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> New Guitars Aren't Always So New., Newbie learns lessons about strings and action set.
jdriver
post Jun 24 2008, 09:29 AM
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I bought my American Deluxe Strat 2 months ago at a Guitar Center. All their guitars are set up and on display and anyone can play anything, whether they can afford it or not. So my "new" Strat had been handled quite a bit already. Since I'm a beginner I didn't know any better and just started learning and practicing. Lots of buzzing, which I assumed was my poor skills, which over time did improve a bit.

The setup on the guitar never looked right to me, even though I didn't know what "right" was supposed to look like. They had string 1 and 6 low, and all the others high. Eventually I made a few changes there, to give more of a rounded profile, but not much effect on playing or sound.

Today I bought a set of Super Slinkys, removed the original Fender Super Bullets, cleaned the fretboard, applied Graphit-All to the nut and tremolo posts, and strung it back up and tuned it. I lowered the action on all the strings to be a barely perceptible arc.

So who swapped out the guitar in my case for this one!!!??? It sounds and plays completely different! The tone is very crisp and bright, and buzzing reduced 99%. I can actually bend notes now without losing it on the release.

Major Newbie Lesson: If you buy a guitar off the rack in a store, change the strings that all the yahoos have been sweating on while dreaming about your axe.


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DeepRoots
post Jun 24 2008, 09:50 AM
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Congrats..and some good advice there too wink.gif Glad you managed to sort it out.
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Chris Evans
post Jun 24 2008, 11:20 AM
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theres no way of knowing how long the guitars been on the rack and how many people have test driven it before you buy it, I`ve never once been to a music shop yet that has a guitar pre "set up" (although advertised sometimes), if they have been set up then its never to my liking but to the liking of the person setting them up I guess.

A decent guitar/music store if they think your serious about buying the guitar will tweak it for you whilst you are there, thats what I got the shop to do with my Jackson when I bought it, when your about to spend the best part of £600 ($1200 approx) you need to have the piece of mind that its going to be spot on.

Actually the Jackson is the first guitar that I`ve bought from a shop where I made them go back n forth tweaking the setup until it was at least somewhere close to what I wanted, although I got a few huffs n puffs from the guy in the shop I kept reminding him that 1. I`m about to spend £600 and 2. I`m definatly going to buy this if its right.



Just a few extra tips on top of jdrivers when you troll down to the local guitar shop to spend your cash smile.gif


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Scott Gentzen
post Jun 24 2008, 11:28 AM
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QUOTE (jdriver @ Jun 24 2008, 04:29 AM) *
Major Newbie Lesson: If you buy a guitar off the rack in a store, change the strings that all the yahoos have been sweating on while dreaming about your axe.


Corollary to that would be that even if your new guitar wasn't a display model, it might still need a setup after you get it home. Sometimes the factory setup is a little goofy.


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Ivan Milenkovic
post Jun 24 2008, 12:00 PM
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Guitar always needs to be adjusted to new player if he plans to use it for a certain period of time. Not to mention a new main axe wink.gif
Further more, guitar tech and player must work together to create a good setup for a player, and that can include one to three visits to the tech for fine tuning.
Further more, guitar should get a setup on every change of gauge, sometimes even when changing brands, and once a year just to keep the hardware properly tighten up.


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Trond Vold
post Jun 24 2008, 12:08 PM
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The factory setups are bad on probably 99% of all brands. My Les Paul was badly set up when i got it, so was my Jackson and so was my Ibanez.


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jdriver
post Jun 25 2008, 06:07 AM
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QUOTE (Smells @ Jun 24 2008, 03:20 AM) *
theres no way of knowing how long the guitars been on the rack and how many people have test driven it before you buy it, I`ve never once been to a music shop yet that has a guitar pre "set up" (although advertised sometimes), if they have been set up then its never to my liking but to the liking of the person setting them up I guess.


Interesting to hear these experiences. Smells' quote above makes me wonder.. if a guitar on the rack gets "tasted" a lot, but nobody buys it, is it because they can't afford it, or found something about it they didn't like. Hmmm. And at what point do they have to sell it as a demo or used?

Suprises me also that the "new out of the box" guitars also are not set up properly. You would think they would at least be set up correctly for some theoretical average player.

In my case, I didn't know right setup from wrong. I had pretty much decided on what guitar I wanted to look at based on reputation and research, and I asked the guy selling to play it for me and show me what it could do. He did an excellent job, playing all kinds of riffs, on all the pickup positions, and it sounded great so I bought it.

But I guess those guys are used to playing everything in the store, without regard to perfect setup.


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Fran
post Jun 25 2008, 12:02 PM
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I agree, that happens a lot, no matter if the guitar is brand-new, never played, factory set, fact is the guitar travels thousands of miles in its box before it reaches its final destination, and that might very well affect intonation.

On top of that every player is different, some like their action low, some high and some ultra-low... so the guitar always needs a set-up. Not to talk about guitars which many people have tried at the shops before being bought, and the quality of factory strings (usually really poor), how used they are, and so on.

So don't worry too much wink.gif Now you have it set-up right and learnt a few things in the process smile.gif


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-Zion-
post Jun 25 2008, 12:13 PM
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quick question here..

When you talk about setting up your guitar you are referring to string type, string height, bridge calibration (so the guitar is in tune on 12th fret as well) and pickup height??
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jdriver
post Jun 25 2008, 08:40 PM
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QUOTE (-Zion- @ Jun 25 2008, 04:13 AM) *
quick question here..

When you talk about setting up your guitar you are referring to string type, string height, bridge calibration (so the guitar is in tune on 12th fret as well) and pickup height??



Generally yes. Being in tune on the 12th fret is called intonation, and mine was spot on, but I think the most player specific is the string height from the frets, as well as the string type, guage, etc.

I still don't know how to judge pickup height other than the manufacturers specs. What happens if it's too high? too low? One side higher than the other?

Obviously I worry too much. biggrin.gif


--------------------
"I dreamed a lot when I was younger..
I'm older now but still I hunger
For some understanding.
There's no understanding, now.
Was there ever?

...Joe Puerta (Ambrosia)...


Finally got a YouTube page going.
Go to the top of the page
 
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Henry Dietzel
post Jun 25 2008, 08:59 PM
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QUOTE (jdriver @ Jun 25 2008, 03:40 PM) *
I still don't know how to judge pickup height other than the manufacturers specs. What happens if it's too high? too low? One side higher than the other?
Obviously I worry too much. biggrin.gif

Hey jdriver smile.gif
I just want to share my thoughts. Experimenting in my opinion is the only way to find out what you like. Move the pickups closer and play or record, move them to a new position and repeat the process until you get the sound you want. My best advice is to learn how to work on your own instrument. It can become costly constantly bringing your guitar to the tech until he gets it how you like it. wink.gif If you plan to keep with the guitar as a hobby or as a job, there is no time like the present to learn how to service your instrument. Once you learn and put it to use you shouldn't forget biggrin.gif

3 things I think every player should know
* stringing the guitar
* tuning the guitar
* intonating the guitar

Ivan does a good 101 lesson on tuning and intonation.
https://www.guitarmasterclass.net/misc-less...uning-tutorial/

Hope any of this is helpful


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Hisham Al-Sanea
post Jun 25 2008, 09:04 PM
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all the guitars from factory are not adjusted .so you have to adjust the new one as you feel its good
for you


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-Zion-
post Jun 26 2008, 08:16 AM
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QUOTE (jdriver @ Jun 25 2008, 09:40 PM) *
Generally yes. Being in tune on the 12th fret is called intonation, and mine was spot on, but I think the most player specific is the string height from the frets, as well as the string type, guage, etc.

I still don't know how to judge pickup height other than the manufacturers specs. What happens if it's too high? too low? One side higher than the other?

Obviously I worry too much. biggrin.gif


hehe.. yes.. thats what i meant.. just couldn't remember the correct word for it.. smile.gif

Regarding the pickups. I played around with mine a couple of months ago, and as far as i remember getting the pickups too close to the strings will generate a buzzing or distorted sound (not the good kind) and worst case your strings will hit the pickup when fretting from 15 and up.

Getting them too far away from strings will, and im guessing here cause i cant remember at all, probably make your strings sound weak.

This post has been edited by -Zion-: Jun 26 2008, 08:20 AM
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Iron King
post Jun 26 2008, 09:59 AM
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Buying guitars is always a bit risky.
Most times you will have to change the set up a bit, but sometimes you get unlucky and get a lemon (like I just did)

I just bought a Gibson SG Standard. At the store it played perfect. The neck was comfortable, no buzzing anywhere and the action was set just how I like it. In fact I never held a new guitar that was so perfect for me so I got it.

The guitar plays great, but it goes out of tune in about 30 minutes.
Just yesterday I was using it to record. I at one point I tuned it, played for 5 minutes and then had supper for about 20 minutes. When I came back and continued it was slightly out of tune
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post Jun 26 2008, 11:00 AM
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I usually buy expensive guitars and so I expect perfection. In the shop after I buy a guitar I ask if they can change the strings and set it up for me. I'm not spending $3400 on a guitar that has old strings or that is badly set up.

You just have to tell them you want to buy the guitar but you aren't happy with the set up. They will soon sort it out if they think they will get a sale out of it.


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Fran
post Jun 26 2008, 12:21 PM
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QUOTE (Iron King @ Jun 26 2008, 10:59 AM) *
Buying guitars is always a bit risky.
Most times you will have to change the set up a bit, but sometimes you get unlucky and get a lemon (like I just did)

I just bought a Gibson SG Standard. At the store it played perfect. The neck was comfortable, no buzzing anywhere and the action was set just how I like it. In fact I never held a new guitar that was so perfect for me so I got it.

The guitar plays great, but it goes out of tune in about 30 minutes.
Just yesterday I was using it to record. I at one point I tuned it, played for 5 minutes and then had supper for about 20 minutes. When I came back and continued it was slightly out of tune


Wow, that's a shame sad.gif

If the problem persists I'd take it back to the shop and see if they can swith the tuners... and if they don't I'd put some rotomatics. If the guitar plays good it's a shame not to change those tuners.


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Gerardo Siere
post Jun 26 2008, 11:37 PM
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Good advice, by the way only high ends or luthier guitars come propperly set up fro the box. The air makes the strings go rusty unless they are Elixir.


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jdriver
post Jun 28 2008, 06:20 AM
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QUOTE (Iron King @ Jun 26 2008, 01:59 AM) *
Buying guitars is always a bit risky.
Most times you will have to change the set up a bit, but sometimes you get unlucky and get a lemon (like I just did)

I just bought a Gibson SG Standard. At the store it played perfect. The neck was comfortable, no buzzing anywhere and the action was set just how I like it. In fact I never held a new guitar that was so perfect for me so I got it.

The guitar plays great, but it goes out of tune in about 30 minutes.
Just yesterday I was using it to record. I at one point I tuned it, played for 5 minutes and then had supper for about 20 minutes. When I came back and continued it was slightly out of tune


That is very unfortunate. The SG is a beautiful guitar... I wish I had one. I agree it's probably just the tuners, but still shouldn't be your responsibility to change them. I'd at least call Gibson's 800 number and ask what they can do for you.


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I'm older now but still I hunger
For some understanding.
There's no understanding, now.
Was there ever?

...Joe Puerta (Ambrosia)...


Finally got a YouTube page going.
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RIP Dime
post Jun 28 2008, 07:43 AM
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I hear you, it's always good to set up your guitars yourself.
On a personal note I got a PRS SE Singlecut from there GC a couple weeks ago, changed the strings to find out there was actually indeed something truely wrong with the guitar, not the setup, so I'll be returning it tomorrow, hopefully they'll have something that hasn't been raped by a bunch of idiots who use Guitar Center as thier practice space.

EDIT: Oh ya, and being from Hawaii and having had 3 guitars shipped here from the mainland I can tell you that even the best setups will go out of whack if the guitar goes thru a change in climate, differences in heat, humidity, everything. So factory setups are almost always gonna end up $#!T. Just more reason to set it up yourself, or get a pro setup. wink.gif

This post has been edited by RIP Dime: Jun 28 2008, 07:51 AM


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