A guitar setup and adjustment is the detailed process of making a guitar easy to play and sounding its best. Unadjusted guitars can be difficult to impossible to play and immediately puts the player at a disadvantage. The majority of new guitars are not setup or adjusted for optimal playability especially for the price range of the beginning and intermediate player.
The adjustment process is a multi-step procedure and begins by leveling the strings to a specific height over the entire length and radius of the fingerboard. When the strings are level and close as possible to the fingerboard the guitar is easy to play. When too close to the fingerboard the strings buzz against the frets while playing. Often the words “adjustment” and “set-up” are interchangeable.
Check Electronics - check for correct pot taper, electronic components noise level, switch.
Remove Strings - polish frets, remove pick guard and clean pots if necessary, clean and condition fret board, tuner maintenance, inspect nut, inspect bridge, determine fret board radius.
Replace Strings - tune to pitch
Check Neck Relief (adjust truss rod)
Adjust Action at Bridge - adjust saddle(s) for string height
Adjust Action at Nut (set string height)
Set Intonation (if applicable)
Adjust Pickup Height (if applicable)
Adjust Saddle Height to match Fret Board Radius
Re-tune and Test Play