Without a doubt, the most common job in our repair shop is setting up guitars, referred to as a “set up.” These instruments are brought in for repair because they don’t play well.
What surprises some folks is that all new guitars need a thorough set-up as well. Even when an instrument is perfectly set up at the factory, between the normal settling that new guitars do and the travails of shipping, instruments frequently need a good going-over. When we sell an instrument, we’ve set the instrument up when it arrives, make adjustments just as it leaves here, and for customers in the area, invite folks back so that we can check to see if the instrument needs a bit more tweaking.
Here’s the procedure we follow for guitars. The same holds true for other fretted instruments.