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Ask a big-box store guitar tech....

Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by cwinn, Dec 9, 2017.

  1. Daddy Hojo

    Daddy Hojo Friend of Leo's

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    My question is - what percentage of guitarists don't know how to change their own strings. I had a friend of mine once mention taking his guitar in to get new strings and I was like, "Wait... What?!?"
     
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  2. cwinn

    cwinn TDPRI Member

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    Including beginners, prob 30%. Excluding beginners, then it isn’t a matter of knowledge but convenience. Some guys just don’t want to be bothered.
     
  3. cwinn

    cwinn TDPRI Member

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    Humility keeps a person honest.
     
  4. cwinn

    cwinn TDPRI Member

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    Richlite or torrified maple......


    Ha ha ha!
     
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  5. alnicopu

    alnicopu Friend of Leo's

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    There is a rant from a guy who says less than 20% of his work is on Gibsons and about 90% of that is broken headstocks. His suggestionis for them is to break them at the factory then repair them before finishing. A good repair and they don’t break again.
     
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  6. cwinn

    cwinn TDPRI Member

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    That’s one way to approach it.

    I just think used Gibsons with a well repaired peg head break are diamonds in the rough. You can get them for less, and the work had already been done.
     
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  7. Artslap

    Artslap Tele-Afflicted

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    In your opinion do you think a guitar needs to be "played-in"?

    Do the pieces of wood and wires know they are an instrument when they leave the Factory? Or do they settle into themselves over time?

    I work with new cars, and some engines do seem to "feel" better when they have 3000 Kms on the clock rather than straight off the boat.

    CP.
     
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  8. alnicopu

    alnicopu Friend of Leo's

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    Hartley Peavey and his wife used to stay at the hotel I was a desk clerk all the time back in the 80’s when I was in electronics school. He told me once anyone can mass produce a guitar for 200.00 and he had no problem with folks grabbing blem necks and bodies from his dumpster. Better than wasting them. They were really good people.
     
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  9. cwinn

    cwinn TDPRI Member

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    I think all guitars need to be broken in. Work the neck, crank the pots, drive the top on an acoustic, whatever it takes.

    I wouldn’t recommend or buy something on the contingency that it will break in well, though. It is what it is. In an electric, focus on the neck - then the body - then everything else is modular.
     
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  10. cwinn

    cwinn TDPRI Member

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    I’ve only heard great things about Mr. Peavey. I worked with a brilliant engineer at Gibson who worked for Fender & Peavey, and he had a lot of admiration & respect for Hartley.
     
  11. LeicaBoss

    LeicaBoss Tele-Holic

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    Ok, so which large guitar maker is making - in your experience- the most reliable, playable and well-set up instruments?
     
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  12. cwinn

    cwinn TDPRI Member

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    Definitely not Ernie Ball/MusicMan. Brand new instruments with bad push/push pots, awful tuners, plenty of problems.


    The 2018 stuff I’m seeing from Gibson, both Nashville & Memphis, does not look good. Poor buffing, terrible binding, etc. Really bums me out. I sincerely cheer for Gibson - I really do.

    Fender basses are usually a little rough. Just high action and poor pickup height, but nothing unforgivable.

    As far as factory setups, Gibson isn’t the worst. Some Squier stuff can be rough, but easily tweaked.

    Don’t even think about Carlo Robelli, though.....

    Honestly, a well made instrument with a quality Floyd Rose trem can be a pleasure to work with. I’ve never - and will never - own a Floyd. But, when dialed in and set correctly, a Floyd can be a thing of beauty. Schecter is doing a good job of this lately.

    Taylor acoustics seem to be consistently good. For the value, Epiphone is hard to beat, too.


    Not sure I correctly answered your question. Are you asking who ships the best set up instrument, or who builds the best instrument to set up?

    For dialing in an instrument correctly, it is hard to beat bolt on neck instruments. Being able to instantly
    tweak the neck angle with a shim is pretty great.
     
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  13. LeicaBoss

    LeicaBoss Tele-Holic

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    All very insightful. I think what I was wondering is - what are the brands that fall into the "generally well-built and problem free" and which are the "always something wrong with these things". I could imagine, for example, that you don't see a lot of new PRS guitars, Schecters, G&Ls coming in with problems born at the factory.
     
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  14. Artslap

    Artslap Tele-Afflicted

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    Does Tonewood exist? Or is it a myth?

    CP.
     
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  15. cwinn

    cwinn TDPRI Member

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    You’re dead on with the “not a lot of problems from the factory” with PRS, Schecters and G&L. Those guys seem to get it right. Schecter is one of the best - and I wish I liked their instruments more. Just not my style.

    Rickenbachers always seem to need to be touched up. For Gibsons, I think most people spending that much for a guitar anticipate having it set up to their spec. That being said, I’ve barely tweaked my Les Paul since I got it.

    Taylors are relatively well set up, and it isn’t hard to work on them.
     
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  16. cwinn

    cwinn TDPRI Member

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    I am definitely not the guy to ask, as I won’t offer an opinion. Tone is too subjective for me to offer an opinion.

    Does body wood drastically affect the sound of a Strat? Don’t ask me.....

    I’ve had a customer ask me “What bridge pickup should I put in my
    Strat to get that 1969-1972
    Strat-into-an-Ampeg sound?”

    I didn’t know what to tell him, either.



    I only discuss body woods if I’m doing an original build for a customer. And even then, I leave it up to them with only guiding suggestions and soft opinions.
     
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2017
  17. cwinn

    cwinn TDPRI Member

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    You guys are being very polite.
     
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  18. LongLiveRock54

    LongLiveRock54 Tele-Holic

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    Do manufacturers like Gibson and Fender have a factory standard spec (min max) they should be setting up the guitar to (action and pickup height, etc..) before it leaves the factory?


    Bought a new 2016 Strat at the Nashville GC and it was between a White one and a Sunburst one. Luckily the S/B one “felt better” to me right off the rack. To me, the White one would need more tweaking so I passed on it.


    Also, I got a 2013 new Gibson SG shipped from the GC store in Mobile. When I got it, it had the GC set up checklist and all the items were checked such as the action height. Pulled it out of the case and the action was so high (and tuned to pitch) you could drive a truck under it.


    I can understand a little variation, but I would think there would be a standard tolerance of acceptability before these things are shipped to a store.
     
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  19. cwinn

    cwinn TDPRI Member

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    There is a standard for manufacturers for the instrument to leave the factory. At Gibson, there are set string heights & pickup heights. All of these settings are a bit high for the average player, as the instrument will sit in storage & shipping prior to being unboxed & hung on a wall at GC or SA. You don’t want to deck the tailpiece at the factory &
    have a buzzing LP at the store. Set it a touch high, and the neck movement during shipping won’t affect it so much.

    Both major stores should have a tech on hand to tweak a new instrument for you. I can’t tell you how many times a salesperson came up to me with a guitar, saying “This guy is going to buy if we can drop the action a touch.” As the repair tech, I take care of my salesmen because they drive business to me. I want to help them make a sale, and it is easy to tweak a new instrument on the spot to make a sale.

    The idea of an instrument going through a GC checklist is laughable. At best.

    I had a very well informed customer who came in with factory specs for his Strat partscaster. He wanted 4/32 on the bass side pickup heights, and 3/32 on the treble side height. I always liked customers that new exactly what they wanted.
     
  20. LongLiveRock54

    LongLiveRock54 Tele-Holic

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    Yeah, unfortunately that means the set up at the Gibson factory was piss poor, unless the GC Tech actually raised the action and set up the SG for Slide Use... :D

    Actually, I think we have a pretty good tech at our local GC. Very friendly and outgoing. Even though I never need to use his services, as I do my own set ups, I hope he sticks around for a long time.
     
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