Guitar Setup and Repairs

As well as providing musical instruments and accessories we also service and repair guitars. With over 35 years of experience in the industry we offer a wide range of services including: professional guitar setup, restringing, pick-up fitting, neck adjustments, fret polishing and much more. Please see our price list below for more information.

To book your guitar in for a service please drop us an e-mail at hello@zebramuzik.co.uk or give us a call on 0115 9441936.

A picture of a guitar setup being performed

What is a guitar setup?

A guitar setup is a series of adjustments made to your guitar which help to maximise its playability and ensure it is performing at its best. A setup can be performed on a guitar at any point in its lifetime – whether it’s brand new out of the box or has been gigged for over 70 years, every guitar will benefit from a professional setup.

The basic services included in every guitar setup are:

  1. Checking and adjusting the neck
  2. Setting the action
  3. Adjusting the bridge & setting the string radius
  4. Checking the nut
  5. Checking & adjusting the intonation
  6. Cleaning & polishing the frets
  7. Oiling the fretboard
  8. Checking the electronics
  9. Restringing with your choice of strings
  10. Cleaning & polishing the guitar

Think of it as an MOT for your guitar. We give your guitar an overall health check and correct any problems to ensure it is playing at its best.

How do I know if my guitar needs a setup?

There are a number of things that can indicate that your guitar needs a professional setup:

1. The action is too high

The action on a guitar is the height of the strings from the fretboard. If your action is too high then that means there is a lot of space between the strings and the fretboard. This makes it harder to press the strings down and makes playing the guitar quite uncomfortable. Ideally the action should be as low as possible without causing any of the strings to buzz. When the action is low it is easier to press the strings down which also makes the guitar much more comfortable to play.

2. My guitar is making a buzzing noise when I play

This is an indication that either the action is incorrectly set or the neck of your guitar needs adjusting. If the neck on your guitar is not straight then this can cause the strings to sit too close to the fretboard which will result in fret buzz. To alleviate this we adjust the truss rod in the neck of your guitar to ensure the neck is straight and the strings will then sit parallel to the fretboard.

If the action on your guitar is too low then this can cause the strings to vibrate against the frets which will cause a buzzing noise. Simply setting the action higher will cause the strings to sit higher and not vibrate against the frets.

3. My guitar sounds out of tune on higher frets

If your guitar sounds out of tune the further you move up the fretboard then this is a sign that the intonation needs adjusting. The best way to gauge the intonation of a guitar is to play an open string and then fret it at the 12th fret and see if it is still in tune. The note played at the 12th fret should be the same as the open string. If it isn’t in tune then we will adjust the bridge saddles until it is. We then repeat this for every string on your guitar. Once we have finished setting the intonation your guitar will stay in tune all the way up the fretboard.

4. My guitar neck is warped

A warped guitar neck can sound bad but it’s actually pretty common. A warped or bent guitar neck is usually caused by one of two things: changes in the atmosphere or equipping your guitar with strings that are too heavy.

Like all woods, guitar necks can move and bend due to differences in the atmosphere. The type of guitar strings you have on your guitar can also add tension to the neck and over time this can cause it to warp.

A warped guitar neck and usually be cured by adjusting the truss rod. This is a metal rod that runs the length of the guitar neck. The truss rod can either be tightened or loosened to correct the curvature.

How much does a guitar setup cost?

A basic guitar setup starts at £20. This includes: setting the action, adjusting the neck, setting the intonation, fret polishing and giving your guitar a good clean and polish.

We also recommend changing the strings during a guitar setup as the old strings will need to be removed to enable us to do some of the work. The cost for the strings will be extra depending on which strings you choose to put on.

Guitars fitted with a Floyd Rose tremolo system will incur an extra charge. Please contact us beforehand as we will need to inspect the guitar before any work is carried out.

A picture of Rob performing a guitar setup