FDP Forum / A question of two Teles/ 6 messages in thread.

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TheProfessor

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MI

After 30 years, I should play better.
Feb 18th, 2017 07:02 AM        

Hi everybody. <br /> <br /> Not sure the best forum for this (could go in the guitar repair/mod section), but I have two teles that are the same model (early 2000's American series), one of which I sought out with the express purpose of modding to put in a neck HB. I commissioned a reputable shop (Elderly Instruments) to do this as well as set it up with the same specs as my other guitar (.011s and tuned down a step to D).<br /> <br /> Here's my question: The one with the HB is markedly harder/more exhausting to play compared to the other one. It could be a difference in neck profile or fret height, although I don't see any difference. <br /> <br /> Is this something that I can work on fine tuning though an additional set up (perhaps bringing in the other guitar to illustrate the difference) or is it just one of those "each guitar is different" kind of things?



Steve Dallman

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Merrill, Wisconsin

Age is just a number...mine is big
Feb 18th, 2017 08:14 AM        

Check the truss rod and relief and the nut slot height. <br /> <br /> Press the low E string at the first and last frets, and see the clearance of the string around the 5th to 7th fret. I like the string to have SLIGHT clearance and the neck to be ALMOST flat, but I'm not a heavy player. <br /> <br /> Check the nut by pushing each string down at the 3rd fret, and then seeing the clearance of the string at the 1st fret. The string should be almost touching the fret...perhaps with enough clearance to pass a piece of yellow page between the fret and string. <br /> <br /> I suspect the harder to play neck has either more relief and or higher nut slots. <br /> <br /> Surely fret heights could be different, as well as how rolled the neck edges are, if they are rolled. Rolled edges are more comfortable to me. <br /> <br /> I'm picky with my setups, which I've done myself since the mid 70's and over the years have found most techs/luthiers in the areas I've lived and worked in are not as picky. My dad taught me not to say "That's good enough." It's either done right, or not.



TheProfessor

Contributing Member
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MI

After 30 years, I should play better.
Feb 20th, 2017 05:07 AM        

Thanks, Steve.<br /> <br /> I've cranked the truss rod as far as I'm comfortable with, so it could well be the nut slots. Feeling the strings, they seem to be riding high in it, so perhaps the guitar was originally set up for .009s.<br /> <br /> I'll restring it with .010s and see if that seems to make a marked difference (more than just would be typical of dropping down a gauge). That would allow me to loosen the truss a bit, although I suspect it will also increase the likelihood of buzzing if I continue to keep it tuned down a step. <br /> <br /> If it does, it'll give credence to the nut slot theory, although I wouldn't feel comfortable with doing the nut work myself. It could be an easy job, but a man's gotta know his limitations.



Peegoo

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The spotlight

looks like a prison break
Feb 20th, 2017 06:52 AM        

Yeah, high nut slots can make a guitar harder to play. Generally, a clearance of .020" between each string and the 1st fret is a good dimension that allows clean notes on open strings when picked or strummed hard.<br /> <br /> An easy test for this (if you don't have a thickness gauge) is a crisp new business card. They are usually in the range of .020" thick.<br /> <br /> Slip a corner of the card (or an .020" gauge) between each string and the 1st fret. Rest it atop the fret. With a bright light opposite the neck, you'll be able to see if there's a gap between the gauge and the string. There should be little to no gap.<br /> <br /> If the gauge moves the string, the gap is too tight.<br /> <br /> An excellent gauge material is a piece of an old .020 guitar string. It's free, too!<br /> <br /> The neck relief test described by Steve above will go miles toward making your guitar play better. Place a capo lightly between the nut and the 1st fret. Lightly press a finger on the low E string at the 17th fret or higher.<br /> <br /> For the vast majority of guitars, there should be a gap of .012" between the low E and the 8th fret. If you have an old .012" guitar string, that makes a great gauge. An 11 or a 13 will work too.<br /> <br /> While you're there, check all the other strings too, because sometimes the fret is not even and you'll get different measurements on the other strings.



mroulier

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Suburban MD.

Are your prayer beads maple or rosewood?
Feb 20th, 2017 07:55 AM        

Have you confirmed that the neck carve is the same? All the way up and down the fretboard? <br /> Do a 'blind test' and have a friend hand you a guitar and play for five minutes and see if your thumb and fingers feel any differences... then try the other guitar...it's probably going to be something that may not be found in the specs.



twangdoodles



michigan usa

Feb 20th, 2017 04:12 PM        

"I've cranked the truss rod as far as I'm comfortable with, so it could well be the nut slots. Feeling the strings, they seem to be riding high in it, so perhaps the guitar was originally set up for .009s."<br /> <br /> 9s, 10s, 11s, doesn't matter with regard to the nut slots, too high is too high. If both guitars have the same gauge strings, fret the low E at the first fret on both guitars. That should tell you if there's a big difference between the two. <br />



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