There are a lot of variations and methods for stringing a steel stringed acoustic guitar. Al Markasky demonstrates a method below which has been delighting his customers in Santa Cruz, California for over thirty years.
This video includes essential techniques for improving the overall sound, feel, look and playability of a steel stringed acoustic guitar. Al Markasky, a professional luthier with over thirty years of experience, shares his accumulated knowledge and demonstrates his carefully refined setup and maintenance techniques. This video was shot on three cameras for maximum visual coverage and includes high quality 3D computer animation for reference, as well as notation of standard and metric measurements used during setup.
1. Neck Adjustment
2. Filing Nut Slots
2b. Raising a Low Nut
3. Raising a Low Saddle
3b. Lowering a High Saddle
1. Restringing a Guitar
2. Cleaning a Dirty Fret Board
3. Cleaning a Dirty Fret Board (Razor Blade)
1. Truss Rod Explained
2. Guitar Anatomy
3. Steve Visits Al
Not quite sure how that steel rod in your guitar neck works? The video clip below should explain things.The same principles apply to electric guitars, bass guitars and acoustic guitars with truss rods.
As the clip shows, a guitar truss rod is a steel rod that runs down the length of most guitar and bass necks (with the exception of classical guitars). Loosening it or tightening it can help to straighten out a bowed neck.
- Loosening a truss rod relieves tension on the neck and allows the pressure exerted by the strings to pull the neck forward and correct any bow, in most cases.
- Tightening a truss rod increases pressure and can straighten a forward-bowed neck by increasing its resistance to the pressure exerted by the strings.
Accessing the Truss Rod
There is a lot of variation in terms of the access point to a truss rod. In general, most Acoustic guitar truss rods can be accessed through the sound hole of the guitar (although some may be accessed at the head of the guitar). Most electric and bass guitar truss rods can be accessed at the head of the guitar.
Straightening a bowed neck is the first step in any guitar or bass setup and is an essential element in gaining the best sound and feel possible from your instrument. The clip above was taken from Fret MD: Acoustic Guitar and Bass Setup and Maintenance and was narrated by the video’s host, Al Markasky.
This video details includes essential techniques for improving the overall sound, feel, look and playability of an electric guitar or bass. Al Markasky, a professional luthier and shop owner with over thirty years of experience, shares his accumulated knowledge and demonstrates his carefully refined and perfected Five Step Setup™ technique. This video was shot on three cameras for maximum visual coverage and includes visual notation of both standard and metric measurements used during setup.
Topics covered include
Neck Assessment and Adjustment
Nut Adjustment (Filing down Slots)
Nut Adjustment (Raising a Low Nut)
Setting Action at the Bridge (on a Fender Style Bridge)
Setting Into nation Properly (on a Fender Style Bridge)
Setting Pickup Height
Special Considerations for Bass
Cleaning a Dirty Fretboard (with Naptha)
Cleaning a Dirty Fretboard (with a Razor Blade)
Cleaning out Potentiometers
Notes on Pickups and Electronics
Guitar Anatomy 101
Mike and Ron Visit Al (Ron and Mike Visit Al and play Autumn Leaves and an up tempo Blues Number)
A bowed neck can cause all sorts of problems. Poor intonation and fret buzz are among the top two. In this tutorial you’ll learn how to check the straightness of a guitar neck and make adjustments based on your assessment. A properly adjusted neck lays the foundation for a good setup.
12 or 15 in. (30cm or 40cm) Metal Straight Edge
Alan Wrench, Hex Key or Socket Wrench
Light Piece of Paper, Paper Towel or light cloth to use as a backdrop
Phillips Head Screwdriver (if your guitar has a truss rod cover)
First, hold your guitar up and sight down the treble and bass sides of your instrument’s neck checking for any signs of a bow.
Physical Assessment (and Diagnoses)
1. Place a straight edge flat on the frets in the middle of your guitar’s neck between the E and A strings. Now check for any rocking by alternating slight pressure downward on the opposite ends of the ruler. Diagnosis: If the ruler rocks up and down at all, your guitar probably has a back bow.
2. Now check for any signs of a gap underneath the frets. (You should use a white piece of paper or a light colored cloth as the back drop when you do this.) Diagnosis: If you notice a gap between some of the frets and the bottom of the ruler then you probably have a forward bow.
3. Repeat Steps 3 and 4, first between the D and G strings, and then between the B and E strings.
Once you complete your assessment you should have a good picture of the overall health of your guitar’s neck. If you were able to assess your neck’s condition correctly, then you will know whether you have a back bow or a forward bow; or if you’re lucky and your neck is perfectly straight.
During your assessment you should have been able to determined whether your neck has a back bow or a forward bow. Click one of the links below to determine how to correct a back bow or forward bow. (If your neck has no bow in it at all then you should move on to the next step.)
Are you ready to make your guitar sound 100% better?
If the answer is yes, then don’t wait to buy a Fret MD DVD on guitar setup. Our DVDs will show you how to unlock the true potential of your guitar or bass. There is absolutely no reason to put up with fret buzz, intonation problems, high action or a back bowed guitar neck anymore!
Simply the Best Guitar Setup DVDs Available . . .
Our DVDs are packed with insight, secrets and tips. Both DVDs are hosted by Al Markasky, a renowned luthier with over thirty years of experience who has delighted everyone from casual players to professional musicians with his exceptional guitar setups. (In our DVDs, Al will share 30 years of secrets and knowledge with you for less than he’d charge to professionally set up your guitar.)
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So let’s sum it up. We’re offering you:
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Guitar setup tips, tricks and insights from a professional luthier with over 30 years of hands on experience.
No nonsense, proven techniques for getting the best sound out of your instrument possible.
No nonsense, proven techniques to improve the feel of your instrument.
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