Going to start doing my own guitar maintenance

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by Joe N, Aug 26, 2020.

  1. Joe N

    Joe N New Member

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    Hi all - haven't been able to contact my local luthier recently, not sure if this covid virus has put him out of business or not :-(

    So I am going to try and do the maintenance myself, I don't think there is anything seriously wrong with the 3 guitars I have, just want to be able to check - string changes, neck bow, string height, intonation etc., hands on experience is the best, I just don't have that - yet

    I ordered and received Dan Erlewine's book "How to make your guitar play great again", good articles and videos, Stew Mac has a work bench mat and neck block on sale right now (just not in stock) so I am waiting for that, and I am going to get a String height gauge and Straight edge ( haven't ordered those yet) -

    I have read many articles from this forum about guitar setup (I have a 2019 SG Std., Telecaster and PRS Acoustic), once I get started I will most likely have many questions -

    To start out, what String height gauge do you find most useful (easy to use and read), and what length Straight edge is best (I'm thinking 18") ?

    Thanks in advance

    Joe
     
  2. donepearce

    donepearce Well-Known Member

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    Your very first question has a zero-cost answer. Don't use a string gauge. Adjust your string s for minimum action height without fret buzz. Start at the upper end of the fretboard and adjust the bridge height until the strings are just buzz-free. Then move down to the far end frets and adjust the truss rod so those frets are buzz free. That should be the lowest possible action on your guitar. Now try each string and fret in turn. Any individual spots that are too buzzy will trigger more complex work - fret levelling.
     
  3. DrBGood

    DrBGood Well-Known Member

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    These are helpful for fret polishing.
    https://www.amazon.com/Andoer-Stainless-Fretboard-Protector-Fingerboard/dp/B00L0X8ATE/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=Andoer+Stainless+Steel+Fretboard+Protector+Fingerboard+Guards+For+Bass+and+Guitar+Pack+Of+2&qid=1598471100&s=musical-instruments&sr=1-1

    Can't find my order, but I got a straight edge from China for like $12. All edges were razor sharp and I had to dull them down. Feels great now.

    And like donepearce wrote, string action is done by looking, touching and feeling, not by measuring.
     
  4. plankton

    plankton Well-Known Member

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    Yeah, I don't measure anything, all by feel, and if I want to check the neck relief I use the strings as the straight edge.
     
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  5. Joe N

    Joe N New Member

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    Thank you all for replying, I've been dealing with some lingering back issues and haven't felt much like tackling a "set up" for my guitars, hopefully I can to it soon :-)

    Joe
     
  6. Go Nigel Go

    Go Nigel Go Active Member

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    The above advice looks good, basically how I have done it for years. In my experience, set up can usually be done once when the instrument is new to me. After that "maintenance" only involves re-stringing, and cleaning. Unless there is a structural problem or some other major change, things like setting intonation, bridge height, and truss rod adjustment should not be necessary. A major change in string gauge for example might require a new set up, but most experienced players tend to pick one string size for the instrument early on and stick with it so not a problem. Hope this helps boost your confidence a bit in your ability to do your own routine maintenance.
     
  7. plankton

    plankton Well-Known Member

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    Depending on where you live in the world, seasonal changes in temperature and relative humidity can necessitate a tweak of the truss rod (and subsequently other related adjustments) because the wood moves around a bit.
     
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  8. papagayo

    papagayo Well-Known Member

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    OOh my god, this guy have a personal luthier .

    [​IMG]

    LOL
     
  9. GrumpyOldDBA

    GrumpyOldDBA Well-Known Member

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    Yeah its pretty common to do minor tweaks to truss rod especially summer to fall to winter and if humidity moves around ... its quick and easy ...

    Once setup to my liking its strings and cleaning on guitar im playing most every 6 weeks or so.
     

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