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Guitars are gear too!

Postby oddioguy » Wed Aug 09, 2006 3:46 pm

I was perusing some Guitar Player magazine back-issues from the 1970's and rediscovered an article by Johnny Smith on tuning ( "the mechanics of", not "alternate" ).
It covers tuning and intonation methods that are extremely good, as they use the instument itself as a reference instead of a tuner.
When I get a few minutes, I'm going to scan it and post it here.

....Stay tuned!
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Postby oddioguy » Fri Aug 11, 2006 9:19 am

I have uploaded the PDF file HERE. It's about 600K.
I have used the info extensively over the years, and it gives you a solid foundation in the techniques of stringing, tuning, and intonation.

(For RAPIDSHARE noobs, the link above will open Rapidshares window. Select "free" near the page bottom. Another page will open and make you wait for about 30 to 60 seconds. Enter the 3 digit code that it will then generate, and there ya go! No sign-ups, no hassles.)
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Postby Scott DeVarenne » Fri Aug 11, 2006 1:01 pm

Thanks dood.
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Postby oddioguy » Sun Aug 13, 2006 5:38 pm

lsdeville wrote:Thanks dood.

No prob...
...and for anyone else that wants it, I'd suggest getting it now rather than putting it off. Rapidshare will remove the file after 30 days of non-use.
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Postby Guitarmike » Mon Aug 21, 2006 12:07 pm

Cool article OG! Thanks.
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Postby oddioguy » Mon Aug 21, 2006 3:32 pm

Guitarmike wrote:Cool article OG! Thanks.

Most welcome!
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Postby oddioguy » Thu Aug 24, 2006 5:07 pm

As a guitar player, do you tweek your own instrument, or leave it to someone else?
Stuff like-
- truss rod adjustments
- intonation adjustments
- maintaining jacks and pots
- fret work
- rewiring

Tell us all about it....
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Postby Guitarmike » Mon Aug 28, 2006 1:08 pm

oddioguy wrote:As a guitar player, do you tweek your own instrument, or leave it to someone else?
Stuff like-
- truss rod adjustments
- intonation adjustments
- maintaining jacks and pots
- fret work
- rewiring

Tell us all about it....


Sorry, I was out of town on a gig this weekend and missed this.

I do all my own setups and stuff. I've got 14 guitars and most of them never need much work. A couple of the Floyd Rose trems require a little tweek now & then. Installing pickups and that kind of stuff is really easy after you've done it once. I've never done a fret job on any of them, but never really needed to. I usually check & reset the intonation everytime I change strings, but it's easy to do. Oddly enough, I've only had to adjust the trussrod once on any of my guitars, on one of my Les Pauls just recently.

I broke a string at the gig we played in Flagstaff Saturday night. It was the first one in about 5 years! Kind of freaked me out! I hardly ever even change them, I guess my playing style is on the light side.
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Postby oddioguy » Mon Aug 28, 2006 1:31 pm

Guitarmike wrote:
oddioguy wrote:As a guitar player, do you tweek your own instrument, or leave it to someone else?
Stuff like-
- truss rod adjustments
- intonation adjustments
- maintaining jacks and pots
- fret work
- rewiring

Tell us all about it....


Sorry, I was out of town on a gig this weekend and missed this.

I do all my own setups and stuff. I've got 14 guitars and most of them never need much work. A couple of the Floyd Rose trems require a little tweek now & then. Installing pickups and that kind of stuff is really easy after you've done it once. I've never done a fret job on any of them, but never really needed to. I usually check & reset the intonation everytime I change strings, but it's easy to do. Oddly enough, I've only had to adjust the trussrod once on any of my guitars, on one of my Les Pauls just recently.

I broke a string at the gig we played in Flagstaff Saturday night. It was the first one in about 5 years! Kind of freaked me out! I hardly ever even change them, I guess my playing style is on the light side.


My technique is light as well. I use light strings (9's and 10's) with low action. I do find that I have to tweek truss rods in the spring and fall as temp and humidity change.
I do my own fret work as well, but that is once every 10 years or so per instrument, but immediately on any new guitar I buy. Factory set-up just doesn't do it for me.
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Postby oddioguy » Tue Sep 05, 2006 10:16 pm

Anybody have an opinion on locking tuners?

I have retro-fitted 3 of my guitars with Planet Waves lockers, and been pretty happy with quality / results.

Anybody using anything else?
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Postby oddioguy » Tue Dec 19, 2006 2:42 pm

Nobody,eh?....

Anywhoooo.....

I bought one of those Chinese made "Typhoon" Strat copies a while back, and tweeked it....just for fun.
Thing is, it works pretty nicely.

U1176 has one too, and I think I'm going to make a tutorial on fret levelling and general set-up with it.

I'm sure he won't mind having some free work done to his axe...
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Postby Alain Benoit » Thu Dec 28, 2006 6:01 pm

If we can frickin find it!!! :evil:
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Postby oddioguy » Thu Dec 28, 2006 6:03 pm

U1176 wrote:If we can frickin find it!!! :evil:

Well get to it, my fret levellin' finger's gettin' itchy. Image
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Postby Alain Benoit » Thu Dec 28, 2006 6:06 pm

Found out who's got it and will get it back tonight or tommorrow!!
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Postby oddioguy » Thu Dec 28, 2006 6:16 pm

U1176 wrote:Found out who's got it and will get it back tonight or tommorrow!!

[Monty Burns] Excellent! [/Monty Burns]
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Postby oddioguy » Thu Dec 28, 2006 6:18 pm

S-i-g-n
o-u-t
s-h-e-e-t.

Image
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Postby oddioguy » Sun Dec 31, 2006 4:24 pm

I am now in possesion of U1176's Typhoon. Pics and descriptive text thingies are forthcoming.
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Postby oddioguy » Sun Dec 31, 2006 4:27 pm

Oh yeah....and here's a teaser for this spring.
I have an Ovation Celebrity which is going to have its plywood top replaced with a solid spruce top.
I am aiming at March for this particular project.
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Postby oddioguy » Mon Jan 01, 2007 3:59 pm

'K...Here we go.
First, a quick primer on setup.

I hear a lot of guitarists tell me that they don't want to touch things like truss rod adjustments. There is no black magic here....it is just a matter of knowing the basic principles of truss rod mechanics.

The basic truss rod as we know it was patented by Ted McCarty, who also gave us the Gibson Flying V among other notable designs.

It works like this:
Image
A steel rod is set into a concave channel routed into the neck of the guitar. This channel is filled with a fillet that has a curve matched that of the channel. One end of the rod is anchored so as not to move, the other end is fixed with a nut that is exposed for adjustment. When turned clockwise , the nut pulls the rod straight, putting pressure on the fillet which makes the neck bow forward in the middle and effectively results in the nut / peghead moving in the opposite direction of this bow. So, tightening the nut counter-acts the tension of the strings on the neck, thus tending to straighten the neck.
Loosening the nut has the opposite effect.

Still with me?

.....good....
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Postby oddioguy » Mon Jan 01, 2007 4:07 pm

Ideally, a bit of bow in the neck is desireable. This creates some extra clearance so that a vibrating string tends to be less likely to buzz and rattle on subsequent frets. Too much bow is counterproductive, however, as it can create an action that is difficult to play on, as well as causing tuning problems.

This bow, called "relief", was measured on U1176's Strat copy and found to be within the area that I prefer. Measuring is done by holding the strings down at the 1st fret, and the fret closest to where the neck joins the body, then checking the string gaps along the remaining length of the neck...
Image

For the moment, no adjustments to the truss rod need to be made.
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Postby oddioguy » Mon Jan 01, 2007 4:15 pm

Next, I took a look at the nut. Most factory nuts are either molded or pre slotted, and typically have the slots too deep. This can cause the strings to catch when tuning, but as you start playing the stored tension releases...causing the string to go sharp (or flat, if you tune improperly).
In this pic we see deep slots that need to be addressed.
Rule of thumb says that wound stings' slots should be half the diameter of the string, and plain strings' slots should be equal to the diameter of the string.
Image
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Postby oddioguy » Mon Jan 01, 2007 4:20 pm

Next, I checked the height of the strings at the first fret. Too high.
Way too high.
You can debate string height and action all you want, but the bottom line is, "The higher the action, the more tuning problems you are going to have."
This is because the the farther you have to press the string to make fret contact, the higher the tension on the string...pulling it sharp. This tends to get progressively worse the higher up the neck you go.
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Postby oddioguy » Mon Jan 01, 2007 4:23 pm

A look at the heel of the neck illustrates the height of the action. Again, far too high for my likeing.
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Postby oddioguy » Mon Jan 01, 2007 4:32 pm

Here's the problem as I see it...
The action needs to be lowered, but already the string saddles are adjusted down to the point where the protruding height adjusting screws are uncomfortable when palm muting. They also diminish the effectiveness of said muting.
This means that the neck must be shimmed in order to create an acceptable balance between action and saddle heights.
Image
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Postby oddioguy » Thu Jan 04, 2007 10:12 pm

Here is a run-down of the required tools:
- Straight Edge - I use a 24" level (not shown). Does the job and most peeps have one
- Smooth Mill File - I use this for leveling the frets. Doesn't leave too many marks on the frets.
- 3 Corner File - For crowning the frets after leveling. I now use a crowning file (on the right), but still touch up with the 3 corner file.
- 800 Grit Aluminum Carbide Wet/Dry Sandpaper - Picky shit, ain't I? You could use any fine grit, but aluminum carbide is uniform (fewer scratches) and cuts fairly quickly. For removing file marks.
- 0000 Steel Wool - This is used to remove the sanding scratches and polish the frets.
- Painters Tape - Used to mask the finger board around the frets being worked on. Leaves no residue when removed
- Rum & Coke - Yeah, I finished it before I took the pic. Highly recommended.

Image
Last edited by oddioguy on Sun Jan 07, 2007 10:52 am, edited 1 time in total.
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