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Help with guitar setup (it's more than just adjustments)

"Perfect setup" usually requires filing stuff

If you want a perfect setup, sometimes you have to remove some metal or some plastic. Or both.

You don't need luthier-grade tools to do this. But you do need tools.

This is what you need:

When you have this stuff, you can then fix most problems with guitar necks. The majority of the time, what goes wrong is either a high fret or two, sharp fret ends and/or the need to fix the height of a nut slot.

There are plenty of YouTube videos on what I'm about to tell you, but here is some general information on what to do to repair common issues using the tools above.

Sharp fret ends

Find the fret that feels sharp. Believe me, if you have a sharp fret, you will know it because it will tear into your skin as you run your fingertip across its edge.

Mask off both sides of the fret.

Use your fret file to smooth out the fret end. Use light passes.

Take off the tape and run your fingertip across the fret edge again. If still sharp, re-tape and file some more. Continue doing this until the edge is smooth to the touch when dragging your fingertip across it. And remember, the tape must be off to test sharpness with your finger. When filing, tape on. When testing with finger, tape off.

When smoothness is achieved, re-tape again, sand lightly with 1000 grit sandpaper, then polish with 0000 steel wool. Remove tape. Done. Do this for all sharp fret ends.

Published 2020 Nov 12

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