My electric was due for a string change and the regular “first-echelon maintenance” (old military term.) I removed the strings, then did the usual cleaning the guitar, oiling the fretboard (rosewood), snugging down the tuner retaining nuts.
For some time I had been bothered by a G string that was visibly higher than it should be. I decided it was time to take my maintenance skills to the next level. I got all the tools I needed, and today, after the basics, I went through the neck relief, action, and intonation.
Since it was my first time, the whole process took me nearly two hours. But I was right about the G string; it wasn’t the only one that was wrong it was just the worst. When I put the radius gauge on, it rocked in the middle. The guy who did the last setup at the shop apparently didn’t know what he was doing or didn’t care.
I carefully adjusted all the strings until the action was correct. The 12th fret intonation only needed a little tweaking on two strings.
I feel really good about now knowing how to do this, and better understanding my guitar. If you’ve been considering trying this yourself, don’t be afraid. It’s a bit tedious, but it’s not hard!
You reached a new level of guitar maintenance and it will improve your general tuning and playability! Being able to setp up length (intonation) and height (action) of your strings, will save you money and time.
Good stuff Mark, I love reading about people who aren’t afraid to just get stuck in and learn how to help themselves. It seems to be a dying art these days, which is a shame given that so many things in life are so much easier than some would have you believe.
That would have been an interesting video to watch.
I didn’t think about that.
Maybe next time , learning how to adjust things for intonation would be useful in the future for me.
My Epi ES-339 has aweful intonation…but it’s my daily goto guitar for learning the basics for now.
At first, setting he intonation on my electric guitars was a nightmare, but by the 2nd or 3rd attempt I got the hang of it. Now I do it every time I change strings, sometimes even in between.
It’s good to allocate some time for it instead of having to rush it.
Hi Rachel, here is a link yo Know Your Gear intonation. https://www.youtube.com/@PhillipMcKnight/search?query=intonation
You may find it helpful.
Nice Malz, thank you.Best go find some tools lol.
Great stuff. Congratulations.
I was thinking a single screwdriver lol.
I found out why this guitar always needs re-tuning, the neck length should be 24.75 which from what I read it from inside the nut to the bridge point for E6, Mine is 25.
I managed to tune 4 of the 6 , E1 is just a hare out but E6 I cant adjust as it already as far as it will go and reads E#
Hmm. You might want to look into a set of hybrid strings, with the 1,2, & 3 your normal gauge, but the 4, 5, &6 heavier. A heavier gauge string will be lower pitch at the same length and tension, giving you something to work with at the saddle.
Sorry for late reply, rebuilt pc in a nice new case yesterday.
When I get some new strings, should I reset length back to 24.75 first.
Yes, for basic setup like action and intonation, I’d say all you need is some screw drivers, an allen wrench (to adjust relief), a ruler with fine subdivisions (of whatever units of measurement you prefer) and that’s about it.
I set the action based on buzzing and on fretting out on bends not necessarily with a radius gauge but it’s good to have one.
With regards to that stubborn E6, perhaps a silly question but have you made sure that the open E is bang on E?
Perhaps it’s just a faulty string and needs replacing.
could very well be, Its not critical at the moment as Im still grade 1 , it’s just something I picked up on.
Today was maintenance time on the Taylor acoustic. Besides cleaning, fretboard oiling, and new strings, I used my newly developed skills to check the neck relief and action.
When I changed from 12s to 10s, I had the shop check the relief. They said they adjusted it. I’ve always had some fret buzz issues, but had assumed it was my inadequacy as a player.
Checking the neck relief today i found that I needed to back off the truss rod a good half turn to get the 6th fret relief correct.
Moral of the story: unless you’ve got a luthier you really trust, it’s best to invest in some basic guitar tools and learn how to do some of this relatively easy, basic stuff yourself. Every time I’ve had work done on my guitars at the local shop someone different did the work. And I’ve found that both my electric and acoustic guitars were NOT done properly.
Well said Mark, couldn’t agree more. Most maintenance is relatively easy for the individual to do, especially on electric guitars. There is a wealth of how to’s on the internet. Nomad and StewMac both post expert advice on all facets of maintenance and adjustment.
I’m pretty sure there must be a few hundred videos and webpages on “How to maintain an acoustic guitar”.
Is there something specific that you wonder about perhaps?