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Setting up your instrument

Tailored to your style of playing

A good setup aims to improve and maximise an instrument’s playability and to tailor the “action” to one that best suits the players style i.e. fingerpickers mostly prefer a "low action" for a lighter touch where as other players might have more “attack” in their playing style and would prefer a "higher action". Action simply means the height of the string above the frets along the fretboard board and this is most commonly measured at the 12th fret.

Nested Guitars
Bridge detail

Other issues addressed in a setup include

Details are important

  • adjusting the instruments intonation i.e. fine tuning across the instruments fretboard

  • ensuring that the frets are level, properly seated, crowned and polished

  • checking that the instruments hardware i.e. Machine Heads, Nuts and Saddles are functioning properly. 

These same issues apply to most fretted acoustic stringed instruments i.e. banjo's, ukulele's as well as guitars.

At the 12th Fret Service

Everything You Need

Basic Setup:

  1. Inspect the condition of the Frets.

  2. Adjust the action to best suit the players style.

  3. Clean and oil the Fretboard.

  4. Fit a new set of strings.

Finished article!
Fret levelling, regrown & polish_

Comprehensive Setup:

  1. Inspect the overall condition of the instrument; the Headstock, the Tuners, the Neck, the Nut, the Fretboard, the Bridge and Saddle, the Body, the bracing and other hardware.

  2. Inspect the condition of the Frets.

  3. Spot level and or reseat Frets.

  4. Crown and polish Frets.

  5. Clean and oil the Fretboard.

  6. Evaluate relief in the neck and make Truss Rod adjustments as required.

  7. Make necessary adjustments at the Bridge (string break angle).

  8. Replace the Saddle and Nut with a hand carved and crafted (bone or synthetic bone) Saddle and Nut to achieve desired action for the customer and improve the sound quality of the instrument.

  9. Clean and polish hardware. 

  10. Fit a new set of strings.


  1. Level and Re-fret the entire Fretboard.

  2. Replace the Bridge.

  3. Replace and refit a new or restored set of headstock tuners.

  4. Replace and refit a hand crafted bone Nut.

  5. Replace and refit a hand crafted bone Saddle.

  6. Install and fit a strap button (heel).

  7. Install and fit a pick up.

  8. Replace broken or missing bracing.

  9. Repair cracks in the top, back and sides of the body.

  10. Repair minor damage to the instruments finish (drop fills etc).

Body repair
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