A setup is when the guitar is adjusted back to the factory
or the requested specs from the player. This may be needed for a number of
such as sound change due to temperature change with the seasons, string gauge
changes, and user adjustments that... umm... didn't work.
A setup includes: cleaning and polishing of the fret board,
electronics (if equipped), tuners, neck relief, action hieght.
intonation, pickup height, frets, and tremelo adjustments (if equipped).
We include a set of new strings. A setup is recommended twice
a year depending on where you geographically live.
Many guitars, acoustic as well as electric, have adjustable
These adjustable rods control the amount of up-bend or back bow in the neck.
most often is referred to as a guitar's relief. Most guitars require minimal
of relief in the neck. Adjustments can be made to accommodate a players style
as well as changes in string gauge and humidity. The adjustments are made
1/1000's of an inch and are done with the guitar in the playing position.
There are times when adjusting the truss rod and/or bridge saddle will not
correct the problem with string action height on an acoustic guitar. Sometimes
it is needed to remove the neck and re-install it with the proper
angle. If the neck is glued on, it is repaired by steaming soft the glue in
dove tail can be reshaped to correct the neck angle problem. We use a jig
increased control over the process as well as protecting the rest of the guitar.
The frets on a guitar can become so worn and flat that a re-crowning and
dressing will not correct the problems of buzzing and dead notes. A partial
or complete re-fret may be required. The frets are removed by heating them
and pulling them out. The heat allows the frets to be pulled from their slots
minimal chipping. Once the frets are removed the fret board can be carefully
examined for loose or high fret markers, loose binding and other problems
are easier to correct without the frets in place. There is a variety of fret
available. This gives the guitarist a choice of preference regarding fret
and crown height. The fret slots are cleaned free of debris. The frets are
length and installed. There are many ways to install them. We press them using
two ton press. We can do fine adjustments by tapping down certain areas of
fret with a fret tap. On our custom guitars we supper glue or epoxy the frets
into their slots.
Fret wear occurs on most great sounding guitars. The line of thinking here
if the guitar sounds great then it gets played a lot. The more a gutiar gets
the more the frets can experience wear. Actually any guitar that gets played
alot experiences some fret wear. A worn down fret, frets that have been worn
flat, and uneven frets can cause an annoying buzz and intonation problems.
If there is enough metal left on the fret, the frets can be filed level, re-crowned
and polished. This is best done with the neck straight and under simulated
tension of the strings tuned to pitch. This allows for a more precise leveling
Some guitars with bolt-on necks, the necks can be removed from the guitar
and fastened to a surrogate body for all the fret work and adjustments. The
guitar body is safe in it's case and out of the work area.
Ouch! But it's all fixable. This is much more than your ordinary
dent or crack. This is a "cookie cutter" type hole. On more expensive
instruments we might replace the entire side of the guitars. Painted or
opaque stained gutiars are the easiest to repair. This instrument was not
very expensive guitar and was quite easy to patch up the black lacquer
Guitar necks that are cut from one solid piece of tone wood have
somewhat of a weak area just below the headstock. This is usually
caused by the direction the wood grain (grain run out) is running at this
of the neck. On some guitars, it doesn't take much more than to fall over
the guitar stand and WHACK!! the head stock breaks off.
Repairing a broken headstock is a very common repair.
Depending on how ragged or splintered the break is, re-glueing the
neck break and touching up the finish is usually all that is necessary
to make the repair. Some repair and badly splintered or multiple
fractures can require a more extensive repair where wooden splints
are routed and inlayed into the neck and headstock to add reinforcement.
It's unfortunate that this happens, but many times while tuning up after
installing a heavier gauge set of strings, the bridge of the guitar flies
Sometimes the tension from the strings just pulls up too much on the
bridge and lifts it a little, or sometimes we forget and leave our guitar
the car for a little while during the summer and when the guitar gets hot
the bridge lifts or the whole belly of the guitar can pull up.
Pete Townsend of THE WHO smashed a Gibson SG
on stage and then tossed it into the audience. There are folks out there who
repair those guitars. Bob Taylor and Grit Laskin
simultaneously stomped an old beater guitar into kindling at an A.S.I.A.
Symposium auction. Sometimes such smashing can be repaired.
Many times the repair on a smashed instrument can be extensive,
luckily for this customer's guitar, the breaks where clean,
unsplintered and they glued together almost invisibly.
Arch top guitars are more difficult to execute repairs on. WHY?
The arch top guitars have no sound hole.
Simple things like cleaning volume and tone pots can become
a challenge. Replacing an output jack or re-soldering a loose wire can be
very frustrating and time consuming.
You can see that the pickups and the rest of the guitar electronics have
been removed from this instrument. The holes where the pickups mount
gives the technician some working room to get fingers and tools inside
the guitar to make repairs.
Putting the volume and tone pots back are a challenge because you cannot
your hand in the body. Strings are threaded through every
hole and tied to the appropriate componant. Pulling each string
pulls componant into it's position. Its somewhat like building a ship
in a bottle.
Most guitars use a nut. This simple little part can make or break
your instrument. This little part determines the height of the strings at
the top of the neck and it directs the strings to keep them in their place.
Most nuts are made out of plastic, bone, brass or a composite material.
These can break or wear to the point that the strings buzz.
We can fix both. For those who have a worn nut we recomend
having the slots filled to the proper height for your instument.
If your nut has broken, which is very common especially for
bass guitars, we can make a replacment that is fully hand made
and cut from a bone blank. Many times the slot
of the nut when the nut is removed is full of dried glue or epoxy.
This needs to be removed for the new nut to fit correctly. We can make six
string, twelve string, bass and mandolin nuts.