Adirondack Guitar - The Guitar Garage

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3 Lafayette St., Hudson Falls, NY, USA - Phone 518.746.9500

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Every Day is Black Friday and Cyber Monday at The Guitar Garage! Give Our Independent Store a Chance to Price Match, and Answer your Questions. Our Staff is not made up of Computer IT Experts, but of experienced professionals who care about the products we sell.

Call us - 1.518.746.9500 or Email us -

We inspect and Set-up our Instuments before shipping; we don't just stick a box on a conveyer and have a computer put a shipping label on it.

Electric Guitar Set Up

Before you start to set up an electric guitar, there are a few checks that you need to do, to see what needs to be done in the set up.

Acoustic Guitar Set Up

1) You need to make sure that the guitar has a fresh set of strings on so you can see what you need to change on the guitar to make it sound better.

2) You have to check the action of the guitar, looking at the height of the strings from the frets and the pick ups.

3) Visually inspect the height of the strings over the bridge and the saddles to see what height they are set at.

4) Play the guitar and see what you don’t like about the way it plays. If you are setting up your own guitar it has to be set up the way you want it.

Once you have completed these four steps, you can start to set your guitar up to play the way you want it to play.

Step 1 - New Strings
Most people tend not to think about the strings, but you will find that the strings you use and the way you put them on the guitar is important to the final sound and feel of the guitar.
The first thing you have to do is to take off the old strings and find a set of strings you enjoy playing. This is the best way to put on new strings:Thread the string through the bridge and place it in the nut, then measure about two machine heads worth of string away from the machine head you want to place the string on to and bend it at a 90 degree angle. Tighten the machine head while pressing the string down onto the headstock, you should get about three wraps around for the bottom E string and will gradually get more the thinner the string gets. Cut off any excess string, this stops the excess string hitting the strings and affecting the sound. This will also give your string a professional look. You now have to tune the guitar up so you can see what needs to be done on the rest of the guitar.

Step 2 - The Truss Rod

As you tighten the truss rod the neck will flatten and give you lower action, and if you loosen the truss rod your neck will give you more relief, raising the action.

How to Adjust the Truss Rod

It is fairly simple to adjust your truss rod. You will have to make sure that your new strings are in tune and you will have to work out if you need to tighten or loosen your truss rod. If the gap between your strings and frets is too high you will have to tighten your truss rod (turn it clockwise), or if your strings buzz or touch your frets then you will have to loosen your truss rod (turn it counter-clockwise). This will take a few tries and you will have to keep checking if your strings are still in tune.
Adjusting the truss rod will help you to get good action and string height, but it’s not only the truss rod, it’s also the bridge that affects the action.

A few things to remember.......

If you are trying to adjust a NEW instrument, tune it to pitch, and wait a few days for the guitar to get used to the tension and get used to its environment. Yes, electric guitars are sensitive to humidity, temperature, and altitude!

Make sure your guitar is tuned to pitch - use a good electronic tuner! Keep the tuner plugged into the guitar when you you are adjusting the truss bar. If you are not sure which way you are adjusting, remember this....... If the electronic tuner indicates a drop in pitch, you are raising the action (or loosening the tension on the truss bar) - If the electronic tuner indicates you are raising the pitch, you are lowering the action (or tightening the truss bar).

Don't overdo it! When in doubt , adjust only half a turn a day.


Step 3 -The Bridge

The bridge and the truss rod work in partnership; if you adjust one you may have to adjust the other. If your action is still high after adjusting the truss rod, lower your individual saddles until your strings buzz on the frets and then raise the saddle adjusters until the buzz is gone.

A few things to remember.......

Again make sure your guitar is tuned to pitch! Important - if the guitar is equipped with a tremolo bridge make sure the bridge is not tipping forward under the string pressure You can adjust the tremolo tension springs by removing the plate on the back of the guitar. Sometimes adding an extra spring or two could help with this problem.

If your Guitar has a Floyd Rose Tremolo you should probably take it to your local guitar store for final set up.

Step 4 - Intonation

A good ear, and/or a very good electronic tuner helps with this process. Again a fresh set of string tuned to pitch is essential.

Each string and its 12th fret harmonic should ring at the same pitch (actually an octave apart). If the note (note at the 12th fret) is flat compared to the open string you will have to move that string's saddle back. If it’s sharp, you have to move it forward.

This can be tedious, but is well worth the effort.

Something to remember.......

Some brands of strings have better harmonic balance than others. Find a brand (and gauge) that works for you and stick to it.

Information on Buzz Feiten

Step 5 - Pick Up Adjustment

When it comes to adjusting your pickups, make the adjustment that works for you, the way you play and the sound you want. You don’t want the pickups too far away from the strings or the tone will become "muddy". Too close may cause your strings to touch and buzz. Use the pick up adjuster screws until you get the sound you are after.

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