Guitar Set Up from scratch.... what is the correct sequence step by step.


Senior Member
Jul 7, 2013
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so when doing an initial set up on a scratch build, what is the correct sequence? do you start at the nut and work down? is this correct?

1. set neck to dead straight
2. set nut height (what measurement?)
3. add in relief (what measurement and where- i have heard 8th fret then others say 12th fret) when measuring relief measure from top of fret to bottom of string is this when fretted at 1st and 22nd or open?
4. set bridge and tailpiece height
5. intonate.

please correct sequence or add comments. Also at what point should i be searching for high frets. i am finding buzzing and fretting out when bending at a couple of spots but i haven't really passed step 2.


Senior Member
Apr 22, 2012
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I assume we're talking about an electric guitar? And I assume frets are correctly leveled and crowned. Get neck flat & level with no tension on the strings (TR nut should be 1/4 turn past finger tight). Tune strings to pitch and check relief (I find that under tension the neck should have just the right amount of relief). Check action at 1st & 12th fret. High E should be .75mm at 1st fret and 2mm at 12th fret (this can vary slightly depending on personal preference and fretboard radius). Low E should 1mm at 1st & 2.5mm at 12th. If action is high at 1st fret make nut slots deeper. If action is too slow, then nut slots are too deep and need to be raised either by filling and re-filing or a new nut. Adjust action at 12th fret by raising or lowering saddle height. Check for fret buzz by playing notes at every fret on every string. If no fret buzz, then you're good to go. If there is fret buzz, then re-file frets accordingly. Adjust intonation last.

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