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> Bends and String Gauge
ImSoDan
post Dec 22 2006, 06:59 PM
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I recently got my first decent guitar, and it came stock with some light 10 (I'm pretty sure) strings. I've got some decent callouses now, and I was wondering if moving up to a slightly heavier string would be good.


I've been practicing the Hey Joe Solo on Freelicks, and it seems that my bends just dont seem to replicate the song that greatly. Would increasing the string gauge help?


Also, getting my guitar to actually sound the same in terms of tone seems impossible. I'm almost completely useless when it comes to manipulating the knobs that control the pickups on my guitar (Epiphone les paul quilt top). It probably doesn't help that my amp is just the amp that comes with a squier starter pack. Is there anything that I can read to help me with matching sounds?
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fretdancer
post Dec 22 2006, 08:52 PM
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10's are the perfect strings for most guitar playing.
If you go to 11's you may have difficulty holding bends and giving decent vibrato.
Most players use 10's or 9's though higher guages are supposed to improve tone though I have never tried them.

Regarding your bending - is your guitar properly set up?, is the intonation correct? check the tuner with the strings fretted at the 12th fret - is it still in tune? - if not you may need to set up the intonation so that it its in tune at both the nut and at the 12th fret - you also need to make sure the "action" is fairly low - it helps a lot with intonation and with bends in my opinion if its pretty low (this can be difficult to achieve sometimes and may take a luthier to set up your guitar corrctly for the way you play)
Other than that its just practice practice practice holding bends and slowly bending up and slowly releasing bends until you feel you are getting the right notes - notice how far you are bending and check with a tuner if your not sure - see how far you have to bend to hit the right note and practice it until its burned into your memory.

As for the tone for Hey Joe - you may struggle to get it as close as you want with an LP. Hendrix was a strat player and the tone to Hey Joe is pretty much trademark strat single coil pickup. Thats not to say you can get reasonably close but it will always be a fatter sound on an LP - The sound is also pretty stock Marshall, slightly overdriven very warm tone that is hard to replicate with a cheap practice amp though I dont know which amp you have and what sounds it puts out. I would say with an LP use the bridge pickup with the tone turned up high and the volume turned low - have the amp drive slightly higher than the volume and turn the bass down and the treble up somewhat to try to get that strat/marshall type sound. - You may need to turn the amp up high and the guitar volume down to get closer but its impossible to say without hearing your amp and guitar.
I am not very good at setting amps myself - it really is a bit of a black art in my opinion. Your guitar will more easily replicate a Jimmy page sound than a Jimi Hendrix sound.

This post has been edited by fretdancer: Dec 22 2006, 08:54 PM


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some of my recordings are here: http://homepage.ntlworld.com/petergb/
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ImSoDan
post Dec 22 2006, 09:29 PM
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Thanks for your insight. A few points I'd like to mention:


I believe the action my Paul is actually a little LOW. I get buzzing on the 2 lowest strings when I play and I also have a hard time not producing sound from neighboring strings when I practice bends. Is raising them myself going to hurt anything?
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fretdancer
post Dec 22 2006, 10:13 PM
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I may be that for you the action is low - the buzzing should be able to be adjusted out by ensuring the neck is dead straight - this adjustment is made with the truss rod accessed from the neck just above the nut - I believe your guitar may have a triangular piece of plastic covering it with 3 screws?.
Adjusting the truss rod can be your worst nightmare - you may give yourself more problems than you solve by adjusting it if you dont know exactly what your doing.
The neck needs to be straight from bridge to nut. and I mean EXACTLY straight to within minute tollerances - tighten it a half millimeter too much and the neck is slightly bent meaning a low action around the 12th fret but poss buzzing around the 3rd fret. - too loose by half mill and the neck is bowed meaning high action round the 5-12th fret area and difficult to intonate.
I believe also your bridge is adjustable meaning you can raise the height of the bridge lifting the strings from the bridge end means higher action at the upper frets which means for most people slower play !! its a real art to get the balance right between bridge height and neck tension so that the strings lie flat along the fretboard. its normal in most cases to have the bridge slightly higher on the upper strings which are thicker to reduce the chance of string buzz against the frets due to greater vibration of thicker strings.
It really is worth trying to get a professional set up on a guitar if you can do so. The guitar shops around where I live do it for around £15 ($30) (20 Euro's) but they want you to leave it with them 3-4 days which I dont like!

Try to find out exactly where your strings are buzzing - work out what you think will stop it - if its a fret around the 5th fret mark - you may need to straighten the neck slightly - if its a lower fret, raising the bridge slightly may solve it.

If you change strings from say 9's to 10's there is almost certainly going to be less neck tension from the strings and so the truss rod may need loosening accordingly - or vice-versa if you go up in string size.

as for buzzing from other strings when you play - you need to practice using your palm or non fretting fingers to mute reduce/eliminate string noise from unplayed strings - that comes again with practice and is difficult at first. I dont know if action height will help - it may do - it depends on how you play.

This post has been edited by fretdancer: Dec 22 2006, 10:19 PM


--------------------
its not easy
banging your head against some mad buggers wall.
Variax 300. Pod XTL & Crate amp
some of my recordings are here: http://homepage.ntlworld.com/petergb/
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