#1
Hi there !

I recently bought Dan's Erlewine second edition of 'How to make your guitar play great'
and i think it's a really great book so far, but there's still one quesion that is left unanswered.. wich is: how do you know how low to set the tailpiece gibson's have..?

is there any standard for it or is it just personal preference ?

i'm still learning the basic's of setting up a guitar but i've been told it's worth learning it, and also alot cheaper for those who have more then 1 guitar
#2
Dan is excellent to learn from. I say the stoptail is personal preference. I like mine super low but Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top actually puts his strings on his stoptail backwards. Gibson guys claim that it gives you more this and that. This is a photo and a link to the gibson.com blog on it.

http://www.gibson.com/News-Lifestyle/Gear---Tech/en-us/There-s-More-Than-One-Way-To-String-An-Axe.aspx

#4
If you want to topwrap strings, set the tailpiece as low as possible. If you want to string it normally, set the tailpiece as low as possible without the strings touching the back of the bridge. The two ways of doing it will give a slightly different feel, and you may have a preference one way or the other, maybe not. Basically topwrapping will make the strings feel a tad springier because they move more easily over the saddles when you bend (though they remain at the same tension). It's also claimed that you get fewer string breakages because of the lower break angle, and people will tell you that it either gives or removes sustain, depending who you ask - I would suggest that the impact on both things is minimal on a guitar that's in decent condition. The other thing it'll do is leave little nicks in the top of the tailpiece. If you have gold hardware it'll help that strip off, otherwise the nicks will only be visible when you take the strings off, when you go back to stringing normally, or when you get the alignment wrong. I tried both, and preferred normal stringing because I like the string to stay where I expect it to be when I play sloppily, but if you like slinkier strings it could be for you; bending is slightly easier but you have to bend further to get the same pitch change.

You can raise the tailpiece to achieve the same effect, but there's not really much point, and doing so creates a greater moment which might, in the long run, mean structural issues.

As Tallwood pointed out, the Reverend Willie G. topwraps with 7 gauge strings (ostensibly - I don't think I disbelieve this particular claim but a lot of what that particular genius says deserves more than a pinch of salt), and if that isn't an endorsement I don't know what is.
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Last edited by K33nbl4d3 at Oct 17, 2015,
#5
I like to set it as low as possible. The lower you get it the better it should transfer vibration to the body. How low you can set it is dictated by a few things: the string will sometimes hit the side of the bridge, or the break angle will be really drastic and you will break strings on the saddle. In those cases you'll need to raise the tailpiece or lower the bridge or both.

Topwrapping as mentioned above usually lets you screw the tailpiece all the way down to the body, plus some people prefer how it feels. It's worth a try, unless you've got brand new gold or chrome hardware you don't want to scratch up.
#6
Quote by K33nbl4d3
If you want to topwrap strings, set the tailpiece as low as possible. If you want to string it normally, set the tailpiece as low as possible without the strings touching the back of the bridge. The two ways of doing it will give a slightly different feel, and you may have a preference one way or the other, maybe not. Basically topwrapping will make the strings feel a tad springier because they move more easily over the saddles when you bend (though they remain at the same tension). It's also claimed that you get fewer string breakages because of the lower break angle, and people will tell you that it either gives or removes sustain, depending who you ask - I would suggest that the impact on both things is minimal on a guitar that's in decent condition. The other thing it'll do is leave little nicks in the top of the tailpiece. If you have gold hardware it'll help that strip off, otherwise the nicks will only be visible when you take the strings off, when you go back to stringing normally, or when you get the alignment wrong. I tried both, and preferred normal stringing because I like the string to stay where I expect it to be when I play sloppily, but if you like slinkier strings it could be for you; bending is slightly easier but you have to bend further to get the same pitch change.

You can raise the tailpiece to achieve the same effect, but there's not really much point, and doing so creates a greater moment which might, in the long run, mean structural issues.

As Tallwood pointed out, the Reverend Willie G. topwraps with 7 gauge strings (ostensibly - I don't think I disbelieve this particular claim but a lot of what that particular genius says deserves more than a pinch of salt), and if that isn't an endorsement I don't know what is.
IIRC I saw a rig rundown video on youtube, in which his tech confirms he uses 7's.
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#7
Thanks for all the information guys!
right now i'm used to normal stringing, but i'll try out the topwrap and see what works best for me
#8
Quote by musicians1
Hi there !

I recently bought Dan's Erlewine second edition of 'How to make your guitar play great'
and i think it's a really great book so far, but there's still one quesion that is left unanswered.. wich is: how do you know how low to set the tailpiece gibson's have..?

is there any standard for it or is it just personal preference ?

i'm still learning the basic's of setting up a guitar but i've been told it's worth learning it, and also alot cheaper for those who have more then 1 guitar


i basically just bottom it out with no top wrap. tail piece and studs are all seated against each other. i like the increased break angle as i feel that it transfers more string energy to the body.

downside is that if you have soft saddles like brass, the strings will burrow down faster due to the increased pressure and they may bite into the bridge if your action is fairly high. less worry with a low string height though. depends upon knowing yourself and your guitar. ymmv.
Last edited by ad_works at Oct 19, 2015,
#9
Mr. Erlewine gets into tailpiece height at page 78.

It will eventually come down to preference. I like to raise the tailpiece to near the same break angle as the headstock.
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