5 Guitar Setup Tips & Tricks You NEED To Know

and it's elevated so it's you know you

can see underneath it oh so you can just

drop your pig drug yeah yeah yeah

actually Brian did next set on it years

ago and it's and you could totally see

like the is that overspray on oh yeah

it's just spray painted that's all just

take a stencil and just lay it on the

headstock it's how much are these now

okay so I'm back here at dojo guitar

pair with my good friend Dave Onorato

Dave Onorato

I came back down here today though

because I want to make a video with Dave

taking you through some essential setup

and guitar maintenance tips that all

guitar players need to know and need to

be doing on a pretty regular basis and

selfishly I wanted to make this video

because I'm terrible with the nuts and

bolts of actually keeping a guitar in

good playable shape I tore a lot I

travel with my guitars a lot and I never

do anything other than change the

strings and occasionally maybe clean the

fret board so today Dave is going to

take us through some essential guitar

maintenance and care tips and tricks


okay first off we'll start with

acoustics stuff to look for just you

know say you get off the road or you get

done doing some gigs and they're like

you start noticing maybe the actions

getting a little high or you get some

buzzing that you haven't had because of

either weather the next moving whatever

first thing I always like to do is to

see how the bridge and the neck angle

are on an acoustic you'll get the bridge

that will move a lot the top will

actually buckle up you can kind of see

like on this guitar it's actually got a

little bit of a hump in it and that's

from the humidity in the air and the

tension on the guitar it pulls the top

up so when that happens the string gets

higher or I can't get lower depending on

how it's being affected so first of all

I just like to go site down the neck and

usually a lot of people always get this

question but by hundreds of guitar

players to come anything like I don't

know what I'm looking at when I look at

a neck to see if it's straight or not

and simply what I do is you just kind of

close one eye and just follow the line

of the neck down the body of to the

guitar and if you close one eye you can

actually see where how the neck is in

the fretboard in here so if you see

something that's going like this with a

massive bow in it that means you've got

to tighten the truss rod sometimes you

have to take the neck off like on some

Fender guitar solid bodies but we're

just dealing with acoustics right now

most the time they're usually here or up

in the sound hole but what I like to do

is see you know how much bows in the

neck and see how much distance is from

this saddle here to like where the 12th

fret is and then from the 12th fret to

here to where the nut is so cuz it's an

equal distance between the two like on

this guitar this guitar has a pretty

decent sized bow in it so now I know

that that means that you got to tighten

the truss rod if you lose sight down

your neck and it's back bowed and it's

getting like you're buzzing out up in

here in the middle of the neck or up in

here you get a lot of buzz you want to

back off the truss rod because that

means it's too tight so how much should

people be adjusting their truss rods at

a time it kind of depends on the guitar

but I usually tell people an eighth of a

turn either way to see how much play is

in the truss rod like if you get into a

guitar that has a backbone in it and you

go to adjust the truss rod and you

realize that the truss rod is already


you have a major problem with your

guitar so you can't adjust that out same

as if you have a heavy bow in the neck

and you go to adjust a truss rod and

it's really tight and you can't tighten

it anymore

you have another problem with a guitar

so outside of those two instances you

should be able to get at least an eighth

of a turn a quarter return without too

much problem and every time you do it

just sight the neck and see if how much

it's being affect its second thing I

like to do and it's it's a big one that

most people overlook when you're taking

off your strings and you're kind of

cleaning your guitar make sure to go and

check to see how tight your tuners are

that these unfortunately are non

adjustable tuners but like on a you know

normal guitar hair like this you know

like a set of Grover's you've got a

couple of points of action where you can

actually adjust the tuner so you've got

these screws here on the buttons that

you can tighten up so I always check

those so if you're having tuning

problems or you seem to have strings

that are loosening up slipping see how

loose these are and tighten them if

they're loose tighten them until they're

nice and snug the other thing is also on

these gears where you have a threaded

bushing a lot of times these threaded

bushings will loosen up simply take the

string off and just take a socket and

tighten that down and make sure it's

tight because at all of these points if

any of these are loose it's a possible

area where the string and the tuner are

actually moving and you're getting

tuning issues so that's an easy one you

know and I can't tell you how many

guitars I get in here guys go I can't

keep my guitar tuned I don't know what's

going on and it's just simply loose

tuners you know so that's right so for

the next tip this is something I screw

up all the time and it's adjusting the

intonation this is something that as

guitar players we should be doing

regularly and know how to do so Dave

what is intonation and how do we fix it

when it's out what you want to do you

can use I would suggest using a good

floor tuner or a good rack tuner if you

got rack tuner it says either one I

would signal not suggest using a

headstock tuner because they're not

quite as finite as the floor tuners or

generous so and with the intonation you

want to be as close as you possibly can

and the thing about a guitar that you

have to remember is that you will never

get a guitar to be perfectly in tune

typically even the best guitars temper

tuning all of that you can get them

extremely close but they are a stringed

instrument and they always will be out

just slightly and it's just sort of the

thing that you can't get around so we

have to find the happy medium basically

there's a few ways you want to do this I

would suggest not laying the guitar down

like this and in checking your

intonation because if you do this you

can actually pull it out of tune by

pressing simply on the neck and watching

it move on a tuner so put it in playing

position you know sit do it this way

because this is the way you're pretty

much gonna play at all times and are you

fretting on the 12th fret are you what I

do first is just hit them hit the

harmonic to see where it's on the tuner

so what that one's showing it's

basically this is the low E I'm hitting

it's basically in tin right there so

then what I do is just simply as light

as I can I try not to over push on the

string but just right in the middle hit

it and you can see this one so just a

tad flat so if you're say your string is

sharp on your tuner you actually want to

move saddle the saddle here take a

screwdriver you actually want to move it

back this way so if it's sharp at the

12th fret when you fret it you want to

go back and that means tightening this

that's why you you tighten it and the

settle actually goes this way if it's

sharp you want to go

I'm sorry flat you want to go toward the

neck so the good thing about these type

bridges is that you have plenty of room

to adjust now sometimes you'll get a

bridge like something like this like a

wraparound tail piece where you don't

have any adjustment as far as the actual

saddle because it's obviously you can

see it's notched here the only way you

can do this that on this bridge is

actually take a allen wrench and tighten

these loosen these and it will actually

angle the bridge either way on the

treble side or the bass side and I

checked the height of the nut

because you know after a while these the

slots will get worn out sometimes

they'll get a little too loan they start

to buzz but I'd like to check the the

nut height then with the way this way to

do it is just take your index finger run

across the third position here and just

take your index finger and see how much

play you have between the first the fret

here and in the actual nut you can kind

of see how the strings move in there a

little bit this nut is cut fine

but if you do this and you notice that

the nut is is kind of high you're gonna

have a lot of play in it so like this

one you can see like I'm pushing down on

the fourth string here and there's got

some play between where I'm taping it

with my finger and where I'm pushing on

it I typically like to have the strings

as low as I can cut the slots cut is low

so there's not a lot of height than that

and what that'll do it it actually it

will mess with your tuning and then also

it will feel different like that if the

nuts higher you're gonna feel the

actions gonna feel higher even though

you have it low at the bridge it's still

gonna feel high up in here and that's

something that's fairly easy to do to

our salads perfectly into my next

question and that is what are some

common tools and things that every

guitar player should maybe not carry

with them to a gig but have at home to

keep their guitars in tip-top shape

well I look at it like you know it's

like anything your tools are everything

so first I like to use radius gauges

which the radius gauge is basically just

a set of these gauges that you can get

from a bunch of different suppliers and

their different radiuses for each one's

I've got everything from a seven and a

quarter which is a normal fender all the

way up to a twenty which is a like a

flat classical now obviously you would

need to bring all these to a gig but if

you find out what your radius is on your

particular guitar or ones that you use a

lot of you know just buy three or four

of these they're fairly inexpensive and

the greatest thing about these is if you

don't know how to set action on a guitar

this is basically kind of a dummy way

idiot-proof way doing it so like this

tele I got I know is like a compound

radius but it'll flatten out at like a

16 so I just go and look at the 16

and they're all numbered so it's easy to

figure out

you basically just slide these under the

string this is my guitar by the way so

if I hit ok and what you do with this is

you just take the radius gauge and pull

the radius gauge up under the strings

and you can see what you do is you just

set your bridge saddles to the arch of

this radius gage so if you know if you

get a bridge it's all wonky and you get

ones that are lower really inconsistent

a lot of times it's usually the saddles

have just been messed with and they're

not anywhere near the right radius so

all you do is you take this radius gage

if you just want to check it even and

over time you know on a Fender bridge

from playing it and hitting your hand on


sweat bending strings you know these can

fall and collapse and the allen wrench

screws can can loosen and change and

that'll mess with your radius so the

easiest way to check it is just take one

of these pull it up and you can see if

there's ones with gaps in it or could

not if they're perfectly across like

this I know the radius is OK the other

thing I would suggest getting is a

basically like a fuel gauge for guitar

and this is just to check the action

height so you can get these at Stu Mac

also and I'm not being paid by stomach

by the way to say that but if they want

to send me a check that's like I'll take

the rig I'll take the the gauge here and

actually just measure at the 12th fret

the height of the strings and what I end

up doing personally for myself is all

I'll check it and I'll go like 2 or 3

gigs and I'll make a mental note I'll

just write it down what what it was the

last time I checked it to see if the

next moving at all so to suggest buying

a set of metric and imperial allen

wrench so you can cover the bases

between American and non-american

guitars the ever trusty string winder

with it you can't get around you have to

have one of these another one that I

love is the is this snaps 2.0 bridge pin

puller and the guys at big rocker or

good guys and they make a lot of cool

stuff and it's real simple to use and

it's just it saves so much time and it

saves a lot of bridge damage and all

this is simply likes ok so you get your

normal bridge pin here and you want to

like change the string well you use this

little snaps tool and you basically just

go right over this pit the bridge pin

and push this collar down like this and

just pull up on it and just rock it back

and forth pulls it right out you know

you'll never have to see this ever again

where somebody's doing this and ruining

a bridge or the pins

whatever yeah I see it I'll actually do

that up nice enough see it all the time

straight I've always just use this thing

on the streamliner that little thing in

there and what happens is I get under

there yes well that's I think that's why

the snaps I've never I've had one of

these for a while and it's never screwed

a pin up never skirt the bridge up

lifesaver so we should point out they're

not sponsoring this video at all no this

is just no actually it's not this is dry

use these tools there's nothing in any

of this that I get paid for that I've

been given whatever I buy all this stuff

I use it and if it works great then I I

support it if it doesn't I'll tell you I

have no qualms what really works cuz you

get the t-shirt on well the other thing

I would suggest and this is really easy

to make or use if you want ok say you

take your strings off your your acoustic

and you've got all these loose and the

strings are flying all over the place

and you don't want them to get caught up

in each other

just take two strips of velcro ok this

is really easy to do just slide one

under the string and then take another

the over other piece here and do this

and your strings don't go anywhere and

they stay put so you can you know

literally I can take all of these

strings off have them flopping all over

the place and they you know they don't

come off the tuner and vice versa if you

take them off here use it right here you

know and so either way it'll work and

it's real simple simple easy little hack

to use I mean they're if they're you

know you got to think smart with that

kind of stuff and uh cool yeah and so

when the strings are loose there I can

actually pull the strings off have them

over here work on the nut put the

strings back on and they don't get

caught up in each other

so okay so the next thing we're to talk

about is setting your pickup height

adjusting your pickups to get the right

balance of tone without sacrificing yeah

right sure

first I get a lot of guys in with

humbuckers that tend to collapse inside

to the the ring like they actually fall

in down in the guitar and what happens

is this spring or this screw will loosen

up and they're just hanging in there so

what I like to do with this and it's

real easy to do and I've done this on

all my guitars with humbuckers where

you've got a screw sticking out here I

just like to get like a little tiny nut

like this put the nut over it so it'll

never collapse you just tighten it

against that and you can you know this

will never fall through and never let

you'll never lose the spring or the

screw and it fits right down in there

sometimes depending on the guitar you

might have to do a slight bit of routing

which usually you don't because the way

these most Gibson's in and Gibson style

guitars have these cuts for the for the

legs here you know and it fits right

down in it so that's an easy like

literally five cent thick so you know

fixer-upper for for this problem so how

do you how do you dial in your pickup

height though first of all just plug the

guitar in and go through each string and

see that see how the definition is

between a harmonic and open string play

it all the way you know just go up the

neck each note and see which notes tend

to be popping out more than others and

as you're doing that just adjust the

pole and see if you can find you know

get a nice medium with each one on a

humbucker it's the same principle as the

p90 what I like to do is always you know

if you're gonna be adjusting this stuff

don't don't adjust it like this so where

you can slip and hit the top of the

guitar always put the guitar flat and

guide this I like to guide the the

actual screwdriver with my finger like

this so if it does slip off it doesn't

hit the top of the guitar and simply

adjust this up and down you can see

where the pickup is moving up and down

here what I like to do is set the

humbucker we're the string height is I'd

like to keep the the the humbucker

depending on how powerful

what kind of magnets there but if

they're normal likes PAF style pickups

in the 8 to 9 K range I usually like to

have maybe oh I don't know probably

maybe like a like an eighth of an inch a

quarter of an inch from the top of the

the cover to the where the string is so

again use your ear though because all

pickups are different they're all rated

different they all sound different and

they sound different in different

positions so use your ear find you know

find what sounds good to you or best you

and don't know don't be wigged out about

the visual like say you know if you've

got a couple of pull pieces they're

really lower than the others but it

sounds great

leave it ok wise member this gets hard

this is but I've been seen this thing in

years this is the best feature of this

guitar right here you ready for the

moment look at this yeah you got a

built-in yeah pick holder yeah whatever

you do do not put this on the Internet

plan your shredding you're up here

you're doing all things dive-bombs right

oh I dropped my pick fret not because

you've got your handy dandy pick

dispenser right here and you're right

back to just melting face and oh this is

my new signature guitar by the way yeah

yeah I can hear Floyd Rose all over no

records yeah for sure I mean dude yeah

all right so those are five tricks that

you need to know to keep your guitar

playing and sounding great as always

thanks Dave

for helping me out with the video follow

him on instagram at dojo guitar repair

I'll have that linked down below and if

you're in the Atlanta area and you need

any kind of guitar work done yeah this

is the dude I have to do out-of-state

work too so people send me guitars all

the time if you're interested in picking

anything up that we talked about in the

video all the links will be in the

description box down below those will be

affiliate links so if you buy anything

through that I'll earn a small

Commission which helps me up in making

these videos that follow me on instagram

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posting new videos and let us know in

the comments what do you want to see

Dave and I do next yeah yeah

we're always open to ideas you know and

we'll tell you know

now definitely I sent him in we're

always you know always looking for cool

different stuff to mess around with or

if you got crazy questions about stuff

whatever yeah great thanks everyone and

see on the next one