The first and easiest thing to check on your guitar is for a warp. Look down the headstock toward the body and look for a bend, either up or down, or a warp (side to side). Even just a little bit can be a problem! To fix it, you can adjust the truss rod running through the neck itself, but that can be tricky and you can damage your guitar! So if you aren’t sure, bring it in to a guitar repair shop like ours and we’ll get it adjusted for you.
String Gauge & The Headstock Nut
Sometimes a guitar can have a really good setup in the factory, but when you get it and put thicker strings on it, it can cause some problems. An easy way to test to see if your headstock nut is the right width for your string gauge is to listen while tuning your guitar for “pinging” noises from the headstock, caused from the friction of too-thick strings rubbing against the headstock nut. If you hear these pings, its a great indication you need to widen the thickness of the nut.
Another common problem with the nut is having it be too tall – affecting your action (how high the strings are off the fretboard). If you find that the first few frets are significantly more difficult to press down on, your action is probably too high, and grinding that headstock nut down can make a world of difference in how easy it is to play the guitar. Alternatively, a headstock nut with an action thats too low can cause “buzzing” problems, where the string is actually hitting and vibrating against the fretboard, causing a buzzing noise that is undesirable. In that case, the nut will need to be replaced.
Most guitars, like acoustics and fixed bridge guitars, have a fixed radius. Set it, and forget it. But for floating bridges and Fender-style bridges, each string is adjustable by itself up and down. With that type of guitar, its easy for that guitar to get out of radius. Strings too close together will buzz, too far apart will be uncomfortable to play and will ruin your muscle memory.
Think your guitar needs a setup? Bring it in to our shop today and we’ll take a look for free!