This is a PRS model SE a customer has recently had setup at a local chain in dropped C tuning with heavy gauge strings. Too bad they did a careless job.
The following is what you often get when sales staff do the setups:
The low E and A strings were too large for the standard saddle pieces and just rested above the slots instead of being snugly down in the saddle slots.
Because of this the strings had intonation issues and buzzing, with a lack of sustain. Above is the properly completed job, and the saddles have been filed to fit the strings properly. These strings could now be set for action and intonated properly.
Here’s another bridge job that came up around the same time. It’s a telecaster with a vintage style Wilkinson 3-piece bridge. Notorious for being tricky to intonate.
It was poorly intonated and I settled the problem fairly easily. But when I set the action correctly there was buzz around the 12th fret. The next fret up was too high.
I suggested that I could fix the high fret instead of setting the action higher than specification as an inexperienced ‘tech’ might do. The customer was happy to have the work done as he prefers the nice action(who doesn’t?)
I think it is worth considering that with an experienced and trained eye I had caught a problem which wasn’t obvious and wasn’t the original complaint of the customer. A high fret or other issue which prevents a guitar from being correctly set up can always be found and addressed with the right care and respect for the craft. Now this otherwise well-built guitar can live up to its’ potential.
When you take gear to even the biggest shops, you are paying more and getting less than the best work. Even with the extra fret work I had done it probably cost less than at the big shop. If they have sales staff doing your setup…you are getting less than optimal work. Some of them just don’t have the tools, and some don’t have the know how. Some of them may be pretty good at it, and your guitar may not have a hidden problem. However if it does, the sales staff seem to have other things to do. Here at Steve’s Guitar Garage I don’t do sales. I focus on making guitars and amplifiers play and sound the way they should and that’s it.