How to Set Up an Electric Guitar for Beginners

Guitar Setup is the process of adjusting the guitar so that the strings are at an optimal height for playing. Getting your guitar’s action set up correctly will make it easier to play chords, lead lines, and solos.

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What makes it Important?

The very first thing you should do if you own an electric guitar is to set up your strings properly. This will help produce better tone, easier tuning, and reduce the probability of the guitar not playing the way it should.

Steps to Set Up an Electric Guitar:

Below are the steps to set up an electric guitar. They are listed in the order that they should be done. It might be helpful to use a pen or pencil to make notes of each step as you go along. This way you’ll know what was done, and it will be easier for you if someone asks about it later.

Step 1:

Turn all knobs fully counter-clockwise to disconnect power from all pickups and electronics. Turn your guitar’s volume knob down about 2 to 3 notches, depending on the feel of the guitar. Loosen the knobs on your pickup selector switch so you can adjust it later if needed.

If you have more than one pickup, separate the wires on the selector switch wire to each pickup. You will NOT be wiring them together. You may want to leave your extra wiring in place for future use if you want to be able to swap out different pickups at a later date.

Step 2:

Do an initial setup of your strings using string trees . Place the string through the holes and tighten it down. You want to keep your string tension uniform and consistent. Each string should be equal distance from the fretboard (no more than 1/64″ (1 mm) from the fretboard).

If one of your strings has a sharp or flat spot, adjust it so that all of your strings are at equal height above the fretboard.

Step 3:

Stretch the strings of your guitar. This is done by taking the string and stretching it all the way up to form a loop, then taking two fingers on each hand and holding the string for about 5 seconds.

DO NOT DO THIS TO ONE STRING AT A TIME. DO THIS TO ALL OF THEM AT ONCE. If you overstretch any one of them, then they will no longer be at equal tension across all strings. You can also do this by yourself or with someone else if having difficulty stretching them that far on your own.

Step 4:

If you’re replacing your pickup electronics, insert the wires into the pickup cavity. If you’re rewiring it as well as replacing it, then do that now as well.

If you need to change your pickup selector switch, or if you want to wire up the 5-way selector switch differently, now is the time to make those changes.

Step 5:

Tune your guitar by pushing the saddle all the way up, then pushing it all the way down again. You should not have to adjust your action with your bridge saddles. If you do, then you are pressing down too hard on them.

Adjust your action by loosening one of the bottom three screws with a small flathead screwdriver in order for them to move in or out. Do not move these screws when they are loose as this will change how they work.

Step 6:

After you have done your initial setup of your strings using string trees and stretching them, you can tune your guitar all the way up by turning your tuning machine all the way clockwise until it stops. This is usually where it stops on the first string, which you should tune to E. Once it stops on the first string, turn it one full turn counter-clockwise until it’s fully loose.

Step 7:

Now tune your guitar by turning your tuning machine on the first string about 1.5 to 2 times clockwise until you hear a clear tone. If you don’t hear a clear tone, then you need to go back one step and repeat that part again.

Step 8:

Once you have tuned your guitar to E, turn your tuning machine counter-clockwise until it’s all the way loose. That’s right! You’re done! You just set up an electric guitar.


You should now have a guitar that is easier to play and will sound and be more in tune than when you started. The reason is that when you start to play, you will only need to use the bridge saddles for intonation adjustments. This will give your guitar a more uniform feel and sound across all the strings.

Keep in mind that this setting is just an initial setup, and it’s possible that you’ll need to adjust your action further once you start playing the guitar. If you are having trouble getting your action to where you want it, then you can always use a fine tuning damper to adjust it.


Q: How to build an electric guitar the easy way?

A: First: Filters,pitch shifters,harmonizers and dynamic pedals (such as compressors) Second: Distortion,overdrive,fuzz,boost and EQ pedals Third: Modulation pedals (phaser,chorus and flangers) Fourth: Time-based effects (echo,delay,tremolo and reverb)

Q: How hard is it to build an electric guitar?

A: Solid body electric guitar is actually the easiest type of guitar to build. It doesn’t have to be “that hard” if you just want something playable, and if you have any skill with tools. Hardest part is the neck. Buying a pre-fabricated neck can make this WAY easier. But even building a neck doesn’t have to be “that” hard.

Q: How to setup your electric guitar?

A: – What are the controls on a guitar amp? The most basic controls on a guitar amp are the volume and gain controls. … – How do you set up an electric guitar for the first time? Please see this post on how to setup an electric guitar for beginners. – How do you hook up an electric guitar amp? … – Does it matter what amp I get for my guitar? …

Q: How do I make my guitar sound electric?

A: – you strum/pluck the strings. – the strings vibrate. – the pickups, which are magnetic, are affected by the strings (which are metal) vibrating. The vibrations cause fluctuations in the magnetic field produced by the pickups. – These fluctuations are sent through a cable to an amp and the amp converts this into sound. …