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Do I need a setup?

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Monii    0


I just purchased an acoustic guitar from the showroom floor a few months ago. It plays very nicely but I was just wondering if I need to get a setup for it? I've heard that setups are only for guitars that come out of the box. Since mine was from the showroom, was it already set up? Or do I still need to get one since people have played with it before and should I change the strings as well? Thanks in advance!

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tinyE    3

Change the strings. Most, not all, stores put the absolute cheapest strings on floor models they can get because they expect a lot of breakage and nasty dirty hands getting nice clean strings all nasty and dirty.

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gasbag    54

In my experience guitars from the showroom get the most wear and quite often hang there for quite some time. They are not "setup".

Someone may straighten a neck by eyeballing it if it is out noticeably but usually they are tuned and put out on display.

For that reason alone a setup would be in order.

I would advise getting a setup just because of personal experience.

The last guitar I purchased, a Breedlove, is the best guitar I have ever owned.

It is beautiful, it's tone and sustain is amazing and it fingered very well.

After putting it off for a while I finally had a setup done on it.

All I can say is Holysmokesgoodgravywhooppeeeohmygoodness!!!!!!!!

It is now an amazing guitar. It plays like butter, it's intonation is spot on and it is even more of a joy to play.

My second piece of advice is DO NOT have Joe Blow who happens to work in the back room of

the local guitar store touch your guitar. Find someone who has a good reputation locally for doing just that-----setting up guitars.

I was very lucky in that we have a luthier in our area who is nationally known for building, repairing and doing setups. It is all he does.

He did an amazing job. Having never done it before I didn't believe a setup could make that much difference but I am now a believer.

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karcey    42

G'day Monii, Welcome to our community.

So you own a guitar that, in your words, plays very nicely. That's good. What percentage improvement are you likely to get if you pay for a setup? Anything from zero to whatever!

Manufacturers aren't always sending out rubbish to the tone deaf. They have reputations to earn and protect and want their instruments to present well. I've been impressed by the presentation of many guitars in many stores. And the strings fitted are frequently identified and are intended to make the guitar sound good. (I don't look at junk.) In my experience guitars in stores are playable and intended to impress the buyer, so maybe I've just been lucky. Some guitars might find their way to the stores in a half-finished state. For these a setup is essential because it adds the finishing touch to the guitar so it plays like it should. I believe instruments like pianos have fewer issues because they usually get more attention at the factory. But I do remember a Yamaha saxophone which cost me heaps because it simply wasn't finished well enough for a seasoned player to use. It could be a bit of a gamble when you purchase an instrument, sometimes it's great, sometimes it's a bit lacking, but if it doesn't sound or play well, you wouldn't buy it would you? . I've been lucky that all of my new purchases have been well done by the factory. Some of the used ones I've bought have shown signs of age and have benefited by a knowing hand making some adjustments.

No-one does anything to my guitars unless I'm firmly convinced there's a problem that needs to be fixed!

So where does this leave you? Well my opinion is that the setup may or may not be necessary, that your guitar may have been finished and adjusted properly. What you may desire to get is an assessment by a good player, who'll quickly give an opinion as to how easily the instrument plays. I think the old "if it ain't broke don't fix it!" saying has a lot of merit here. If it sounds good, if it plays easily, don't let anyone stuff around with it. It may come back different to what it is now, and different isn't always better. If you find that other guitars are easier to play, then find out how they're different to yours and then have the man make the adjustments for you. Just my opinion.

Keep in touch.

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mset3    158


You say your guitar plays very nicely. In this case it may not need a setup. Most guitars are set up to factory specifications. However, humidity, type of strings and playability can all be affected by a guitars setup and usually depends on personal preference. If you change strings and you don't replace them with the same type and guage, it could affect the setup.

The advice given above by tinyE, gasbag and karcey is good. I would say, if it plays good as you indicate, you may not need a setup.

If you do decide to get a setup, I would highly recommend you don't do it yourself unless you are experienced and know what you are doing.


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Stu74    35

Its your call Monii.

If you have the spare cash and think it will improve the guitar go for it but on the other hand you say it plays very nicely so it might already have good set up.

I bought an ex display electric guitar last year and i dont feel the need to waste money on a set up.It is a pleasure to play and sounds better than all of my other guitars.

My accoustic that i bought brand new about 18 months ago has never been set up and as my playing is improving more and more i definately think this guitar needs setting up.

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RolandC    8

If the action feels good and you have no fret buzz, a setup might not add much.

I would test to see if the neck is straight, though. To do this, hold the low and high e strings down in turn at the 2nd and 16th frets and note the gap between the crown of the fret and the strings. It should be a uniform 0.06mm or so. If the strings appear farther from the frets in the middle of the neck than at the ends, then the neck is relief bowed; conversely, if the strings are closer to the frets in the middle of the neck than at the ends it is backbowed. In either case, that would indicate that the neck is not straight and would require a truss rod adjustment.

Good luck.

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Amber Wood    0

In most stores, the guitars on the walls aren't set up prior to sale, so you might find the intonation is dodgy, the action is too high and/or maybe there is a bit of fret buzz. If so, you need to get your guitar set up! But, as you say, your guitar plays nicely, and that is all that matters. If you like the way your guitar feels then I would keep it as it is.

I buy my guitars from Sheehans Music in Leicester, UK because they set up every guitar in their showroom prior to sale and give you a free 5-year warranty. They have an in-house workshop where all the guitars which come into the store go through before they go on the shop floor. It is very important to check with the store whether the guitar has already been set up.

Take a look at Sheehans' acoustic guitar set up page for info on setups and also a video showing their luthier carrying out a set up.

If you do need to get your guitar set up after buying it, you should try and get recommendations of a good luthier near you as you will be trusting them with your guitar!

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