E string funkiness

Discussion in 'Luthier's Guitar & Bass Technical Discussion' started by stevel, Apr 6, 2008.

  1. stevel

    stevel Member

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    2000 am dlx srat.

    First string - too quiet. What's up?

    Also, my first string tends to have an "extra note" to it - a high ringiness - like an octave overtone or something. The other strings have it to some degree, but it's most noticeable on the the first string, especially in the higher positions (say, 12th fret on). Also it seems more noticeable on the neck pup (SC) than in the bridge (HB). But it seems pretty pronounced on all amps, so It seems like a guitar problem, and not an amp one. I did hear John Mayer complaining about a similar issue and that's why he chose Two Rock amps, but, I'm not ready to drop that kind of moola if there's something else going on here.

    Help?

    TIA
    steve
     
  2. alltone

    alltone Member

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    Could be a bad string..sometimes this happens..replace with a new one.If problem persists and you say it happens with the string fretted, it may be at the bridge end.If the bridge saddle is not smooth or has a low spot on it, the string might be muted because of the bad seating of the string in the saddle.It's probably worth checking the nut as well to make sure the notch is clean and is at the same angle where the string leaves the string tree and lands in the nut.A high spot in the notch at the back of the nut will sometimes cause a buzz or muting.
     
  3. stevel

    stevel Member

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    Oh thanks - all good ideas I hadn't considered! It's on all sets of strings, so it's not just this set. I hadn't thought about the saddle or the nut though. Duh. I'll have to do some checking into that. I've got the LSR roller nut and I think those little dumbell bearings can be replaced. Maybe there's not enough downbearing at one end or the other (or both!).

    Thanks,
    Steve
     
  4. Dana Olsen

    Dana Olsen Gold Supporting Member

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    Hey Steve -

    Make sure that the saddle is level, NOT cocked to one side or the other, and make sure it's not too low and causing a slight buzz.

    Check your relief first - fret the low "E" at the first fret with your left hand and at the last fret w/ your right hand pinkie finger, then tap the string down at around the 10th fret - should be just a little clearance - less than the width of the top string (.010) - say maybe .007".

    I find that unlevel saddles account for a lot of string volume differences in a Strat.

    Hope this helps, Dana O.
     
  5. stevel

    stevel Member

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    When you say "unlevel", do you mean, for instance, that the height adjustment screws in the saddle (the two of them) are set such that one is higher than the other?

    So the tops of the saddle should be parallel with the tremolo base plate (or roughly, the top of the guitar)? correct?

    steve
     
  6. testing1two

    testing1two Gold Supporting Member

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    Correct, each saddle should be adjusted so it is square to the base plate. The difference in height between the saddles should be perceived as "steps" and not as a curve or radius.
     
  7. stevel

    stevel Member

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    I leveled, which in the case of the high E I raised the lower side a bit - now, it sounds better! It's still got a little funkiness but I think that helped get rid of some extraneous mess.

    Next time I change the strings I'm going to try to inspect the saddle for damage/imperfections - I might switch the B and E saddles and see if the problem moves with the saddle - then I'll know.

    Thanks all.

    Steve
     
  8. Dana Olsen

    Dana Olsen Gold Supporting Member

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    Cool SteveL -

    The idea is that there's better mechanical transfer of vibration if both tiny feet of each saddle have the same pressure on 'em, and that happens when the saddles are "level", or as Testing1two correctly put it, square to the base plate.

    You can adjust the saddles to square them up when the strings are off, but you'll get better overall results if you do a fine tune to the action/ saddles when they're under string tension.

    When adjusting the action, the devil's really in the details. 1/4 turn makes a difference in the way your action feels, but you can't even see the height difference in 1/4 turn without magnifying glasses and a good ruler. I go through mine and I try to match the radius of the neck by measuring between the bottom of each string and the top of the fret at the 12th fret, and I use a little higher action in the low strings, like half of 1/32 hash mark max higher. Again, as Testing1two wrote, think of the saddles as 'steps' - the top if each 'step' should all be equal height over the plane of the top of the frets in the path marked by the strings, assuming the frets are level - makes sense, no?

    I find that when the action is set very evenly and when there's only a very small, gradual increse in string height from bass to treble strings, that the guitar feels way better/ smoother and sounds better for it.

    My two cents, Dana O.

    ps - there is actually a LOT of detail involved in getting a Strat to play really well. Theyre not actually easy to set up, and we haven't even talked about the claw .....
     

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