Maintaining Your Instrument
Having an instrument that is easy to play is very important. Learning to play the guitar is very difficult and can be frustrating when you’re fighting the instrument. Just like cars need a tuneup, guitars need a setup about once a year.
A typical setup will consist of minor adjustments. The neck can be straightened by adjusting the truss rod. The nut slots can be filed so the strings can sit in them better. Also, the bridge and saddle can be adjusted or filed. All of these adjustments bring the strings closer to the fretboard, making it easier to play. The intonation can also be adjusted, making the guitar play in tune better.
If you feel like you’re fighting your instrument to get a note or chord to come out, you probably need a setup. If you tune your strings but it sounds out of tune when you play, you probably need a setup.
The cost of a setup can range anywhere from $50-$70 but can make a world of difference in the playability of your guitar. Most local music stores have a repair man who can perform this kind of maintenance. There are also many online videos and books that can teach you how to perform a setup. With a little bit of practice and some basic tools, you can easily work on your own guitar.
– Randy Naranjo, M.S., Guitar Instructor