How to know if your guitar needs a setup!

hey everyone today's video is gonna be

about what you should look for on your

guitar to tell you if you need

adjustments or a setup ok so the most

common and frequent adjustment that we

have to do is called the truss rod now

what happens is this really long piece

of wood on the neck has the highest

tension on it from the strings and

because it's so long it also can kind of

adjust to the humidity in the

temperature more than other parts of the

guitar so when guitar builders build

these they know that that's an option

that something has to be adjusted to

write down the center of the neck they

channel out a spot and make a place for

the truss rod now the truss rod is like

a 20-something inch bolt that you can

tighten or loosen when you tighten it it

pulls the tension back on the neck and

when you loosen it it lets the strings

pull it forward so what we want to do is

adjust that so that it's fairly straight

you don't want it back bowed at all that

can cause buzzing and all sorts of

problems if it's too far forward and

curved I can't make my fingers do that

if it's curved too far forward then the

action is really bad and it can create

some tuning issues so we don't like that


now each electric guitar is gonna have a

different access point for adjusting the

truss rod in this case it has a single

chain all there and you're gonna have to

fiddle around with your guitar to figure

out what size Allen or key goes in there

now when you do that there are two main

kinds of adjustments on truss rods one's

going to be some kind of hex wrench like

this and the other is going to be an

external socket like this one so in this

case this one's way too big so we know

that it's gonna be this small inner

allen wrench all you have to do to

adjust the truss rod is take your allen

key line it up and you move it around

until you find it lock we actually go

wrenching on anything we need to see

which direction we need to go you to

tighten or loosen so sometimes you can

look down the neck and see what it needs

if you find that your neck needs

adjustment you

to put the truss rod in and you're gonna

turn it this way to tighten the truss

rod which would pull the neck back

further this way and get the strings

closer to the frets and if you have the

opposite problem if your frets are too

close to the strings you're going to

turn it this way and normally we do a

turn at a time and let it sit a little

bit that allows the neck time to adjust

thank you so many settings then you go

back and do that same tap test again

okay now that you've adjusted your truss

rod and you know that the truss rod is

straight there's a couple other things

that you should check so guitar necks

are curved at different radiuses in this

case this is about a 12 inch radius

which means that these metal bars are

curved slightly because of that we have

to check each string make sure that they

have the proper height now we do this

using one of these tools this is a

string ruler you don't have to have

something like this but it definitely

makes it easier okay so what we're gonna

do is we're gonna get close to the

fingerboard and we're going to put this

ruler right behind the string get this

down here now what you're gonna do is

you're gonna take a measurement of the

12th fret so the 12th fret is the one

right here just above the double dots

now in this case we're gonna slide this

down until you can barely see where the

black line is so in this case I see it

right about 0.030 which is pretty low

action and so this thing if there is no

buzzing this is actually a pretty decent

setup we're gonna go ahead and check the

next string just to make sure that it's

following the curve so this one matches

that will go all the way down the line

that one just is a little bit higher

than 0.030 so I'm gonna probe

we drop that one same thing on that one

and all the way down the line if those

numbers look like they're all matching

or pretty close then you should be fine

to go ahead and play but if you find

that there are random numbers higher and

lower and they're not in a consistent

fashion then that means something's

wrong with the bridge on this side of

the guitar and you should either pick up

a repair book and learn how to do it

yourself watch one of my other videos or

take it to a qualified shop when you get

a chance now there are a couple other

things that a professional shop is going

to check out like intonation and general

health of the guitar you can check some

of the creases down here make sure that

there's no cracks developing or you can

have them check out the electronics too

so I highly recommend a shop but if you

want to just see what the numbers are so

that you can be informed this is a good

way to start another thing that you can

do that's very useful is to go through

and take measurements of your favorite

playing guitar and write those down you

can hand that over to your shop tech and

they can get your other guitars into

those same specs so typically setups are

required every four to six months but

every once while you'll need them more

often than that based off whether you're

traveling or if you just had really

extreme weather you'll notice that

you'll need one when you have really bad

buzzing in certain locations on the neck

or if the action is really high because

your necks kind of curved forward and

you're either playing out of tune

there's a whole list of stuff so we're

going to go through a couple options