Guitar Adjustment Made Easy
In this article we will be going over the best ways to make guitar adjustments. Guitar adjustment is an important part of playing guitar. "It is kind of like the untold secret." If your guitar adjustment is not correct you will have a hard time playing and learning guitar comfortably. In fact it will actually set off the sound pitch of your guitar.
Guitar adjustment is a very important part of playing guitar. Do Not Over Look It!
All guitar adjustment instructions should be done in the order of which they are laid out on this page. If guitar adjustment is done in any other order you may spend a lot of time repeating earlier steps.
Guitar adjustment takes time so please does not get in a hurry when doing these guitar adjustments.
So let's get down to it. This guitar adjustment article will cover Fret board conditioning, Bridge Adjustment, Truss rod adjustment, Pick up adjustment, Intonation and Fret Buzz.
Guitar Adjustment - Fret Board Conditioning
How do you know if your fret board needs to be conditioned? If your frets are not shiny, or if you see oil build up happening, or discoloring on the wood itself it is time to clean and condition your fret board.
You will need to find a guitar friendly fret board conditioner. There is one guitar conditioner that many guitar players use, called Guitar Honey by Gerlitz. Conditioning the fret board can have a great impact on your guitar. It will make it look and feel better as well as make it easier for you to move around on the neck of the guitar.
Step 1. Remove your guitar strings.
Step 2. Apply Your Favorite Fret board conditioner.
Step 3. Wipe down the fret board making sure to go the same direction as the frets on the fret board and re-apply if necessary. You may want to use a soft tooth-brush for the tight spots by the frets.
Step 4. Install new strings or use rubbing alcohol to clean the strings.
Step 5. Install strings and tune.
Do Not use rubbing alcohol on the fret board of your guitar it will take the finish off over time.
Guitar Adjustment - Bridge Adjustment
How do you know if your bridge height adjustment is wrong? If it is hard for you to push down on the string and change notes your guitar bridge maybe out of adjustment. Or if the strings buzz no matter what area you play in.
Please keep in mind that you will want to use the measurement below only to get the adjustment close. You will want to adjust your bridge to fit your playing style and comfort.
To do this you will need to get a gaping tool that measures 3/64 of an inch and an appropriate Allen wrench.
Step1. Starting at the high E string and working your way up to the low E string. Measure this gap at the 12th fret open string. If the gap is too high loosen or drop the highest of your bridge. If the height is to low you will want to tighten or raise the bridge using the adjustment screws.
Step 2. Once you get the adjustments right with the gaping tool you will want to re-tune your guitar and try it out. If it seems like the strings are still too high then you can adjust them to suit your playing style.
Guitar Adjustment - Truss Rod Adjustment
What is a truss rod? If you look up by the head of your guitar right in front of the string nut there is a hole with a bolt in it. Note: Some guitars truss rod adjustment is located on the other end of the neck by the pickups. To make guitar adjustment to the truss rod if it is located on the pickup side of the neck you will need to remove the pick guard on most guitars.
Why does your guitar Have A Truss Rod? The truss rod on your guitar is there to adjust the bow or Ark in the neck. Your guitar neck should never be completely flat unless you’re playing with nylon strings. You want your guitar neck to have a little bit of a bow in it to allow for string clearance.
Step 1a. So how do you know if the truss rod on your guitar is out of adjustment? You should be able to hold your finger on the 6th fret of the low E string and play the note without any buzzing sound. If it buzzes this is an indicator that your truss rod is most likely to tight.
Step 1b. Another Great way to test if the truss rod on your guitar needs adjustment is to hold your left hand index finger on the 1st fret of the low E string and your right hand pinky on the highest fret of the neck. Then tap on the 12th fret with the index finger of your right hand. If you hear a buzzing sound that most likely means that the truss rod is to lose.
Ok, so at this point we have a good idea of what the truss rod and neck are doing. So now if your neck is fine you are done. But if either one of the steps above resulted in a buzzing sound then it is time to get the tools out and do some adjusting.
Step 2. Tools you may need will include a small Philips screw driver "To remove the truss rod cover" if there is one. An Allen wrench "For fender guitars there are 2 common sizes 3/16 and 3/32 and for Gibson it will be a 5/16.
If the Truss rod adjustment is at the top of the neck and has a cove the first thing to do is remove the cover. Then insert the Allen wrench and either tighten or loosen.
Step 3. When you put your finger on the six fret it buzzed then you would want to loosen it (counter-clockwise). If the guitar made a buzzing sound when you put your finger on the first and last fret then tapped the 12th fret, then the truss rod is to lose. You will need to tighten it (clockwise).
Please always remember you only want to turn the Allen wrench 1/8 of a turn each time. Then re-check the adjustment by using the steps above (Step 1b.).
Step 4. So how do you know if it is right? You should be able to put your index finger on the 1st fret of the E string and your other index finger on the highest fret on the E string. Now you will want to look at the gap or distance between the string and the metal fret at the 6th fret. There you want to see a small gap about 1/64 of a inch or less. You may need to adjust and check several times.
If truss rod does not move Take it to the pros and have them free it up for you.
If you are having problems with the adjustment or it seems like it is so close but you can get it right on you will be better off letting the guitar sit over night and allow the neck to acclimate, then give it another try.
Keep in mind it does take time to get things adjusted right.
Guitar Adjustment - Pickup Adjustment
After you make all the necessary guitar adjustments above you will need to check that your pickups are still adjusted right. If your pickups are too far away from the strings you will not get a very powerful sound. Although if your pickups are too close to the string the magnetic field from the pickups will give off a distorted sound and destroy sustain.
To make these adjustments you will need to hold the string down on the highest fret and check the clearance between the string and the pickup.
For Fender Guitars Adjustment follow the gaping table below.
Bass side: 8/64"
Treble Side: 6/64"
Bass Side: 6/64"
Treble Side: 5/64"
Bass Side: 5/64"
Treble Side: 4/64"
Lace Sensors: As close as desired, allowing for string vibration
For Gibson Guitar Adjustment follow the gaping table below.
Neck Pickup: 3/32" on bass and treble side
Bridge Pickup: 1/16" on bass and treble side
You will want to use a gaping tool to get this close and then adjust it to your personal playing style. If there is too much low end when you strum a chord then you will need to lower the pick up on the top or low E string side. If there is too much treble then you will need to do the same on the bottom end of the guitar or the high e string side.
The guitar adjustment above can be done with a simple Philips screw driver in most cases.
Guitar Adjustment - Intonation
What is intonation? Is making sure that the guitar is in tune with its self. If you tune your guitar perfect and then play a chord it should still sound in tune. But if it sounds like it is out of tune or some of the notes sound sharp or flat then you know you have an intonation adjustment problem.
Tools needed to adjust intonation. Guitar Tuner and screw driver or whatever tool is used for your guitar.
Step 1. Play a harmonic note at the 12th fret on the e-string and check it on the tuner. Then you should be able to play the note of the 12 fret and check it on the tuner. If these two notes show the same on the tuner then the intonation is correct.
If one is higher or lower than the other on the tuner then you will need to make an adjustment.
Step 2. Tune the string using the harmonic.
Step 3. Play the fretted note now and check it on the tune if the fretted note is higher or sharp then you will need to tighten or bring the saddle back away from the pickup. Make only very small adjustment each time.
Step 4. If fretted note is lower you will need to loosen or bring the saddle adjustment toward the pickups. Make only very small adjustments each time.
Step 5. Re-tune open string then repeat step 2 -4.
Step 6. Make sure harmonic note is the same pitch as fretted note, then move on to the next string.
When you are done with intonation guitar adjustment your guitar should sound a lot better. You will want to check what you just did by playing a full chord like E major or G major. If guitar sounds good then you are done if not you will have to keep working with it to get it right.
Just remember that guitar adjustments like this are very important and take time. So please do not get in a hurry when making your guitar adjustments.
Guitar Adjustment - Tips
When making any of the guitar adjustment above always work in a well-lit area and Use the correct tools.
Also be sure that you take your time on the guitar adjustment steps above. If you don't it could result in damage to your guitar. (Such as scratches or broken strings).
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