How to adjust an electric guitar in 10 steps
Learning to know your guitar better is a wonderful thing, since they help you in the long run. This article develops a procedure that allows you to calibrate a guitar step by step. As with any project, the first thing you will need is a good set of tools to adjust your guitar.
Method 1: Adjusting the neck (neck, fingerboard or soul) of the guitar
1.- Check the straightness of the neck. Inspect the neck for signs of deformation or curvature. To check more accurately, use a ruler along the guitar, supporting the over the frets. Do this on both sides to make sure the neck does not twist.
You want the neck of your guitar to always have a slight curve inwards, so the machine head will bend slightly towards the bridge. Guitar designers are at this curve as if they were given some “relief” to the neck of your guitar. You should have a very small space between the neck and the straight edge. If the neck moves away from the strings (that is, if it curves backwards), you may have a problem that affects the action of the guitar and you should take it to a higher place for the review
2.- Make a more accurate measurement if you think you can straighten your guitar’s neck. Use the fourth string to verify the straightness of the neck, marking the height of the strings. After placing the strings on the guitar, play the fourth string on the first and twenty-second frets, or whatever the highest fret is on the neck of your guitar. Next, measure the distance between the string and the neck in the twelfth fret. Ideally, you should be able to slide a business card under the ropes. You can check the straightness of the entire neck by playing notes in different places and use the string as a straight edge.
If you have access to a gauge, take a bonnet and place it on the first fret. Hold down the most serious string at the last fret. With the gauge, measure the distance between the string and the eighth fret. The measurement should be approximately 0.010 inches (0.254 mm). If this measurement is greater than 0.010 inches, you will have to adjust the soul by turning the Allen key clockwise.
3.- Adjust the soul to adjust the neck. If you need to make an adjustment to the curvature of the neck, remove the soul cover, which is usually needed at the top of the neck on most guitars, but also at the bottom, near the bridge. Adjust delicately, making gentle turns with the appropriate size Allen key.
If the neck of your guitar is too convex, you have to turn the Allen key to the left, lifting the strings. When making this adjustment, take your time and only turn it a quarter turn at a time. Then let the guitar adjust a bit and adjust it again before checking again or trying to play it. Let it sit overnight.
4.- Check the angle between the neck and the body. If the soul of your guitar is adjusted correctly, but the strings above the twelfth fret are too far from the neck, there may be an angle between the neck and the body. Make sure the guitar is resting on a flat work surface and remove the strings before attempting to disassemble the neck. The necks that have bolts can disregard the body by unfastening the four bolts found on the back of the guitar, so that they can affect the joint is aligned.
The neck of the guitar must be parallel to the body of the guitar, but often there will be a lot of sawdust from the factory, which means that the neck will be crooked. If it is crooked, clean the area and reassemble the neck.
If the neck angle is still incorrect, you can change it by placing a “spacer”, either between the two lower screws to tilt the neck back or between the two upper screws to tilt the neck forward. The self-adhesive notes or “Post-It” or other related products work well, as these adhere to the surface and do not move when you are adjusting the screws again. If you need a thicker separator, just double the post-it note on itself.
Method 2: Adjusting the action and intonation
1.- Adjust the action of the guitar strings. The “action” of a guitar refers to the space between strings and the neck. Guitarists with a light touch can usually have the lowest action, while heavy guitarists may need more height to prevent the strings from being too loose. The most important thing is that the height of the strings is comfortable for you and that there is no buzzing. If you have a pair of guitars, first try these procedures in the least precious and then try to do it in your preference