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Hey troops.
Ok, been trolling through youtube and watching videos on setting up your guitar. Question 1 is.....what is a decent string height and should it be the same for the whole length of the neck?
Have a basic Yamaha eg112 but just want to get the most out of it.
Question 2 is the setup the thingy that hold the strings on the body (sorry...forgot the name).
The headstock string height appears to be about .25mm while it is well over 1mm where the neck meets the body.
Have seen how to adjust the height but just want a few more learned opinions before I delve into the undiscovered country.
Cheers from Thailand.
 

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First step to setting your action (string height) is to adjust your neck relief with the truss rod.

If your neck is bowed one way or the other you'll never get good action without buzzing.

One your neck is good and flat, you can adjust the action with the height of your bridge saddles to taste. Some like them crazy low, but I like to leave myself a little room to play.
 
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Your neck should have a slight relief (bow). Not flat/level.
*caution - before tightening, loosen it by just a bit first to make sure that the truss nut is not seized. Otherwise, you may snap it off.



This video is just a guide. There are others that offer more detail.
If you're uncomfortable doing this, I would recommend taking it to a guitar shop and have them set it up.

 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks laristotle.....therein lies the crux of the issue.....I live on a rock in the middle of nowhere.
If I cant learn it here or on youtube it doesnt get done.
Best way to learn to swim is to be tossed into the water!
Oh yeah...youtube is also my guitar teacher.
 

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Check out Daves channel, I've learned a lot through him...
dave's world of fun stuff - YouTube

You'll want to get a "graduated ruler", they're available through Amazon...
https://www.amazon.ca/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias=aps&field-keywords=graudated+ruler+for+guitar&rh=i:aps,k:graudated+ruler+for+guitar

There are manufacturer specs out there on the net, I ususally set the string height to around 4-5/64ths.

Check and/or set the neck relief - 10-12 thousands of an inch, you can use feeler guages.
Then check string height/action.
Then check/set intonation.
 

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When learning to do my own setups, I learned by trial and error, but the absolute best resource I've come across for setting up basses and guitars is on talkbass.com ; in the "hardware, repair and setup" subforum there is a sticky at the top of the page with PDF files from some of the most renowned builders in the world. I particularly like the Jerzy Drozd setup guide, it's very in depth and a lot of the literature can be related to both guitar and bass. Worth checking out if you want to get a good description of all setup terms and to get the best playability out of just about any stringed instrument.
 

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I like Dave's world of Fun Stuff too. He has a pretty fool proof method of getting a guitar to play comfortably.

The specs for set up can be found online for many guitars. If you can't find the exact guitar just use the specs for one of a similar scale length. Gibson at 24 3/4" originally, but changed over the years and can be found at 24 9/16" and 24 5/8", all will actually measure a bit off of that due to intoning the guitar. Fender scale is 25 1/2". Don't get too hung up about it, you just need close for reference as to which common scale it is to get the specs. PRS guitars are right in the middle at 25". Some guitars will be a weird scale length, like a Gibson Byrdland at 23 1/2", but I doubt you have that.

Neck relief is usually pretty comfy at about .008 to .012 inches. Some who play with a light touch and light strings like it straighter, big strings and heavy hands may want it on the higher side. When you look up the specs it will tell you how and where to measure. Generally, capo the first fret and then fret at the 17th fret (in the playing position) and use a feeler gauge at the 7th or 9th fret. This is always the first thing to get in spec. Yes, it is a good idea to always try to move the truss rod looser first even if you need to tighten it to straighten the neck. Never, EVER, leave it loose. It must be at least tight enough so it doesn't rattle (just snug). I don't like making huge adjustments in one go. If I have to go over 1/2 of a turn I go the half, let it sit for an hour or two, then measure again and adjust until it gets where I want.

Remove the capo.

String height will be called out in the specs as well as where to measure it. Some call out for the strings to be measured at the 12th fret and some at the 17th. About 5/64" at the 17th is usually pretty close (some like the high [tuned] E a bit lower with a graduated height as you go across, but 5/64ths is a good place to start. 1/64 can make a big difference in the feel). Again, string size and how hard you play comes into play. Use some sort of accurate machinists rule or any rule that has 64th's increments. If you have a bridge with individually adjustable saddles, make sure they sit level to the the guitar top. Gibson style are not that way and you just adjust to overall height on the top and bottom strings. NOTE: The Gibson style bridge (or ones that just adjust on either end instead of individual string adjustment) ought to be the same radius as the neck, but they CAN collapse slightly over time. That is outside the scope of what I am speaking of right now, so I will save on addressing it.

String action at the 1st fret. Again with the feeler gauge. About .018" to .022" is pretty good for most. To adjust this you need nut files. This again goes beyond the scope of this discussion, soooo.........

Intonation. A guitar is never truly "in tune" across all frets. Never. You get close and that is all the physics of the design allows. You don't need an ultra expensive strobe tuner to get close enough. Heck, I use a clip on Snark tuner. They are accurate within about 2 cents (2/100ths of a semi tone. A semi tone is the tone between 2 adjacent frets, keep in mind that the spacing of semi tones is logarithmic just like your fret spacing). Keep in mind FFF. Fretted Flat Forward. If the note Fretted (at the 12th fret) is Flat compared to the 12th fret harmonic (some folks don't like using the harmonic and prefer the tone from the open string as a comparison instead, another discussion and rabbit hole not worth arguing about), the saddle has to move Forward (toward the head stock). Every one plays different and if you fret hard you automatically pull the note sharper than if you fret lightly because you are stretching the string more (which is PART of the reason intonation is close but never truly dead on).

Use new strings. After you are done, check it all over the next day.

That is the very basics. You will need:

A capo
A set of feeler gauges (they are really inexpensive, found where auto repair tools are sold, or on line)
A good rule (A machinists rule is not expensive either)
A decent tuner (which you already have, right?)

This should give you a good ball park to play into. Playing the guitar will tell you if you need to adjust the spec up or down based on your preference, and it is all preference. A spec is just what the manufacturer calls good, but they aren't the one playing it. Many players go outside the "norm" with success due to their playing style and preference. Some like the high E as low as .007 at the 1st fret and the height graduating up as you go to the lower tuned strings for example (same idea goes for string height at the 17th fret), and some like a dead flat (no relief) fretboard, but those are pretty rare instances and the "generalities" of the specs will get you to the point where you can make your own decisions on that. Experiment, it can all MOSTLY be adjusted back if you go too far (cutting a nut slot too deep would be an exception, but even that can be remedied with some creativity).

As a side note, while you are at it make sure everything is properly tightened as you go. Tuner nuts and screws, strap buttons, pots, neck screws, etc. Take your time, don't do anything too radical, move slow and careful, clean as you go, it's a great time to do it and stopping to wipe things off gives the instrument time to change to the adjustments.

Wood is a wonderful thing, but it never stops moving. Weather, temperature, humidity levels all will make it expand and contract. This is normal. What is not normal is leaving your guitar in a car with the sun coming through the window on it for extended periods and then taking into an air conditioned room. Rapid temperature swings are not good. I think it was Kramer who had a guitar with an aluminium neck, which was a good theory, right up until you grabbed your guitar from it's stand in the relatively cool back stage and got under the hot lights on stage and put your warm hands on it. Then the aluminium expanded and the guitar would go way out.

I have put some information in this post that is not really needed. You can let your eyes gloss over for those parts and go to your happy place. Getting things adjusted is the most important part so your guitar plays well, the explanation parts are superfluous and my digressions. It is probably needed once a year or so for a full check up on the set up. I have found the guitars that need set up the most are the ones you just brought home from being bought at the guitar store. They are always out, unless you have a store that really cares to spend the time and money to check over every guitar that comes in, which is rare, but happens, usually at smaller independent stores, but that's not written in stone either. I do set ups for a few guys regularly and always give them 30 days to try it out and I will readjust to their tastes for free in that time period. If you are not confident in doing it yourself, or have any doubts what so ever, find a guy that you trust and that will listen and work with you and support your local guitar tech, he could probably use the business.
 

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Great info Jim!

Once a guitar is setup properly, the only thing you may have to tweak afterwards would be the neck.
Humidity, or the change in it, may tend to slightly shift the neck relief on some guitars.
 

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I never bother with feeler gauges when I set the relief on my own guitars. I have them, but I don't bother. I just use a business card, or a thin pick. Set the radius by eye. Play for a bit, change as needed.
This is good if you are working on your own guitar. Feel is the most important thing. As a person working on other folks guitars though, I need numbers to go by. I can adjust up or down depending on what the customer prefers, but I still need some sort of reference as to measurement.

I guess I should have mentioned pick up height too. That is another spec to look at when doing a set up. Also can be found on many sites. Fret the string at the last fret and measure to the top of the pole piece. If they have individually adjustable pole pieces I try to keep a nice radius on them too. Treble side is usually closer to the strings for balanced tone.

On my own guitar (electric) I use an 11 - 50 set. I have Texas Special pickups, which are slightly hotter. I like setting them further away. Magnetic pull can dampen string vibration and also, if you use a tube amp, a weaker signal means you can turn the amp up more to get the same volume. People often associate hot pickups with great overdrive sounds when all those old great sounds were made with lower output pickups and the amps cranked up more so they can breath. An interesting experiment to try if you have a bit of time on your hands and a tube amp (I have a G_DEC so it doesn't make much difference, but it was magic when I used to get my Classic 30 cranked up a bit and feed the output into a 15" extension cab).
 

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Great info Jim!

Once a guitar is setup properly, the only thing you may have to tweak afterwards would be the neck.
Humidity, or the change in it, may tend to slightly shift the neck relief on some guitars.
One thing I'd add is that an EG112 looks like it's got a Strat-style bridge. If it's set to float, there's one other thing that might have to be tweaked, and that's the spring tension in the cavity on the back. If your action feels like it's moved, but the neck relief is fine, it's likely that the tremolo springs have given a bit. You may want to get a measurement of how high the bridge is floating off the body (under normal tuned string tension, obv) so you have a reference point to see whether it's changed.

And don't be scared of floating bridges. They can be a pain in the ass in some ways, but the degree to which they're a pain in the ass is often overstated. Conversely, don't be afraid to block your trem if you want to. A roll of taped up coins (and some time) are all you need to reversibly turn a six-screw floating bridge into a de facto hardtail, so try shit out and see what you like. Short of stripping or breaking the truss rod, there's not really a whole lot you can mess up that can't be easily fixed.
 

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This is good if you are working on your own guitar. Feel is the most important thing. As a person working on other folks guitars though, I need numbers to go by. I can adjust up or down depending on what the customer prefers, but I still need some sort of reference as to measurement.

I guess I should have mentioned pick up height too. That is another spec to look at when doing a set up. Also can be found on many sites. Fret the string at the last fret and measure to the top of the pole piece. If they have individually adjustable pole pieces I try to keep a nice radius on them too. Treble side is usually closer to the strings for balanced tone.

On my own guitar (electric) I use an 11 - 50 set. I have Texas Special pickups, which are slightly hotter. I like setting them further away. Magnetic pull can dampen string vibration and also, if you use a tube amp, a weaker signal means you can turn the amp up more to get the same volume. People often associate hot pickups with great overdrive sounds when all those old great sounds were made with lower output pickups and the amps cranked up more so they can breath. An interesting experiment to try if you have a bit of time on your hands and a tube amp (I have a G_DEC so it doesn't make much difference, but it was magic when I used to get my Classic 30 cranked up a bit and feed the output into a 15" extension cab).
For sure. Numbers are always good when working on stuff for others. If I'm doing someone else's neck I'll grab my gauges from the garage. They usually stay out there for doing valve adjustments on old Honda.
 

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@ThaiDCanuck You sure as hell came to the right place for this info. This is an incredible site with even more incredible people to help you begin your setup journey. Good luck with your first setup. It'll only get better.
 

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On my own guitar (electric) I use an 11 - 50 set. I have Texas Special pickups, which are slightly hotter. I like setting them further away. Magnetic pull can dampen string vibration and also, if you use a tube amp, a weaker signal means you can turn the amp up more to get the same volume. People often associate hot pickups with great overdrive sounds when all those old great sounds were made with lower output pickups and the amps cranked up more so they can breath. An interesting experiment to try if you have a bit of time on your hands and a tube amp (I have a G_DEC so it doesn't make much difference, but it was magic when I used to get my Classic 30 cranked up a bit and feed the output into a 15" extension cab).
I completely agree with what he is saying about low pick-ups, at least on the Strats I have. The amplifier is for volume, lots of people raise pick-ups for volume, I think it's a bad practice. What Jim DaddyO said about tube amps is correct, but I've even noticed it is useful if you are doing direct recording, as some of amp simulators nowadays are very good, Amplitube 4 comes to mind. You can set them up like a real tube amp, so if your volume is at half you get a "clean" tone and then roll it to 10 and get some tube overdrive.
 
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