Action determines how much pressure and distance is required for the string to make full contact with each fret. Black Friday Sale! Understring Radius Gauges. The following setup procedures and specifications are for your Stratocaster as equipped with the strings that come on the instrument as standard equipment from the factory. Measure the distance from top of fret to bottom of string while depressing the string at the 1st and last fret: Relief should measure .005 - .010" at the 8th fret. If this is the first time you’re working on your own guitar, you’ll be much better off taking my advice here to make yourself a proper workspace – a neck caul to prop up and support the neck, a grippy rubber or foam mat for the body to rest on, and a nice desk lamp with a flexible neck. Use the understring radius gauges to first determine the radius of the fretboard, then check the radius at the bridge to make sure they match. Some players, especially those who play with a heavy attack and like low action, will prefer to have some relief in the neck: this small amount of up-bow reduces buzzes and fret noise for these players. In the following essay I will outline the steps involved in the set up of an electric guitar. Check the nut to make sure the slots are not too deep, and the bridge saddles to make sure they fit and functioning properly. Guitar Setup Part 2: Setting Action. Adjust the truss rod to add relief to the neck, if that's what the player prefers. When you perform a guitar setup (or any instrument repair) for someone else, you should treat their instrument better than your own. With the guitar on its side, look down the fingerboard edge for overall straightness, back-bow, relief (forward bow) and humps, as well as high or uneven frets. Guitar Setup Part 1: Adjusting the Truss Rod. Tip: File the slots on a slight downward angle away from the fretboard (about 25°) – if the headstock is pitched back, you can go parallel with that as a guide. Different gauges have different tensions and will affect all of the adjustments we make, as well as needing wider nut slots (or a new nut in some cases). Because that distance increases the further away from the nut the measurement is taken, we typically just measure this at a single fret for representational purposes. Tip: Use a straightedge for added assurance (pictured).. Then, measuring with the String Action Gauge, adjust the string height to the player's preference. ... tune the guitar and check your measurements again. Address any problem frets or nut and saddle issues before proceeding to the next step. However, since electric guitars come with more bells and whistles, so to speak, you should expect to pay a little extra with an electric guitar. Save on Over 900 Items. With the guitar strung up to pitch and held in the playing position, use your straightedge to evaluate relief. It's a matter of personal preference. It's important to achieve a straight neck. With the guitar strung up to pitch and held in the playing position, use your straightedge to evaluate relief. This distance plays a key role in your setup because it determines the ease in which your guitar can be played. If the guitar is going to have a new string gauge, you should put them on first and tune up to pitch – the tension difference between gauges is going to make a difference to the adjustments. Electronics exerts greatest influence on the overall sound of a solid-body electric guitar. Tip: Righty tighty, lefty loosie ;). If you plan to change string gauges, you may need to adjust the specs somewhat to compensate for the changes in string sizes. This is the preferred setup for most players, and it's a necessary starting point for all setups. ... tune the guitar and check your measurements again. When these are taken care of, you're ready to fine-tune your setup. Guitar Setup: How do I measure the action on my electric guitar? Tip: Some people just cut the strings at full tension with a heavy duty snipper, but there’s a lot of people who think it’s bad for the neck to endure such a rapid change in tension. Always loosen the truss rod nut first, as it could already be maxed out. We use cookies on our website to make sure you get the best experience.