Precision Setup Gauge Set - 6 pc.- Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is the best String Action Height for my Acoustic Guitar playing style?

The most common string action height on an Acoustic Guitar for most players would be .09”/2.30mm on the low E and .075/1.90mm on the high E. For lighter fingerstyle players the most common string action height would be .07”/1.75mm on the low E and .06”1.50mm on the high E. For heavy bluegrass strummers the most common string action height would be .11”/ 2.80mm on the low E and .09”/2.30mm on the high E.

Q: On your String Action Gauge Chart you don’t show what action to use for a 5 or 6 string Bass, what should it be?

A: The most common String Action Height for a Low-Medium action on the bass side (or low string) that will make your bass play great would be .090” or 2.25mm on the 5th or 6th string.


Q: What measurement do I use for neck relief on my 5 string bass? 

A: On a 5 string bass you would start with the gauge labeled bass .008.  That is most common measurement for bass guitars. If you get some buzzing, go to the gauge labeled classical .010 to create a larger pocket for the low B string and other strings to oscillate.   


Q: On your String Action Gauge Chart you don’t show what action to use for a 7 or 8 string Guitar, what should it be?

A: The most common String Action Height for a Low-Medium action on the bass side (or low string) that will make your guitar play great would be .065” or 1.65mm on the 7th string (on a 7-string guitar) and .070” or 1.75mm on the 8th string (on an 8-string guitar).


Q: How does the KISS method work for a Floyd Rose equipped guitar?

A: Due to the nature and complexity of a Floyd Rose bridge and nut, we recommend you take your guitar to a qualified repair shop. You can use the KISS gauges to evaluate what your guitar may need in the setup process. A Floyd Rose setup requires shims, a block for the tremolo and sometimes power tools. 


Q: What is the proper steps for a Classical Guitar Set up?

Step 1 – Truss Rod

The truss rod measurement for neck relief would be .010

(This is labeled on the gauge) If the instrument does not have a truss rod, you would skip step 1 in the KISS setup method.

Step 2 – Radius

There is usually no radius on a classical guitar fretboard so you would Skip step 2. If it does have a radius, you can find out what the radius is using our radius gauges.  Due to the complexity of this task, we recommend you take you instrument to a qualified repair shop if radius work is needed. 

Step 3 – String Action

String action for a classical guitar would be 1.20 at the bass side and 1.00 on the treble side.

Step 4 – Nut Height

For the Low E and A strings you would use the .020

For the D and G strings you would use .018

For the B and High E strings you would use .016

(These measurements are labeled on the gauge)

Step 5 – Intonation

You can check intonation using the KISS method.  If it needs adjustment, you should take your instrument to a qualified repair shop because of the complexity of this task. 

Step 6 – Pick up Height

There are no magnetic pickups to adjust.  Skip step 6.


Q: How do I read the pickup height ruler on the string action gauge?

A: On the inches/fraction side for the pickup ruler, 1/16” is the second line from the bottom and 3/32” is the third line from the bottom. 


Q: I have a wraparound bridge, how do I adjust my string height?

A:  After measuring your string height and determining what you need, you would adjust the height by turning the bridge post clockwise to lower the action and counterclockwise to raise the action. You can use the 3/8” bit blade that comes in our Truss Rod Wrench kit MN235 or with our Spanner Wrench MN224.  


Q: Why do I use the pick capo for measuring neck relief?
A: You use the pick capo to hold the E strings down at the first fret because the first fret is a fixed reference point for making the truss rod adjustment and string height adjustment. The measurements labeled on the gauges are based off the fixed-point reference of the first fret. Holding down the string at the first fret with the Pick Capo allows you to make an accurate adjustment following the KISS methods linear flow. In the flow you have not yet addressed your nut slot height which makes it a nonvalid reference point. Adjusting the nut slot height is the last step in the playability part of the setup. Following the KISS linear flow allows you to setup your guitar to play and sound great without having to go back and repeat steps.  

Q: Can I use a regular capo at the first fret for measuring neck relief if I do not have a pick capo?

A: The pick capo allows you to hold the string down on top of the 1st fret with just enough tension and is easy to slip in without worrying about where it sits on the fret and how much tension is on it. Yes, you can use a regular capo but you need to make sure it is holding down the string directly on top of the 1st fret using the least amount of tension otherwise you will get an inaccurate reading. 


Q: How did you find out which is "most common setup measurements? 

A: Our Collaboration with Master Guitar Tech Geoff Luttrell and his 20+ years, two high volume guitar shops setting up 10,000 plus guitars, teaching 100's of students in his setup workshops, in house Plek experience, plus we asked a handful of other top repair shops the most common setup measurements and this was the unanimous measurements for a a great sounding and playing guitar. We realize there are many different opinions plus these can dialed in more for the type of player and playing style. As most repair shops know most guitars come out of the factory way higher so they don't buzz and both new and old guitars need to be setup periodically for the best playability and sound.


Q: I have done all the proper steps in the KISS method and my instrument has fret buzz, dead notes, intonation problems, or other playability issues. What could this be?

 A: The KISS setup method is based on doing all the steps in order and having level frets. For example, if you do the String Action Height adjustment only and you have fret buzz, it may be because you did not adjust your Truss Rod. Make sure you follow all the steps in the setup process. You can find the proper steps in our Setup Hub

For worn or un-even frets you will have to compensate for that until you are able to get fretwork done. To achieve clean notes and no buzzing without fretwork, you will need to raise the action until you achieve no buzz. More relief in the neck and higher string action can solve this but is harder to play and can lead to intonation issues.  Another cause for buzzing can be that your nut slots are too low or were cut too low. If you are having any of these issues, we recommend you take your guitar to a qualified repair shop.