#1
Hey everyone. I've been playing for quite some time, but have always owned and played non-trem guitars. These days, I'm in a kind of band where some whammy is of great use, so I picked up a Jackson Warrior with a Floyd Rose Special on it.

I suppose this is a 2 part question, though the parts likely go hand in hand:

The string tension seems extremely tight. I always use the exact same brand and gauge of strings (D'addario 10-46) and I tune standard one half step down. The floating bridge is sitting exactly parallel to the body and is only about 1/16" raised above the body and I'm using 3 springs. The tension has been causing me to break my 5th string (A) quite regularly. When I say break, I don't mean snap, but instead the wind starts coming undone at the saddle lock so that the string just starts falling out of tune very quickly. The string sits straight in the saddle and there are no burrs or anything, so I assume this must be a product of the string tension.

The neck is sitting at a point where it is roughly straight with a bit of relief. I like my action to be as low as humanly possible because I solo a lot and have a very light picking and fingering technique. On all of my other guitars (again, the others are non-trem), this setup usually makes for perfect action, but on this one the action is still too high at the higher frets (about 15-24). It's not incredibly high, but the current height coupled with the string tension makes for a very uncomfortable experience.

My question is what can I do from here to both lower the action at the higher register and relieve some string tension?

Thanks!
#2
Quote by rweddlesr
Hey everyone. I've been playing for quite some time, but have always owned and played non-trem guitars. These days, I'm in a kind of band where some whammy is of great use, so I picked up a Jackson Warrior with a Floyd Rose Special on it.

I suppose this is a 2 part question, though the parts likely go hand in hand:

The string tension seems extremely tight. I always use the exact same brand and gauge of strings (D'addario 10-46) and I tune standard one half step down. The floating bridge is sitting exactly parallel to the body and is only about 1/16" raised above the body and I'm using 3 springs. The tension has been causing me to break my 5th string (A) quite regularly. When I say break, I don't mean snap, but instead the wind starts coming undone at the saddle lock so that the string just starts falling out of tune very quickly. The string sits straight in the saddle and there are no burrs or anything, so I assume this must be a product of the string tension.

The neck is sitting at a point where it is roughly straight with a bit of relief. I like my action to be as low as humanly possible because I solo a lot and have a very light picking and fingering technique. On all of my other guitars (again, the others are non-trem), this setup usually makes for perfect action, but on this one the action is still too high at the higher frets (about 15-24). It's not incredibly high, but the current height coupled with the string tension makes for a very uncomfortable experience.

My question is what can I do from here to both lower the action at the higher register and relieve some string tension?


The string breakage isn't a product of string tension, but is due to the way the winds on the string are set up and how the string is held in the saddle. You can try another brand of string OR you can just barely "tin" the end of the string with a bit of solder before you string the guitar. You don't want any kind of "glob" of solder -- you just want a bit to soak into the winds and lock them in place. Another option is to do this with a tiny bit of watery (erm...very low viscosity) superglue (make sure it's dry before you string the guitar). StewMac has some that's perfect. And finally, Make sure the string is pushed well into the saddle and don't OVER tighten the string in the saddle. It needs to be secure but not squashed.

This may seem a bit counterintuitive, but high action at the 15th - 24th fret usually results from having a nut that's cut a bit too high. Have your tech check it and see how high the action is at the first fret. Chances are your strings can be closer to the first fret, and all that requires is a bit deeper cut on the nut for each string. Gibsons are famous for having too-high nuts. Well, actually, they're fine for medium-high action, but not appropriate for low action.

What happens is that you lower the bridge to bring the action down, but the nut is a bit too high. If you were to imagine the ideal being strings that were absolutely parallel to the frets, what you have instead are strings that are high at the nut and low at the bridge. Press down the string at the 15th fret and you'll get buzz. LOWER the nut a bit (not so much that you get buzz at the 1-5 frets, of course) and you won't be lowering your bridge as much to get the action low at the opposite end of the fretboard. You'll be closer to the ideal of having the strings sort of hover just over the frets all the way down.

There's also the possibility that your guitar is exhibiting a Gibson Hump. This is a case where the frets themselves aren't level, and instead exhibit a little bump up from the 15th fret up. This shows up a lot on Gibson LPs. In this case, you need to get the frets level before you can have low action. In this case, a PLEK machine can be VERY handy, because it will mill the absolute minimum off each fret. It measures the neck under string tension (a fret level done manually can look near-perfect with the strings off, but can suffer oddities with the reintroduction of string tension) and makes its recommendations for each fret, rather than after string tension is removed.