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> Guitar Setup, Excellent Example Page, Question, Particularly for teachers, but any intelligent response welcome
post Oct 22 2007, 07:51 AM
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The reason my question is particularly for teachers, is because I have seen how they play, so it it would be interesting to know their set up. But any comments are fine. Please no dopey stuff cluttering this (I should be talking) as if you look at this page, you will see this could be a very useful thread.

The shred setup is interesting. I mostly like to play a Les Paul, but curiously, my setup is nearly identical to the shred. As you see, this differs from the conventional setup primarily in the bass strings being much lower, both in the middle and at the nut. They cut the nut there way down. On the treble side the difference is minimal. I can understand that. I don't see any justification to the 16 inch radius requirement. Gibson has 12, and i can bend strings 4 or 5 semitones (which I never do anyway) and not encounter any noticeable fret buzz. However on a Fender with a 9.5 radius, I have seen this issue if the action is set that low. It appears to me that Yngwie has that radius, his signature strat does. So that is curious. I also like to put just about no relief in the neck, as in the shred. I found I could set my action lower when I did that. Of course, you can't bang the stings as much, but the trade off is worth it for shred, or so it seems to me at this time.


This post has been edited by fkalich: Oct 22 2007, 07:55 AM
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Saoirse O'Shea
post Oct 23 2007, 10:52 PM
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I'll try to keep this on topic and hopefully intelligent (at least for me).

String height is one variable in relation to action. There is also string gauge, scale length, fret bridge and nut height and, as you've said fkalich, fingerboard relief and neck profile. Most people seem to think that its a case of just dropping the bridge and shaving away a bit of the nut string slots. Personally I think that will only get you so far - I think you need to look at all the other elements.

Low gauge but good quality strings - lower mass and a smaller circular cross section. Presumably the radius of the smaller arc will decrease with increasing string tension and so decreasing gauge? (I'm assuming that a string rotates in an ellipse rather then a circle - widest across the fingerboard). Good quality to give it a more predictable damped harmonic motion where the centre of the wave stays pretty fixed rather than just a messy vibration.

One mass produced - albeit in small volume - guitar that is often described as having exrtemely low action is the Vigier Shawn Lane. In relation to the action on that guitar people often seem to point to the wide flat fretboard. So from that I would deduce that a thin Fender neck might not be ideal because of the curvature. I've never played a Jem but it would be interesting to know how flat the board is relative to say a Gibson.

What seems missed in this though is the quality of the fret dressing. If you want really low action then the frets need to be dressed and buffed accordingly to minimise a string bottoming out against them too soon so that you can take the action down. That to me means that you need the frets periodically dressed to match the gauge of strings you use and your playing style.

The big caveats I have in going all out for lowest possible action though are how it affects sustain, tone and bending. Maybe one reason many shredders tend to use high gain is get back the sustain they've lost with going for a low action? Albeit interestingly here Allan Holdsworth has no problems with sustain and tone and a low action without using high gain. However he doesn't use the classic type shred guitars and perhaps that signals that shred low is attainable on other types of guitar and may have a benefit of providing different tonalities and levels of sustain.

So where a Gibson would score here is that it starts off with a lot of natural sustain wink.gif . It then would pick up more points in that they generally have well buffed and dressed frets to start with. However as you've said you need to re-cut the nut and you might need to change the gauge down from the stock 09s to 08s.

Anyone else as I agree with fkalich that this could be a really useful and interesting thread smile.gif


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Scott Gentzen
post Oct 24 2007, 03:55 AM
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Remember Buckethead plays a Les Paul custom. Not sure how low his action is, but it seems to work for shred just fine.

Guitars: ESP Semi-Hollow Eclipse, 1984 Ibanez Roadstar RS440, Peavey T-60, Daisy Rock Rock Candy Custom
Amps: Peavey Transformer 112, Epiphone Valve Jr head with custom 2x12 cab
Pedals: Boss TU-2, Budda Bud-Wah, Chuck Collins Harmonic Percolator clone
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