Discussion in 'Gibson SG' started by Martin145, Jan 14, 2021.
I need to set up an SG. Can you recommend a very straightforward YouTube set up guide for Dummies?
First, get the neck straight. You turn the truss rod ¼ turn at a time, then check relief. If the neck is too concave, turn the truss rod nut clockwise to remove excess relief. If the neck is too convex, turn the truss rod nut counter-clockwise.
Begin by tuning to your normal pitch, i.e. if you normally play in drop D, tune to drop D. Retune between each adjustment. Start by setting the bridge height for frets 16 to 22, so that the strings play buzz free at the lowest possible height.
Start with low E. Plucking normally play fret 16. Lower the bass side of the bridge until it buzzes, raise until clear. Now play it from fret 16 to fret 22. Raise slightly if needed. Check A and D and raise slightly if needed to get clean notes. Remember to retune between steps. 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 15, increasing relief (loosening trussrod counter clockwise) to relieve buzz or decreasing relief (tightening trussrod clockwise) to lower the string height. So tighten, by fractional turns (1/4 of a turn), 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, loosening by the slightest amount (1/8th of a turn) to relieve buzzing.
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 16 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.
Pickup height adjustments
Here’s how I do it.
I set the bridge pickup (pole) height to about two credit card thickness distance from the bottom of the unfretted strings (1/8" or ±3mm). If it sounds good, I leave it there. Too hot ? Go ½ turn of each screw at a time to lower it where I want it (counter clockwise for humbucker, clockwise for P90). Test clean AND with dirt. Once I have that one at the sweet spot, I go to the neck pup.
Any neck pickup will sound boomy if adjusted too high.
Neck tone has to be different from middle position. Many people have the neck pup adjusted so it gives the same tonality as middle position. Not good. Neck pup has to be adjusted so middle position gets a quacky or almost acoustic tone. You'll know what I mean when you get there. So, I raise the neck pup until it starts to sound boomy. Notes will seem to be overwhelmed with too much bass. Now I lower it a full screw turn and compare it to middle. If it sounds the same, the neck pup is still too high. I go on until I hear three different balanced tones out of the two pup.
That is a fun thing to do and nothing can go wrong. If you're uncomfortable with it, take precise measurements before you start so you can easily go back. Take your time and you will find the sweet spot for each pickup.
What else is there ?
I’ve used this as a reference for setting up my SG and so far it has worked out perfect. It gives a nice explanation of everything
I learned most of what I know from Dan Erlewine's books. He also has a series of videos he's done for Stew Mac, but I don't know if there's a specific one for a typical setup, which consists of truss rod adjustment, setting bridge height and intonation.
A great beginners explanation by someone that has been in the the business since the 60s.
I like these videos, as I love to have a "solid" reference to start with (not my eyes first) :
Another one that can help is this one :
Allways remember : it's not that dangerous to set the truss rod, but you have to go slow. I've oftem heard 1/4 turn each 24 hours so the neck can settle in it's new position.
Other than that, I say it as often as I can : it's as important to string your guitar the right way to avoid tuning issues :
If done the right way, you're guitar will sound killer and stay in tune!
Seems like others hav posted the entire process, so I won't...BUT, the neck relief I go for depends on the neck profile. I like a li'l FIGHT in the strings so I go for little as possible relief. W/ Slim-Tapers I will not go straighter on the relief than .005" @ 8TH Fret as I have sen twists/wrinkles develop in the binding on S.T. necks if going straighter than that. The Chunkier the Neck Profile the straighter I will set the neck. My LP CUSTOM w/Chunky 'C' is a ROCK ! and it came from the factory DEAD-STRAIGHT, I opened the relief a li'l bit and then closed it back down gradually to .003" @ 9TH Fret.
I always encourage players to do their own set-up's. Save some $$$/Time and become one with the axe !
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