Guitar Action Setup – Setting Up the Electric Guitar
Finally, the dream of holding your very own guitar in your hands has come true. But before the instrument starts playing melodious music at the touch of your fingers, it needs to be set up. Let us tell you how you can manage the guitar action setup on your own so that you don’t have to rush to a luthier (guitar technician). A little basic tweaking and voila your guitar is ready!
The first thing to be dealt with is the strings. If it is an old instrument, you might need to change the strings. Now tune the instrument, play it and feel whether the action needs to be lowered or increased.
Now is the time to check the truss rod of the guitar. Play the 12 and 19 harmonics on low and high strings, fret the note and paly it once more, if the pitch is not same, it calls for truss rod adjustments. If you wish to lower the action then you will have to tighten the truss rod, by rotating it clockwise. If the strings buzz or are too close to the fret, you might need to loosen the rod by turning it anti clock wise. The truss rod and bridge of the guitar work together adjusting one would mean changes in the other too. This will take time and you will have to keep trying till you get the desired results.
To set the intonation in place, you can either use an electronic tuner or if you happen to have a good ear, can do it on your own. Pick-up height also greatly affects the sound of the guitar. The lesser the distance the more the output, but this can create interference in the intonation. Trial and error will help you get to the right height.
Once these adjustments are done, the guitar action set up is complete. You generally need to give the instrument some time to adapt to the changed temperatures, humidity and altitude. A word of caution, a guitar is a delicate instrument and needs to be handled with care. All this might sound a little too technical for a beginner, but with patience it will reap rich dividends. Your guitar will sound just the way you want it to.