There’s a reason the great techs earn a living from setting up and repairing guitars: it’s tricky, exacting work that can really benefit your instrument. But many techs will tell you there’s a lot you can do yourself. We asked pro tech Joseph Price for some pointers on how to set up your guitar and get it singing sweetly. 

This is a six-part series, and it's all online! Check out step one here, two here, three here, four here, five here and six here.


Now it’s to take off the strings and work on the fretboard. Joseph recommends using 2000 wet and dry or 0000 steel wool from Bunnings for the basic fret polish, then go to a full shine with Micro-Mesh.

Here's where we get to take the gunk off the frets and fretboard

The idea here isn’t to re-shape the frets - rather just to clean them up, so you don’t encounter resistance when bending, or have any rough spots that cause weird noises or impede sustain. When using steel wool, work in circles so that any scratches that naturally make their way into the wood are virtually invisible (and they’ll disappear from view in the next step).


A little oil goes a long way

Once the frets are polished, it’s time to oil the fretboard. Dab a little bit of fretboard oil on a microfiber cloth and have at it. Some techs recommend oiling the board and leaving it for a while but Joseph recommends wiping off the excess after a couple of minutes, because otherwise it leaches out of the end grain. After doing this, your fretboard should be nice and shiny, and you’ll be ready to put the strings back on.

At this point, you can give the frets another polish - use low-tack tape to mask off the fretboard first; that way, you won’t scuff up the freshly-oiled wood. 

Steps four, five and six are on the way - keep an eye on in the coming days!