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"Unusual Accuracy" in a Guitar Neck?

Dave Weir

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
1,245
Yeah, I’m gonna have read that a couple times. Interesting insight into another level.
Thanks!
 

S-H-M

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
219
The guitar was set-up to be brought into tune by player “English” pushing and pulling on the strings, bending, vibrato, left hand pressure, right hand attack, etc.
That is an entirely wild notion but is totally in keeping with what I know (in my own admittedly limited way) about Garcia as a person and a player. His approach to setup--which is almost the exact opposite of what workaday players like myself look for--would probably not work for me. Jerry, however, was a magical player and a man with a nimble, quick mind who worked from intuition rather than form in many ways, I suspect.

I am reminded here of something he once said in an interview: "When you stop trying to make anything happen on any level, other stuff starts to happen!"

I preferred the mystery over the facts
Me, too, but what a load of fun this has been, yeah?

Thank you, Steve. This has been an enlightening exchange. Sorry about the flu and the teenagers, though. I have one of the latter of those, myself. Oy, veh.
 
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aiq

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
10,141
It’s the high register stuff that suffers most in performance with respect to player’s intonation if the guitar is “accurate”.
Very interested in this. I have been concentrating on the upper register for a few months now and one of my little frustrations is the...lack of clarity up there? May be my technique and I just need more time.

Gibsons here.

I know we are talking intonation but does the relief or higher action thing help?

I know, "try it and see". :)
 

kimock

Member
Messages
12,524
Very interested in this. I have been concentrating on the upper register for a few months now and one of my little frustrations is the...lack of clarity up there? May be my technique and I just need more time.

Gibsons here.

I know we are talking intonation but does the relief or higher action thing help?

I know, "try it and see". :)
Lack of clarity is relative, thankfully.
Raising the action even a little helps for a bunch of good clarity reasons we can talk about later.

The practical advice to “try it and see” on a Gibson particularly, is there are no big moves you need to make to “see”.
Basically you’re looking to tweak toward some optimization of clarity for the high register assuming action height will do the trick.

You only need to move that treble side thumbwheel up one tooth.
As soon as you very carefully noticed it moved: stop!

You shouldn’t need much height to detect an improvement if raising the action is gonna help.
If you’re wishy-washy after treble side only, raise the bass side the same amount. Just barely.

If you hear that, that’s the direction you’re going. If that’s the clarity you were missing, don’t overdo it.
Little moves on the Gibson go a long way.
 
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S-H-M

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
219
Little moves on the Gibson go a long way.
This is true. I have gotten to the point where TOM bridges no longer work for me, though. The shortcoming is perhaps the paucity of my own understanding of them, but I am now of a mind that strings out to be individually height-adjustable. Barring investment in a Babicz bridge, my next guitar will have a six-saddle S-style bridge.

Indeed, in order to get closer to what we have been discussing in the way of construction—as opposed to setup choices, that is—I'm seriously considering a custom Kiesel.
 

S-H-M

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
219
If one must get fussy, saddles can be individually notched to preferred depth
on a TOM.
Which cannot be undone if one goes too far. Having neither the skill to precisely yet smoothly notch and dress saddles nor a dedicated tech to routinely before-and-after things for me, I think that the most prudent and useful course for this player would be to go six saddle.
 

kimock

Member
Messages
12,524
This is true. I have gotten to the point where TOM bridges no longer work for me, though. The shortcoming is perhaps the paucity of my own understanding of them, but I am now of a mind that strings out to be individually height-adjustable. Barring investment in a Babicz bridge, my next guitar will have a six-saddle S-style bridge.

Indeed, in order to get closer to what we have been discussing in the way of construction—as opposed to setup choices, that is—I'm seriously considering a custom Kiesel.
I hear that. .
I like the height adjustment on the Strat for radius purposes, I like my bridges flatter than my finger boards, but I’m fine with the stock Gibson bridge radius with stock Gibson fingerboard.

The Irwin and Cripe Jerry guitars had the Schaller style, those didn’t have individual height adjustment, just plenty of fore-and-aft travel, so the fixed radius bridge shouldn’t necessarily be a problem wrt to intonation.
I’m a tuning geek, worse than most on an over investment level trying to figure it all out, and my current thinking “final answer” is consistency is more important than adjustability.

Even if the guitar has a straight saddle like an acoustic flat-top, or a one-piece carved wooden bridge like an archtop, and you’re chasing it around with string gauge and tuning tweaks, you still eventually wind up with individual guitar specific strategies for what works and what doesn’t.

Which is the same deal for the multi-piece, fully adjustable bridges.
You get it together on a guitar-by-guitar basis, and some things always work better than others when your done, which is never.

The diff between the one-piece non-adjustable and the progressively more “little bits” adjustable bridges is the simpler stuff tends to sound a little better overall, and the upside of being able to adjust everything has the downside of everything needing adjustment as a function of things inevitably falling out of adjustment.

Anyway, there’s always trade-offs to consider, and at the same time it seems like anything and everything works from the perspective of player’s intonation on any specific instrument as long as the mechanical intonation is consistent.
 

kimock

Member
Messages
12,524
If one must get fussy, saddles can be individually notched to preferred depth
on a TOM.
Yeah, I filed all the saddles pretty much flat/straight across on the old Schaller bridge on my Explorer and started over with the notches.
40 years ago, so I’ve gotten used to it by now, but it’s probably pushed me into preferring less bridge radius on everything else too.
 

S-H-M

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
219
Ooooo. A presentation of precise and polished pulchritude. Nice.

So, just to be clear: we're all geeks here, right?
 

aiq

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
10,141
Lack of clarity is relative, thankfully.
Raising the action even a little helps for a bunch of good clarity reasons we can talk about later.

The practical advice to “try it and see” on a Gibson particularly, is there are no big moves you need to make to “see”.
Basically you’re looking to tweak toward some optimization of clarity for the high register assuming action height will do the trick.

You only need to move that treble side thumbwheel up one tooth.
As soon as you very carefully noticed it moved: stop!

You shouldn’t need much height to detect an improvement if raising the action is gonna help.
If you’re wishy-washy after treble side only, raise the bass side the same amount. Just barely.

If you hear that, that’s the direction you’re going. If that’s the clarity you were missing, don’t overdo it.
Little moves on the Gibson go a long way.
Seems to have helped. I have a Creamtone bridge on there so the adjustment is easy, smooth turns of the allen wrench. Touched up the treble side, things cleaned up nicely. Decided to nudge the bass side too.

Certainly does not take much to make a difference. Now I know that raising the bridge if something is plunking out is the SOP. What caught my attention was the High action/relief thing. Of course, the relief wont do much up high. Hmm, or will it?

I always give these changes a few days but at the moment looks like an improvement. Appreciated.
 
Last edited:

kimock

Member
Messages
12,524
Seems to have helped. I have a Creamtone bridge on there so the adjustment is easy, smooth turns of the allen wrench. Touched up the treble side, things cleaned up nicely. Decided to nudge the bass side too.

Certainly does not take much to make a difference. Now I know that raising the bridge if something is plunking out is the SOP. What caught my attention was the High action/relief thing. Of course, the relief wont do much up high. Hmm, or will it?

I always give these changes a few days but at the moment looks like an improvement. Appreciated.
Nice!
It’s crazy how fine the adjustments can be on Gibson scale with light strings.
Sometimes it feels like turning the height up or down much beyond just putting pressure on the adjustment is enough to change where the pressure of the string acts against your fingertip in the high register.

Same deal with the translation between playing a Fender vs Gibson in my opinion.
Fender’s like big inputs, Gibson’s favor a more measured touch.
They dial in like they play for me, but I’m no Johnny Thunders.

The relief in the middle of the neck probably plays into how quickly the intonation goes south at the top of the neck, but with light strings, high action, AND a bunch of relief, the pitch under any string at any fret is more of a suggestion than a rule.
You’d need to be playing it into tune constantly, which Jerry certainly did, but I don’t think that’s why he went with so much relief.
The hippie sandwich neck-thru guitars with a perfectly flat board are normally kinda cold.
Relief helps warm them up.
I’ve got a bunch of them, they all behave similarly wrt more or less relief.

I wouldn’t worry about it right now.
One change at a time, live with it, if it’s not broken don’t fix it. Etc.
 




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