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Neck Relief Drop Tuning Question
Phil66
Jun 21 2020, 08:51 PM
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Hello folks,

I have 10s on my SRV Strat, I've down tuned a whole step and am now getting fret buzz. it'a a bit of a ball ache adjusting the truss rod on this guitar (vintage style). What gauge strings would give me the same tension as 10s at standard tuning?

Would I be better off adjust the truss rod instead of changing strings?

Cheers

Phil

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klasaine
Jun 21 2020, 09:20 PM
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12s will pull it back.
*They will feel and sound different though.

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Gabriel Leopardi
Jun 21 2020, 09:42 PM
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12 will feel really different. I would try first with hybrid gauges.

I would go for these ones and maybe adjust a bit your guitar strings action.

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Phil66
Jun 21 2020, 10:18 PM
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Thanks folks, I've ordered some hybrids wink.gif

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Todd Simpson
Jun 23 2020, 07:02 PM
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The hybrids are a good way to go imho smile.gif They give the feel of heavy strings without putting tons of pressure on your neck. Also, they are not as hard to bend on the G and such. I have a pair of hybrids on my main axe from Yngwie and I love em.

QUOTE (Phil66 @ Jun 21 2020, 05:18 PM) *
Thanks folks, I've ordered some hybrids wink.gif

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Phil66
Jun 23 2020, 08:17 PM
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They've arrived, I ordered three sets, I'm going to re-tune the SRV back to standard tuning, take some measurements and change the strings. The setup was lovely from my friend. I never thought about it until I looked, but the trem has dropped a little, I guess I'll need to loosen the springs a bit to get it back.

If I capo the low E string at the 1st fret and fret at the 17th, the gap at the 9th fret is about five or six thou (.005"-.006" (.127mm-.152mm) so I'm hoping that the change in strings, slackening the springs and an intonation will pull it back sweetly.

Action at 12th fret on the low E is, 1.5mm (.059") and on the high E 1.25mm (.049"). The relative distance should stay the same across strings, if the action is too high or low I'll turn each screw the same amount to keep the relative levels the same.

I've just got the horrible slotted vintage tuners to contend with laugh.gif laugh.gif

AT 14:17 on the video below is a great tip for getting the trem how you want it without having to keep adjusting springs and retuning a whole lot of times wink.gif

https://youtu.be/Q6aAAtYC9a4


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This post has been edited by Phil66: Jun 27 2020, 08:59 AM


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Phil66
Jun 25 2020, 10:14 PM
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Okay, further to the above post, I've took the old strings off, lemon oiled the fretboard and WOW that Pau Ferro comes up sweet.

Took the trem cavity cover off and was amazed that the cavity was varnished like the rest of the body, shame there was a lot of wood dust in the corners, 5 seconds with an airline would sort that, i its a £2k guitar ffs.

Having trouble balancing the trem height and tuning, any tips?

Cheers

Phil

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This post has been edited by Phil66: Jun 27 2020, 09:01 AM


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Todd Simpson
Jun 26 2020, 12:07 AM
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First tip as always is to give the strings a very good stretch. Until they "settle" they won't want to stay in tune. Also, make sure they are threaded and lock wrapped around the tuning posts so that they don't slip. I'm sure you've done all that already though smile.gif Then it's time to get out that little alan wrench and start adjusting the height on the saddles on the trem.

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Phil66
Jun 26 2020, 08:49 AM
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Thanks Todd,

I've tried tuning but it won't tune at the moment, I got them close, some are sharp some are flat some are spot on, I tune E, then B, E again, B again, G, then E, B, G, D, then, E, B, G, D, A, then E, B, G, D, A, E this is the only way I can get them close but once I get the low E in tune some of the others are out. I am tuning a whole tone down even though I said EBGDAE wink.gif

Any tips?

Cheers

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Todd Simpson
Jun 26 2020, 09:08 AM
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Did you take this to a luthier to have him set it up for heavier strings? It costs a bit of money but not much and can save you a enormous amount of headaches that you sound like you could maybe just skip if you let someone else just sort it out and then got it back in good shape and focused on playing. But I get that you are an engineer and walk to work it out for yourself.

in which case smile.gif is the trem set to float? if so, things are gonna be tricky. You will need to tighten the springs a bit as the tension of the strings pulls them out of tune. Finding this balance takes some time and practice, it's an art. You will get the chance to become an artist smile.gif

If the trem is blocked, then you don't have to worry about all this.It's just a matter of stretching the strings and making sure they are properly wrapped/locked on the tuning pegs so they dont slip/drift.

Todd





QUOTE (Phil66 @ Jun 26 2020, 03:49 AM) *
Thanks Todd,

I've tried tuning but it won't tune at the moment, I got them close, some are sharp some are flat some are spot on, I tune E, then B, E again, B again, G, then E, B, G, D, then, E, B, G, D, A, then E, B, G, D, A, E this is the only way I can get them close but once I get the low E in tune some of the others are out. I am tuning a whole tone down even though I said EBGDAE wink.gif

Any tips?

Cheers

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Phil66
Jun 26 2020, 10:06 AM
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I don't mind paying buddy wink.gif My luthier friend only charges £15-£20 for a full setup with strings but they're not open until July 4th.

As per original post, it was set up for 10s, I down tuned a whole step and was getting fret buzz, as it's a vintage style truss, you have to take the neck off so I asked if a set of 12s at the same tuning would pull the neck a little bit more, Ken said 12s would and Gab suggested going for hybrids.

I took all the strings off, gave it a clean, oiled the fretboard, that Pau Ferro came up sweet with some oil on cool.gif put the strings in, didn't have a single issue with the slotted tuners, which surprised me as I did when I first had the guitar, the strings kept on popping out, but I followed that video above, great tips.

It's sitting on a stand now, settling down, the trem is set to float but I want it to only pull back about a semi tone so I'll adjust that as we go along.

I was just wondering if anyone with experience of changing string gauges had any tips.

Cheers


UPDATE:
Got home from work, tuned the guitar in two minutes using what I always do, 1. 1,2. 1,2,3. 1,2,3,4. 1,2,3,4,5. 1,2,3,4,5,6 whet 1 is the thinnest string.

Intonation was pretty close too. Trem is sat just where I want it, I don't fully understand why the action is higher though. I might look for a luthier course night class when Covid19 has calmed down.

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This post has been edited by Phil66: Jun 26 2020, 03:09 PM


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klasaine
Jun 26 2020, 03:59 PM
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QUOTE (Phil66 @ Jun 26 2020, 02:06 AM) *
UPDATE:
Got home from work, tuned the guitar in two minutes using what I always do, 1. 1,2. 1,2,3. 1,2,3,4. 1,2,3,4,5. 1,2,3,4,5,6 whet 1 is the thinnest string.

Intonation was pretty close too. Trem is sat just where I want it, I don't fully understand why the action is higher though. I might look for a luthier course night class when Covid19 has calmed down.


If it's in tune and the trem is where you want it, the reason the action is higher is because with the heavier strings, you've got more tension on the neck. Hence, a little relief (probably).

Is it buzzing?

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Phil66
Jun 26 2020, 04:06 PM
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Thanks Ken,

I haven't played it yet, I'm leaving it to settle some more, the action has gone up 0.020" (0.5mm) which seems a lot to me but I'm not experienced. I need to get the action down though, it's 0.080" (2mm) at the 12th fret. This is actually higher than with a set of 10s at standard tuning.

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This post has been edited by Phil66: Jun 27 2020, 09:56 AM


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klasaine
Jun 26 2020, 05:31 PM
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- Floating trems can be a bitch.
- I personally don't dig 'hybrid' gauged strings because they exert uneven tension.
- Drop tuning exacerbates all of the above.

I'm not implying that it can't all work. It does for many players but it can take a lot of very finicky adjustments to get it there.

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Phil66
Jun 26 2020, 06:18 PM
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I'll see how I get on with them, maybe I'll go back to 10s and get my luthier friend to set it up for D standard.

Out of interest, don't all string sets give uneven tension? Or do you mean that hybrids give more uneven tension than the guitar is designed for?

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klasaine
Jun 26 2020, 08:08 PM
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QUOTE (Phil66 @ Jun 26 2020, 10:18 AM) *
Or do you mean that hybrids give more uneven tension than the guitar is designed for?


Yes, especially with drop tuning.
Necks, truss rods, bridges, springs, etc. were all designed around standard tuning with what is considered a "normal" set of strings: 10 13 17 26 36 46 or one number lower or higher on either side. Deviate from that and you're introducing a whole bunch of factors and potentially issues that in some (rare) cases cannot be overcome. This is rare in modern, solidbody electric guitars but add in a floating trem and whamo - everything needs to be compensated now. If you don't have a trem, you'll probably have zero noticeable issues other than intonation. If you have a non-floating trem, you'll have very few issues.
*Both Hendrix and SRV spent hours with every new guitar they got - tweaking the trem, the bar and the truss rod because they tuned down. JH went to skinnier strings, SRV to heavier. Jimi was also a lefty who played a right handed axe so the trem spring issue was a big deal for him not too mention the tension from reverse order stringing on the headstock.

It all factors in ... exponentially.
Again and to reiterate, it can all be overcome and is overcome by many players all the time. A lot of modern builders also make allowances for this stuff.
Keep in mind that once you get it where you like it, if you decide to change your string gauge again, you will have to go through the whole process another time.

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Phil66
Jun 26 2020, 08:36 PM
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Thanks Ken,

All interesting, after all that I had to adjust the truss rod in the end so I might as well have stuck with 10s laugh.gif I've learnt a lot doing this though, I would only ever go as far as adjusting action, truss rod and intonation though, I don't think I'd venture into fret dressing and levelling but you never know wink.gif I certainly wouldn't attempt fret replacement, that's for the big boys that is.

I just need to adjust the action slightly on all strings now, I went a bit low. Now I've had the balls to tilt the neck and adjust the truss rod, I might try a set of 12s or 13s on my next string change, just to get closer to the SRV thing, plus it will give my left hand a workout wink.gif

Cheers.

Phil

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This post has been edited by Phil66: Jun 26 2020, 08:52 PM


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Todd Simpson
Jun 27 2020, 02:13 AM
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It's good to experiment like this. It's the best way to learn imho. Hands on. Ken has a good point that you have a LOT of variables going on at the same time. Which is gonna make it tricky for just about anyone. I'm glad that it's finally starting to settle down! You can lower the saddles a pinch to get some action back like you like it to a degree. But yeah, the extra tension is probably pulling on the neck a bit and creating a pinch of relief at a guess.

Blocking the trem does make things easier with down tuning and string gauge changes just because it makes things more like a fixed bridge. But trems that can't bend up just are not quite as fun imho smile.gif

sounds like you did learn a lot. Which is always a good thing.

Todd


QUOTE (Phil66 @ Jun 26 2020, 03:36 PM) *
Thanks Ken,

All interesting, after all that I had to adjust the truss rod in the end so I might as well have stuck with 10s laugh.gif I've learnt a lot doing this though, I would only ever go as far as adjusting action, truss rod and intonation though, I don't think I'd venture into fret dressing and levelling but you never know wink.gif I certainly wouldn't attempt fret replacement, that's for the big boys that is.

I just need to adjust the action slightly on all strings now, I went a bit low. Now I've had the balls to tilt the neck and adjust the truss rod, I might try a set of 12s or 13s on my next string change, just to get closer to the SRV thing, plus it will give my left hand a workout wink.gif

Cheers.

Phil

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Phil66
Jun 28 2020, 02:02 PM
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I've been thinking, I might either deck or block the trem, what are your opinions on both folks?

Cheers

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Todd Simpson
Jun 28 2020, 06:09 PM
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There is always the "TREMEL NO" as an option. Easy to put in and take off.

https://www.tremol-no.com/

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QUOTE (Phil66 @ Jun 28 2020, 09:02 AM) *
I've been thinking, I might either deck or block the trem, what are your opinions on both folks?

Cheers

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