Our in-house guitar tech, Christophe Le Roux, will be more than happy to take a look at your guitar to make sure it plays its best. In many cases, the action can be lowered, making the instrument much easier to play.

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The Importance of a GoodGuitar Setup.

The fact is most guitars can really benefit from a good professional setup. Even well-made guitars are subject to the stresses of changing weather conditions, the pull of the strings, and the relative fragility of the thin woods that are needed in order to resonate with rich tone. When you combine these factors with the reality that many factory-made guitars come with a less-than-ideal setup to begin with, the need for a good tech to fine tune your instrument’s playing action becomes apparent. Commercially made guitars are generally shipped out with too much neck relief (to prevent customer complaints about buzzing), too high an action (for the same reason), and with plastic nuts and saddles. Quality acoustics will usually come with nicely polished level frets, but even this can’t be assumed for mid-priced and lower models... sad but true. And even the finest custom instruments will benefit from an occasional tune-up, just like a high end sports car.

A basic setup will include checking and setting the amount of bow in the neck, called the neck relief, by adjusting the truss rod. Contrary to popular opinion, relief should be almost zero. If all else is as it should be (leveled fretboard and frets, etc.) there doesn't need to be much relief in the neck, and a properly setup guitar will not buzz with a nearly flat neck. The action ( = string height above the frets) will be checked and adjusted at the first and twelfth frets. This is accomplished by adjusting the nut and saddle. This dispels another common but incorrect idea that action is adjusted with the truss rod in the neck. The truss rod is for keeping the neck straight against the pull of the strings, not for adjusting the action. As long as the frets are in good shape, setting neck relief and string action are the elements of a basic setup, along with the installation of a set of new strings. A check of the battery (if the guitar has one) and tightening of the tuning peg nuts and screws rounds up the basic service. 

A well-setup guitar will play well all the way up and down the neck, with no buzzing frets. It won’t require excessive hand pressure to play bar chords, and it will look and play up to its potential. It is a low-cost way to get the most out of any guitar as it currently is.


(Excerpt from an article written by Greg Maxwell from Dogwood guitars)