridge just until the buzz is gone on all frets of that string.
      2. If you hear a buzz, first check to make sure the string is not buzzing on the pickup, next raise the string height at the bridge just until the buzz is gone on all frets of that string.  Note: if you cannot seem to eliminate the buzz then maybe it is not fret buzz you are hearing.  Check your guitar for loose screws and washers (loose washers on the Machine Heads may be the problem).  A cardboard tube to your ear may help in tracking down the source of the buzz.
      3. Retune the guitar and recheck the string for buzzing.
    3. Repeat this for the A String then the D String etc.
  6. Once all strings are done retune and recheck them for fret buzz.
  7. If OK then the Action is now set as low as possible without causing fret buzz.
  8. The 4th thing to check is the string Intonation.  When you fret a string at the 12th fret the resulting note should show on the tuner as being perfectly in tune.  If it is flat then the string length must be adjusted shorter at the bridge in order to increase the pitch (remember when you shorten a string the pitch increases).  Likewise if the fretted note is sharp then the string length must be increased to lower the note into perfect pitch.  To do this:
    1. Note: The neck is actually quite flexible.  Make the following check with the guitar in the playing position as gravity will cause it to bow a little if it is laying on its back.
    2. Starting on with the Low E  String pick the harmonic at the 12th fret and tune the string using a tuner.
    3. Lightly fret the string at the 12th fret, just enough to sound a clear note, and pick the string.
    4. If the resulting note is FLAT then adjust the string length at the bridge to make the string SHORTER.
    5. If the resulting note is SHARP then adjust the string length at the bridge to make the string LONGER.
    6. After each adjustment retune the string at the 12th fret harmonic an recheck the pitch of the 12th fret note.
    7. Repeat the procedure until the fretted pitch is exactly the same as the 12th fret harmonic pitch.
    8. Move to the A string then the D String etc.
  9. Your guitar should now be perfectly set up.  If you choose to set your action a little higher then the intonation will have to be reset. This is because as you press a string down to the fretboard the tension (and consequently the pitch) increase until the string makes contact with the fret.  Thus, and increase in string height (action) will result in the fretted 12th fret note going sharp.
  10. The next thing to adjust is the pickup height.  Play around with different settings to hear what sounds good to you.  Careful not to set it too high or the string will buzz against it.


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