Home > Uncategorized > Taking it to the Luthier

Taking it to the Luthier

I think I told you I bought a guitar.  Bought one, took it home, learned 5-6 chords, felt pretty good about it.  Then I took my guitar to my mandolin lesson and the lesson turned into a guitar lesson in a hurry.  My intention is to learn what I can on my own with a book and the resources on youtube.  Then, when I get stuck or have a bunch of questions lined up…go back for lessons.  The last bit of advice I got from my teacher, Lance, who I miss already, was really terrific.

“Get that thing set up, it’ll make everything a lot easier.”  Now, getting a guitar – or any stringed instrument for that matter – set up is not something just any beginner can do.  I am just any beginner, so I took it to my local luthier (fancy name for someone who knows approximately 4 million times more than I do about the instrument).  A day later I got a call saying that my guitar was “set-up.”

“Set-Up” is what you call it when you get your instrument ready to play.  The main thing they do is address the “action” which is the distance between the strings and the frets.  If you have a great distance between strings and frets it becomes difficult to play – you have to press your fingers a lot harder and it’s frustrating for the beginner.  If you have too short a distance between strings and frets you can easily get a buzz when you play – frustrating for any player.

When I went to pick up my guitar (don’t have a good name for it by the way…I’ll accept ideas for a name) I couldn’t see a difference.  The guy behind the counter said that when I got it home and played it I would be able to tell the difference.  He said this with one of those knowing smiles – the kind a grandpa gives you that comes from years of experience.

Yup, sure enough!  When I got home and pulled it out of the case I found the chords I knew a TON easier to play and it was more fun with less pain on the digits.  A good set-up makes a world of difference.

Here’s the preachy part: I find that if I intentionally get my heartstrings closer to God’s frets everything gets easier.  I resonate and vibrate with much more ease and that annoying buzz becomes less and less a problem.

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