Thinking about getting a new guitar or amp? Pickup upgrades, new tuners? Wait!!! Have you ever had your guitar set-up ?
The single most important thing you can do for your guitar and one of the most important things you can do for your playing, is to have your guitar professionally set-up. To most players a setup means adjusting the action and intonation, and a new set of strings – but these are in fact only two stages of a 6-10 step process.
Ritchie Wetherell, Barnard Castle: “Awesome work, plays like a dream now, the reduced action gave me much more confidence playing high end bar chords this weekend. No more worrying about bum notes, cramp or shredding my fingers. Already recommended setup to a friend. Cheers.”
A setup will include making necessary adjustments to all the things that can be adjusted on your guitar; nut slot heights and profile, truss rod tension, fret level radius and dress, saddles radius and height, overall action, intonation and pickup heights.
My professional setup will give you ease of playing on the guitar you love. I will set a guitar up to get the feel that I think is right for that particular guitar. I also make adjustments to suit an individual player’s needs, for example. a hard picking punk bass playing will require a different setup to a fire side jazz man.
Bob Turnbull,: “I’ve been struggling to learn for the last 3 years. The guitar was killing my fingers. At one point I ever considered my teacher was the problem. John my Les Paul is a completely different guitar and now I can play power chords!”
Everyone knows what it is like, picking up someone elses guitar and going “blimey this is nice to play” or “what a great cheese grater”. Often the guitar (old or new) one likes the tone of, is put aside for another that seems easier to play –
Typically guitar makers send out their products set to an ‘average’ factory specification (Hello!! I’m looking at you Gibson!) and rarely do they invest in making fine adjustments that will bring the best out of the instrument. The guitar will usually be fairly playable, but that setting may or may not be optimal for the person buying the guitar.
Dave C, Darlington: “I’m not quite sure how you did it but the Chinese Squier that you setup for me plays better than the USA Strat (buzzes all over) that I paid £600 for. I’m definitely going to get my Guild done. Next week if you can please.”
I do not offer either a fret-dress or a set-up as a standalone service unlike most Guitar Techs, but a combination of both in my deluxe set-ups. This is because, to achieve consistency and quality in the set-up, there first has to be consistency and quality in the fretboard. A set-up done with no leveling and re-profiling of the frets means that any pre-existing anomalies and inconsistencies in the fretboard may well be carried through into the set-up. In this case, the fretboard dictates the quality of the final set-up.
My deluxe setup service ensures that your guitar will play at it’s absolute best. To do this I use industrial diamond coated tools to level the frets on your guitar and ensure the neck is absolutely straight as possible. This allows for the string action to be set as low as possible. No more buzzes or hurting hands. You may have thought your machine heads were not very good as your guitar just won’t stay in tune. 99.99% of tuning problems are caused by an incorrectly slotted nut. Clean, check/adjust hardware, electronics, polish fretboard, oil if needed, restring, adjust truss rod, bridge, neck, nut slots filed/lubed, pickup height & intonation set.
Katie K, Richmond: “John a quick note to let you know my guitar is bloody brilliant now. Stays perfectly in tune even when I use the whammy bar. Boyfriend has a Futurama guitar he would like doing.”
For any other services including broken headstock, full/partial refrets, pickup upgrades please contact me for a freequote.
Whether a guitar is electric acoustic or bass, and regardless of it value, it is a precision instrument that needs to be finely tuned. To get the best from your strings and from yourself as a player it is important that your instrument is set up to suit your playing style and your preferences. But whether or not you require a low action or not (and most players do) it is essential that your frets are level and smooth and your guitar is maintained to the highest possible standard.
John Wesley – January 2019