The Complete Set-up - better known as - The Professional Set-up

What is the Difference?

Unlike most Guitar Technicians, Peter does not offer either a fret-dress or a set-up as a standalone service but combines them both in his Professional Set-up. This is because, to achieve consistency and quality in the set-up, there first has to be consistency and quality in the fretboard.

A set-up done with no levelling and re-profiling of the frets means that any pre-existing anomalies and inconsistencies in the fretboard may well be carried through into the set-up. In this case, the fretboard dictates the quality of the final set-up.

Peter's approach is to dictate the outcome of the set-up by achieving consistency in the fretboard before starting work on the set-up

Many guitar retailers offer set-up services - either for an itemised, additional cost or rolled into the instrument's purchase price. However, given the need to maintain profit margins, retailers can generally only provide a basic standard of set- up, which usually doesn't include any dressing of the frets. While this is obviously better than nothing, if you want the full treatment on your instrument then the Professional Set-up from Guitar Technical Services is the thing for you! The Professional Set-up allows any basic set-up to taken a stage further and for specific adjustments to be made in line with customer preferences.

For brand new instruments, although it is widely assumed that manufacturers do fret-dressing as part of their production process, this is not true of most companies. In any event, because instruments are made of natural materials, all new ones need a 12-18 month 'settling down period' to allow them to stabilise. Having a Professional Set-up on a new instrument means that, under Peter's unique Quality Guarantee, any movements which occur in the instrument during this 18 month period after purchase can be corrected for FREE.

So what is involved in a Professional Set-up?

If an instrument's basic geometry is incorrect then a good set-up can't be achieved without other remedial work being done first so, before any work is started, two key aspects of the guitar are checked:

The string scale length is checked for correct positioning of the bridge.

Guitars with glued in necks are checked for correct alignment and all necks are checked for adverse upturn on the fretboard.

Peter also checks that:

* hardware is operating properly

* the neck rake angle is correctly set

* the height of the nut for each string is correct

* electric guitar circuits have continuity & good function

Once all these criteria have been met Peter can then prepare the instrument for set up by dressing the frets.

The Professional Set-up

The Professional Set-up is Peter's most popular service, with customers returning time after time - and bringing instrument after instrument - to receive his trademark low action, high playability set-up.

EXCLUSIVE to Guitar Technical Services

The Fretwork

In order to dictate to the guitar how the finished set-up will turn out, it is first necessary to ensure that all the frets are level and to reprofile them with rounded tops.

* The 1st milling cut finds the high and low points on the fret board.

* The 2nd milling cut removes worn areas and high spots on individual frets

* The frets are then ground flat to ensure good set-up and playability

* Finally, each fret is reprofiled and polished.

(Many Guitar Technicians only sandpaper the top of the frets to knock off the sharp edges. This leaves them with flat tops and square edges - what Peter calls 'doorstep frets'.  

Peter re-shapes each fret to ensure there is a rounded apex for precise string contact and a comfortable playing feel.)

People have questioned how much material is removed from the top of the fret during this exercise. Normal fret height is between 0.9mm to 1.1mm. I have taken measurements of frets before and after the operation which show that the amount of material removed can be up to 0.2mm in extreme cases like the one shown here but, on average, the levelling process removes about 0.1mm from the frets. This is often confined to the high areas only. The specific fret height details for each instrument are included on the final Worksheet Invoice.

Now that the fret work is finished the set-up can be done - the instrument is ready and a good final result is guaranteed!

'Low Action' set-ups

A 'low action' target for set-up measured at the 12th fret, from the top of the fret to the underneath of the string is:

Acoustic guitar - 3.5/ 64ths treble & 5.5/ 64ths bass

Classical/Spanish guitar - 6/64ths treble & 8/64ths bass

Electric guitar - 2+/ 64ths treble & 3.5/ 64ths bass

4 string bass - 4.5/ 64ths treble & 5.5/ 64ths bass

These settings allow for normal movement within a 12 month period due to temperature and humidity changes.

For comparison, Gibson quote typical settings for their guitars as:

Acoustic Guitars - - Treble 5/64th Bass 7/64th

Electric Guitars - - Treble 4/64th Bass 6/64th

Bass Guitars - - Treble 5/64th Bass 7/64th


The guitar industry uses measurements of 64ths of an inch and the variation between one measurement and another is defined by Peter in stages of +/- 0.5/64 (or 128th of an inch). Recently Japanese and other Far Eastern countries have started using metric measurements in manufacture. To compare imperial and metric measurements, the imperial measurement should be multiplied by 0.4. For example 4/64ths is equivalent to 1.6 mm.

Measurement is made from the apex of the fret to the underside of the string.

PRICES for the Professional Set-up can be found   HERE !

Professional Set-up in Detail

If you wish to see the full procedure involved in the Professional Set up, Peter has shown this in pictures on his other website

By viewing this website or the 'flashing icon' you will be directed to see the full detailed procedure involved in the Professional Set up.

This takes takes you to Peter's other website.

Work Requests & Instruction

Print out the Request Form and place it with your instrument or email Peter to book an appointment.

Take the Professional Set-up Tour !

Work Request Form_PDF

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