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  #16  
Old 04-17-2016, 03:47 PM
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I do light setups myself (saddle adjustments, truss rod, etc.), but usually only look at such things once or twice per year. I have a humidity controlled guitar room, so other than playing out my guitars remain in a very safe environment. Still, string tension and time can call for minor tweaks every once in a while. Interestingly though, my Petros will be 5 years old tomorrow, and I've not touched the action since it arrived from Bruce. No way is it over built, just rock steady.
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  #17  
Old 04-17-2016, 03:48 PM
MrMartyr MrMartyr is offline
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When it stops meeting the players expectations. Minor tweaks can be done in between set ups. For example, I'm trying different strings on my new Martin DRS1. Some strings put more tension on the neck than others. Making small truss rod adjustments to accommodate the characteristics of different strings is what I would consider to be a small tweak.
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  #18  
Old 04-17-2016, 03:49 PM
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I have a setup done when the guitar doesn't feel right. In the past 15 years or so I've had it done maybe five times...each on a different guitar. I didn't do it just to do it. Most of my guitars have never needed a setup.
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  #19  
Old 04-17-2016, 04:16 PM
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IMO they could use a looking at once a year, but if you are semi schooled in guitars then just use your own judgment. I haven't set my Yamaha up in over 20 years and it's fine. But I am going to take it in and have it gone over this year sometime.
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  #20  
Old 04-17-2016, 04:35 PM
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My guitars stay between 40%-50% RH, and I switch between several guitars -- so rarely. They usually get attention when a groove on a nut or saddle get worn.
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  #21  
Old 04-17-2016, 05:39 PM
Wade Hampton Wade Hampton is offline
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For me it depends on the instrument and how often it gets played.

I live in Alaska, and only a couple of the instruments I own were built up here. So whenever a new instrument comes my way (whether a guitar, mandolin, mountain dulcimer or what have you,) I give it a couple of weeks to get used to the state and to my house, then take it in to get its first setup.

Of all the instruments I've ever owned since moving up here, only two of them didn't require any setup at all upon arrival: one was the Klepper KJ that Howard Klepper built for me, and the other was the National Reso-Phonic RM-1 mandolin I helped design.

That's been it. All the rest of them have needed to be tweaked a little bit.

It's no big deal.

As a general rule of thumb, I find that archtop mandolins, banjos of any description and resonator instruments require more frequent tweaks and maintenance than flattop guitars. Those instruments just tend to shift around more, mandolins in particular. What's more, the double string courses on mandolin family instruments chew up the frets faster than single string course instruments do: I probably need to have my mandolins refretted about three times as frequently as I do my six string guitars.

So with my mandolins I follow a twice a year pattern to get them re-intonated and tweaked. With the resonator mandolins, their tops don't expand and contract the way the archtop mandolins do, but on them the cones tend to rotate a little bit, throwing the intonation out of whack. So if anything, I have to get my resonator mandolins looked at even more frequently.

Anyway, all of these instruments need to be maintained. Some can go years without requiring any attention, others need it more frequently.

So there's no hard and fast rule. It just comes down to how personally important it is to you to have any given instrument optimized, and how often it shifts around on you.

Hope that makes sense.


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  #22  
Old 04-17-2016, 05:43 PM
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If major neck adjusting has to be done a tech may well need to revisit the job - if you want your guitar back the next day, a follow-up may be advised.
Many guitars living in a stable environment can go years with no need for a check up but seasonally is a good recommendation if you like to know it's in top shape. As has been said, follow-up set ups should be minimal work.
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  #23  
Old 04-17-2016, 05:59 PM
Ralph124C41 Ralph124C41 is offline
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The climate-controlled part is very important ... as I found that out the hard way. A couple of years ago when the humidity was low up here in the Northeast the top of my Alvarez AD 710 cracked from the bridge to the saddle. I had just let it rest in its stand and I was not using a humidifier.

Yes, I was lazy. But I got spoiled because for years I left my Guild D-55 out in similar settings. However, the Guild was a lot heavier than the Alvarez (and also not as loud) which makes me think the newer Alvarez had a thinner spruce top.

So I've learned to keep my guitar in the case with a sound-hole humidifier and to use a humidifier in my guitar room and a dehumidifier in the room in the summer.
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  #24  
Old 04-17-2016, 06:43 PM
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In coastal N. California, I left my M 36 pretty much alone, for I'm guessing close to 15 years. One day it started buzzing like crazy. Frets wore down finally to where it wouldn't play clean. Fret level made it good to go.
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  #25  
Old 04-17-2016, 06:49 PM
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Interesting thread. When I receive a new steel string guitar, I play it for a little while (3 or 4 months) then take it to my luthier for a setup. I've had the same luthier for over 40 years, and he knows the way I like it. After that initial setup, I have never had to have another on any guitar. However, the longest I've ever kept a steel string is about a decade. In the Spring I turn the truss rod about a quarter turn to the left, then in the fall a quarter turn to the right. To the OP - just that initial setup, and that's it - but I'm very strict with myself about humidity and temperature.
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  #26  
Old 04-17-2016, 07:39 PM
Jim-W Jim-W is offline
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I would never buy another acoustic without having it set up right away. I did not know to do this with my Taylor 12 string and played it for many years with really high action. Just got it setup - long story there - but I went from 7 mm at the 12th fret to about 2.5 mm. Huge difference - YUGE.
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  #27  
Old 04-17-2016, 08:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sdelsolray View Post
Where I live (Portland, OR) I find it useful to have two different saddles, a "summer" one and a "winter" one. I swap them when changing strings when the seasons change. The winter one is about 1/32" higher than the summer one. As to truss rod adjustments, I try to get away with as little relief as possible, and that will vary depending on the guitar, usually somewhere between .005" and .008.
This is a fantastic idea!
I'm going to steal it
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  #28  
Old 04-17-2016, 09:03 PM
dagobert dagobert is offline
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When I get a guitar new to me (new/used) I take it in for a set and once over.

After that as needed.

My A&L that is 18 years old has never been in and plays like the day I got it.
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  #29  
Old 04-17-2016, 09:31 PM
Ralph124C41 Ralph124C41 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark Stone View Post
To the OP -
The "OP"? Wasn't he the kid on the old "Andy Griffith Show." I knew his dad Andy played guitar. LOL

Lots of interesting answers here on this post.
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  #30  
Old 04-17-2016, 11:27 PM
mkitman mkitman is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim-W View Post
I would never buy another acoustic without having it set up right away. I did not know to do this with my Taylor 12 string and played it for many years with really high action. Just got it setup - long story there - but I went from 7 mm at the 12th fret to about 2.5 mm. Huge difference - YUGE.
7 mm?? You could drive a car under that!

Although I know mine's no where near that, I may just want to take it in next to be looked at (as my 812ce 12 fret went from being a bad purchase to my favorite playing guitar after being professionally set up!)
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