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Monday, December 10, 2007

SET THAT SHIT UP

Hold the muh fuh'in phone Chuck, and shit.

The other night, as Chrispy got lost (the good kind) in Get Help, I decided I'd fix the intonation on his Tele Deluxe. I been watchin' him try and play that thing, stopping to tune, playing a bit, stopping to tune for far too long.

That bitch needed a set up.

If you tune your guitar's strings naturally, and you find it sounds like shit down the neck, your intonation is fucked. You need a set up.

I always revered the set up artist. The guitar tech. Setting up a guitar was a mysterious art......until now.

People,.......listen, it's so easy, and so logical.

You'll need:

A chromatic tuner
A set of jewelers screwdrivers - the really tiny ones
A set of allen wrenches (if you're unlucky)

Step one - tune the low 'E'.
Step two - play the same string at the 12th fret (1 octave up). If it's sharp, back up the saddle (the bridge bit at the bottom like....). Repeat. Repeat again. You might never, ever, ever get it exactly spot the fuck on, but get it is close as you can.

Basically, every string must be adjusted so the 12th fret octave is in tune with the open string.

Like I said, obviously logical.

Get on it.

Gibson type tune-o-matic bridges suck becase the screw is under the string, you must loosen, adjust, tighten, tune, check, say fuck, loosen again, adjust......

Six saddle fender bridges rule, the screw is in the butt.......hee heee.....of the bridge, free of string obstruction.

It's easy,......mostly.......

Comments:
I've used the 12th fret thing to do intonation tweaks and if that's all you're doing it should work fine. Where it gets hairy is when you do intonation setting WITH and action adjustment/fix a buzzing string. I've never been able to get it right, say 'Fuck' about a billion times, and take the instrument to my guy to do it.
 
I normally bring my basses to this guy.
http://www.newyorkguitarrepair.com/
He's a very cool guy who used to work downstairs from me at the guitar shop. Now all he does is repairs and nitrous like set ups.

He'll even teach you all the pro repair tricks.
 
The art of a good set up is learning to balance the three controllable factors - the action, the saddles and the neck tension. My guitar tech, Paul Schwartz at Peekamoose, is a genius at this and can deliver much more than just intonation. For example, I've told him many times that I prefer a heavier tension on the strings and he is able to deliver that, even on guitars like my SG that can't take much more than .11s. In a perfect world, I'd play .12s or .13s on all guitars, but then I'd pretty much be stuck playing the ES-175 or some of the bigger jazz guitars. You can't put massive strings on some of the rock guitars without getting some buckling in the neck.

Go to Peekamoose. Best fret work in NYC, hands down. Once you've played with a properly set up guitar from Paul, everything else seems like ass.
 
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