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Old 06-17-2019, 11:26 PM
Tico Tico is offline
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Default Is guitar set up controversial?

Disclaimer: Possible dead horse alert.

I recently bought a used Martin 000-15M.
I'd prefer the action a bit lower.
I could take it to someone, but maybe it's finally time for me to finally learn to take a shot at doing my own setup.
I've never consider learning setup on my higher end guitars bought new, but this one, while I love it, is a tad more modest.

It doesn't need a neck reset; I prefer light strings and an action that's low with little buzz only when strummed hard.
I'm not a bluegrass player.
It's just coming off it's initial 2-week ToneRite session.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think that leaves 3 things to adjust, truss rod, nut, and saddle.
What order are those done in?
Is there universal agreement on the order?
After doing all 3 do you start over and tweak them all again?

I've googled setup, watched a few videos, but frankly it would take zillions of hours to watch a fraction of them.

Can someone point me to a good source?
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Old 06-18-2019, 12:19 AM
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JayBee1404 JayBee1404 is offline
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You got the order right - relief (truss-Rod), nut-slots, saddle.

Some say that the order of the first two is interchangeable, but I believe the majority opinion is as set out above.

Here’s a great resource... http://www.bryankimsey.com/setup/

You could also check out Frank Ford’s articles on set-up in Frets.com

The usual disclaimers apply......IMHO, YMMV etc.
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Old 06-18-2019, 12:35 AM
Knives&Guitars Knives&Guitars is offline
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Can not point you to a good video source, I can only relay what I have learned personally after a few years of experimentation.
All three are dependent upon each other. In someways it is kind of like asking who is the most important member of a Rock band; While the argument of who is the most important in a group can be debated at great lengths, The groups total outcome suffers is just one member is off.
1. Usually one might start off with Neck relief being somewhere in the .03 to .10 thousands relief
2. In my humble opinion, nut slot depth should be the next step. This is very important for play-ability in the first few frets. Nut Slot height is probably the most overlooked area in a guitar set up.
And that is because Nuts are glued in, thus is you go to far, it is harder to replace than a saddle.
Nut slot height is probably not as quite controversial as Saddle height. Meaning the standard nut slut depth is not very dependent on one's playing style. However, It is can be String Gauge dependent. There is some discussion on Nut slot depth variances especially the bass strings because of gauge. Nut slot height is usually judged on the height of the frets.
3. Saddle height can be very controversial. Possibly the greatest difference in Saddle height(outside of any bridge or Neck reset issues) is dependent on the players Playing style and string gauge.
A heavy handed player might want a higher saddle height for:
A. Less String buzzing
B. More volume and some say, more tone.
A light handed player may be able to get away with less saddle height. Even with heavier strings you can have a lower action, if you are a light handed player.
As volume and string buzzing can be less of an issue-but no always.
4. And after you have adjusted the neck relief, nut slot height, and the saddle height, then you might have to readjust your neck relief. Neck relief for one setup might not work for the new setup.
Bottom line, what isn't controversial in this day and age? ha ha.
On Brian Kimsey's web page he has lots of exacting measurements for different kinds of players for the Saddle height. Certainly a good place to start.
However, nothing should ever be written in stone. It should all is dependent on what the player wants.
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Old 06-18-2019, 07:49 AM
charles Tauber charles Tauber is offline
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Guitar setup can be as controversial, or not, as one wishes.

The basics of it are relatively straight-forward with many possible methods to achieve it. Here is one approach to it: http://charlestauber.com/luthier/Res...May%202015.pdf
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Old 06-18-2019, 08:31 AM
mirwa mirwa is offline
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Anything is easy provided everything is right.

Example, electroplating is a 3yr apprenticeship, i am not qualified but i do some small electroplating in my shop, i can plate and get a good job provided everything is right.

When something goes wrong in the process, I am stuck with no solution.

Guitar setups are much the same, a setup is simple provided everything is right, new strings, check nut height, adjust relief, check saddle height. Job done. If something goes wrong your stuck with no solution, you could need a neck reset, a fret level, a warped saddle slot, a excessively rotated bridge, a loose fret and so much more, these are what may prevent you from doing a good setup, a local tech can spot these and more and deal with them.

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Old 06-18-2019, 08:49 AM
colder colder is offline
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Truss rod > saddle > nut.

Well, the order you address the nut doesn't matter, but the other two affect each other somewhat. Get the neck relief the way you like it first.
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Old 06-18-2019, 09:00 AM
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Bob Womack Bob Womack is offline
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Controversial?

People have different tastes so they like different setups. These days people want every question to be stated in the form of irascible polarity - is this or that true. However, a difference of opinion is only as controversial as the two people involved make it. Many differences are only differences of small order.

In high school, my best friend and I only agreed on one thing: music, and not all of it. He loved Roxy Music. I couldn't stand them. On every other subject under the sun we seemed to disagree. Was it controversial? No. It was genial. We liked each other and extended to one another ability to hold opposing viewpoints. We attempted to figure out what the other would think of an idea and would laugh at both our successes and failures on that score.

There was a song about a poem back at the beginning of the '70s. I like the first paragraph of the poem.

Go placidly amid the noise and haste,
and remember what peace there may be in silence.
As far as possible without surrender
be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly;
and listen to others,
even the dull and the ignorant;
they too have their story.

Max Ehrmann, Desiderata
Bob



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Old 06-18-2019, 09:49 AM
redir redir is offline
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I typically go truss rod - nut - saddle. But as long as you do the truss rod first and dial in the relief then it really doesn't matter much that you do the saddle or nut next.
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Old 06-18-2019, 10:20 AM
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It is in the order first stated, and it shouldn’t be controversial: relief, nut, saddle. Any other order can improve things, but is incorrect.

I know a guy who sets his nut height by measuring the distance between the first fret and the string but he is insane and does not know it. He HAS to set the saddle height first, but he is just guessing. Life can be so hard.

The hitch in the plan is elsewhere. One CANNOT assume that the fingerboard is consistent, the frets are perfectly seated, or that they are not worn or improperly milled. And these things must be right or the action cannot become state of the art resulting in a playable guitar.
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Old 06-18-2019, 11:15 AM
lar lar is offline
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I would recommend that you buy two saddle blanks, and keep your original so you can always go back to it if all else fails.

After sanding the top of both new saddles to shape, use saddle #1 to bring the action continually down (in steps) by sanding the bottom of the saddle. You'll probably overshoot your goal, bringing it down too far - action too low (buzzing, low volume, etc...). At that point you know what saddle height you like - the height before your last sand. Now sand down the bottom of saddle #2 to bring it to that height exactly, PLUS MARGIN.

The margin (in saddle height) accounts for the following:
- humidity changes
- different string types
- alternate tunings
(incl. tuning 1/2 step down if you think you will ever tune this way)
- different playing dynamics (soft and loud songs)
- etc.
You might even want to sand saddle #1 down even further to see what a very low saddle sounds like. That would be a valuable learning experience.
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Old 06-18-2019, 02:22 PM
redir redir is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bruce Sexauer View Post
It is in the order first stated, and it shouldn’t be controversial: relief, nut, saddle. Any other order can improve things, but is incorrect.

I know a guy who sets his nut height by measuring the distance between the first fret and the string but he is insane and does not know it. He HAS to set the saddle height first, but he is just guessing. Life can be so hard.

The hitch in the plan is elsewhere. One CANNOT assume that the fingerboard is consistent, the frets are perfectly seated, or that they are not worn or improperly milled. And these things must be right or the action cannot become state of the art resulting in a playable guitar.
Bwahahahahah... Oh my, I laughed out loud hahahaha.
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Old 06-18-2019, 04:57 PM
MC5C MC5C is offline
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I like to start a setup with an evaluation of the fretboard, and usually that leads to at least some fret dressing. Doing the nut is usually a one-time thing. Just fiddling with the relief and the action height I don't consider a setup, I seem to be doing that on a pretty regular basis on some guitars, almost never on others.
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Old 06-18-2019, 06:02 PM
mirwa mirwa is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bruce Sexauer View Post
It is in the order first stated, and it shouldn’t be controversial: relief, nut, saddle. Any other order can improve things, but is incorrect.

I know a guy who sets his nut height by measuring the distance between the first fret and the string but he is insane and does not know it. He HAS to set the saddle height first, but he is just guessing. Life can be so hard. .
I would dis-agree, i set nut after putting new strings on, before relief or anything else. The key to setting the nut is capoing the strings between the 2nd and 3rd fret, this allows you to measure and set the string clearance height over the first fret far more accuratley than any other method.

All other methods of setting nut height rely on the relief and or saddle height, this method does not.

Steve
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