So you decide one day that wanna learn slide? Here is a small guide to help you properly set up your guitar for it.
Posted Apr 27, 2004 08:32 AM
So you decide one day that want to learn slide. Ok easy enough. You go buy a small hand book on it and you get a slide. You come home open the book and realize that you can't play slide with your action being so low.
Alright, so you now know that you are officially screwed. To adjust your action you need, normally, to take your guitar to the shop where the guitar tech says that he has to do a whole set-up because everything is out of whack. And there goes $120 down the drain. Also, you would have to leave the guitar there for a week or more. No guitar. No money. 2 weeks. No f--kin way. All because of a small action adjustment.
So here is what to do instead. Take your guitar to the shop. Instead of asking the tech if he can adjust the action, ask what size allen wrench you need for the saddle screws. Usually good shops will have spairs of every kind around. Most Strats and Teles need a 1 1/2 milimeter wrench. Les Pauls, all you have to do is twist the knobs on the tune-o-matic. A wrench will usually cost about $1.
Now go home and adjust the screws to the height you want. Make sure that each screw is adjusted the same amount so that the saddles stay even. Make sure that you pay attention to the radius of the fretboard and accomodate the curvature of string height accordingly. Never make the strings level with each other. That will f--k you beyond belief.
But you're not done yet. Now you need to screw with the intonation. This is a lot easier than most people think. Get a chromatic tuner and plug your guitar in. First make sure you are in tune. Through out this procedure, if you have a tremolo bridge, pay attentino to how far up the bridge is floating. If brdige height and intonation are screwed with too much you may need add or take a spring or tighten or loosen the claw screws. Now hit the 6th string harmonic at the twelfth fret. THe fret it and hit it. If the fretted note is sharp of the harmonic move the saddle back. If the fretted note is sharp move the saddle forward. Repeat for each string.
Two important things to note:
01. First, If the neck is bowing either way a lot, do not make any adjustments. This will increase string tension and possibly cause your neck to snap. If the neck is bowing you're going to hav eto front the 100 bucks for the pro to screw with truss rod so nothing goes wrong.
02. Second, do not try and screw around with the truss rod yourself. You will most definitely snap your neck.
Next, your going to have to raise the pickups. With the strings now so far away from the pickups, your going to have a dramtic loss of volume, drive, and sustain. So take a regular screwdriver and adjust accordingly. Things to look out for. If you raise the pickups too much, especially the rhythm, when you try to hit high notes the strings are just going to clatter on the pickups. so as you raise them continually hit the highest fret on each string so that you know when you'ver gone too high. Also, if the strings are too close to the pickups, the pickups will create too much of a string pull (because the strings are metal and pickups do attract metal). So your going to lose sustain majorly. So just wathc out for that.
Hope you've found this helpful.