How Often Should a Guitar Be Set Up?

For people who love to play guitar, it is their pride and joy. So if you are one of them, you'll naturally want to make sure your guitar is in top condition.

There's no denying that a full guitar set up can get expensive if done too often. In particular, if the people you're taking your guitar to discover any flaws, you will be required to pay and make further adjustments. So, how often should a guitar be set up?

How often should a guitar be set up?

It is best to make sure your guitar is set up at least twice a year. However, if you don't play often, an annual setup is not really necessary. Note that a guitar is still affected by time whether it is active or not.

In fact, it is correct to say that how often to set up a guitar depends on various factors such as humidity, temperature, your guitar brand, how often you use it, etc.

For most guitarists who play each day, they as a rule set their guitar twice for a year to keep it in best condition. If you do not play often, you can also skip the annual setting.

However, you need to remember that a guitar will still be affected by seasonal changes, even though it is not being used.

There is no denying that every guitar is subject to slight changes over time. If you do not care about your guitar, these changes can make it worse and worse.

That means it also negatively impacts your play and enjoyment.

In general,  if you have never set up a guitar before, it is wise to have a professional setup.

How long does a guitar setup last

If you have never set up a guitar before, it is wise to have a professional setup.

How long does the guitar set up take?

If you are a pro, setting up the guitar should not take more than an hour (if you know what you are doing). However, this may vary depending on its model and condition.

If you were a beginner before reading this article, perhaps you could also ask the setup experts to do it for you.

Also, there are numerous instructional exercises online that can instruct you how to set up your guitar. Over time, you'll set up your own guitar effectively.

How much should a full guitar set up cost?

Typically, a professional guitar set up costs around $50. However, depending on the condition of your guitar, the cost could be closer to $100.

While there is no significant difference in set up costs between an electric guitar and an acoustic guitar, you should be prepared to pay a little more to set up your electric guitar.

That's because an electric guitar has more parts that need to be handled.

How do I know if my guitar needs a setup

Typically, a professional guitar set up costs around $50

When professional guitar technicians look at your guitar, they can spot many potentially serious problems. That can significantly increase your set up costs.

What does a full guitar set up process include?

Consider several important aspects when setting up your guitar. After you understand these aspects well, there is no need to waste money on getting it set up.

Initial inspection 

If you notice, most professional guitar technicians will look at your guitar overall first, then they will determine exactly what will need to be adjusted or repaired before starting work their job.

While reviewing them, you can make a few important notes so you can refer to them later if you want to do the maintenance yourself in the future.

Action & intonation 


Activity of a guitar appears how tall your strings are sitting over your fretboard. A  low action involves a small gap between the two, while a low action is the opposite.

For a guitar with high action, it'll have less chance of rankling string buzz. However, it will be much more challenging to play as more pressure is required to play each note.

For most experienced guitar players, they will choose a low to middle action.

You can tweak the ‘truss-rod’ to adjust the action of your guitar. The ‘truss-rod’ is the metal rod inside the length of your guitar’s neck. Changing it will affect the bowing of your neck.


Intonation, like Action, is the second major component of a guitar setup. It simply shows how well your guitar accurately tuning across the entire fretboard.

Intonation is essential for any professional guitarist. There is nothing worse than having to play an out-of-tune guitar!

In fact, you can set the intonation by tuning the instrument and comparing open strings with their 12th fret harmonics. In case the tuning is out of wack, you can accurately adjust your guitar saddle to fix the issue.

String radius

A lot of people mistakenly think that fretboards are flat. In fact, different guitar models will have different fretboard specs.

To ensure uniform action and intonation are fretted, you need to make sure your guitar's strings match its board's radius perfectly.

Hydrating & polishing 

In fact, most guitars are made mostly of wood. Therefore, they must be handled with care to avoid severe and irreversible damage.

A good technician will usually use specialized guitar cleaning products to clean and polish your guitar body and neck.

How often should I get my guitar set up

Make sure to take good care of your guitar so you can save a lot of money on recurring set up costs!

All in all

There is no denying that not installing the guitar regularly will significantly affect its performance.

There are certain parts of each guitar that have a big impact on how the guitar plays and sounds, so you should pay attention to them more often.

This article discussed important aspects of setting up a guitar, including “How often a guitar should be set up?”. Hope you have understood about proper guitar maintenance.

Whether it is yours or someone else's, make sure to take good care of it so you can save a lot of money on recurring set up costs!

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