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How long does a guitar set up last?

Discussion in 'Tech-Talk' started by fidgeh, Jul 19, 2010.

  1. fidgeh

    fidgeh Strat-Talker

    Apr 13, 2010
    I know it depends on a lot of variables, playing etc., but for a 2 hours a day noodler how long should a guitar stay set up?

  2. gaddis

    gaddis Strat-O-Master

    Jul 27, 2008
    New York
    I think it will last a lot longer than what people who do them for a living would have you believe. Assuming you don't change string guages or do anything that would directly affect the setup, then I would expect several years at least. I had my favorite strat and tele professionally set up maybe 7 or 8 years ago. They still feel fine to me.

  3. johnreardon

    johnreardon Senior Stratmaster

    Sep 18, 2006
    Brackley, Great Britain
    Many of us back in the 60's played guitars as they came straight from the manufacturers, so the most we would do is lower/heighten the action. I changed string gauges many times over the years without touching any truss rod or even adjusting intonation.

    As time has gone on a whole industry dedicated to maintenance/modification of guitars and amps seems to have evolved. The cynic in me often questions whether there is a real need:rolleyes:

    Having said that, if one of my guitars got in a real state, I would take it to a tech friend of mine. His charges are not too bad and to be honest, I'm not sure if I have the time

  4. jpindustrie

    jpindustrie Strat-Talk Member

    May 31, 2010
    I suppose the 'schedules' that a lot of the shops recommend are probably the same they recommend to a world tour star; those 3/4 setups a year are probably meant for a guitar that is being moved to different places; played and stored in varying climates. A professional wouldn't want a different sounding and feeling guitar.

    That being said, I agree with John in that they most likely aren't probably needed at all. :D

  5. unsung

    unsung Strat-O-Master

    Apr 8, 2010
    Depends on the guitar itself. I have an SG that needs a lot of tweeking---- in fact the neck is doing a nice banana thing right now ( The heat?). My Strat and Les paul need a lot less attention.

  6. 1hellofashow

    1hellofashow Strat-Talker

    Oct 10, 2009
    That's one of the reasons I unloaded a 61 reissue sg a while back. But to the threads point, I've been playing 20 some odd years and have never paid to have a tech setup a guitar of mine. I do adjust my guitars myself and have mostly learned from trial and error. Now when I get a guitar I put the gauge stings I want on it and will generally tweak on it for a few months till I'm happy with it. Then I just change strings when I think it's time and that's that.

  7. Hugh

    Hugh Needs Mo Motown Strat-Talk Supporter

    Jul 26, 2009
    Louisville (KY)
    Mine hold up well until I change string gauge or try a different brand.

    On a newly acquired guitar, I restring, adjust the truss rod, and wait a couple of days to let the neck settle and the strings to settle, then re-check the relief and adjust if need be. Then I deal with the action and intonation.

  8. 3 Chord Hippie

    3 Chord Hippie Strat-Talker

    Dec 6, 2009

  9. amstratnut

    amstratnut Peace thru Music. Strat-Talk Supporter

    Dec 1, 2009
    My house.
    I think a general set up lasts for years. Maybe a tweak of the truss rod here and there, as needed, but thats just me.

  10. Vintage59

    Vintage59 Senior Stratmaster

    Mar 31, 2010
    Lost Angeles
    I worked on my own gear before I ran into my old high school buddy and learned that he was a highly acclaimed tech. My "ordinary guitars" would not be the standouts they are without his setups & mods. The guy has it down to an art form and an impressive client list of names you would recognize and many studio musicians. His expertise is worth every penny and I've learned quite a bit from him.

    Just got my MIM Tele back, I just asked him to go thru it...this is what he did:

    -Adjusted neck relief
    -Scraped, cleaned & conditioned fretboard
    -Fret level, dress, and polish (I now have 21 baby butts on the neck)
    -New 100% custom hand-made Delrin nut
    -Smoothed underside of string tree with abrasive cord
    -Added two custom anchor screws to the front of the MIM bridge plate
    -Filed & dressed string access ports under bridge to reduce binding
    -New strings (SIT brand - 10s)
    -Reset action to medium height (my preference) & realigned stings to fretboard radius
    -Set intonation
    -New 4-way switch for a new pup combo in series (sounds hella fat!)
    -Replaced stock tone cap with smaller value to open up muddy tone control
    -Replaced soft fuzzy washers under strap locks with custom cut leather pads that will actually protect the finish and wood.
    -Clean & polish

    It plays like a completely different guitar - like a much more expensive model.

  11. raptorguy

    raptorguy Strat-Talker

    Apr 22, 2010
    Guitar technology isn't rocket science. There are only so many variables and until one of the variables is altered, there is no need for a guitar set up.

    I have guitars i haven't touched in a couple decades....other than to change the strings. One BC Rich guitar is spooky...never seems to need even tuning. In contrast, my 71 Strat is a set up junkie...the 'tweak machine'. Fortunately, after almost 40 years I can set it up with my eyes closed