A question to guitar manufactures inc. Gretsch

Runamok

Country Gent
Hello, welcome. I loved the sound of G2655T - especially the definition of the treble sound ( both in gain and clean channel ) actually preferred it over Fender Player...but not saying sound of Fender is bad, it is great just different taste. Gretsch wins.
Nothing wrong with Streamliner pricing. But you don’t generally get a free setup for far more expensive guitars either, right?

I think the complaint about being completely out of whack for set up should put them on notice. It won’t, but it should.
 

Synchro

The artist formerly known as: Synchro
Staff member
Jun 2, 2008
25,447
Tucson
Basic setup, action height, truss rod, intonation, etc. are well within the abilities of almost anyone. I’ve seen threads about people sending back guitars because they were displeased with the setup, when they could have resolved the matter in less time than it took to box up the guitar and drive it off to the shipping facility.

A little bit of inspection should tell you if the guitar itself is sound. If the nut is decently cut, the rest is usually just a matter of adjustment. Frankly, I prefer to get a new guitar that is in need of adjustment, because I can baseline it to my liking.

I always start by checking the relief of the neck. There are specs for measuring relief with a thickness gauge. I usually just eyeball it, and any noticeable relief is usually adequate. Adjust 1/4 turn at a time, and you’ll be fine. Then I set the action height, which is usually as low as I can get it, without buzzing, plus just a bit more height for a margin of safety. Then set the intonation, which is simple, if you think it through.

After that is sorted, you can balance the pickups and you should be done, but there’s a secret that makes it easier. You don’t have to complete the setup in one stage. I usually end up tweaking settings over the first few weeks of owning a new guitar.

There was a time when music stores did complete setups on every guitar, but these days, that’s a rarity. For my purposes, it doesn’t really bother me on a mid-priced guitar. If I were buying something special, such as a Gibson L-5, I might expect that the dealer do some setup before delivery, but for mass produced guitars, I wouldn’t expect much.
 

Highroller

Country Gent
Jun 11, 2015
1,912
Portland, OR
Basic setup, action height, truss rod, intonation, etc. are well within the abilities of almost anyone. I’ve seen threads about people sending back guitars because they were displeased with the setup, when they could have resolved the matter in less time than it took to box up the guitar and drive it off to the shipping facility.

Agreed. 100%. Not only will it save you time and money, but it'll give you a better understanding of the subtleties of how your guitars work and what makes them tick. You wanna become "one with your guitar"? Learn these basic setup and maintenance procedures.

Which leads me slightly off topic ...

I always crack up when people talk about taking their guitar to "my luthier" for setup work, as if luthiers were somebody you kept on retainer like an attorney. Gimme a break! Setup work doesn't need a luthier. A reasonably good technician will be fine. I don't see this too often here at G-T, but on some of the acoustic guitar forums, it's all over the place! I don't know if it's just plain snobbery or what, but I wish these guys would get over themselves! LoL!

Rant over, carry on ...
 

dspellman

Gretschie
Jul 4, 2020
259
Los Angeles
This *may* be one of the reasons I like to buy used -- if the guitar is previously owned by a reasonably good guitar player, it's probably in tune and fairly well set up. Leastways, that's been my experience.

I've only purchased one new Gibson in the past decade and a half, and it arrived (new directly from the factory in the box via Guitar Center) and needed a bit of work (we ended up giving it a PLEK job at a really competent tech's place in San Francisco). Worth noting that Gibson doesn't use its PLEK machines even remotely in the same manner as a competent tech.

Two Line 6 Variax JTV89F guitars were extremely well set up out of the box. That was a bit of a surprise, I guess, but a happy one.
Agile is a brand that I've purchased both new and used and out of a baker's dozen of the things, I've only had one (and it was a B stock with finish issues) that eventually saw the PLEK. Wait -- I've got one that I purchased used that will eventually do that as well, but that's it. Minor tweaks only. I like very low action, and that requires very level frets.

The two Gretsches I've purchased (one new, one used) have been just fine.

This may be due to the location -- it sounds like UK and EU are having more issues than here in the US. No idea why that would be.
 

mrfixitmi

Country Gent
Mar 20, 2010
1,847
Michigan
@GretschDav

Welcome to the forum, not all store operate the same way. The big box stores can operate from high volume "rush the product out the door" to the more meticulous ones. I have experienced both. I typically perform my own set ups to my preference anyway, but the last three from big box stores, were set up fairly well.

I worked in a small Mom and Pop store that set up all guitars to the customer's liking. It made no difference whether it was a low price nor a high price guitar. Although the reasoning may be flawed, we felt that if we could bring in a person on a budget and make them happy, they may consider us for the High Priced guitar in the future.

The foundation of these guitars are typically strong, but a low action to one person may be high action to another, we never judged anyone's preference, just tried to get it correct for the customer.

We did have several people bring in a guitar from another store, and saying it doesn't play like the one on your wall. Can you make it sound/play like the ones you sell?
Why they didn't buy it from us, I don't know. We had low overhead, and could match any price, there is a enough profit on most guitars to adjust it for the customer.
Yes, we would offer to set up the guitar, change strings, re-cut/replace the nut, to help the customer, but since they did not buy the guitar from us, it was not for free.


I am sorry for your hardship, you can always try to see if they will give you a price adjustment so that you could send it to someone who will make it your own style.
Powodzenia przyjacielu.

(Good Luck my friend)
 

Synchro

The artist formerly known as: Synchro
Staff member
Jun 2, 2008
25,447
Tucson
Agreed. 100%. Not only will it save you time and money, but it'll give you a better understanding of the subtleties of how your guitars work and what makes them tick. You wanna become "one with your guitar"? Learn these basic setup and maintenance procedures.

Which leads me slightly off topic ...

I always crack up when people talk about taking their guitar to "my luthier" for setup work, as if luthiers were somebody you kept on retainer like an attorney. Gimme a break! Setup work doesn't need a luthier. A reasonably good technician will be fine. I don't see this too often here at G-T, but on some of the acoustic guitar forums, it's all over the place! I don't know if it's just plain snobbery or what, but I wish these guys would get over themselves! LoL!

Rant over, carry on ...
You mean That you don’t have a full time luthier, on retainer?!?!?! :)

I know just what you mean. Some guys phrase it as if they have a luthier at their immediate beck and call. I do my own setups and electrical work, for the most part, but I don't deal with finish issues, or anything that produces sawdust. For that sort of work, I want a luthier. In Tucson, Reed Munns, of Rainbow Guitars, has proven to be a very reliable person that does excellent quality work. I recommend him highly, to anyone in the area.

With regard to basic setup, I agree that it makes you more in touch with a guitar when you have set it up, yourself. It also makes life easier.

For example, a week or so back, my most recent acquisition, my Tele Deluxe Thinline, started buzzing on the 2nd and 3rd strings, around fret 17. It’s probably just an acclimation change, as a guitar that had been made in Baja, then stored in New York, adapted to life on the desert. I literally fixed it on the fly, using a 1.5 mm Allen wrench and an electronic tuner, to check the intonation, after raising two bridge elements. it took a couple of minutes and if I had to make further changes, it would just be a matter of grabbing the same Allen wrench and investing a minute or two of my time. Honestly, looking up the repair shop’s phone number would have taken as much time, not to mention the time to take it in, etc.
 

BCRatRod73

Gretschie
Sep 1, 2020
495
Mississippi
Hello to all, so let us start...

Recently I have been on a hunt for an electric guitar purchase. Up to let us say 1000$. I went to one of the big chain music shops and asked for unpacking few guitars to do sound comparison and playability. Guys, this is terrible in the world of new unpacked guitars. Sound is one thing - this is ok BUT playability decides about deal or no deal. String action and nut cut in BOTH were simply HORRIBLE. I mean Fender Player Strat ( mex made ! ) and Gretsch G2655T. I preferred the sound of Gretsch but can anyone explain how you can manufacture the guitar and send it with a 5mm string action over 12th fret and hard to press strings on the 1st and second fret. This counts for almost all expensive guitars too. What the heck ? I , on the spot tried to lower the bridge but as sweet as it sounded still so bad it was at play. I really have no clue why it is so, so please explain. I know I can buy any guitar and send it to luthier. But that should not be the case in mid range guitars at all apart from small tiny changes on buyer's own. It is said electric guitars are easier to play than acoustics - here it was even the other way round....so again can not manufactures cut the nuts precisely , tighten the rod and make a bridge adjustments ? Is it so difficult ? I really do not get it....
It would be great if the big box stores hired a luthier to set up guitars over a certain price point as an incentive to buy from them. How many kids just starting out or even having played for a few years even know about setups or how a guitar properly set up should play? It’s most likely they buy because they like the way a guitar looks and there is an emotional connection of some sort. And of the people who have been playing a long time but lack the setup skills how many know what to look for when buying a guitar? Best course of action is to learn the setup skills yourself to do the setups as well as maintain the instrument over the course of its time with you. I’m guessing margins are too thin to hire a luthier and competition is pretty stiff. I’d rather buy from the online shops and fix any issues rather than make the trip to a store only to hear a teenager loudly playing the obligatory death metal and speed scales.
 

Viper

Electromatic
Feb 1, 2009
44
Iowa City, Iowa
After playing guitar for 58 years, I’ve figured out that guitars from the factory are “kits” from which nice instruments can be made. Years ago a luthier approached me with an offer to build me a guitar for the cost of materials—I was gigging constantly for reasonably large crowds. This is the only guitar I‘ve ever owned that played like it should right out of the box.

It doesn’t seem realistic to expect UPS to deliver Asian guitars in anywhere near playing condition.

edit: Not sure why this post is in Italics. Oh, well.

Edit: I fixed it for you. - Synchro
 

Electrosynthesis

Gretschie
May 11, 2011
378
São Paulo
I remember seeing a picture of George Harrison doing the setup on his guitar somewhere on this forum. Learn from the masters, they say...

I actually enjoy doing the setup on my guitar. I believe it's one of those things that helps us to achieve "that" tone we are always chasing after. As a matter of fact, I have done the setup on friend's guitars while visiting their house. It makes for a good conversation topic, keeps us busy with something useful and makes for a huge difference on how the guitar plays, so I believe it's a nice gift to be remembered by.
 

afire

Friend of Fred
Feb 12, 2009
5,367
Where the action is!
Yeah, fine tuning a guitar's set up is typically the retailer's responsibility, even on higher end guitars.
It has long been my understanding that manufacturers intentionally cut nut slots on the shallow side and leave it to the dealer/buyer to determine whether they want them cut deeper to personal preference on the premise that you can always remove material, but you can't add it back.
 

dspellman

Gretschie
Jul 4, 2020
259
Los Angeles
It would be great if the big box stores hired a luthier to set up guitars over a certain price point as an incentive to buy from them. How many kids just starting out or even having played for a few years even know about setups or how a guitar properly set up should play? It’s most likely they buy because they like the way a guitar looks and there is an emotional connection of some sort.
I worked in a music store once upon a time. We'd set up all the guitars, but we'd do the best job on the guitar we most wanted to get rid of that week. Next thing you know, someone would be walking out with that guitar, the one that just seemed to "speak" to him, yada yada. And then we'd grab the next guitar we wanted to get rid of and make that one play great.

The one place I could count on to ship me a guitar that was near-perfectly set up and probably in tune was Carvin. That's probably because the guitars were shipped from the factory directly to me (I'm a whole 100 miles from the factory) within a few days.

Schecter used to (maybe still do) have a small facility in Burbank that set up their guitars before shipping them out to the retail stores. No luthiers required (btw, to me a luthier is someone capable of building guitars from scratch; essentially from bare wood) -- these were just folks who were trained for the task at hand. The secondary benefit is that this was another pair of eyes looking over the guitar to detect any issues before the guitar went out to the stores.
 

BCRatRod73

Gretschie
Sep 1, 2020
495
Mississippi
I worked in a music store once upon a time. We'd set up all the guitars, but we'd do the best job on the guitar we most wanted to get rid of that week. Next thing you know, someone would be walking out with that guitar, the one that just seemed to "speak" to him, yada yada. And then we'd grab the next guitar we wanted to get rid of and make that one play great.

The one place I could count on to ship me a guitar that was near-perfectly set up and probably in tune was Carvin. That's probably because the guitars were shipped from the factory directly to me (I'm a whole 100 miles from the factory) within a few days.

Schecter used to (maybe still do) have a small facility in Burbank that set up their guitars before shipping them out to the retail stores. No luthiers required (btw, to me a luthier is someone capable of building guitars from scratch; essentially from bare wood) -- these were just folks who were trained for the task at hand. The secondary benefit is that this was another pair of eyes looking over the guitar to detect any issues before the guitar went out to the stores.
Now that I know what to look for, and can do the work myself, I’d be better able to get a better price on a guitar in person at the stores.
I owned a Carvin CT3 custom order. Great guitar but I bought it during my tone quest and didn’t really know what I wanted at the time. If I were to buy another Carvin, I mean Kiesel, it would be a SH550. But at that price point I’d rather get another Gretsch.
 

Shock

Gretschie
Sep 7, 2020
445
Minnesota
Agreed. 100%. Not only will it save you time and money, but it'll give you a better understanding of the subtleties of how your guitars work and what makes them tick. You wanna become "one with your guitar"? Learn these basic setup and maintenance procedures.

Which leads me slightly off topic ...

I always crack up when people talk about taking their guitar to "my luthier" for setup work, as if luthiers were somebody you kept on retainer like an attorney. Gimme a break! Setup work doesn't need a luthier. A reasonably good technician will be fine. I don't see this too often here at G-T, but on some of the acoustic guitar forums, it's all over the place! I don't know if it's just plain snobbery or what, but I wish these guys would get over themselves! LoL!

Rant over, carry on ...
I agree, but it depends. I have taken guitars in to different places, and when I get them back they did not do as good as I would have. So I would redo it to my standards. So I quit using those clowns all together. After a few years and a few guitars, I got pretty good at the basics.

But as of a couple years ago, I had a bunch of guitars that I collected over the years that were jacked up. Mostly needed fret work. So I found a local guy that I actually trust. And he is cheap. Fret level and crown, nut recut. and truss rod adjusted for around $100. I can't do it at home for that. He charged me $20 for a new bone nut installed. And I feel good about supporting a local guy that is a stay at home dad musician. So I hope it doesn't come off snobby. It's more of an admission that I have my limitations and if I don't use him, this stuff will never get done.
 

Synchro

The artist formerly known as: Synchro
Staff member
Jun 2, 2008
25,447
Tucson
After playing guitar for 58 years, I’ve figured out that guitars from the factory are “kits” from which nice instruments can be made. Years ago a luthier approached me with an offer to build me a guitar for the cost of materials—I was gigging constantly for reasonably large crowds. This is the only guitar I‘ve ever owned that played like it should right out of the box.

It doesn’t seem realistic to expect UPS to deliver Asian guitars in anywhere near playing condition.

edit: Not sure why this post is in Italics. Oh, well.

Edit: I fixed it for you. - Synchro
I think you nailed it, and all the more so when it's a Fender, which is a collection of interchangeable parts.
 

BCRatRod73

Gretschie
Sep 1, 2020
495
Mississippi
Everyone should be able to set up their instruments. You don't expect anyone to replace strings or tune it. It's your guitar, and only you know how you like it. You adjust the mirrors and seat in your car, don't you?
In the Age of Information Ignorance is a choice. There are so many free resources available to learn these skills that not learning them is either fear or laziness. Youtube has so many tutorials, and there are free articles with step by step pictures showing how to do all of it. I used to be afraid of touching the truss rod but I got over it. I learned how to do setups and maintain my guitars out of necessity. Because of that I gained a better comnection to my guitars which inspires me to play. And, it’s pretty damn satisfying making small adjustments, fixing things by getting creative if necessary, and setting up the guitar to play just right. I lack the specialized tools to do surgical repairs but one day I will acquire those tools for such emergencies. All it takes is the desire to learn and get over the fear of screwing something up.
 

Synchro

The artist formerly known as: Synchro
Staff member
Jun 2, 2008
25,447
Tucson
In the Age of Information Ignorance is a choice. There are so many free resources available to learn these skills that not learning them is either fear or laziness. Youtube has so many tutorials, and there are free articles with step by step pictures showing how to do all of it. I used to be afraid of touching the truss rod but I got over it. I learned how to do setups and maintain my guitars out of necessity. Because of that I gained a better comnection to my guitars which inspires me to play. And, it’s pretty damn satisfying making small adjustments, fixing things by getting creative if necessary, and setting up the guitar to play just right. I lack the specialized tools to do surgical repairs but one day I will acquire those tools for such emergencies. All it takes is the desire to learn and get over the fear of screwing something up.
Very true, especially the part about gaining a better connection with your guitar. When you do your own setups, you have a to more understanding of what is going on when a problem crops up. At the heart of it, an electric guitar is a pretty simple object.
 


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