Alan Boyd's Guitar Setup Info

Initial Nut Action E: 11 | A: 5 | D: 6 | G: 9 | B: 21 | E: 20 Current Nut Action E: 22 | A: 22 | D: 22 | G: 15 | B: 15 | E: 15 Initial Relief -3 5 Current Relief E: 1.5 | A: 1.25 | D: 1.1 | G: 1.1 | B: 1.35 | E: 1 Initial 12th Fret Action E: 2 | A: 1.85 | D: 1.85 | G: 1.6 | B: 1.6 | E: 1.5 Current 12th Fret Action

Setup Information

Click your mouse on the labels on the left to show explanations here.

Nut Action

The nut is the piece of plastic, bone, metal or other synthetic material which spaces the strings out at the top of the neck near the tuners. Nut action indicates the depth of the slots in this material and therefore the height of the strings above the 1st fret. The lower this number is the closer the strings are to the frets. A general guide for good action at the nut would be:

E: 20 | A: 18 | D: 16 | G: 14 | B: 12 | E: 10

but I may make this higher or lower based on the player and other considerations for the guitar.


This indicates how straight the guitar's neck is.

0 : indicates a flat neck; this is good for even action all the way along the neck but may introduce buzzing if the strings are strummed particularly hard.

-n : any number which is negative indicates the neck is "back-bowed" pulling back against the strings this should be corrected as it will cause buzzing in the middle of the neck.

+n : any positive number shows that there is a dip in the middle of the neck caused by the strings pulling against the neck this is usually a good thing if the number stays low as it allows the strings to vibrate without hitting the frets in the middle of the neck.

Generally around +5 is a good amount of relief but lower numbers right down to zero can be used to give very low action (good for very fast players).

12th Fret Action

This indicates the height of the strings above the 12th fret and gives an idea of the feel of the upper register of the fretboard; as with the nut action the lower the number the closer the strings are to the frets. This measurement is in millimetres as the tool I have for measuring action here is in millimetres.

Electric guitars usually are best with around 1.5mm across all strings although for those who drop tune I may raise the bass strings to around 2mm.

Acoustic guitars may have a range a little higher than electrics to accomodate heavier strumming:

E: 2.5 | A: 2.25 | D: 2.25 | G: 2.0 | B:1.75 | E: 1.75 would be a good number.

Other Information

Here I'll indicate all other information I think is pertinent and also give a breakdown of all the work that has been carried out during the setup. I may also note down things which haven't been done as they aren't necessary but could be carried out in the future if the customer wanted it.

Initial Other Information

The action on this guitar is all over the place. A negative relief number shows the neck is back-bowed or bending back on itself, this will make the action much lower overall. The B and high E strings are sitting much higher than than the rest. The nut is chipped and cracked on several of the strings and will be replaced. Frets 2,6,7,8,11,12,14,15,17,18 and 19 have high spots. Rattle heard from inside body seems to be a loose cable from pickup. G string tuning peg is missing nylon washer. Current string gauge is 11

Current Other Information

Made new nylon washer for G string tuner. Fixed low E string nylon washer. Tightened all tuning post washers and tuner buttons. Roughed in new nut. Guitar set in neck jig ready for fret levelling. Levelled frets. Re-crowned frets and polished. Cleaned and oiled fingerboard. Fitted new washer and nut to jack socket. Cleaned guitar. Fitted Strings . Final Check