#1
I had a $200 acoustic guitar that bit the dust. I went to a local music store looking for a cheap acoustic that would do the job. Also with me, I had a TUSQ saddle and nut that I had bought before hand. I read somewhere online they create a better sound than the stock plastic ones. So this guy at the store had me try out these Lauren guitars he was selling like hotcakes. Sound amazing, but then again; when im doing things without a detailed plan I tend to act over impulsively; so I may not have put enough thought into buying the guitar. But I did. I asked the guy to install the pieces and he did.

This guitar was $100, but $120 with the TUSQ installs. It sounds GREAT! One problem, the action...I think; and the sustain. I told him when he was working on it, I like the action as low as possible without making crazy fret buzz. I ended up taking it back and bugging the poor old man about the action. I know whenever I hold a note, it takes more muscle, plus it doesnt "sustain" as long.

There are a few classical pieces I like to play, fingerpicking. And whenever I pick two strings at once, one of the notes will go out early; it really takes away from the music. I took it back to the guy and explained. He picked it up, played a little lick and said the action was at its absolute lowest.

My old guitar was twice the price, but concerning something like this; is it not able to be fixed? I love everything about this guitar a million more times than my old one, but the playing just isn't the same, and my fun fingerpicking sounds butchered due to notes dieing out early.

Can anyone explain to me why this happens, and what are some easy fix's other than "BUY AN EXPENSIVE GUITAR AND DONT BE A CHEAP ASS!!"?
#2
you can't fix it - it's not broken. sounds like a low quality entry level guitar, and there's probably not much you can do about it - sorry, but solid wood has more sustain than laminate, and even better quality laminate has more sustain (and resonance) than lower quality laminate. and for that matter, the wood in the bracing and how the guitar is braced can make a difference in the resonance and sustain. you can bet with a bottom end guitar the wood in the bracing isn't great, and the bracing itself as well as the top wood of the guitar is probably made nice and thick to avoid breakage and make it easier to build, where more sustain could be found from thinner bracing and top.

regarding the action, maybe you can take the guitar to a qualified luthier instead of a store guy and ask him what can be done. my husband lowered the action once on a $35 rogue successfully with no crazy fret buzz, so either there's something up with the guitar or the guy who did your setup isn't very good. i personally have only met 2 store techs who i felt really knew there stuff, and i've talked to over 40 over the years.
Quote by Skeet UK
I just looked in my Oxford English Dictionary and under "Acoustic Guitar", there was your Avatar and an email address!
#3
I dunno about solid wood versus laminates as it pertains to sustain.
Any ES is a laminate.
Most acoustics are more than one piece of wood.


Yes cheap guitar and yes perhaps the Tusq material did not help.
#4
Great on both answers. But I guess to simplify my question. This sustaining a chord/note problem, is it due to the action? I mean, what else could it be? Could turning that allan key thing inside of it fix it? And if I did I should probably know the physics of doing such first. I noticed that the further you go down the neck, it rises higher to were the last note is like really far from the fretboard. Something I remember about my old guitar, on the saddle there were "slots" for the strings; and the action was fairly constant through the whole board. On this he has it to were the strings lay wherever they lay. Could this be the problem? Using the little I know I would think maybe the height at the saddle (or the lack of "string slots") is causing this problem. But it would suck to ruin it because I dont know what im doing. And there are no real guitar mechanics around here.
Last edited by corporatewaste at Mar 25, 2014,
#5
The biggest single improvement you can make when building a guitar, is to use a solid top, instead of a laminated top. The back and sides, whether solid or laminate, also have a considerable effect, but none so dramatic as the top material.

There are also considerations specific to laminate tops. For example the quality of the individual plies, the species they are cut from, and the adhesive used. Keep in mind, different glues have different flex properties, and also might be applied too thickly.

The species, thickness, and placement of the sound board braces also affects tonality dramatically. Some makers "scallop" those braces, to aid the ability to flex.

In the price range of instrument with which we're dealing, any, or all of those variables are likely to be sub-par.

As far as, "adjusting the thingy under the neck", if that's the best term you can up with for it, you better leave it alone.

learn more here: http://thbecker.net/guitar_playing/guitars_and_setup/setup_page_01.html

In any case, the brand of your guitar doesn't sound familiar. It's possible it could be a store re-branded OEM. Many shops order large quantities of beginner's guitars. A unique name on the headstock, eliminates the possibility of price shopping or buying it somewhere else, and also reduces the possibility of reviews online. (for better or worse).

I have no suggestions as to a course of action for you. How's that for neutrality?
#6
How high is the action?

Find the "Enter" key.

Lack of sustain means the vibrations of the strings are sinking somewhere as heat and not helping or causing the body of the guitar to vibrate.

What kind of strings?
#7
Quote by corporatewaste
Great on both answers. But I guess to simplify my question. This sustaining a chord/note problem, is it due to the action? I mean, what else could it be? Could turning that allan key thing inside of it fix it? And if I did I should probably know the physics of doing such first. I noticed that the further you go down the neck, it rises higher to were the last note is like really far from the fretboard. Something I remember about my old guitar, on the saddle there were "slots" for the strings; and the action was fairly constant through the whole board. On this he has it to were the strings lay wherever they lay. Could this be the problem? Using the little I know I would think maybe the height at the saddle (or the lack of "string slots") is causing this problem. But it would suck to ruin it because I dont know what im doing. And there are no real guitar mechanics around here.


By "down the neck" I'm assuming you mean towards the body/soundhole which actually considered up the neck. That is normal for the strings to be farther away but shouldn't be "really far". That sounds like the saddle height is too high. Sanding the saddle down isn't very difficult. It only takes a few simple tools- sheet of ~150 grit sandpaper, a steel rule to measure action and some kind of block to keep the saddle square while you're sanding and a pencil. The strings rest on top of the saddle and there are no slots on every acoustic I've seen so far. I've heard reports of some guitars coming with some sort of packing material under the saddle which shouldn't be there.

Adjusting the truss rod isn't difficult either, just take it slow (1/4 turn at a time)and don't force it. Neck relief can be affected by changes in humidity and string guage. I'd hate to have to pay a professional every time it needed tweaked. Tools needed are the proper size allen wrench(both my guitars took 3/16), a capo and a set of feeler gages(a business card will work in a pinch).

If the nut action is too high, this adjustment would be a little more difficult and one I haven't tried yet. It requires a special set of files.

I don't know why so many people are afraid to touch their guitar(unless maybe it's a really expensive guitar). Setting up a guitar isn't rocket science. It's FAR easier than learning how to play it. What I did was a google search and then read a bunch of tutorials and watched several videos until I felt I had a good handle on it. It took a couple hours but you know the saying: If you want something done right, you gotta do it yourself. We live in the age of information and you have the internet; Use it!

I doubt that any of these setup adjustments are the reason for your lack of sustain. That's probably the materials used on an inexpensive guitar like others suggested but you still want the guitar to be set up to be comfotable for you to play and sounding to its peak ability. The fact that each person is different when it comes to how they like their action is all the more reason to invest the time in learning how to do it yourself.
#8
Quote by patticake


regarding the action, maybe you can take the guitar to a qualified luthier instead of a store guy and ask him what can be done. my husband lowered the action once on a $35 rogue successfully with no crazy fret buzz, so either there's something up with the guitar or the guy who did your setup isn't very good. i personally have only met 2 store techs who i felt really knew there stuff, and i've talked to over 40 over the years.


I adjust the action on all of my guitars (4 acoustics, 2 classicals, 2 electrics) so they ALL play alike. My $40 Rogue plays very nicely and if I were a gigging musician I'd have no concern having it onstage (I don't play anymore)
Last edited by billy_kidd at Jan 22, 2015,
#9
but the original poster doesn't seem to know anything about guitars, so i wouldn't expect him to do his own setups.
Quote by Skeet UK
I just looked in my Oxford English Dictionary and under "Acoustic Guitar", there was your Avatar and an email address!
#10
Considering this thread is from March, I kinda doubt if the TS even still cares.

Quote by billy_kidd
I adjust the action on all of my guitars (4 acoustics, 2 classicals, 2 electrics) so they ALL play alike. My $40 Rogue plays very nicely and if I were a gigging musician I'd have no concern having it onstage (I don't play anymore)

Do you really have the strings on your classical guitars at the same height as your electrics? That seems to be utter nonsense, but I'm willing to listen to a more comprehensive or concise explanation of, "they all play alike".
Last edited by Captaincranky at Jan 15, 2015,
#11
Quote by Captaincranky
Considering this thread is from March, I kinda doubt if the TS even still cares.


Do you really have the strings on your classical guitars at the same height as your electrics? That seems to be utter nonsense, but I'm willing to listen to a more comprehensive or concise explanation of, "they all play alike".


Good catch... no, the acoustics play alike and the classicals play alike, and the electrics play alike, but the different kinds are setup optimally for their style.

One thing I have done is on a 3rd acoustic, now that I think about it, I have put extra-lights on it so that if I'm learning a new song I don't have to work quite as hard at first, but I have another acoustic just like it with my standard string gauges.
#12
Quote by Captaincranky
The biggest single improvement you can make when building a guitar, is to use a solid top, instead of a laminated top. The back and sides, whether solid or laminate, also have a considerable effect, but none so dramatic as the top material.



So much this.

TC, here's exactly what happened. You're dancing right around the price point where all-laminate entry-level guitars and solid-top low-end guitars meet. Your old guitar, if you paid $200 for it, was most likely a solid-top low-end guitar. The new one is all-laminate entry level. That's really all there is to it. The sound you're describing sounds to me like exactly what I would expect from a guitar that cheap. We carry Fenders for our low end acoustics at the store I work in, and that is pretty much exactly the difference between one of their $100 FA-100 models, and the $200 DG8.
#13
Quote by Captaincranky
Considering this thread is from March, I kinda doubt if the TS even still cares.


And if I had just scrolled down further, I wouldn't have wasted my time. Hahaha.
#14
Quote by the_bi99man
And if I had just scrolled down further, I wouldn't have wasted my time. Hahaha.


It's a very common question and your advice was spot-on. I like laminates where you don't have the time or inclination to manage the humidity concerns of a solid top or for beer parties.