#1
I had my Ibanez ew20asent's headstock repaired and also setup 2 weeks ago. I had the tech guy install custom light strings (.011-.052) and asked to make it fingerstyle-friendly. The guitar plays unforgivingly. By that I mean that unless I play with perfect finger position and with uncomfortably firm pressure, it tends to fuzz. That may sound funny but it just feels like a chore to play the guitar in order to prevent it from fuzzing on me. I don't expect it to play as friendly as my electric or nylon guitars but I can't shake the feeling that it needs an adjustment. I've been playing for about 5 years so maybe it's my newb ignorance. Let me know what you think.

Here's a youtube vid I took showing the string height along the neck:

youtube.com/watch?v=AFSBH-5BSeM
#2
I have one of those damned things, and the issue you speak to is because, (IMHO), the frets are too shallow. You have to catch the string directly behind the fret to do the most good.

I would suggest that perhaps you don't have as much callous developed as you could or should, and that is likely exacerbating the problem.

It is also possible the difference in fretting effort between your nylon strung, electric, and this flat top steel string, is farther apart than you anticipated.

If there's a music store nearby, go in and strum a couple of like sized guitars in a different brand, she what conclusion you can draw. Most makers ship with .012 to .053 acoustic light strings, so they'll be a bigger load than what you have on the Ibby.

I have an Ibanez AEL10 as well, and I think it's a tad easier to play than the EW.

In truth, it's not a particularly easy guitar to play. Jumbo bodies feed a lot of energy back into the strings, the frets are shallow and it is a long scale guitar also.
Last edited by Captaincranky at Jun 23, 2013,
#3
Thanks for the replay. I'm taking it to my tech guy tomorrow and he'll make some adjustments, if needed. I get that some guitars may require a bigger effort to play but this guitar doesnt feel right. Especially as I play down the neck. At the higher frets I can only make pull offs one fret away. No way it happens two or three frets away unless I go back to the top of the neck at the lower frets. Seems the action is way too high towards the higher frets.
Last edited by litmatch21 at Jun 23, 2013,
#4
I dropped the 12th fret action height on mine to under 1/8" if that's what you're referring to. If yours is set higher than that, you betcha it's going to be a bitch to play.

Ibanez sets the action quite high at the factory. However, my experience has been that the necks are set at the correct angle, so there's plenty of plastic saddle showing, and hence plenty of room for lowering the action.

It still seems the frets are too shallow to me, because you have to grab a great big handful and clamp down hard, to stop the buzz.

It's a bullshit trick they're using, in an attempt to avoid intonation issues. The less the string bends when you fret it (shallow fret), the less pitch changes it causes, and the intonation doesn't wander that much. 10-4?

OK, here's a good setup guide: http://thbecker.net/guitar_playing/guitars_and_setup/setup_page_01.html If you get a chance, try and read it through. You can still take the guitar to a tech for the physical work, but you'll have a much better understanding of the geometry and cause and effect relationships between the various adjustments.
Last edited by Captaincranky at Jun 23, 2013,
#5
Thanks a lot bud. Im going to read it now. Also, I was referring to the 12th fret height. I definitely feel it's too high.
#6
BTW you mentioned this guitar was a steel string guitar. I have elixir custom lights on it. Should I have steel strings on it instead? Don;t have a clue about steel strings.
#7
Quote by litmatch21
BTW you mentioned this guitar was a steel string guitar. I have elixir custom lights on it. Should I have steel strings on it instead? Don;t have a clue about steel strings.
You are a novice, sorry. Acoustic guitars with metal strings are referred to as "steel strings", the cores are all steel, but the windings are made of various type of bronze alloys. And yes, your Elixirs (if they're brass wound), are just fine.
#8
I definitely am a novice about guitars. I can cover all of sultans of swing but i couldnt tell u what the heck a truss rod is with complete certainty.
#9
Quote by litmatch21
I definitely am a novice about guitars. I can cover all of sultans of swing but i couldnt tell u what the heck a truss rod is with complete certainty.
Gosh, what a pretty song. It's in it's 4th decade now, you know.

A lot of players that come through here have the terminology all confused. Some differentiate a steel string acoustic, as an "acoustic guitar" and then make a comparison to the "classical guitar". As if they're a different breed. They're both "acoustic guitars". Steel string acoustics with the round sound hole are nicknamed "flattops" also. This is an old moniker, that distinguishes this type guitar from the once more prevalent "arch top", with the "F-holes", like a violin.

Basically a big fat pregnant looking ES-335, with no cutaways, and no pickups.

If this has tweaked your interest, you can browse this site: http://www.stewmac.com/ It's basically a Luthier's supply site. Just browsing the parts, supplies, and tools they sell, is a free education on the "how to do it, and what the heck is it", of guitar construction.

Good luck with your Ibanez, let us know how you make out, OK?
#10
i've had techs that set my guitars up way too high when i asked for very low action. the catch was that taking the guitars back to the same techs resulted in either too-low action or no difference. some less experienced - or crappy - techs don't know much about low action, at least, in my neck of the woods.
Quote by Skeet UK
I just looked in my Oxford English Dictionary and under "Acoustic Guitar", there was your Avatar and an email address!
#11
Quote by patticake
i've had techs that set my guitars up way too high when i asked for very low action. the catch was that taking the guitars back to the same techs resulted in either too-low action or no difference. some less experienced - or crappy - techs don't know much about low action, at least, in my neck of the woods.
You're going to have to develop some consistency. Usually, you recommend a beginner take the guitar to a tech, in lieu of screwing the job up themselves. Now, I'm not exactly sure what you're recommending.

If it came to that, I'd take the damned guitar to a tech and tell him, "set the action at about 1/8" at the 12th fret E-6 side, and we'll tweak it later if necessary.

However, the last time I suggested a physical measurement, I had some nitwit crap all over my profile page, about how I "shouldn't suggest a physical dimension because I was stifling the creativity of the people to whom I suggested that.

Sic:
DylanHendrix wrote on Jul 4th, 2012 11:39pm:

Just some friendly advice, you should only post information on subjects that you have concrete knowledge of. Giving recommendations about action heights being in a specific range between one measurement and another is not only incorrect information but also effects the way that new players approach the guitar. Remember that everyone has their personal playing preferences when playing guirtar, to say that an action has to be between x and y discourages experimentation and a trial and error approach.


Now, it seems like you're asking TS to take a trip around the world, doing interviews and taking resumes to get the guitar setup.

Perhaps you know every music shop and luthier in California. But, I'd be willing to bet others aren't so lucky, or obsessed, or maniacal, or consumed by the issue.

As soon as I say, "why don't you try to set the instrument up yourself", you're liable tell me "no, he should take it to a tech", then we'll have come full circle.
Last edited by Captaincranky at Jun 24, 2013,
#12
Quote by Captaincranky
Gosh, what a pretty song. It's in it's 4th decade now, you know.

A lot of players that come through here have the terminology all confused. Some differentiate a steel string acoustic, as an "acoustic guitar" and then make a comparison to the "classical guitar". As if they're a different breed. They're both "acoustic guitars". Steel string acoustics with the round sound hole are nicknamed "flattops" also. This is an old moniker, that distinguishes this type guitar from the once more prevalent "arch top", with the "F-holes", like a violin.

Basically a big fat pregnant looking ES-335, with no cutaways, and no pickups.

If this has tweaked your interest, you can browse this site: http://www.stewmac.com/ It's basically a Luthier's supply site. Just browsing the parts, supplies, and tools they sell, is a free education on the "how to do it, and what the heck is it", of guitar construction.

Good luck with your Ibanez, let us know how you make out, OK?


A lot of great info for a newb like me. Thanks man. I'll keep you guys updated with how things turn out.
#13
usually i recommend that beginners take their guitars to a qualified tech. that would mean asking for recommendations, checking on yelp and guitar boards and so on. qualified is the operative word here. it's just as easy to find a tech who does poor work as it is to find a bad mechanic or doctor. it sucks, but part of owning anything that needs adjustment or maintenance and having it the way you want it is finding the right person.

yes, it's helpful to have the exact measurement one prefers, but a new player won't know those numbers, and what gauge strings are on the guitar are going to make a difference there.

Quote by Captaincranky
You're going to have to develop some consistency. Usually, you recommend a beginner take the guitar to a tech, in lieu of screwing the job up themselves. Now, I'm not exactly sure what you're recommending.

If it came to that, I'd take the damned guitar to a tech and tell him, "set the action at about 1/8" at the 12th fret E-6 side, and we'll tweak it later if necessary.

However, the last time I suggested a physical measurement, I had some nitwit crap all over my profile page, about how I "shouldn't suggest a physical dimension because I was stifling the creativity of the people to whom I suggested that.

Sic:

Now, it seems like you're asking TS to take a trip around the world, doing interviews and taking resumes to get the guitar setup.

Perhaps you know every music shop and luthier in California. But, I'd be willing to bet others aren't so lucky, or obsessed, or maniacal, or consumed by the issue.

As soon as I say, "why don't you try to set the instrument up yourself", you're liable tell me "no, he should take it to a tech", then we'll have come full circle.
Quote by Skeet UK
I just looked in my Oxford English Dictionary and under "Acoustic Guitar", there was your Avatar and an email address!
#14
Quote by patticake
usually i recommend that beginners take their guitars to a qualified tech. that would mean asking for recommendations, checking on yelp and guitar boards and so on. qualified is the operative word here. it's just as easy to find a tech who does poor work as it is to find a bad mechanic or doctor. it sucks, but part of owning anything that needs adjustment or maintenance and having it the way you want it is finding the right person.
Well, like they've always said, "if you want anything done right, do it yourself
Quote by patticake
yes, it's helpful to have the exact measurement one prefers, but a new player won't know those numbers, and what gauge strings are on the guitar are going to make a difference there.
I/8" of an inch is a borderline too high, but a worthwhile starting point that should suffice for the great majority of players, whether or not they know "their exact measurement" off the top of their head. It's a starting point, and more than likely, the factory setting of the Ibanez is higher than this.

I don't have to try guess and what gauge strings are on this guitar. The TS has already divulged that, "Elixir Custom Light"! I know for a fact, that the guitar in question ships with D'Addario EXP-16, which are "acoustic light gauge" (.012 to .053). I own one of the guitars, remember?

Of course admitting to that in this forum, will likely open up a whole litany of inquiry into my taste and common sense

"Custom light gauge", comes in at about .011 to .052, with a nominal tensional difference of perhaps 15 lbs lower for the set.

Point here being, the setting that works for one, will easily work for the other. Especially at the test setting of 1/8" @ the 12th fret.

The guide I supplied TS with, is comprehensive, and teaches the methodology and technique, along with an outline of specification. I know it's not "frets.com", but so what? If it's correct and easy to follow, then an individual with a reasonable amount of mechanical skill, and some simple hand tools, can do a commendable job of getting the guitar up and playing well, right out of the gate.

Now, as a matter of fact, Ibanez ships their EW series guitars WITH an extra saddle. So, if you **** the job up, you DO get a do over. (Assuming of course, you bought it new)

Now we can continue this if you like. I already know the ultimate outcome. I get the warning or ban, regardless of whether or not I'm in the right.
Last edited by Captaincranky at Jun 24, 2013,