Q: Why use the 1st fret and the 12th instead of the 15th fret for measuring and adjusting the relief in your neck?
A: We respect the different ways manufacturers and repair techs approach neck relief. With Master Guitar Tech Geoff Luttrell along with other top repair techs we developed our KISS method using the 1st and 12th fret and measuring at the 6th fret to accommodate most all guitars using a common measurement. The relief of the neck at the 6th fret is in the middle of the span between the 1st and 12th fret.
Q: Can I use a regular capo at the first fret 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: 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: 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 did you find out which is "most common"?
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: Why capo the first fret when measuring and adjusting your string Height?
A: In the flow, string height comes before nut height. The measurements we have are based on using the pick capo at the first fret. Since the nut has not been addressed yet you would be using a height reference point that could be off. The first fret is a fixed height to adjust from.
Q: What is the string action height for a classical guitar?
A: It would be 1.20 at the bass side and 1.00 on the treble side.
(120 thousands bass and 100 thousands treble)
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: 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 https://www.musicnomadcare.com/How-To-Advice/Setup-Hub/The-Setup-Flow/
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.
Q: Can I use a regular capo at the first fret if I do not have a pick capo when measuring my string action?
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. You will have an inaccurate string height if the capo is to far forward on the fret.