What is a Guitar Setup?

Ask yourself these questions:

  1. Are you getting frustrated with how difficult is seems to play your guitar?
  2. Does your guitar seem out of tune, even though you just tuned it?
  3. Has your guitar started to buzz recently when it hadn’t before?
  4. Has your guitar remained in its case, unplayed, for months if not years?

If you answered “Yes” to any of the above, then a professional Guitar Setup may be what you need. Both electric and acoustic guitars are a lot like your other valuable investments including your home, car, and even yourself. They need maintenance.

“So, then what is a Guitar Setup?”

You should view a guitar setup like taking your car in for regular maintenance or even going in for your annual doctor’s checkup (which I’m sure you do, right?).

When you have your guitar setup, a repair technician or luthier will examine your instrument and adjust the neck and the string height, paying close attention to the condition of the nut and the saddle. The adjustments are made within tolerances that are widely accepted and agreed upon by the guitar building and repair industry.

“But why do I need a Guitar Setup?”

Guitars, generally, are made of wood and wood is constantly changing. Wood changes with time as well as temperature and humidity. Put simply, the guitar you buy today won’t sound the same as it will 5, 10 or 50 years from now. With regular maintenance (and a little luck), it will sound better. Having your guitar routinely setup protects your investment in the future.

“Why didn’t someone tell me that to begin with?”

Most chain music stores don’t tell their customers the importance of having your guitar properly setup. Maybe because it sounds like they’re selling instruments that need fixing, who knows?

The truth is most all guitars should get a setup at purchase. Especially those aimed at beginners, which are built in large numbers with little inspection beyond routine quality control. That doesn’t make these guitars bad choices. It makes many of them terrific choices, because it keeps costs down. But to make the most of these instruments, they need to be setup, or customized, to the purchaser… to the player.

Many instruments are purposefully made with a lot room for adjustment which makes it play a little awkward “out-of-the-box,” because each player is different and will have different performance needs. Most experienced guitar players want to get their new instruments setup to suit their style. (Heck, most headlining musicians tour with their own guitar tech!) That’s why its important to bring a new guitar to a trustworthy guitar technician to get it setup to suit your style of play.

But don’t worry if you don’t yet know what your style of play is, an experienced repair tech can setup your instrument for a good “middle of the road” performance.

Are you ready to take the next step? Check out my services and rates or contact me to schedule an appointment.


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