Gibson Les Paul
Question: What is the first thing you do to a factory Gibson when someone brings it to you for a setup? Today's guitars are plek'd, but have to endure environmental duress to get to Edmonton. Can you comment on the nut & saddles (truss rod adjustment is obvious) and what else you might do to a guitar that has already passed inspection?
JS - Edmonton, AB
Answer: Just as any guitar, I sight the neck - check for twists, raised frets, warps. Anything that will effect the setup. If there are any issues, I can communicate that with my client rather immediately (in many cases), to decide on any further work to correct those problems. Besides that, I adjust the truss rod and action for the guitar to play it's best (in my hands). Of course this is subjective and I ultimately rely on the owner's preference, if any, to finalize the setup. Gibson guitars, right out of the box, need a good setup, because they're not - and most stores don't have the man power to do it until purchased. Mostly the guitar settles significantly once it hit's our climate. Being that it is mostly too dry here, the neck develops too much bow. When you pick it up in the store and it feels awful, this is usually why. The nut slots are cut well enough (but yes can be fine tuned), and the saddles the same. Gibson guitars may be Plek'd, but ultimately after the guitar has been finished, boxed, shipped, stored, shipped again, stored, and finally hung on a wall - it will have shifted & settled, and become less than perfect. So to answer your questions, I would torqued down the hardware, adjust the relief in the neck, adjust the saddle height, fine tune the nut slots (widen them to help prevent pinging), adjust the pickup height, and finely set the intonation...unless it needed a fret level, then I would do that first !