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The Professional Set-up

The Professional Set-up is Peter's most popular service, with customers returning time after time - and bringing instrument after instrument - to receive his trademark low action, high playability set-up.

EXCLUSIVE to Guitar Technical Services
The Professional Set-up

The Difference

Unlike most Guitar Technicians, Peter does not offer either a fret-dress or a set-up as a standalone service but combines them both in his Professional Set-up. This is because, to achieve consistency and quality in the set-up, there first has to be consistency and quality in the fretboard.

A set-up done with no levelling and re-profiling of the frets means that any pre-existing anomalies and inconsistencies in the fretboard may well be carried through into the set-up. In this case, the fretboard dictates the quality of the final set-up.

Peter's approach is to dictate the outcome of the set-up by achieving consistency in the fretboard before starting work on the set-up

Many guitar retailers offer set-up services - either for an itemised, additional cost or rolled into the instrument's purchase price. However, given the need to maintain profit margins, retailers can generally only provide a basic standard of set- up, which usually doesn't include any dressing of the frets. While this is obviously better than nothing, if you want the full treatment on your instrument then the Professional Set-up from Guitar Technical Services is the thing for you! The Professional Set-up allows any basic set-up to taken a stage further and for specific adjustments to be made in line with customer preferences.

For brand new instruments, although it is widely assumed that manufacturers do fret-dressing as part of their production process, this is not true of most companies. In any event, because instruments are made of natural materials, all new ones need a 12-18 month 'settling down period' to allow them to stabilise. Having a Professional Set-up on a new instrument means that, under Peter's unique Quality Guarantee, any movements which occur in the instrument during this 18 month period after purchase can be corrected for FREE.

So what is involved in a Professional Set-up?

If an instrument's basic geometry is incorrect then a good set-up can't be achieved without other remedial work being done first so, before any work is started, two key aspects of the guitar are checked:

The string scale length is checked for correct positioning of the bridge.
Guitars with glued in necks are checked for correct alignment and all necks are checked for adverse upturn on the fretboard.

Peter also checks that:
* hardware is operating properly
* the neck rake angle is correctly set
* the height of the nut for each string is correct
* electric guitar circuits have continuity & good function

Once all these criteria have been met Peter can then prepare the instrument for set up by dressing the frets.

The Fretwork

In order to dictate to the guitar how the finished set-up will turn out, it is first necessary to ensure that all the frets are level and to reprofile them with rounded tops.

* The 1st milling cut finds the high and low points on the fret board.
* The 2nd milling cut removes worn areas and high spots on individual frets
* The frets are then ground flat to ensure good set-up and playability
* Finally, each fret is reprofiled and polished.
(Many Guitar Technicians only sandpaper the top of the frets to knock off the sharp edges. This leaves them with flat tops and sqaure edges - what Peter calls 'doorstep frets'.
Peter re-shapes each fret to ensure there is a rounded apex for precise string contact and a comfortable playing feel.)

People have questioned how much material is removed from the top of the fret during this exercise. Normal fret height is between 0.9mm to 1.1mm. I have taken measurements of frets before and after the operation which show that the amount of material removed can be up to 0.2mm in extreme cases like the one shown here but, on average, the levelling process removes about 0.1mm from the frets. This is often confined to the high areas only. The specific fret height details for each instrument are included on the final Worksheet Invoice.

Now that the fret work is finished the set-up can be done - the instrument is ready and a good final result is guaranteed!

The Set-up

The set-up includes:
* Strings fitted according to the customer's choice (Elixir & specials at additional cost)
* Bridge radius checked against the neck radius and adjusted if necessary.
* Intonation adjusted if possible.
(Not always achievable on acoustic guitars with set saddle placements)
* The amount of relief in the neck is set
(This is something that most shops don't do and many don't even understand!)
* Pick-up heights balanced for output (electric guitars) or
* Sound from each string checked for even balance (electro-acoustics)
* Action height set for the strings measured at the 12th fret
The instrument is then left to stand for 24 hours before being re-checked and adjusted again if necessary. It is then signed off as finished.

This service is EXCLUSIVE to Peter Allen at Guitar Technical Services.

All Professional Set-ups come with a detailed invoice in the form of a 'Worksheet' -
christened the MOT certificate by some of Pete's customers!
This shows the 'before and after' condition and measurements and gives details of adjustments made, including a 'fret-map' of high and low frets.

'Low Action' set-ups

A 'low action' target for set-up measured at the 12th fret, from the top of the fret to the underneath of the string is:

Acoustic guitar - 3.5/ 64ths treble & 5.5/ 64ths bass
Classical/Spanish guitar - 6/64ths treble & 8/64ths bass
Electric guitar - 2+/ 64ths treble & 3.5/ 64ths bass
4 string bass - 4.5/ 64ths treble & 5.5/ 64ths bass

These settings allow for normal movement within a 12 month period due to temperature and humidity changes.

For comparison, Gibson quote typical settings for their guitars as:
Acoustic Guitars - - Treble 5/64th Bass 7/64th
Electric Guitars - - Treble 4/64th Bass 6/64th
Bass Guitars - - Treble 5/64th Bass 7/64th

The guitar industry uses measurements of 64ths of an inch and the variation between one measurement and another is defined by Peter in stages of +/- 0.5/64 (or 128th of an inch). Recently Japanese and other Far Eastern countries have started using metric measurements in manufacture. To compare imperial and metric measurements, the imperial measurement should be multiplied by 0.4. For example 4/64ths is equivalent to 1.6 mm.
Measurement is made from the apex of the fret to the underside of the string.

PRICES for the Professional Set-up can be found HERE !
Professional Set-up in Detail

If you wish to see the full procedure involved in the Professional Set up click the "Link Button" below to take you to Peter's other website. You will be directed back to this website at the end of the tour.................

Work Requests & Instructions

Click the link below for a Work Request form.
Print one out, complete with your requirements and place with your instrument when you send it to Guitar Technical Services (by prior arrangement only).

Work Request Form_PDF


Credit and Debit Card Acceptance for small business with Payatrader

Trader Authorisation Certificate

Guitar Technical Services now uses "Payatrader" which is an affordable way for small businesses to accept payments by credit or debit card. It is primarily aimed at businesses who provide services. You may not want to write a cheque or have cash readily available but want to spread payment of the cost of the work over a longer term. By choosing Payatrader, you have the option to choose the more flexible method of paying with your credit card instead.
GTS Payatrader Certificate

Payment must only be made AFTER the work has been completed.

Click here for details from the Payatrader website.