Music Player Network Home Guitar Player Magazine Keyboard Magazine Bass Player Magazine EQ Magazine
Topic Options
#2908706 - 02/11/18 09:23 AM Setup
DocPate Offline
Gold Member

Registered: 01/11/16
Posts: 867
Loc: Virginia
What do you like for your action to be set? String Height at nut...

I just set mine as low as possible to prevent fretbuzz

Good article from StewMac


http://www.stewmac.com/How-To/Online_Res..._and_Setup.html


Edited by DocPate (02/11/18 09:24 AM)

Top
GP Island
#2908731 - 02/11/18 10:59 AM Re: Setup [Re: DocPate]
Larryz Offline
10k Club

Registered: 06/23/08
Posts: 11345
Loc: Northern California
I leave almost all of the adjustments in the article to my techs. I do not feel qualified to do them myself. I will make minor adjustments like setting the intonation on my electrics. I like the necks with a little relief and the string height as low as I can get without any fret buzz. This would include truss rod and bridge height adjustments. I like the fret ends and the nut outside edges as smooth as I can get them too. I can put up with some minor imperfections. cool
_________________________
Take care, Larryz

Top
#2908739 - 02/11/18 11:13 AM Re: Setup [Re: Larryz]
DocPate Offline
Gold Member

Registered: 01/11/16
Posts: 867
Loc: Virginia
For a few years in the 60s I thought you needed two guitars for slide and other music styles. Then my nephew told me about shimming the nut.


Read more: http://guitarplayersforum.boards.net/thread/420/guitar-setup?page=1#ixzz56pQmlRbV

Top
#2908759 - 02/11/18 01:44 PM Re: Setup [Re: DocPate]
desertbluesman Offline
MP Hall of Fame Member

Registered: 05/22/07
Posts: 4717
Loc: Near Phoenix Az
I always set up my own instruments, even going so far as to file the frets when needed. I also have nut files as well as a fret plane which I attach sand paper or emery paper to. I have a nice Stew Mac straight edge. I also have rounding off fret files but if I do file the frets I just leave the tops flat, and do not use the rounding files at all.

The only guitar that I have that is worth any money is the Gibson 2002 Faded SG, which is the very best neck/fret-board on any guitar that I have ever owned. It came out of the box that way, and I have never had to even adjust the tension on the neck more than a slight adjustment early on in 2003. It has been rock solid ever since.

I used to use the late Philip Petillo who worked on Tal Farlow's, Bruce Springsteen's, Dave Van Ronk's and many other famous players guitars. I began using him in the early days of my playing, we became friends at his first shop and while I hung out and waited for him to fix my guitars, I watched him closely. His shop was (and still is with his son taking over the task) In Ocean New Jersey near Asbury Park/Long Branch (Where Springsteen and Danny Devito come from) Anyways after watching him work on my guitars I got the idea, and continued on trying to duplicate his technique on the fret filing. I also learned how to shape surf boards in Southern California in Leucadia area, and the techniques are similar, using long strokes lightly, after a bit of fine sanding using 500 grit the high frets just come down a lot quicker than the low frets, and yet the sand paper is so fine it is hard to screw it up if you are careful. The key is to use a fret plane 8" long or longer.

I did meet Tal Farlow in Phil's shop one day and I shook hands with him and you would not believe how big his hands were and how long his fingers were. I asked him a stupid question and here it goes " Mr Farlow did your fingers ever catch up to your brain" and he thought about it for a minute and he said not really, no they haven't. At the time I was having trouble getting my fingers to go to new ideas without fumbling. (This was before I took lessons from my jazz teachers). Once I took the lessons I knew that the only way to get my fingers from fumbling was to practice scales like a madman.
_________________________
dbm
If it sounds good, it is good !!
http://www.soundclick.com/bands/default.cfm?bandID=143231&content=music
Harvey Cedars is my stage name on Soundclick

Top
#2908763 - 02/11/18 01:59 PM Re: Setup [Re: desertbluesman]
d Offline
MP Hall of Fame Member

Registered: 03/20/01
Posts: 6936
Loc: no longer lexington, Kenfunky,...
Yeah, Tal Farlow had "Hendrix hands" grin

As far as the subject at, uh, hand, I usually get the gtr set up for me & my playing style (light touch & strings, etc) doesn't necessitate much altering.

DBMan, why do you prefer the flat top frets ?
_________________________
d=halfnote

Top
#2908784 - 02/11/18 03:22 PM Re: Setup [Re: d]
surfergirl Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 12/12/17
Posts: 97
Loc: Waialua, Hi
My grandpa does all our setups and maintenance, we are an hour from the nearest guitar store so we have to fend for ourselves. I use 9-42 strings, low action.
Desertbluesman, my grandpa also shapes my surfboards for me.


Edited by surfergirl (02/11/18 03:28 PM)

Top
#2908810 - 02/11/18 05:40 PM Re: Setup [Re: d]
desertbluesman Offline
MP Hall of Fame Member

Registered: 05/22/07
Posts: 4717
Loc: Near Phoenix Az
Originally Posted By: d
DBMan, why do you prefer the flat top frets ?


I do not prefer flat top frets I simply realized that it was not necessary to round them off as long as the edges were not burred. It made no or minute differences to the intonation. plus running the round over fret files one fret at a time seemed like a mistake in the making because when I file the frets I am doing 8 to ten inches at a time sideways (across the neck), and stroking the thing from end to end lengthwise, a lot less chance of mistakes doing it that way.
_________________________
dbm
If it sounds good, it is good !!
http://www.soundclick.com/bands/default.cfm?bandID=143231&content=music
Harvey Cedars is my stage name on Soundclick

Top
#2908813 - 02/11/18 05:50 PM Re: Setup [Re: surfergirl]
desertbluesman Offline
MP Hall of Fame Member

Registered: 05/22/07
Posts: 4717
Loc: Near Phoenix Az
Originally Posted By: surfergirl

Desertbluesman, my grandpa also shapes my surfboards for me.


One of my best boards was homemade by me. I shaped it, glassed it, and located and glassed in the fins. I have not been in the water in years,(I am 75 years old) I have no idea what happened to my old boards maybe one of my sons has one or two, I do have a Ron Jon 3 fin combo board up on my sunshade as a decoration it was one of my sons friends fun board (combo between long board and short board). I live 375 miles over the roads in Arizona from the North San Diego County beaches. No wet suit any more, no desire to go in the water any more. But it was a super thing to do when I was in my 30's with my sons. We surfed Hawaii (a little) lots of breaks from Blacks to Trestles, Long Beach Island New Jersey, Buxton on Cape Hatteras Island at the lighthouse, and other spots on Hatteras and Florida, My favorite breaks were Swami's, Cardiff Reef. 8563's in Cardiff By The Sea, warm water Jetty in Carlsbad, and the breaks off of South Carlsbad State Beach. I used to go to Swamis when it was big before dawn, and the sea turned black (with wet suits) shortly after dawn. Double overhead and you could paddle out without getting your hair wet. Loved that break. I even surfed Ralphs on the south side of Point Loma in San Diego which is a break that only hits on a big south swell. The Navy ships would come out and you could see the water shake like jello when those big ships went by.

Some of the people I taught how to shape and glass are still at it back in New Jersey. I learned how to do surf boards from Hank Byzak who had Pure Fun Surf Boards in Leucadia Ca. I took that skill back east and some of the kids I taught are still making a living at it.

The wifey and I hit San Elijo State beach in Cardiff By The Sea Ca. And we camp there several times a year.
_________________________
dbm
If it sounds good, it is good !!
http://www.soundclick.com/bands/default.cfm?bandID=143231&content=music
Harvey Cedars is my stage name on Soundclick

Top
#2908865 - 02/12/18 03:41 AM Re: Setup [Re: desertbluesman]
whitefang Offline
10k Club

Registered: 05/13/02
Posts: 10960
Loc: Lincoln Park, MI, UNITED STATE...
wink
Maybe we should start callin' you "Moondoggie"? grin
Whitefang
_________________________
I started out with NOTHING...and I still have most of it left!

Top
#2908883 - 02/12/18 05:32 AM Re: Setup [Re: whitefang]
DocPate Offline
Gold Member

Registered: 01/11/16
Posts: 867
Loc: Virginia
O.T. Maybe we can get surfergirl and DBM to redo some of Frankie Avalon's and Annette Funicello's "Beach Blanket" Movies?

Nooooooooo

Top
#2908890 - 02/12/18 05:44 AM Re: Setup [Re: DocPate]
Caevan O'Shite Offline
20k Club

Registered: 04/05/02
Posts: 24788
Loc: The Great Spirit's Handprint o...
For years and years, I'd tried to get a fairly low, medium-lowish action and relief with as little fret-buzz as possible; and my ear and tastes generally perceive more fret-buzz than most other players might hear on a given guitar, often leading me to a little higher action and greater relief than I might otherwise. (I also prefer medium to heavy strings.) This lends itself to a very CLEAN, clear, 'Jazzy' tone with lots of sustain- good things, right?- and greater ease for digging-in for bends, but playability is slightly harder- and *something* sometimes seems to be missing from the tone...

Recently I tried going just a little lower, with a tighter relief, as well- and the thing that leaped out at me more than a change in feel was a fantastic growl and snarl that was there on-tap, particularly on the low-strings, depending largely on my "touch" with either hand. Suddenly my well-mannered guitar became an axe with attitude and fangs after all these years! I know that technically, it's fret-buzz, but only a little, controllable and in great moderation and I'm lovin' it and may never go back with this guitar!

By the way, one thing about the medium and heavier strings- in spite of the greater tension, they feel easier on my fingertips, smoother, rounder, while thinner strings feel like they're biting and cutting into my fingertips.
_________________________
Ask yourself- What Would Ren and Stimpy Do?

~ Caevan James-Michael Miller-O'Shite ~
_ ___ _ Leprechaun, Esquire _ ___ _

Top
#2908902 - 02/12/18 06:09 AM Re: Setup [Re: Caevan O'Shite]
DocPate Offline
Gold Member

Registered: 01/11/16
Posts: 867
Loc: Virginia
That's interesting Cav. Most of the folks I know seem to think that the lower action removes some of the overtones with the close proximity to the pickups. Did you lower the pickup

Top
#2908924 - 02/12/18 06:54 AM Re: Setup [Re: DocPate]
Larryz Offline
10k Club

Registered: 06/23/08
Posts: 11345
Loc: Northern California
I like 10's on electrics and 11's on acoustics for string gauge. I don't bend strings more than a whole step usually just a half step so the heavier gauges do not bother me. I can bend enough with these two gauges. I think the 11's on the acoustics add a little volume even when going to an amp or PA. I'm experimenting with unwrapped 3rd strings and running nickel on my acoustics and electrics. I have found some Helix wound strings by Dean Markley which I really like on my electrics and will be trying them on my acoustics too. I have to make a custom set by mixing and matching the two sets that I order 10's and 11's but so far it's working great on the electric. They make a Helix wound set for acoustics in bronze but the 12 gauge is too heavy for my liking. The Helix wound have a tighter wind which squeak a little less and feel good to me. They are also supposed to last longer and they avoid the coating concept. I'm always in the experimental phase when it comes to strings brands and gauges... LOL! cool


Edited by Larryz (02/12/18 06:56 AM)
_________________________
Take care, Larryz

Top
#2908941 - 02/12/18 08:14 AM Re: Setup [Re: DocPate]
Caevan O'Shite Offline
20k Club

Registered: 04/05/02
Posts: 24788
Loc: The Great Spirit's Handprint o...
Originally Posted By: DocPate
That's interesting Cav. Most of the folks I know seem to think that the lower action removes some of the overtones with the close proximity to the pickups. Did you lower the pickup


I run .011" - .050" strings on that guitar, at Standard/Concert Pitch, so the strings' tension helps there.

If the action is too low, it does reduce harmonic-overtones, 'tone", sustain, dynamics, everything good, really, IMHO.

That said, the trick is, getting it just low enough, 'just-right', and what I'm considering fairly low after all these years is probably about where most others would feel is 'normal', perhaps still not as low as many might go. Along with that, the relief still allows a little 'breathing room', although just enough. I used to have just a bit too much relief, really.

As for the pickups, they're humbuckers, albeit rather hot, ceramic humbuckers; generally not as powerful of a magnetic pull and drag on the strings as most Strats with their single-coils, and I had lowered the pickups slightly, while simultaneously raising the bass-side pole-pieces, for a bit more 'air' and 'openness' in their sound. In addition, the neck-pickup is tilted so that the "slug-coil", the coil further from the fretboard, is lower, farther down and away from the strings than the "screw-coil", that is closer to the fretboard.
_________________________
Ask yourself- What Would Ren and Stimpy Do?

~ Caevan James-Michael Miller-O'Shite ~
_ ___ _ Leprechaun, Esquire _ ___ _

Top
#2908944 - 02/12/18 08:24 AM Re: Setup [Re: Caevan O'Shite]
DocPate Offline
Gold Member

Registered: 01/11/16
Posts: 867
Loc: Virginia
Good post Cav.

Top
#2908947 - 02/12/18 08:26 AM Re: Setup [Re: DocPate]
Caevan O'Shite Offline
20k Club

Registered: 04/05/02
Posts: 24788
Loc: The Great Spirit's Handprint o...
Originally Posted By: DocPate
Good post Cav.


Why, thanks!
_________________________
Ask yourself- What Would Ren and Stimpy Do?

~ Caevan James-Michael Miller-O'Shite ~
_ ___ _ Leprechaun, Esquire _ ___ _

Top
#2909186 - 02/13/18 03:56 AM Re: Setup [Re: DocPate]
whitefang Offline
10k Club

Registered: 05/13/02
Posts: 10960
Loc: Lincoln Park, MI, UNITED STATE...
Originally Posted By: DocPate
That's interesting Cav. Most of the folks I know seem to think that the lower action removes some of the overtones with the close proximity to the pickups. Did you lower the pickup


It's different for acoustic players I'm guessing(and based on personal ex.). Lower action, since most of us probably go no heavier than a "medium" gauge string, ensures easier playing and doesn't affect the trueness of pitch( no # ).

The strings I use are rated as "light/medium" which I don't know what that translates to in numbers.
Whitefang
_________________________
I started out with NOTHING...and I still have most of it left!

Top
#2909203 - 02/13/18 05:42 AM Re: Setup [Re: whitefang]
DocPate Offline
Gold Member

Registered: 01/11/16
Posts: 867
Loc: Virginia
Originally Posted By: whitefang
Originally Posted By: DocPate
That's interesting Cav. Most of the folks I know seem to think that the lower action removes some of the overtones with the close proximity to the pickups. Did you lower the pickup


It's different for acoustic players I'm guessing(and based on personal ex.). Lower action, since most of us probably go no heavier than a "medium" gauge string, ensures easier playing and doesn't affect the trueness of pitch( no # ).

The strings I use are rated as "light/medium" which I don't know what that translates to in numbers.
Whitefang


Yes, the action doesn't impact my tone when playing pure acoustic on the Martin D28. It's more about gauge of strings. Heavier strings tend to get the top moving which seems to generate an entire new set of harmonics and overtones. Heavier wound strings make the bass notes really "thump". At least that's to my "tin" ears.

Top
#2909234 - 02/13/18 07:29 AM Re: Setup [Re: DocPate]
Larryz Offline
10k Club

Registered: 06/23/08
Posts: 11345
Loc: Northern California
@ Fang. what strings are you using? Do you know the Brand name? are they bronze or phosphor/bronze? Any info on the packaging besides "light/medium"?

@ Doc, I'm running 10-49's on my electrics and 11-52's on my acoustics...that's as heavy as I go. cool
_________________________
Take care, Larryz

Top
#2909251 - 02/13/18 08:25 AM Re: Setup [Re: DocPate]
d Offline
MP Hall of Fame Member

Registered: 03/20/01
Posts: 6936
Loc: no longer lexington, Kenfunky,...
Originally Posted By: DocPate
Good post Cav.

Informative, too.
[Don't thank me, you did it---plus I get scared standing n front of the class eek grin facepalm ]
_________________________
d=halfnote

Top
#2909277 - 02/13/18 10:18 AM Re: Setup [Re: d]
Caevan O'Shite Offline
20k Club

Registered: 04/05/02
Posts: 24788
Loc: The Great Spirit's Handprint o...
Originally Posted By: d
Originally Posted By: DocPate
Good post Cav.

Informative, too.
[Don't thank me, you did it---plus I get scared standing n front of the class eek grin facepalm ]


OK! grin
_________________________
Ask yourself- What Would Ren and Stimpy Do?

~ Caevan James-Michael Miller-O'Shite ~
_ ___ _ Leprechaun, Esquire _ ___ _

Top
#2909361 - 02/13/18 02:44 PM Re: Setup [Re: Larryz]
whitefang Offline
10k Club

Registered: 05/13/02
Posts: 10960
Loc: Lincoln Park, MI, UNITED STATE...
Originally Posted By: Larryz
@ Fang. what strings are you using? Do you know the Brand name? are they bronze or phosphor/bronze? Any info on the packaging besides "light/medium"?

@ Doc, I'm running 10-49's on my electrics and 11-52's on my acoustics...that's as heavy as I go. cool


I actually took the time to dig 'em out.

They're ELIXIR light-medium/ .012-.056. And I just love 'em. wink
Whitefang
_________________________
I started out with NOTHING...and I still have most of it left!

Top
#2910905 - 02/20/18 07:51 AM Re: Setup [Re: desertbluesman]
Fred_C Offline
MP Hall of Fame Member

Registered: 06/12/10
Posts: 2121
Loc: PA
[quote=desertbluesmanI did meet Tal Farlow in Phil's shop one day and I shook hands with him and you would not believe how big his hands were and how long his fingers were. I knew that the only way to get my fingers from fumbling was to practice scales like a madman. [/quote]

@DBM

Your post made me smile. My first Jazz teacher studied with Tal Farlow and he kept telling me to "listen to Tal Farlow". I did some research and found out about his extremely large hands and long fingers. When I went back for my next lesson, I said to him, "What am I going to learn from listening to Tal Farlow? How nice it would be to have long fingers??!!!"

BTW: I was a big Dave Van Ronk fan back in the 60's. I even stole a few of his arragements.
_________________________
If you play cool, you are cool.

Top
#2910966 - 02/20/18 12:31 PM Re: Setup [Re: Fred_C]
desertbluesman Offline
MP Hall of Fame Member

Registered: 05/22/07
Posts: 4717
Loc: Near Phoenix Az
@ Fred C. I learned some Dave Van Ronk licks that I still use to this day from Phil Petillo who did Dave Van Ronk's guitars.
_________________________
dbm
If it sounds good, it is good !!
http://www.soundclick.com/bands/default.cfm?bandID=143231&content=music
Harvey Cedars is my stage name on Soundclick

Top


Moderator:  A String, Bluesape, myles_rose