Frequently Asked Questions
Q. Why should you have your guitar set up?
Like any machine, your guitar needs servicing to maintain its optimum performance level.
If action/string height changes (often over time and sometimes due to climatic changes or movement or settling of construction materials), it can become considerably harder to play and if the action “rises”, you may not even notice – it’s just that your instrument isn’t as nice to play as it used to be.
This makes playing the guitar more difficult and having to press the strings down further, effects the pitch and your guitar can sound out of tune.
If the action becomes lower, it may feel easier to play but often the strings will “crash” into the frets when they are strummed or picked. This causes what is called “fret buzz” or “string crash”. This affects the volume and clarity of the notes dramatically.
REMEDY... Allow us to set up your guitar.
Accurately setting of the correct neck relief (neck curve)
Accurately grooving the nut string grooves for correct clearance over the 1st fret. This requires specialized nut grooving files. (I probably have $ 1000.00 worth of these files for various string diameters)
Setting correct string height by measuring and adjusting saddle height to raise or lower “action” to give the
Correct string height over the frets for optimum performance and playability.
Q. Why would you need your frets re-leveled?
Just playing your guitar causes wear and tear on the frets….and your fingers… I can’t fix your fingers but when your frets are worn or uneven, I can do something about that.
Actual fret wear is quite easy to see; when you change your strings, you can see the wear marks on the frets and in severe cases, these wear marks are very deep. This happens most often on guitars where “open voiced” D, G, A, Am and C chords are played regularly.
As the frets wear, there will be less clearance over the next fret. This often causes some fret buzzing.
Many guitars, at the time of manufacture, do not have their frets correctly leveled. They are pressed in and it is hoped that when they touch the fretboard and stop, they will be “close enough” to level. It is only when you begin to file the tops of the frets; you begin to realize how inaccurate that “hope” really was.
With minor fret wear and some irregularity to fret heights; this can be rectified by surfacing/re-leveling of the tops of the frets. This can make a remarkable difference to the playability of the instrument and improve dramatically the sweetness and tone of the guitar.
If there is severe fret wear, your instrument may require a partial or full refret.
REMEDY... Allow us to Surface/Re-level the frets of your guitar.
Remove strings and accurately set neck relief or neck curve.
Careful use of diamond surfacing files to re-level the tops of all the frets.
Then, most importantly, re-crown the tops of the frets to once again make them round like they were when they were new. This is done with the utmost care and only someone with sufficient experience and the correct tuition during the learning stages of Luthier training should attempt this critical work and have, of course, the correct, and needless to say, expensive diamond crowning tools on hand to undertake this super specialized task.
Sand the tops of the frets to smooth and remove the file marks.
Buff frets with varying grades of polishing compound to obtain a high quality, mirror finish on the frets.
Clean fretboard, re string and set up guitar.
Most players are amazed at the transformation.