If you are a passionate guitar player, you should know that a freshly set up guitar can help you create beautiful music. Playing with comfort and confidence will help you to get motivated to write some fresh music.
How often should a guitar be setup? It depends on how much time you play the guitar every day, transporting it from one place to another, humidity, temperature, new climate, change in strings, etc.
If you want a straight answer,
A guitar should be set up every 6-8 months. You can send your guitar to luthiers for inspection and setup. If you don’t have much time, at least do it once a year. This will help you with a smooth guitar-playing experience.
Why Setting Up The Guitar Is Important
All serious guitar players know that it’s essential to take care of their instruments. It helps the guitar to look fresh and sound great as well. Guitar setups are a very crucial part of guitar maintenance.
A freshly set up guitar will feel and sound great when playing. And guitar experts know how to set the guitar up like it was meant to be.
What Is Guitar Setup?
Generally, a guitar setup consists of various adjustments done to the guitar to be well balanced in terms of strings and frets. Professional people at setting up the guitar are called luthiers or guitar technicians.
Typically, a full guitar setup means checking up and adjusting these various parts of a guitar.
- Truss Rod Adjustment
- Fixing The Action
- Fretboard Cleaning
- Electronics Checkup
- Tuning Keys Checkup
- Adjusting The Intonation
- Changing Strings
- Polishing The Frets
- Adjusting Bridge
- Changing Nut
These are the standard points to check for when setting up a guitar.
How often Should You Setup Your Guitar?
Face it; your guitar won’t be in the same pristine condition forever as when you bought it. It will continue to go over changes along the time.
If you are a regular player, your guitar needs setup. If you are a traveling guitarist, and the guitar is always on the go, then you need it set up regularly.
With all these reasons in mind, you should set up your guitar twice a year. An average bedroom guitarist, who doesn’t play that much, needs to set up his guitar annually.
This will extend the lifespan and playability of your guitar in the long haul. It’s just like taking your car to a car mechanic to address any issue.
How To Know If a Guitar Needs a Set-Up?
If you are confused about when exactly your guitar needs a set-up, don’t worry. We are going to identify some common problems that guitars may face when played regularly. We will address those issues for you so that you can decide whether your guitar needs a setup or not.
Buzzing Frets When Playing A Note
Fret buzzes are a common issue with many guitars. When it happens, you will hear a buzzing noise along with the note you play on the guitar.
This happens due to a handful of reasons. Maybe the alignment is not okay, or perhaps the frets have worn. Also, it can be due to poor string quality or the bridge action being too low.
If you face this issue and can’t figure out the reason, it’s time to send it for a setup.
Guitar Not Staying In Tune
This problem is also familiar to guitarists. This is a rather serious issue because if you have to tune your guitar every minute and can’t hold the tune still, you won’t concentrate on your playing.
The issue can arise for reasons like a poor quality nut, broken or loosened tuning keys, bad strings, etc. It can also be for poor storage condition, which may have warped the neck and headstock of the guitar.
You need to send your guitar to a luthier or technician to fix these critical issues.
Electrical Noises When Plugged In
Wiring issues are a common problem many electric or semi-acoustic guitars face.
You may hear electrical hisses when the guitar is plugged into an amp. Maybe the Guitar won’t produce any sound when played through an amp. You may get a static shock when you play the guitar plugged in. Perhaps a soldered wire came off from the guitars’ electronic compartment.
These are common electrical issues. You may have to rewire the circuitry of the guitar or change the volume pot or equalizer. A professional guitar tech is needed to fix these complex issues as well.
Fixing Any Cosmetic Issue
A guitar is made of wood, and it gets affected according to its usage.
The outer finish of the guitar’s body may need a polish so that it looks shiny and confident. Guitar Techs can polish your guitar with various guitar cleaning products so that it looks incredible.
How Much Does A Guitar Setup Cost?
The cost varies widely around the world. So, we’re going to address some familiar places and the price in those countries.
If you live in the U.S., setting up a guitar takes around $30-$60. In Canada, it’s $50 or so. In the U.K. the cost is around £45.
Can You do a Guitar Setup at Home?
Of course, you can set your guitar up yourself if you learn the methods. It’s not that hard to do, and the tools required for a guitar setup are not very expensive.
If you have the time and patience, you should do it yourself and save some money. Common problems like alignment fixing, truss rod adjustment, fretboard cleaning, and polishing can be done at home.
Guitar setups are a great way to increase the playability of the instrument. If you are having issues with your instrument and can’t find the root of the problem, you should consider sending your guitar to a luthier or guitar tech.
But how often should a guitar be setup? It can be a burden on your wallet if you do it too frequently. Actually, it’s just essential to do it at least once a year.