HERE IS A DISCRIPTION OF HOW TO SET UP A GUITAR by OUR RESIDENT GUITAR TECH.....
04/18/2019[br]11:20:51 AM[br]The details of a 'Set-Up' aren't standardized, so it can be hard to compare the charges of different repair-techs. However, I can explain my process and charges. When I perform a set-up, I adjust everything that affects playability: the action, the intonation, the pickups, the tuning-machines (the friction between the worm-shaft and the tuner's housing, and re-torquing the mounting-nuts/-screws), and I polish the frets. My set-up does not include fret-milling; that's a separate job - but if there's a loose fret, or a single fret that's too high, I may 'throw it in' without charge. I also test all the instrument's electrical functions, clean and de-oxidize the pots and switches as needed, and alert the owner to any additional problems that need to be addressed.
To set the action, you must adjust four components: the truss-rod, the height of each bridge-saddle, the height of each nut-slot (to set each string's height above the 1st fret), and the pickup-to-string distance(s) - it's necessary to do this, because when the pickups are adjusted too close to the strings, this can increase fret-rattle, which will 'throw off' your analysis, when setting the action.
This implies that there's a specific, necessary sequence, for performing the set-up adjustments: e.g. you can't do anything without having the correct strings on the instrument, because the specific tension of your chosen set of strings will determine everything you do, subsequently. Likewise, you must make an initial truss-rod adustment before your initial action-adjustment at the bridge, followed by 'bouncing' back and forth between the two adjustments (as needed), to 'spiral' into the correct action.
The sequence of adjustments which I use on an electric guitar (without a vibrato) is as follows:
[br]* Check the mounting-fasteners, lubricate, and adjust the tuning machines, while installing a new set of strings.
* Check the string spacing and the 'fit' of the strings in the nut.
* Stretch the new strings and tune the instrument.
* Lower the pickups to eliminate magnetic interference.
* Check the neck-relief and make the initial truss-rod adjustment.
* Check the overall action and make the initial bridge adjustment.
* Check the depth of the individual string slots in the nut; check for fret irregularity, and fingerboard warpage.
* Recut the nut-slots as needed, leaving some slight leeway.
* Check the intonation and make the initial adjustment.
* Fine-tune the action and truss-rod adjustment.
* Fine-tune the depth of the nut slots.
* Fine-tune the intonation.
* Adjust the pickups.
* Clean the new strings.
Nominally, I charge $80/hour, for most of my work - however, I use 'flat rate' pricing for most of my routine jobs: I charge for 1½ hours ($120) for setting up a guitar or electric bass that is not equipped with a vibrato-bridge (or -tailpiece); I charge 2 hours ($160) for vibrato-equipped instruments, and 2½ hours ($200) for guitars equipped with a Floyd Rose (or other 'double-locking') vibrato-system. Unfortunately (for me), these charges are not 'padded' at all - it frequently takes me substantially more than the 'billable' time, to complete these set-up procedures, so I rarely make anything like my nominal rate. That's just life, for a reapir-tech, if they're conscientious in their work...
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