#1
Hey guys,
I've been playing every day for 2 to 6 hours since May on an Ibanez RG421-WK.
My cousin has a Squier Strat HSS and today I played on hers. However, I noticed that her strings are a lot easier to push down and don't "cut" into my skin at all. Barre chords are doable on my Ibanez but need more force than on her Squier, playing on her Squier is a lot easier and comfortable in general because I need less strength. Especially the frets 1 to 3 seem to have less action on her Squier.
We are both using D'Addario 9/42 Superlights and Standard Tuning.
Is it because of the Setup or is it normal that my Ibanez is harder to play? Or does it have anything to do with the number of total frets?
Thanks in Advance!
#2
If the action is too high at the nut, you'd have to file it down to the right level. If it was me, the truss rod would be the first thing to check. Then adjust the action at the bridge and maybe experiment with different strings. Also, if your strings are old and rusty that would make them feel a lot sharper.
Last edited by Draco H. at Jul 22, 2016,
#3
They're both 25.5" scale, same strings, I would bet it's action. Yours may be too high. Probably go get a setup.
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#4
Quote by Draco H.
Also, if your strings are old and rusty that would make them feel a lot sharper.

That may very well be the case.
I've only replaced the A string since I got the guitar. I'll replace them tomorrow and report back.
#5
Quote by ryanbwags
They're both 25.5" scale, same strings, I would bet it's action. Yours may be too high. Probably go get a setup.


ryan knows whats up, this is your best bet. it sounds like your action is much higher then you need. good luck my friend.

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#6
Quote by ryanbwags
They're both 25.5" scale, same strings, I would bet it's action. Yours may be too high. Probably go get a setup.

Oh no, that's what I feared x.x
Musicstore wanted 60 euros when I asked them to do a Drop B Setup - I declined but after that I think that they'll probably want a least 40 euros to do a Setup in Standard Tuning x.x
I'll ask them as soon as I visit the store to test some guitars and if they want too much, I'll try it myself :/
Last edited by juvion at Jul 22, 2016,
#7
That's a setup issue, not a brand issue, not a number of frets issue. Almost any guitar can be made to play really well, assuming that it has level frets, that the neck angle (particularly if it's a bolt neck) is accurate and that the nut is cut properly.
There's a book called "How to make your electric guitar play great" by Dan Erlewine that I recommend to newbs as being the best $20 (it's on Amazon) you can spend on your guitar.

You'll also want to consider changing your strings a LOT more often. You're using good strings, but if they're on there much over a month, they're bad strings. This is especially true if they're rusty and have black "rusticles" hanging off the bottom of them. They've used up their flexibility and they're now operating like hacksaw blades on your fingers. Honestly, for the guitars I use the most, I buy the cheapest available strings (usually GHS Boomers in bulk) and change them frequently.
Last edited by dspellman at Jul 22, 2016,
#8
You really shouldn't be getting charged more for different tunings. The work is still basically the same either way
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#9
Many things go into how "hard" an instrument is to play, you're on the right path checking string gauges (and tuning, ofc). Other things that may be at play are scale length, fret size, neck width, , neck shape, fretboard radius, string spread, and probably most importantly; string height. In other words, everything!

In your case, a quick google search reveals both instruments should be 25.5" scale length, but the RG claims to have Jumbo Frets, Squiers usually have pretty small frets. Taller frets don't necessarily make it harder to push a string to the fret, but most peoples tendency is to push to the fretboard, which with a taller fret is harder (and you can actually make the note sharp as well), not to mention with tall frets, sliding around the fretboard can feel more like speed bumps.

Another contributor is likely the neck width and shape, Squiers/Fenders usually have a thin neck and shallow neck (IE:thin both in width and depth). Your RG has a Wizard III neck, something I haven't actually played on, but they're supposed to be quite small as well. Even if they're both comparable in string spread and size, the exact shape is probably different, and everybody has different hands, and therefore different preferences in both neck size and shape. I've found even with similar setups, a slightly different neck shape can easily make or break a guitars playability.

Same with the fretboard radius, the Squier claims to have a 9.5" radius, and while I didn't find the exact radius on your RG, it is probably 12"-14". In other words, the Squires fretboard is closer to a cylinder in shape, while the RG is flatter. Everybody has their preference, perhaps the tighter radius suits you!

Now all of that is pretty small in comparison to the gauge of the string, tuning, action, and scale length. You've already figured out the tuning/gauge, and the internet says the scale length is the same, leaving the action as the last major factor. This is something easily checked and usually easily fixed. I'd get the guitars in the same room and eyeball the action, of course, there's ways to measure it, but that's for precision set ups, you just want the guitar to play better! If the RG indeed has the strings quite a bit higher, you can lower the saddles to lower the strings. Your RG has Squier type saddles (ones I particularly dislike ), and the saddle height can be adjusted by the two little screws on each saddle. You'll need the proper allen wrench (that may have come with the guitar), Use them to lower the saddles as desired, make sure both screws per-saddle are adjusted evenly, keeping the saddle straight. Just play each string all the way up the fretboard, listening to buzzing. The lower the strings, the more they hit the frets, causing the buzz, so action is a balance of playability, and clarity of notes. Keep in mind, if you end up lowering the strings a lot, you'll have to adjust the pickups as well (a simple turn of 2 screws as well). If the strings are way high even around the nut (frets 1-3), the nut probably could use some work, which is definitely a job for a professional. - The reason I hate those saddles is if you lower them "too much" (not very much imo), the threads of the adjustment screws stick out above the saddles, and grind your hand while playing...incredibly uncomfortable -

If you just started 3 months ago, all of this might sound super complicated, but it's really not. Don't be intimidated but all the fancy terms and such. If you're getting proper lessons, you may already know most of what I said anyway! (Lord knows I didn't when I started!)

In conclusion, your RG is a perfectly good guitar, but it may need a good set-up done to it, or it may just not be your cup of tea. I wouldn't give up on it and just say "Oh I'm just getting a Squier!" A lot of it could just as easily be placebo as well.

TLDR; Check the string height and adjust it how you see fit!

Edit: When I started typing this, the replies hadn't loaded and I didn't see all the helpful stuff already posted. Whoops! Yes old, rusty strings can make things painful. Adjusting the truss rod is a great way to help, but most are too scared to mess with it, and while it's not as dangerous as many would have you believe, you DO need a basic understanding of how it works (and a nice, long, reliable straight edge!). The Erlewine book is a good place to start. Nobody should be charging you more for a different tuning, I'd look for a different shop, or take a few days and read up on how to best do it yourself. You'll save a ton of money in the long run!
Last edited by RestinPeaceDime at Jul 22, 2016,
#10
Quote by dspellman
That's a setup issue, not a brand issue, not a number of frets issue. Almost any guitar can be made to play really well, assuming that it has level frets, that the neck angle (particularly if it's a bolt neck) is accurate and that the nut is cut properly.
There's a book called "How to make your electric guitar play great" by Dan Erlewine that I recommend to newbs as being the best $20 (it's on Amazon) you can spend on your guitar.

You'll also want to consider changing your strings a LOT more often. You're using good strings, but if they're on there much over a month, they're bad strings. This is especially true if they're rusty and have black "rusticles" hanging off the bottom of them. They've used up their flexibility and they're now operating like hacksaw blades on your fingers. Honestly, for the guitars I use the most, I buy the cheapest available strings (usually GHS Boomers in bulk) and change them frequently.


Thanks for that detailed answer!
You've described my strings pretty well :s
I'll switch them as soon as I'm back home and ask for a setup on Monday.
Edit: @RestInPeaceDime Just saw your answer after posting.
Omg thanks for all that information!
I'm the type of player who's interested in all that technical stuff, so that's a huge help!
Btw. I'd never get a Squier tbh. I love my Ibanez and if I buy a second guitar, it'll probably be something in the 500 to 800 price range on my first Guitar Anniversary (May 2nd) to be able to tune my Ibanez down without giving up on Standard Tuning.
When I bought my Ibanez, I wasn't able to test it because I couldn't play at all but my next guitar will be something that looks and plays like a dream after hours of testing different guitars in Musicstore. The first one will still always have a special place in my heart and never be sold :p
Last edited by juvion at Jul 22, 2016,
#11
No need to over think this you said the fretting was harder, particularly on the 1st few frets. These reeks of too-high strings height at the nut. If it is then playing with the action at the bridge will do little to cure this. Get the nut looked at by someone with the proper tools and know how, then the rest of the setup.
Moving on.....
#12
Quote by juvion

I'm the type of player who's interested in all that technical stuff, so that's a huge help!


This will be your biggest asset in the years to come!

I'm the type of guy to just try something...usually without researching enough. Looking back, I've made mistakes, but I learned a lot! The best medium is to research then act!

The rusty string thing really is probably a LOT of your issue. Start there before worrying about all the fancy stuff. (I'd still at least compare the action to see what you're dealing with)

The strings on all of my guitars at the moment are at least 6 months old. I clean them regularly with alcohol, and I use GHS Fast-Fret. That keeps em rust free, and smooth playing. I'm stingy so I hate changing stings. I play mine 'til they break. I never change individual strings though. On Floyd guitars, I overwrap them at the tuner, and since they snap at the bridge 99% of the time, I unwind it, reclip the the string and clamp it back into the saddle. On fixed bridge guitars, when a string snaps, I just take that as a sign it's time to replace em all anyway. I highly recommend String Saver saddles (make sure to get the right string spread) on fixed bridges, I have literally never snapped a string on one (admittedly, I don't play my fixed bridges as much).

Anyway, if yours are 3 months old and haven't been cleaned, it's a good excuse to change em. I'd watch some YouTube vids on how (if you don't know) and just do it yourself. From there, just clean them regularly, and decide for yourself when it's time to change them. There's nothing wrong with changing them as often as dspellman says, in the end, you may decide to do that. I'm just describing how I do it.
#13
Quote by RestinPeaceDime
This will be your biggest asset in the years to come!

I'm the type of guy to just try something...usually without researching enough. Looking back, I've made mistakes, but I learned a lot! The best medium is to research then act!

The rusty string thing really is probably a LOT of your issue. Start there before worrying about all the fancy stuff. (I'd still at least compare the action to see what you're dealing with)

The strings on all of my guitars at the moment are at least 6 months old. I clean them regularly with alcohol, and I use GHS Fast-Fret. That keeps em rust free, and smooth playing. I'm stingy so I hate changing stings. I play mine 'til they break. I never change individual strings though. On Floyd guitars, I overwrap them at the tuner, and since they snap at the bridge 99% of the time, I unwind it, reclip the the string and clamp it back into the saddle. On fixed bridge guitars, when a string snaps, I just take that as a sign it's time to replace em all anyway. I highly recommend String Saver saddles (make sure to get the right string spread) on fixed bridges, I have literally never snapped a string on one (admittedly, I don't play my fixed bridges as much).

Anyway, if yours are 3 months old and haven't been cleaned, it's a good excuse to change em. I'd watch some YouTube vids on how (if you don't know) and just do it yourself. From there, just clean them regularly, and decide for yourself when it's time to change them. There's nothing wrong with changing them as often as dspellman says, in the end, you may decide to do that. I'm just describing how I do it.


I'm even googling for guitar-related stuff when I'm bored and can't sleep even if they don't affect me at the moment :'D
I had already changed the A string because it broke after a month.
Actually, the first time I replaced the string, I destroyed it while I was tuning because I put it straight through the tuner without pulling it back to lower the action. BUT after failing the first String, I realised that it is better to google before I try to do something with my guitar.
I did it right the second time :'D
However, it is already 1 1/2 months old and looks worn out. I'll replace every string. An easy string change was the first thing the seller made sure when he was assisting me with my choice of the first guitar because I immediately went to the section of the store with Floyd Rose Ibanez guitars .
Last edited by juvion at Jul 22, 2016,
#14
Quote by KenG
No need to over think this you said the fretting was harder, particularly on the 1st few frets. These reeks of too-high strings height at the nut. If it is then playing with the action at the bridge will do little to cure this. Get the nut looked at by someone with the proper tools and know how, then the rest of the setup.


I agree, it does sound like a problem with the nut. And a good nut job (lol?) can do wonders, but it's hard to know if the person you're paying knows what they're doing ahead of time, and if they don't they can make it much worse. If you DO find somebody you trust, definitely have it looked at. Most factory guitars don't really come set up that well. I just figure, do what YOU can do first, then if it's still too hard for you to play, take it in.

Quote by juvion
I immediately went to the section of the store with Floyd Rose Ibanez guitars .


I love Floyds, but they're definitely not for beginingers
#15
Quote by RestinPeaceDime
I just figure, do what YOU can do first, then if it's still too hard for you to play, take it in.

Yep!



I love Floyds, but they're definitely not for beginingers

Yeah, I've read several articles about the pros and cons and while it does sound tempting, I'll wait until I have a lot more experience to try a guitar with floyd rose system.
#16
For finding a good local guitar tech just google! I did and found hundreds of hits on a very good tech many years ago that I used before buying books, reading them and then buying the tools and practicing. (Just make sure you use the words good, great or best in your search to get reviews that use those words to describe the person that pops up.
I bought Dan Erlewine's book and read most of it, even the stuff that would never apply like neck resets. You can buy some of the tools required at a local HW store and some are more specialized. If you are going to be playing guitar for life then investing in basic tools and practicing will pay for itself.
As for "rusty strings" well I didn't read on your post you have any, it was a suggestion because a small portion of the population sweats excessively when they play and they strings do indeed get gunk on them. One of my band mates when I was a youngster had this issue, it's hard to know if this was because he was still a teenager or it cleared up afterwards but it was an issue.
Moving on.....
Last edited by KenG at Jul 23, 2016,