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Basic Setup by Stephen Perry
    A short note on factory setups

Factory setups tend to be a bit more varied and less
rigorous than custom setups, such as my basic setup
outlined to the left.  While these are generally playable,
they are often far from optimal.  With the rigors of
shipping, often things are not quite right.  Justifiably, most
factories and medium sized shops count on the retailer to
provide the final setup.

The degree of setup varies a good deal.  Some of the
bulk Korean instruments have virtually no setup, with just
nut slot locations marked and an unfitted bridge provided.
Eastman's basic setups are adequate, but I usually adjust
the nut, action height, and relief.  Often I refit the bridge.  
Then I can proceed to final adjustments based on

In contrast, the setups on most high end mandolins are
very good.  Some makers set things up rather high for
strong players - always easier to lower things!  I see these
on a regular basis to get them easier to play.

I feel that my clients deserve to get a very good basic
setup on everything I sell.  I will not simply send out a
mandolin or any other instrument with a marginally
adequate stock setup.  I just don't think this is right.

Stephen Perry
1.  Inspection & Preparation

  • Examine finish
  • Examine nut & bridge
  • Examine fingerboard, check for high frets
  • Remove truss rod cover, countersink holes, polish
  • Tighten tuner & tailpiece screws
  • Check and adjust bridge fit
  • String up and adjust intonation via measurement
  • Bring to medium tension, untuned

2.  Preliminary Adjustments

  • Adjust bridge to bring clearance under E strings to
    about .050" and G strings about .060"
  • Tune G and E to pitch, check & adjust intonation
  • Bring to pitch
  • Adjust nut slots to achieve low, comfortable action
  • Trim & polish nut if required

3.  Final Adjustments

  • Bring to pitch
  • Adjust truss rod as required for proper relief
  • Check frets
  • Adjust action to 0.062" G and 0.049" E
  • Play to check & adjust intonation
  • Play to check clarity & feel, adjust nut & bridge as
  • Proceed to mandovoodootm optimization if ordered
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