Problems as diverse as tuning difficulty and fret buzz can often be remedied by a thorough set-up. The exact method of setting up a guitar will obviously vary according to the hardware fitted and the type of construction.
The following describes how a typical set-up on a guitar or bass may be done.
The first thing that is done is to examine the guitar to ascertain whether any serious problems are present. Any problems not fixable by a simple set-up will need further discussion before work proceeds.
I will never carry out additional work without discussing it with you first and obtaining your permission. Once a decision has been made to continue with a set-up, the old strings are removed and the finger board and guitar body are cleaned using specialist cleaners.
Once cleaned, the guitar is restrung with your choice of strings and retuned. At this point the trem springs will be set approximately, if a trem is fitted. This is especially important if the string gauge has been changed.
The next thing to do is to adjust the truss rod to provide the optimal relief. Contrary to popular belief, the neck should have a slightly concave bow to avoid fret buzz.
If necessary, the nut slots will be filed. Access to them is by loosening the strings and moving them aside. Following this, the guitar is then brought back in to tune and the action set at the bridge according to preference.
This is followed by setting the intonation. If a trem is fitted, this will now be set more accurately and action height reset as this is always changed when the trem springs are altered. The pickup height will also be checked and adjusted if necessary.
After the set-up is completed, the guitar will be given a play test after which it will be retuned and all adjustments rechecked and redone where necessary. The final thing is to give the guitar a full polish before it is handed back to you.