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New to Electric Guitar- Need Help


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I am new to electric guitar. I have played classical for many years but just got an ES 137 and I don't know anything abut setting it up. If you can, help me understand intonation, action, etc. and how to set them up. Thank you.

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  • 4 weeks later...
Let a tech at a guitar store do it.

Not in the town where I live' date=' the only "tech" around here is famous for stealing guitar parts and you NEVER want to send this guy a Gibson.

Intonation is easy:

The only things you need is a good tuner, a screwdriver, and patience. Just check your octave harmonic over the 12th fret in comparison with the same fretted note, but with the following details:

1- Do it on a playing position with all 6 strings in tune. They must be the string gauge you're going to use in the tuning you're going to use. A metal player will usually tune lower, from one tone to a low B, and lots of blues player like it one half step down. From your guitar and classical training I would assume that you're going to tune normally, but now the string gauge comes in to the picture. If you're planing on going jazz style, with almost no string bending, go for an 0.11 or higher (up to 0.15) string gauges. If you use high tension savarez strings on your classical you shouldn't have a problem. If you're unsure start with the good old 0.10, you'll be able to bend easily with them. MAKE SURE THE STRINGS ARE NEW!!! Never try and intone her with old strings, because what's out of intonation is the string and not the guitar, you could really mess up if you do the intonation with old strings! I found out the hard way.


2- First tune the string with the octave harmonic, and then check on the fretted octave. They should be identical. If the fretted note is flat then you use the screw driver on the Tune-O-Matic bridge to make the distance smaller. Loosen the string before using the screwdriver. Move it a little, re tune and check. If it's gone sharp then make the distance larger. The screw is on the bridge right under the string rest. It will take you about an hour to do all six strings.


3- The common mistakes are the following; [b']A[/b]-Using old strings. Big NO!!! B-Doing the intonation with the guitar laying on a table. Wrong! The neck is made out of wood and will fall back a little because of gravity. Use a playing position. C- Tuning only one string instead of all six. Incorrect! The string tension will also move your neck, so you must have all six strings in tune before you check the intonation of any one of them. D- Changing the tuning or action after doing the intonation. No way! The tuning you use will alter the way the neck is bowed. A big mistake metal players do is ask a tech to do the job and forget to mention that they tune down a whole step (or more), which means that the tech will intone it in normal tuning and it will fall out when the tuning is changed.


For the action use the thumb screws which are under the bridge, but always untune her before you move the bridge height, otherwise you might mess up the screws. Do this before the intonation job. Unless you hit the strings really hard or plan to do some slide playin put the height as low as possible before your strings start rattling. Check for buzz on every fretted note of every string, do it slowly and not feeling like Paganini.

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