BY "PLAYABILITY" I MEAN -HOW EASY IS IT TO PLAY THE INSTRUMENT?
"SET-UP" Refers to the adjustments made on the instrument that created a playable instrument.
An instrument is not playable when it is not in tune, of course, but if the pegs won't
hold the strings in tune or are hard to turn, the player is facing an impossible problem.
What if the strings are too high and are stretching out of tune? Impossible to learn to play.
Does it matter less if the player is a young beginner or a professional? I often hear "Oh he or she is just a kid and may not continue to play so why does she need something better? This is the beginning of the end of this childs musical career since if the instrument is impossible to play, how can the child learn to play it?
Instruments purchased from the internet or discounters or ads in the paper are almost never properly adjusted, the manufacturers do not spend the time and money to properly adjust them and on inexpensive instruments do not adjust anything, leaving it up to the buyer to take it to a shop for "SET-UP" or "Tune-Up.
Language usage varies from place toplace and speakers of foreign languages don't understand American expressions; one tunes up a Chevy. One tunes a Cello by adjusting the string tension, but a string instrument's parts, when not properly adjusted to one another, need a 'SET-UP"
What is needed? At a bare minimum:
A straight fingerboard ----- Reasonably good strings ---a proper string height from the
fingerboard is the result of a correctly adjusted bridge and nut -- Pegs and fine tuners
that are in good working order are primary and non-negotiable. These issues are more
important than the cost of the instrument. An expensive violin that is poorly adjusted is
still not playable. Kids can't tell, parents don't know. Make sure that the instrument is
in playable condition.