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How to Make Your Electric Guitar Play Great (Softcover) (Guitar Player Book) Paperback – January 1, 2001

4.7 out of 5 stars 48 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"What tomorrow’s great guitarists should know today about doing their own setup and maintenance." --Tom Wheeler, consulting editor, Guitar Player

About the Author

Dan Erlewine began playing guitars--and tearing them apart--in 1960, and never stopped. Now a leading guitar builder and repairman, Dan’s creations include Albert King’s famous inlaid "Flying V" guitar, and a custom model for Jerry Garcia. He has also built and repaired guitars for Luther Allison, Mike Bloomfield, Ted Nugent, and other top artists. Dan is the world’s best-known educator on guitar repair. His instructional videotapes, first released in 1984, still lead the field. A Guitar Player columnist since 1985, Dan currently specializes in new product development for Stewart-MacDonald’s Guitar Shop Supply in Athens, Ohio.
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Product Details

  • Series: Guitar Player Book
  • Paperback: 138 pages
  • Publisher: Backbeat Books (January 1, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0879306017
  • ISBN-13: 978-0879306014
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 0.4 x 10.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (48 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #883,584 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A. Sanks on January 15, 2004
Format: Paperback
This is a great book to learn how to properly setup your guitar. I've only been playing for a couple months, but after installing some strings that claimed to be 9s (but I don't think were) and having them yank my bridge about 3/4" out of the body of the guitar I figured I oughta learn how to properly deal with that (other than just switching strings...)
The book takes you through many common problems, fixes, and general setup/maintenance for Strats and Les Pauls (as well as their clones and various other rarer guitars).
Much of the book is a narative form, describing particular tough setups for various guitars. Some have complained about this, but I've found there's enough info in there to find what you want. Plus there are more step-by-step setup instructions towards the end.
The book got my bridge fixed up nicely, as well as my action set more properly, so the guitar's easier to play and sounds better as well.
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Format: Paperback
I cannot say enough good comments about this book without sounding like I'm being paid. The realiy is this book was my instant favorite. I read it once and could not put it down. I read it a second time with my highlighter in hand. Now, I have an official working copy. I bought this book in HI on my honeymoon without a guitar in sight. When I returned home, I tore into every one of my guitars (easiest first). Guess what? Now, they all play A++. I called a few friends and gave them some advice. I should have waited on the advice and bought them a copy of the book for Christmas. You will feel enlightened after reading this book.
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Format: Paperback
Just when you thought there couldn't be a better guitar player's repair manuel than the 'Guitar Player Repair Guide', Dan Erlewine publishes 'How to Make Your Electric Guitar Play Great'. Dan has really outdone himself with this one. This book is filled with great info, such as setups, repairs and modifications. As if that's not enough, there's a set a handy dandy radius gauges cleverly attached to the back. I recommend this book for anyone from beginners setting up their first guitar - to seasoned pros. If you own a guitar, this one's a must have!
Also recommended: Guitar Player Repair Guide
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Format: Paperback
Dan Erlewine's book is fantastic. The detailed factory spec setups and the setups of the pro's alone, is worth the price of admission. Dan shows how to inspect a guitar before you buy (where was this book 20 years ago, Dan??), and how to properly clean, set-up and maintain your guitar.

This is a book specifically for ELECTRIC guitars, the adjustments for various bridges, nuts, tremolo systems,and intonation are thoroughly explained with lots of photos. He also shows how to use or make simple, home-made or hardware store tools.

There is an excellent section on tuning and intonation every guitar player should know! The Buzz Feiten Tuning System is discussed and there are tons of tips and tricks to get your guitar in tune, and to help it stay in tune.

Dan's writing style is very easy to understand. And his use of graphics, both line art illustrations and photo documentation, help the reader get a clear, real-world sense of the subject matter.

This is truly the manual your guitar should have come with.
I consider this book, along with the Guitar Player Repair Guide, to be essential to any electric guitar owner, and absolutely required for anyone in the guitar repair business.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
dans books are always awesome i grew up reading them enough said i look forward to him writing more ive learned so much from them the man is a genius and set the course for my life doing computers electronics and being a musician for that im forever grateful
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Format: Paperback
This book walks you through all the steps necessary to set up your electric guitar to play the way you want it to. The included guages help make set up considerably easier. I used it to significantly improve the playability of a Stratocaster and a Gibson SG. Well worth the money.
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Format: Paperback
This book deserves a full on five stars despite any slight flaws it may have. I agree with another reviewer that the beginner who isn't used to the terms and common practices of the craft may have some difficult at first. The book isn't particularly well laid out in that sense.

However, all the information is there and very well explained. It provides guitar players with a better understanding of their instruments which leads to better evaluation of a potential purchase - including a priceless walk-thru a guitar evaluation. It also guides the guitarrist through the basic setup and maintenance that the instrument requires so often. All this is achieved with a minimum of tools (the pro jobs are left to pros) and there's plenty of suggestions for home made, "recycled" tools.

I like this book better than his earlier one and it's my main reference. His videos are also a good reference.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
When your guitar is setup properly, you'll play better. This book will help you reach your full potential as a guitarist!

After buying a new Telecaster, which felt great in the store, I bought this book to maximize its playability. The result was an impressive improvement that was easy to accomplish!

I also bought the following tools to aid me:
- CruzTools GuitarTech Guitar Kit (available on Amazon)
- Stewart Macdonald string action gauge (stewmac.com)
- Stewar Macdonald understring radius gauges (stewmac.com)

The tools cost me around $85 total, and were well worth it because they gave me everything I needed to set up my Tele. They conveniently store in a handy case that keeps them all in one place. It appears that these same tools will allow me to setup my acoustic and bass guitars, although I haven't tried it yet.

The book also gives you setup specs from multiple professional players. Once you measure your specs, you'll be able to compare them to the pros and isolate areas for improvement.

Even if you ultimately take your guitar into a luthier, you'll benefit from knowing the basics of setup.
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