Getting your SG set up?

Discussion in 'Epiphone SG' started by XTN, Feb 11, 2018.

  1. XTN

    XTN New Member

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    I’m unlucky when it comes to mechanics, contractors and, so far, luthiers.

    What does one ask for? Yes, there are personal choices but...

    Action high, low? I dunno.

    Fret buzz kills me.

    Smooth fret edges?

    Fingerboard scraping?

    Any dialogue tips would be killer.

    Tak.
     
    Sickpup likes this.
  2. plankton

    plankton Active Member

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    I agree, it can be hard to know what to ask for as things can be quite subjective.

    When it comes to basic setups I would suggest learning how to do it yourself. That way if you don't get it right the first time you can play around with things until you find your perfect setup.

    It's really not that complicated and you don't need special tools. Dan Erlewine has a few excellent, easy to follow books you can get.

    When it comes to things like installing a new nut or a fret level and polish you're better off going to a pro, but those things don't need to be addressed as regularly.
     
  3. Daniel.S

    Daniel.S Member

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    What are you after specifically dude? Just a basic setup of your guitar, or is there something that's bothering you?
    Remember post pictures if you're not sure of something, any one of us can help you out.
     
  4. dub-setter

    dub-setter Active Member

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    guess @Biddlin can help u..:smile:

    other wise a good set up for me include:
    bridge / saddle set up /intonation
    action/neck relief
    fret checking
    pickup heights/tone
     
  5. Bob Womack

    Bob Womack Member

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    Um, my luthier (yes he builds guitars) does what he calls a "modern setup." It begins with leveling the frets. Believe it or not, a new guitar, even a plek'd guitar, can have uneven frets by the time it leaves the local store, due to humidity changes and the final settling in of the fretboard wood. So, it starts with leveling the frets. From there he rounds the fret ends and dresses the frets to the right shape. Then he sets the action. I've written up a page about the whole process on my website, HERE. I hope you find it useful. And yes, he set-up my SG.

    Bob
     
  6. jjudas

    jjudas Well-Known Member

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    If you don't feel comfortable doing it yourself then pay a pro to set it up. I learned how to set up my own guitars, first of all because I'm cheap... secondly because I'm picky. I don't want to go behind someone else and make adjustments anyway and feel like I wasted my money on a set up. YouTube is a valuable resource for a do it yourselfer. If it's not your thing though, I would get it done by a pro.
     
  7. Biddlin

    Biddlin Well-Known Member

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    Be sure the guitar is tuned to the pitch you usually play in, i.e. if you play in double drop D tuning, that's how you want your guitar set up.
    Remember to re-tune between each adjustment.Begin by setting the bridge height for frets 17-21(2) so that the strings play buzz free at the lowest possible height.(loosen strings to raise or lower bridge and then re-tune.)

    Start with low E. Lower the bass side until it buzzes, raise until clear. Check A and D raise slightly if needed to get clean notes. Then do the treble side. If you bend notes up here, try a few typical bends, to make sure they don't buzz out.

    When all strings play clean go to the lower frets and neck relief. Play the high E string from fret 1 to fret 16, increasing relief (loosening trussrod) to relieve buzz or decreasing relief (tightening trussrod) to lower the string height. So tighten, by fractional turns, until it buzzes and back off until it doesn't. If you bend strings , do your typical bends to insure they don't buzz out. Once satisfied, check the other strings and make small adjustments as needed.

    Once you have acceptable relief, i.e. no buzz and easy action, set your intonation and you're done.

    This is the opposite order of most setup directions. It is based on performance and not measurements, hence, I don't take any. It works because the neck is immobile between frets 17 and 22. The trussrod only affects lower frets. By setting the upper end first, you know any buzzes are coming from too little relief. This method works for most guitars, with truss rods.
     
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  8. Col Mustard

    Col Mustard Well-Known Member

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    That small post of wisdom ought to be made into a sticky, so that we and visiting
    musicians can access it or recommend it any time.

    Follow Biddlin's instructions, and you ought to be able to keep your guitar in good shape.

    But to answer your original question: I recommend that you find a good luthier by asking
    local pro musicians where they go for service. A luthier who has and keeps the patronage of
    professional gigging musicians will have tools and measuring devices that the rest of us
    don't own. Many guitar shops have someone on staff who can set up guitars after they
    are unpacked for sale. But those guys may be more sales guy than guitar tech. *shrugs

    A good luthier will ask you to plug in and play, and he will listen to you, and let you show
    him what bugs you and like that. Then he'll know were to look for problems.

    What you ask for is:
    1. to get the neck straight
    2. to measure the nut slots and correct any problems there.
    3. to check the frets for level, and the fret ends for protrusion.
    4. to adjust the action so it plays easily without fret buzz or choking out.
    5. to set the intonation for the strings you intend to use.
    6. to check over all connections and solder joints, repair if needed.

    I believe these items are usually included in a professional setup job.
    Expect to pay about $80, maybe more in rich areas. I like to get a job
    like this done on any guitar I buy. After a pro setup like this, I can usually
    keep my guitar in good playing shape.

    Learn to do these things by reading Dan Erlewine's book:
    'HOW TO MAKE YOUR ELECTRIC GUITAR PLAY GREAT"
     
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  9. plankton

    plankton Active Member

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    Yes, this :thumb:
     
  10. Bad Penguin

    Bad Penguin Member

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    "A good luthier will ask you to plug in and play, and he will listen to you, and let you show
    him what bugs you and like that. Then he'll know were to look for problems."

    EXACTLY what the Col. said here!

    I'm a tech, been doing for over 30 years. First thing I do, is hand the client a guitar that's similar to what he has, and watch him play. I have a light picking hand, they may not. I can be a little rough on the fretting hand, they may have a light touch. I like a low action, they may not. etc etc etc .....

    My basic setup, after the above, includes action, intonation, truss rod, light fret work/polishing, nut work if needed, pickup adjustment, all the basics. It really depends on what the client feels they need/want. It's not MY guitar, it's theirs, and needs to be set for them!
     
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