Can a guitar or bass guitar that you buy online be completely adjusted before it is shipped? It is a question that is asked regularly. That is why we explain in this blog post what is involved in adjusting a guitar and why it is not possible, or wise, to have your brand new guitar adjusted and shipped.
Factory setting or personal preference
Guitarists and bass players often have their own personal preference for the adjustment of their instrument. One wants very light strings that are close to the fretboard, while the other, for example, wants a higher action with extra thick strings and a lower tuning.
Because it is simply not possible to know who will buy the instrument, manufacturers of electric and acoustic guitars and basses have opted for a standard factory set-up.
This is tuned to the action, string gauge and tuning preferences of the average guitarist.
This means that the majority of guitarists can handle the setup right out of the box.
One reason for not adjusting in advance is that as a guitarist or bass player you must first get to know the new instrument.
You have to play on it for a while before you can indicate what is not satisfactory about the setup.
Acoustic guitars, for example, have a bridge saddle that is often too high, straight from the factory. In that case you can always sand off a bit at the bottom to lower the action of your strings.
The guitar also needs to acclimatize. Because guitars are made of wood, it is possible that the bodies and necks can still reshape. In other words, the wood can shrink and expand at certain temperature differences and at a certain humidity level.
Play it a bit before fine-tuning
Almost all guitars are made in the Far East and in America. Before they arrive in at your home, they have possibly been in an unheated container on a ship for several weeks.
If you order a guitar that has also been stocked in a warehouse for a while, you will notice that it has to be fully acclimatized again when you take it out of the box.
It is therefore best to play it for a while before you, or someone else, has something done about the adjustment.