How To

How to Set-Up the Action on Your Guitar

This will be a series of lessons due to the amount of material covered. Below is links to each one in case you only need a specific lesson. I hope this helps. So, let’s get on with it!

Anyone who knows me, knows that I am very finicky about the action on my guitar, but for good reason. Why work harder than you have to? With a properly tuned and set-up guitar, you will be able to play as good as you are capable without the hindrance of high action strings, bad fret buzz, and bad tuning. I also recommend that you do all of the steps in the sequence that I have them. One step affects the other, so if you do them out of sequence, you may have to redo some steps again.

Tune Your Guitar:

That’s the first step. I use extra light strings and tune 1/2 step below standard tuning. If I was to set up the action on my guitar and then decide to use medium gauge strings and tune my guitar to standard tuning, I would have to start all over on setting up the action. Not only that, but if your guitar has loose strings, the pull on the neck is different. So when you tuned your guitar and started playing it, you wouldn’t get the desired effect that you are looking for. With that in mind, tune up your guitar to whatever tuning you plan to play it in, and remember, if you plan to do any alternate tunings on this guitar, it will affect what you are doing. For example, let’s assume you are going to do a lot of drop-D songs. If you are planning on having a very low action on your guitar, when you loosen the 6th string down to a “D” note, the tension on your neck is less. You may experience fret buzz while in drop-D. My suggestion is that you set-up the action while in drop-D tuning, or raise the action a little while not in drop-D to avoid the possible problem. Of course, there’s no way of knowing if it is going to be a problem until you actually set-up the action and then go to drop-D. If you follow my suggestion, you will avoid having to set-up your action twice. But it’s good practice, so do as you will.


Checking the Neck


How to Adjust the Truss Rod


Adjusting the Bridge


Adjusting the Intonation


Adjusting the Height of the Pickups


I hope that this tutorial is helpful. Obviously everyone can’t think of everything, so if anyone has anything to add, please feel free to leave a comment.

Take Care,



I Started out in 1976 trying out to sing in bands but no bands were interested in me. In 1977 I started playing guitar. The individual that was teaching me (who for now will remain anonymous) told me that I would NEVER learn how to play guitar because I had no sense of rhythm. I joined my first band in 1978 called "Dead Center" in Jacksonville, Florida. I played an Aspen guitar, black; a Les Paul copy and in 1981. I gave that guitar to the teacher who said I'd never learn to play. I wrote my first song in 1979 or '80. Over the years I have been in many bands but my passion has been songwriting. I have written well over 100 songs and though the early ones were kind of rough around the edges, I think that most of them could be dusted off and given a new facelift. Today I am still working on my songs. Currently I can play guitar, bass, keyboard, drums, harmonica, and Native American flute. The flutes that I play are ones that I made myself. My guitars are the Epiphone G-400 faded, an Ibanez RG370 DX, an Epiphone G 1275 double neck guitar. My acoustic guitars are an Alvarez 12 string and an old Kay guitar. My drum set is a Peace drum set. I do my recording on a Zoom HD16.
Adjusting the Bridge
How to Care for your Native American Flute
Adjusting the Intonation
  • Verdunkelungsrollo günstig
    October 9, 2012 at 4:23 pm

    Kudos for this post. Extremely entertaining and very well composed blog. I will return incredibly soon.

  • Curious Chap
    August 5, 2012 at 12:53 am

    great stuff mate

  • Guitar Lessons
    June 28, 2012 at 5:10 am

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