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Setup Tools


simpleman3441

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Thanks. Any suggestions on what tools you consider to be really essential? I plan to get their setup starter kit. Are there any really great additions I should look into?

 

Caevan knows a billion times more about this than anybody else here. I get by with a string winder, depth gauge, lemon oil furniture polish, wire cutters & really soft cloths. Recently an ever so slightly raised fret convinced me I should get a really accurate straight edge. The one my luthier uses says "Stew-Mac" on it.

Scott Fraser
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:blush: Gheeze, Scott! :D

 

Simpamant- how ya doin', bud?!

 

Books? I can HIGHLY recommend the Guitar Player Repair Guide and How To Make Your Electric Guitar Play Great!, both by Dan Erlewine. The Guitar Player Repair Guide even comes with a nifty set of plastic concave and convex radius-gauges inside the back-cover; I use mine all the time.

 

That kit you're getting is really nice! A little pricey, but then again I spent about $125 for my Starrett combination square over a decade ago... There are a few specialized tools there and the quality should be excellent.

 

I'd add:

 

* A capo- maybe even two or more of various radii, at least one curved/radiused capo for most guitars, and one flat capo for classical and shredderific flat-fretboard stylees, depending on the variety of guitars you're likely to get your hands on; it's helpful to set a capo at the 1st-fret when checking relief

 

* A set of automotive feeler-gauges for checking relief between the bottom of the strings and the top of the frets.

 

* A set of concave radius-gauges for checking r over the top of fretboards and frets, and initially adjusting pickup pole-pieces. (Note the plastic set that comes with the book I mentioned above, which includes both concave and convex r gauges in a number of radii commonly found on guitars and basses.)

 

* A good set of small and medium screwdrivers- both Phillips and slot- and hex wrenches, both standard and metric.

 

* If your guitar didn't come with one, a proper tool for adjusting its truss-rod (types and sizes vary, but chances are that you can find exactly what you need for a given guitar).

 

* Some nice, fairly heavy-duty diagonal-cutters or flush-cutters for clipping strings.

 

* If you don't already have one, as good a tuner as you can get; a real strobe-tuner or one of the Peterson StroboStomp tuners are really good for setting intonation (typical digital tuners aren't accurate enough to really do the job). I use my old blue StroboStomp set to its "EQU" Equal-Temperament preset for setting intonation, and then tune the guitar with its "GTR" preset "sweetened" with offsets.

 

* For guitars with T-o-M, "Nashville", or similar Gibson-style bridges on posts, a bridge jack like Stew-Mac sells is really nice. Pricey, but so nice... I'm still kinda p!$$3d that mine apparently grew legs and walked away...

 

* Archer Precision Lubricator with Teflon, Radio Shack catalog # 64-2301 or 64-2301A. Looks like this:

________ http://rsk.imageg.net/graphics/product_images/pRS1C-2264858w345.jpg

 

 

Ask yourself- What Would Ren and Stimpy Do?

 

~ Caevan James-Michael Miller-O'Shite ~

_ ___ _ Leprechaun, Esquire _ ___ _

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I just restored a 68 telecaster, changed the bridge to a GOTOH 6 saddle brass, put back original pick-ups, changed the pickguard cause the original had been cut for a humbucker, re-soldered a couple of things, set-up string-heights, pick-up heights and intonation.

 

Using regular tools I had plus intuition and ears plus a tuner...I go by feel rather than measurements YMMV.

 

Some of the adjustments on vintage telecasters are limited, not like setting up anything else when the neck pick-up is bolted to the wood.

 

Nuts and frets would be trial and error with no training so I leave that part of it to the pros.

Been round the block but am not over the hill...

 

http://www.bandmix.ca/jamrocker/

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I've had a buzz around the 3rd fret (5th and 6th string) on my Highway One Telecaster so I am also interested in a few tools for setup. I checked out Stewmac's starter kit and gulped when I saw the $468.50 price tag. Good tools are expensive but that would be a bit much for me to spend to get rid of a fret buzz on my guitar. I then noticed that it was the "Guitar Shop" starter kit. I dug a little deeper and they have a basic starter kit for $89.11, which is a bit more in my price range.

 

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I've had a buzz around the 3rd fret (5th and 6th string) on my Highway One Telecaster so I am also interested in a few tools for setup. I checked out Stewmac's starter kit and gulped when I saw the $468.50 price tag. Good tools are expensive but that would be a bit much for me to spend to get rid of a fret buzz on my guitar. I then noticed that it was the "Guitar Shop" starter kit. I dug a little deeper and they have a basic starter kit for $89.11, which is a bit more in my price range.

 

Try this:

 

Put a capo at the 1st fret, use a finger to fret the 6th-String at the fret that comes closest to being directly over the point where the neck and body meet, and then check the relief by observing the space between the bottom of the 6th-String and the top of the 7th or 8th fret, measuring with a set of feeler-gauges. The string acts as a straight-edge for our purposes here. Repeat the process on the 1st-String. Don't be surprised if you find slightly different relief for the 6th and 1st strings.

 

For a Telecaster or a Stratocaster, you generally want either as straight a neck as you can get away with without undue string-to-fret-buzz, or relatively little relief (up-bow), perhaps .002" to .006" or so.

 

 

If adjusting the relief doesn't help with your 3rd-fret buzz on the 5th and 6th strings, it may be due to uneven frets.

 

 

If it were due to either the nut-slots or action being too low, those strings would likely also buzz against the 2nd and 1st frets.

 

 

It's possible that going up one gauge for each of those strings might clean up the buzz there; with a little more tension, those strings won't vibrate in as wide of an arc- their "excursion"- which would make them less likely to buzz against the frets. I had a really short-scale guitar that was very prone to buzzing like you describe, and that helped for that guitar.

Ask yourself- What Would Ren and Stimpy Do?

 

~ Caevan James-Michael Miller-O'Shite ~

_ ___ _ Leprechaun, Esquire _ ___ _

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I totally second Caevan's suggestions for the Dan Erlewine books.

 

Great tools, and pretty good reading besides.

 

However, as I am a bass player, my tools are a little different. :D

 

Peace,

 

wraub

 

I'm a lot more like I am now than I was when I got here.

 

 

 

 

 

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St. Erlwine's book(s).

 

A set of Metric & Imperial Allan Keys.

 

Feelers.

 

Needle Files.

 

Nut files.

 

Fret crowning file.

 

Complete set of Jeweller's screwdrivers.

 

Set of screwdrivers, slot & X.

 

Microfibre cloth.

 

Tuner winder with built-in string cutter (Planet Waves).

 

A Dremel with various bits & drills comes in handy too.

 

A 40W Soldering Iron & bits & pieces.

 

I don't do woodwork, just setups & electrical wiring.

 

G.

"When the power of love overcomes the love of power the World will know Peace": Jimi Hendrix

http://www.soundclick.com/bands/default.cfm?bandID=738517&content=music

The Geoff - blame Caevan!!!

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Yep, Dan Erlewine's book is probably one of the best investments I have ever made. After learning to do a lot of tweaking, I even put together a couple of parts guitars. I haven't tackled anything advanced like making a nut or doing a fret level, but the advice in that book would probably even make those jobs doable.
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The only prob I have between bass & guitar above is that I wish I had some custom-made bass fret files (say 40, 60, 80, 100, 125), but apart from that they are interchangable.

 

G.

"When the power of love overcomes the love of power the World will know Peace": Jimi Hendrix

http://www.soundclick.com/bands/default.cfm?bandID=738517&content=music

The Geoff - blame Caevan!!!

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Doin' real great, Caveman! I've adopted a new attitude towards my playing that has allowed me to make some good progress on a technical level and to enjoy listening more fully! I call it, "Letting go." :whistle:

 

I had been wearing so many hats in the past that I was reluctant to do my own guitar work. :crazy: The guys at the shop where I teach were doing it for me at a discount. It saved me the headache, but I'm really excited to get hands on with it, now. I think gaining the ability to tweak more often and connect with my instruments on a deeper level will enable my playing even further and allow me to make more informed decisions on which guitars are keepers, which need to be sold, and what guitars I need to get! :D I ordered the basic setup kit and feeler gauges from StewMac. Got the Guitar Repair Guide on the way and I'm hoping everything else I need is in my toolbox, already. As always, thanks much for all of your generous assistance, folks! :thu::cool:

We cannot accelerate the growth of a tree by pulling on its branches. - Ricardo Iznaola
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The only prob I have between bass & guitar above is that I wish I had some custom-made bass fret files (say 40, 60, 80, 100, 125), but apart from that they are interchangable.

 

Geoff- want some custom-made "files" for nut-slots and bridge-saddles?

 

If you can find 'em, get some stainless-steel, round-wound bass-stings in those gauges, and use small segments cut from them as little flexible finishing-files, held somewhat like the way one would use dental-floss. I see that St. Erlewine has even glued segments of roundwound-strings to small pieces of wood for use on nut-slots, though I haven't tried that for myself.

 

Simpleman- Glad to hear it!

 

What do you have- or have access to- for a tuner?

 

I should point out that, in spite of what I typed above (and which will get edited), using a radius-gauge to guide you on the arc/heights of the strings should be done from beneath the strings, not over them as I unintentionally implied; the varying, increasing thicknesses of the strings from treble to bass will throw off the results relative to the fretboard.

 

The concave radius-gauges are very useful for reading the r of the fretboard and frets, and for initially roughing-in the heights of adjustable pole-pieces on pickups, prior to fine-tuning them for string-to-string balance and tone.

Ask yourself- What Would Ren and Stimpy Do?

 

~ Caevan James-Michael Miller-O'Shite ~

_ ___ _ Leprechaun, Esquire _ ___ _

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I am a bass player, my tools are a little different.

 

They make a "bass set up kit" as well. ;)

 

http://www.amplifiedparts.com/products/tools/S-TGTBAS1

 

Cool, and thanks for that.

I have acquired my stuff over many years of bargain hunting, utilization of more "normal" tools for specific needs, and basic Macgyver-ness.

 

Angus would be proud. :D

 

 

Peace,

 

wraub

 

I'm a lot more like I am now than I was when I got here.

 

 

 

 

 

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I've had a buzz around the 3rd fret (5th and 6th string) on my Highway One Telecaster so I am also interested in a few tools for setup. I checked out Stewmac's starter kit and gulped when I saw the $468.50 price tag. Good tools are expensive but that would be a bit much for me to spend to get rid of a fret buzz on my guitar. I then noticed that it was the "Guitar Shop" starter kit. I dug a little deeper and they have a basic starter kit for $89.11, which is a bit more in my price range.

 

Try this:

 

Put a capo at the 1st fret, use a finger to fret the 6th-String at the fret that comes closest to being directly over the point where the neck and body meet, and then check the relief by observing the space between the bottom of the 6th-String and the top of the 7th or 8th fret, measuring with a set of feeler-gauges. The string acts as a straight-edge for our purposes here. Repeat the process on the 1st-String. Don't be surprised if you find slightly different relief for the 6th and 1st strings.

 

For a Telecaster or a Stratocaster, you generally want either as straight a neck as you can get away with without undue string-to-fret-buzz, or relatively little relief (up-bow), perhaps .002" to .006" or so.

 

 

If adjusting the relief doesn't help with your 3rd-fret buzz on the 5th and 6th strings, it may be due to uneven frets.

 

 

If it were due to either the nut-slots or action being too low, those strings would likely also buzz against the 2nd and 1st frets.

 

 

It's possible that going up one gauge for each of those strings might clean up the buzz there; with a little more tension, those strings won't vibrate in as wide of an arc- their "excursion"- which would make them less likely to buzz against the frets. I had a really short-scale guitar that was very prone to buzzing like you describe, and that helped for that guitar.

 

Hey Caevan, Thanks for the info! I'll try this and see if it works.

Thanks again, Bob

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I've got a Peterson on my rig at the studio, but I'm gonna have to get something nice to keep with my setup tools. At the moment, funds are limiting me :cry: to the Korg that's in my apartment, where I will likely be doing most of the work. Maybe I can keep some tools for some quick fine tuning of the intonation at the studio. Is that something that can be done last? I'm truly ignorant in this regard and much of what I read is very abstract and sinking in slightly. I think it'll really only start making sense when the tools are here (Thursday! :D ) and I'm getting my hands dirty. :rawk: I think that icon is ambiguous enough to work in this context as well! :laugh:
We cannot accelerate the growth of a tree by pulling on its branches. - Ricardo Iznaola
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Yeah, get in the ballpark, then use the Peterson- set to Equal Temperament- to fine-tune the intonation. Use the same strings every time, and you can largely set it and forget it.

 

I love setting my intonation with my Peterson set to Equal Temperament, and then tuning the guitar with it set to it's "sweetened", offset-preset "GTR". My guitar sounds better than ever that way!

Ask yourself- What Would Ren and Stimpy Do?

 

~ Caevan James-Michael Miller-O'Shite ~

_ ___ _ Leprechaun, Esquire _ ___ _

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I don't see Saranac much around here, but I'm going to ask around to see if the local stores can get it. Looks good! I've seen their root and ginger beers, but I'd love to try their adult beverages. I tried Guinness's new Kilkenny Irish Cream Ale tonight. Decent brew...

 

I didn't look closely enough at the feeler gauges I ordered from Stew Mac. Honestly, I wouldn't have known what to look for when I ordered them, but these start at .016 and are mainly used for making nuts. I'm going to return it and head to the auto parts store in the morning. Definitely starting to get a sense of this, but not quite happy with the results, yet. I'm sure I will have more questions soon! I ordered the book through my shop so I could get the discount, but it won't get in till next Thursday.

We cannot accelerate the growth of a tree by pulling on its branches. - Ricardo Iznaola
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Unfortunately, my brother is going through a messy divorce. The drama surrounding that situation sidetracked me momentarily and I have been unable to make further progress in this endeavor. I hope to be back on track, tomorrow. Thanks for the heads up on gauges, Cave!
We cannot accelerate the growth of a tree by pulling on its branches. - Ricardo Iznaola
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