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This is it. They’re finally here!
Many of you have been asking me how to do a complete, end-to-end setup on your guitars, and up to this point I’ve been recommending two books written by guitar repair guru Dan Erlewine.
However, those books go into great depth on advanced guitar repair topics, refinishing, and more. Not all of you want to pay nearly $30 for a huge compendium of extra information–you simply don’t need it.
And so I’ve been on the hunt for the past 2 years–looking for something better.
I wanted to find a setup guide that was enjoyable and to-the-point, heck, maybe even “fun.” Wait, fun? Is that even possible when we’re talking about guitar setups? I searched and searched, but couldn’t find anything I was happy with, until recently…
Introducing: Sketchy Setups by Gerry Hayes
Then one day I discovered the website (and guitar blog) of luthier Gerry Hayes, of Haze Guitars. His blog posts were friendly, engaging, and to-the-point. Best of all: he had written his own series of e-books on guitar and bass setup. But get this: he hand-illustrated all of them himself. Hence the clever name: “Sketchy Setups.”
I was intrigued. I’d never seen or heard of anything quite like this, so I immediately purchased his Stratocaster Setup Guide to see what was actually inside.
To my delight, the guide was EXACTLY what I’d been searching for: guitar and bass setup guides that were concise, fun, and written with normal language that anyone could understand. They’re not filled with extra stuff you don’t need or want–just exactly the steps needed to get your guitar or bass setup right.
Now They’re Available to You
I’m proud to say that Gerry has made me an affiliate for his Sketchy Setups series and I can now offer them directly to you. This blog post is here to simply introduce you to the series and let you know what they’re all about, but you’ll begin to see them mentioned elsewhere on the website too.
Let’s have a sneak peak inside, shall we?
What’s Inside the Setup Guides?
There are four individual setup guides, each written specifically for a particular guitar or bass model (though many of the techniques will translate to other similar guitars as well). Let’s take a look at what you’ll learn from each guide, and take a peek at a couple screenshots from each one as well.
Who Are These Guides For?
In the author’s own words:
“Imagine your best friend was a setup guru… and wrote a book just for you.”
I love that line, because it describes Sketchy Setups so well. These guides are for those of you who just want to set your guitar up properly so that it plays and sounds its best, without a bunch of extra information that you’ll probably never use. You don’t need to be “handy” or “good with tools” and whatnot.
Oh sure, pro guitar techs could learn a thing or two from these guides (I know I did), but that’s not who they’re written for. What I feel really sets these apart, and why I’m so excited to offer them to you, is how down-to-earth and easy to understand they are.
What Will You Learn?
Each Sketchy Setups guide covers the steps you need to get a great setup, as well as the correct order to do things (which is an often overlooked topic). Here are just a few of the things you’ll learn:
- The tools you’ll need
- How to take important starting measurements
- How to set neck relief using the truss rod
- How to set and balance a tremolo/vibrato bridge
- Nut slot issues
- How to set pickups
- How to set action
- How to set intonation
- Tips and tricks to make the job easier
- Important setup measurements you can use as benchmarks
Simply choose the Sketchy Setup guide for your particular guitar (although many of the principles can be applied to other guitars), and you’ll be walked, step-by-step through the process of getting your guitar or bass setup right.
Each Sketchy Setups guide is an immediate digital download in PDF format. You can read them on your favorite mobile device, desktop computer, or if you’re like me and still prefer to read things the traditional way, you can print them.
Frequently Asked Questions
If you have any questions about these guides that aren’t answered here, please don’t hesitate to ask. You can write to me using my contact form or you can post your questions down below in the “Leave a Reply” section.
Can I just buy one guide and use the information for a different guitar (or guitars)?
Well, maybe. It depends…
Many of the concepts will apply across a number of different guitars. However, how you perform the steps can be unique from guitar-to-guitar.
If you feel that you’re knowledgable enough to translate certain steps from one type of hardware to another, then you can probably get just one guide.
However, the whole point of these guides is to make this stuff easy, and that might not happen if you try to apply what you learn about your Gibson’s fixed bridge to your Fender’s tremolo bridge.
Is there any information overlap between the 4 guides?
Some, yes. Like I mentioned above, the concepts for certain steps are similar across many guitars. So, if you buy all the guides, you’ll see some similarities between them.
However, each guide has specific information relevant to its subject-guitar that’ll really help you get a handle on it more easily than broad, generic information could.
What’s the file size of the downloads?
The size of the each downloadable e-book is between 22–30MB. The package bundle (all 4 guides) is a compressed ZIP file that is about 100MB.
Is it safe and secure to buy these?
Absolutely. The sale is actually handled by a service called Gumroad–which does all of the geeky security and encryption to keep things safe. You can learn more about Gumroad’s security measures in this article.
What payment methods can I use?
Gumroad is the payment processor and accepts most major credit cards and PayPal. You can read more about what payment methods Gumroad accepts in this article.
How do I read the guides?
The guides are PDF’s that you can read on any computer, tablet, or smartphone that can display PDFs (which is basically all of them).
Apple iPhones and iPads should have support built in. If your Android device can’t open Sketchy Setups, Adobe Acrobat PDF Reader (Play Store Link) is essentially the default app (but search and you’ll find others too).
When it comes to desktop computers, Apple computers will open these natively. Windows 10 should also open PDF files without extra apps and you can get the free Adobe Acrobat Reader for older versions of Windows.
Final note: There are alternatives to Adobe Acrobat Reader for most operating systems. So, if Adobe isn’t working for you, use Google to search the web for alternatives.
Can I read these on my Kindle?
The Sketchy Setups guides haven’t been tested on a dedicated e-reader/e-ink device. I’d recommend against buying if an e-ink reader is your only method of viewing. Amazon claims that PDFs are supported by newer devices, I believe e-ink Kindles don’t do well with fixed-layout, image-heavy, PDF files like these.
Kindle reader apps running on iOS, Android, or Windows should do just fine though. The guides have been tested on the Kindle app on an iOS device and they worked.
I bought the Sketchy Setups bundle. What do I do with this ZIP file?
A ZIP file is simply a collection of files that have been bundled and compressed into a single folder, which makes everything a little smaller for downloading. Unpacking a ZIP file is pretty easy…
On a Mac: Save the file wherever you’d like and then just double-click it. That’s it! After you double-click, you’ll see a regular folder appear with the same name as the ZIP file, but now you can click and open it normally to reveal the 4 guides inside.
On a PC: Right-click the ZIP file, then choose “Extract All.” Use the “browse” button to choose where you’d like the extracted (unzipped) folder to end up, then click the “Extract” button. The unzipped file will be waiting for you in the location you chose.
On Mobile Devices: There are apps that will unzip files on mobile devices, but to be honest it’s probably safer and easier to do it on a desktop computer. That’s what I’d do.
Bobby Davis is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.