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Old 10-30-2010, 08:02 PM
RiloKiley RiloKiley is offline
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Default How often should you get your guitar set up?

Just wondering how often you all get your guitars set up. I play around 10 hours per week, certainly not professional or anything like that, but I do play some nice guitars and like to keep them in good playing condition. Anyways, how often should I be getting my guitar set up? How often do you do it?
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Old 10-30-2010, 08:05 PM
HudsDad HudsDad is offline
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I set them up the first time I bring them home. I don't set them up again unless the geometry changes enough to warrant it. Most of mine go years between setups unless I change something like heavier strings or different saddles/nuts/etc.
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Old 10-30-2010, 08:09 PM
66strummer 66strummer is offline
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After an initial setup that works for you, if the guitar is properly taken care of it should only be a matter of tweaking the truss rod occasionally due to changes in temperature and/ or humidity.....usually when the seasons change.
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Old 10-30-2010, 08:17 PM
Taylor007 Taylor007 is offline
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Just depends if the guitar needs it.
One of my guitars, a Martin, has been set up professionally twice since I bought it in 2004. My other acoustic, a Collings, has not been set up since it left the factory. The Collings example is particularly impressive to me since I've played somewhere near 300 gigs with it.
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Old 10-30-2010, 08:19 PM
Andromeda Andromeda is offline
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My guitars only need a tweaking of the truss rod so I take my guitars into my trusty repairman/guitar tech in the spring and the fall and that about does it.
“If with a pure mind a person speaks or acts, happiness follows them like a never-departing shadow.” ~ The Buddha
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Old 10-30-2010, 08:37 PM
emmonsh emmonsh is offline
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never had 1 set up more than once. now i do it all myself. nothing hardabout it. nut is probably the most time consuming
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Old 10-30-2010, 08:45 PM
Melodeous Melodeous is offline
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??? It's not like a preventive maintenance check or oil change on a car. You should know if the guitar is not playing the way you're accustomed to - changes due to humidity aside - and that's when something is wrong.
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Old 10-30-2010, 10:21 PM
ewalling ewalling is offline
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Similar answer. I've found on a number of occasions a guitar will need a set up just after it's been bought. After that, I never think about it unless some particular problem arises, and that seldom happens.
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Old 10-31-2010, 12:28 AM
mckong mckong is offline
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Most guitar tech people told me once a year for guitar set-up, but I bring my guitars when I feel something wrong because I think that I am good at taking care of my guitars.
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Old 10-31-2010, 12:54 AM
JimR JimR is offline
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How your guitar lives has everything to do with how often it will need to have a set-up done. Take proper care of it and it will be a long time between set-ups for a well built guitar.
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Old 10-31-2010, 01:16 AM
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patticake patticake is offline
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the temperature and humidity rarely change much where we live, so some of our guitars haven't needed setups in years.
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Old 10-31-2010, 09:24 AM
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vintageparlors vintageparlors is offline
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Another perspective.......

-changing playing styles: say, from light fingerstyle to aggressive bluegrass w/pick

-want to use different gauge strings: say, lights to mediums

-fret wear, bridge lift, top bulge: some signs of an aging guitar

-playing in a different climate extreme: say, dry to humid

These aren't necessarily obvious reasons that may prompt the need for a different setup than the one you now have.
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Specializing in the repair, restoration and sale of vintage parlor and 12-fret acoustic guitars.
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Old 10-31-2010, 11:06 AM
Rick Jones Rick Jones is offline
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I'm a heavy handed player, use mediums, gig 5 nights a week in various conditions and change strings alot.

These things add up to wearing the saddle into slots, wearing the nut slots lower, fret wear, and need for neck tweaks needed.

I inspect and rectifty all these things roughly every three months, often I will swap out nuts and saddles, and make sure I have spares at all times, recrown and level frets, but I don't like doing this and adjust the neck relief.

I'd say it depends on use, conditions and playing style.
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Old 10-31-2010, 11:27 AM
TerryAllanHall TerryAllanHall is offline
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Once, when I get it, and then, as needed...maybe every 5 years, in my case...others may want it done more often, others less often...depends on a lot of variables, really.
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Old 10-31-2010, 12:03 PM
Wade Hampton Wade Hampton is offline
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My experiences have been similar to those already mentioned in this thread. What I normally do is get a new-to-me instrument set up after I've had it for a couple of weeks, not right away. I give it some time before taking it in in order to let it settle in to the local climate and do what it's going to do.

This will often include such adjustments as nut height and truss rod tweaking.

After that, if the guitar proves to be stable, the next time it gets to the guitar repair shop is when the frets need to be dressed or replaced. Depending on how often it gets played, that can range from one year away to never.

Mandolins, though, are a different story. They're a lot twitchier than guitars in general, just because they're so (literally) high strung and under so much tension, and because the tolerances on them are so much finer. Everything is closer together on a mandolin, and because they weigh so much less than guitars, any hardware change such as putting on a different tailpiece or changing out the tuning gears can have a disproportionately larger effect on the sound.

When I was using an all-wood archtop mandolin, it often made it into the shop for setup tweaks and intonation twice a year: when the snow got on the ground to stay and when the snow melted off the ground to stay.

Now that I'm using a modern National M1 resonator mandolin as my main performing mandolin, I don't have to fuss and fidget with it nearly as often. But it still needs tweaking now and then: the cone can shift, the bridge saddle gets worn, the frets need to be dressed or replaced. So it gets into the shop maybe every year and a half or so.

So, short version: get a guitar set up properly within the first month of getting it, and you might never need to take it back into the shop. But with use and wear and time passing, it might not hurt to get it looked at every couple of years or so. Because some changes will creep up on you and not even be all that noticeable since they're so incremental.

Hope that makes sense.

Wade Hampton Miller
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