Guitar Maintenance Has Never Been Easier
Yes, guitar maintenance is a chore, but it's essential in keeping your guitar in good condition. Here's a must-have easy reference guide to help you with your own guitar setups.
If your guitar is feeling stiff to play, buzzes, or won't stay in tune, it's probably time for a string change and a good going over.
Easy enough to do on your own right? Plus you'll save the cost of having someone else do it for you.
If you're doing your own guitar maintenance, strip away the hours and hours of tweaking that can go into achieving the perfect setup. Keep your instrument playing fantastic on a regular basis with this easy to follow guitar maintenance guide.
Never miss a critical guitar setup point with this Guitar Setup Cheat Sheet,
Red = Down & Dirty
Amber = Electronics
Green = Almost Done!
1. Assess instrument for work needed
2. Perform any major preliminary adjustments
3. Remove old strings
4. Snug up machine head screws
5. Snug up machine head threaded top bushings
6. Check neck surface, including inlays
7. Check neck joint for gaps
8. Snug up neck plate bolts
9. Clean and recondition fretboard
10. Clean hardware – bridge, tailpiece etc.
11. Check body front, including pickguard
12. Check body back, including any back plates
13. Check body sides, including hardware installation points
14. Clean body top and around pickups
15. Clean headstock
16. Re-string and tension up
17. Perform initial string stretch
18. Tune to pitch
19. Perform basic adjustments
20. Check for proper neck relief
21. Check nut slot height and cut – re-cut if necessary
22. Lubricate nut slots
23. Check for proper string height at 12th fret – adjust if necessary
24. Check for proper radius and adjust if necessary
25. Check intonation with tuner and adjust as needed
26. Check for smooth and noiseless operation of vibrato
27. Check strap buttons are tight
28. Check tuning machines for proper operation and tension
29. Check for smooth and noiseless operation of pots and switches
30. Check pickup height
31. Adjust pickup pole pieces if necessary
32. Test piezo functions.
33. Test push/pull pots
34. Test any specialized switching (Fender S1, mini toggles, etc.)
35. Test onboard tuner
36. Test onboard preamp and effects
37. Test other specific electronic functions - midi etc.
38. Check plug in output jack
39. Check tightness of output jack nut
40. Perform shake and vibration test
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Keep this list handy to understand what goes into a thorough guitar setup.
Use it to stay on top of your own guitar maintenance routine and coax the maximum playability out of your own instruments..
While this list can’t cover every possible contingency, it still provides a comprehensive list of the most fundamental steps required in setting up the vast majority of instruments.
I sincerely hope you find it useful in following the steps needed to keep your favorite six string machines performing at their peak.