Electric Slide - guitar set-up

Discussion in 'Luthier's Guitar & Bass Technical Discussion' started by iMatt, Jun 17, 2008.

  1. iMatt

    iMatt Member

    Sep 4, 2006
    I'm sure a lot of you guys are comfortable setting up your own guitars and a number of you do it professionally. I am interested to know what your default electric slide set-up would be a) for a guitar used exclusively for slide and b) a guitar that will also be fretted.

    I am not so much after a personal playing preferance - I am interested to know how you would set up somebody elses guitar if they handed it to you and asked for a slide set-up without giving you any other preferances.

    For instance one thing I am curious about for a slide only guitar is whether you would set the string heights in a flat plane rather than following the curve of the neck. String guage and action height may be down to personal preferance, but where would you start?

  2. kimock

    kimock Member

    Mar 12, 2005
    Where the Palm Tree meets the Pine
    I try to get the tops of the strings in a plane, but I tilt the plane towards the bass side of the neck. A little easier to fret the lower strings in tune if you need to, and a little more "headroom" on the treble side for the single note stuff.
    You don't notice it that much in the lower positions if you keep the stock nut, but it helps as you get higher up the neck.

    A lot of it depends on the player, the guitar, string gauge, tuning, weight of the slide, musical style, etc.
    You'll get more than one answer for this question for sure.

  3. Franklin

    Franklin Member

    Jul 1, 2005
    I only have one guitar set up as dedicated only for slide. In that instance I did flatten out the string levels and set the strings slightly higher.

    Since I play the same guitars both with and w/o slide, I have my action set up a pretty high. I do not know the specs, but I go by what Warren Haynes told me about his guitars string height: "They are too high to play normally, and too low to play with a slide". So that's what I use as a guage. I try to make it as low as possible without bottoming out on the frets with the slide.
  4. southpawmax

    southpawmax Member

    Jun 9, 2007
    Brooklyn, NY
    What do people go with for neck relief on their slide geetars?
  5. walterw

    walterw Gold Supporting Member

    Oct 16, 2006
    wow, that makes a lot of sense. (i always just shimmed the nut a little and cranked the strings higher, but still following the radius.) flattening out the bridge radius will leave a bit more height for the high E, a primary melody string.

    i like to still keep the neck straight for rigidity/sustain reasons.
  6. 9fingers

    9fingers Supporting Member

    Apr 21, 2005
    Hills of WV
    High E & B up just a bit, nut shimmed just a little if needed (a strip cut with scissors from an aluminum pop or beer can is only about .003"- makes a good subtle shim) and .004 - .006" neck relief to help keep the slide off the frets works for me. I can slide or switch to fingers easily with that setup.

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