You Have Reached A Full Access Section

Re-stringing a Floyd Rose

Get full access

I am posting this lesson in response to the many times this question has been asked in the forum.
How do I set up a guitar?

Well it is easy and there are three elements to it

1) Action: This is the height of the strings from the frets and is controlled by two things. The first
thing is the height of the bridge and the second is the height of the Nut. Many elements contribute to the
overall placement of the action such as the curvature (relief) of the neck, the height of the frets, the gauge
of the string, the style you are playing and the height of your pickups. The easiest way to adjust action is,
on Fender type guitars adjust the hight of the individual saddle. This is done by adjusting the allen nuts at
the front of the saddle. With Gibson type guitars the whole bridge need to be raised and lowered.

Generally for fast guitar playing and taping etc, low is good.

2) Intonation: This is adjusting the vibrating length (scale length) of a string so that the octave
harmonic is over the 12 fret. Adjusting the saddle position back and forward does this. Forward (less
vibrating length) makes the vibrating length shorter and moves the harmonic above the 12 fret towards
the nut. This is the direction to move a sharp note at the 12th fret in. Conversely, increasing the scale
length will remedy a flat note played at the 12 fret.

Bad intonation sounds dreadful especially if you wander up the neck. Old strings can sound badly
intonated also. So if in doubt, swap 'em out !

If the fretted note is sharp, move the saddle back, increasing string length.

If the string note is flat, move the saddle forward decreasing the string length.

Remember with Gibson style bridges you can always reverse the saddle to give that little bit more
travel one way or the other.

3) Curvature of the neck. This is the trickiest of the three and if you are in doubt...stop. You can snap
your truss rod and that will be expensive! Yes the truss rod controls the curvature of the neck. Sometimes
you will need to unscrew a plate at the top of the neck (Gibson / PRS style guitars) and sometimes you will
need to look at the bottom of the neck joint (Fender style guitars) . If the truss rod does not want to turn,
do not force it or it may snap and that is a disaster!

Loosen the truss rod by turning it counterclockwise adds bow or relief to the neck.

Tighten a truss rod by turning it clockwise removes relief straitening the neck

Relief can be used to eliminate fret buzz and get your action that much lower.

If you want to know more there is an excellent book by a guy called Dan Erlewine called Guitar Player
Repair Guide available from I have a copy and it is superb.

Lesson Info
Instructor Dr Simon
Any Style
Re-stringing a Floyd Rose
Tutorial Lessons