First Act Strat Slide Guitar UPDATE

Discussion in 'Other Guitars, other instruments' started by FenderGyrl, Mar 22, 2020.

  1. FenderGyrl

    FenderGyrl Friend of Leo's

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    After posting threads in the BadDog I was humbled by people posting that they admired my Set Up / Modding skills.

    I never looked at things from that angle. Someone mentioned that I should post some Slide Videos... I'm gonna look into doing that.

    So...
    This is where I ended up on the FA Strat Slide Set Up.

    I was lucky enough to kind of apprentice under a skilled slide player / guitar tech gentleman. He was an old man that spent years playing in Honky Tonks. Great Slide and Pedal Steel player. I learned about setting up a guitar based on your playing style / technique.

    I learned early on from him that even string guage choice..Heavy, Medium, Light... he made them all sound thru his amp. He adjusted his playing technique based on the guitar and strings he was playing. It blew my mind. He could make 9 guage string sound just as powerful as a 13 guage string. Same for the wound strings.

    My take away from being around him was that you could use 9 guage High E strings as well as a 13 or 15 guage High E string when playing slide based on your choice of your slide and playing technique / style.
     
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  2. FenderGyrl

    FenderGyrl Friend of Leo's

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    20200322_131003.jpg 20200322_131109.jpg 20200322_131052.jpg 20200322_131204.jpg Here we go...
     
  3. bettyseldest

    bettyseldest Friend of Leo's

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    Might I just say that I've got plenty of time on my hands and that I'm looking forward to this.
     
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  4. FenderGyrl

    FenderGyrl Friend of Leo's

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    Schaller Tuners from Germany...
    PITA to install...had these for years.
    Weird Size..surprised that they fit this guitar.
    20200322_131149.jpg
     
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  5. FenderGyrl

    FenderGyrl Friend of Leo's

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    So I kept reading and seeing vids about First Acts. Was surprised at the PUPS on these... and the necks.

    Nice wood... same with the body.
    As I wrote about in the original thread about this guitar...they need to be accessed as to what can be done with them. I didn't want to do loads of fret work on this one... I only worked on the fret sprout and straightened the neck.
    I did spot level the 2nd fret.

    The neck is solid...it still has a very slight bow which played into it being set up for slide.
    20200322_131109.jpg
     
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  6. FenderGyrl

    FenderGyrl Friend of Leo's

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    First things first:
    Broke the guitar down.
    Started on the neck.

    409 Spray.

    Plugged the screw holes where the old keys were.

    Fine sanded the back of the neck.
    Smoothed it out.

    Put the Shaller keys on it.
    Had to file the back key covers to get them to butt up against each other while still able to press against the wood.
    I seated the 3rd and 4th key. Had to file a little of the 2nd and 5th back covers to get them the fit right.

    Then did the 1st and 6th. I had to work on the back opening holes for the 1st and 6th keys to get the to fit right. I didn't have to file the back covers of the 1st and 6th, doing the back opening holes moved them enough. These types of keys are not easy to retrofit, But I was bound and determined to use these damn keys !!!
    20200322_131149.jpg
     
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  7. FenderGyrl

    FenderGyrl Friend of Leo's

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    Choose Your Weapon:
    This is trial and error.
    Some people have one thing that works for them, and they stick with it. Others use a variety of slides. You'll get a different tone from each type of slide.

    Metal, Glass, Ceramic, Plastic.
    Slides are all over the place.

    I've searched for them my whole life. I still look for them in thrift stores and flea markets. Over the years my tastes gave changed. From Metal Foghat sounds to Allman Bros Coricidan Glass...Jeff Beck Pyrex... Blues Men Copper ... Ceramic stuff - Joe Perry Aerosmith. Heck...I even went Lowell George Little Feet Thick Socket Wrench style...:eek:
    20200322_150454.jpg 20200322_150545.jpg
    The four at the bottom pic are what I'm using lately.
    Original Coricidin Bottle - Glass
    (My baby)
    A thick Pyrex slide for Harrison Tones
    A Thin Walled Chromer...Foghat tones
    And Brass Thin Wall...Mellow Blues
     
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  8. FenderGyrl

    FenderGyrl Friend of Leo's

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    I play with the slide on my third finger and mute with my 2nd behind the slide.
    I fingerpick 97% of the time.

    I palm mute like Derek Trucks...picking hand riding over and in front of the bridge.

    I had to cut down the saddle screws to not tear up my hand. This took a little time.

    Procedure:
    Take out the saddle Allen screws
    Tape off with 2 layers of Blue Painters tape...leave the area you are going to cut off exposed. I cut about 3/16ths off of each one.
    I put the taped off screw into a small vise. The tape will protect the threads. Then I use a Small Hack Saw with a metal cutting blade to cut the screw down. They come out pretty smooth where they are cut.
     
  9. FenderGyrl

    FenderGyrl Friend of Leo's

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    I then put the screws back into the removed saddle...and run the screws across a flat file.
    20200322_131003.jpg
    Since I'm not playing this guitar regular style as well as slide style, I wasn't worried about setting the harmonics.
    I measured the distance from the Nut to the middle of the 12th fret...then set the saddles at the same distance...they are in a straight line.
     
  10. FenderGyrl

    FenderGyrl Friend of Leo's

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    20200322_131052.jpg Let's talk Set Up:
    I took days to do this one.

    I started with a plan.
    As usual...
    First - I put 4 strings on it.
    2nd thru the 5th
    Tuned them to Open G
    B-G-D-G

    I planned going with Heavy Guage Strings... but not heavier than the neck could withstand...I didn't want to bow it again.

    I bought a set of Daddario Jazz Mediums...which are pretty beefy. In the past I have done a trick where I will move the strings up or down in the order...eliminating one or two of the supplied strings and buying singles to fill the gaps...based on what guage I need...

    Okay...that was a lot of info...
    Let's rewind...
    I started with 4 strings:
    2nd .. B String = 17
    3rd .. G String = 24 Wound
    4th .. D String = 30
    5th .. G String = 42

    Using these as my base set up ,
    I tuned them and set the Truss Rod to 1/16th gap relief at the 9th fret.
    Under the 5th string.

    When I was satisfied that the neck was fairly stable, I moved on to the Nut.
     
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2020
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  11. FenderGyrl

    FenderGyrl Friend of Leo's

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    I found a Nut that was decent.
    Cut properly.
    And most important:
    It gave me the height over the first fret.

    This distance is exactly 1/16th for every string.

    Meaning I have a 1/16th space from the bottom of each string to the top of the first fret.

    My objective:
    Keeping the neck fairly straight.
    I dont want it to look like a banana.
    1/16th Gap at the 1st fret
    1/16th Relief at the 9th fret
    3/32nds Gap at the 17th fret
    (Where the body and neck meet)
     
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2020
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  12. FenderGyrl

    FenderGyrl Friend of Leo's

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    On to the bridge saddles:
    I want my strings to be straight under the slide. I dont want a a lot of radius.

    I measure the distance from the bottom of each string to the 17th fret. I want 3/32nds spacing here.
     
  13. FenderGyrl

    FenderGyrl Friend of Leo's

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    I played the guitar with this set up for few days.

    I tried a 56 Low E string on the guitar.
    Didn't like it. Added too much pull to the neck. Took it off.
    I tried a 46 in the same slot...
    Didn't feel it either
    Hmmm,
    What to do...I was happy with the strings that were on it already.

    I added the 15 High E, and replaced the 17 B with a new string from the pack I bought. Yeah...its almost there..

    Should I replace the 24W with a new 26W from the pack... Nah...

    The 15 - 17 - 24W felt right with all 4 different slides.

    This is my secret...matching the strings to the Slide. The slide will affect EVERYTHING.

    Slide is heavy...you need a light touch,
    Or adjust your set up.
    Slide is light...need more pressure on the wound strings based on the slide material.

    And what about those Wolf Tones and rattles from the slide. Cause and effect.

    So I have my 1st thru 3rd.
    That leaves the wound D-G-D strings.

    Now I got creative.
    I was happy with the 30 D string, didn't see any reason to replace it with the 36 from the pack. Same with the 42 string in the 5th slot. Even tuned from A down to G it felt good.

    Now I just needed to figure out the 6th string.

    Playing in Open G is different than Open E. I go for a 50/50 sound.

    Playing clean with the Coricidin and Pyrex...think Harrison and Trucks.

    The bottom octaves = 2 Gs and 2 Ds...
    I pick them Memphis Style...plucking both Gs or both Ds while moving the slide...or pluck a D and G together...this works nice when distorted.

    I decided to put the 36 D string from the pack into the 6th slot.

    I ended up with:
    1 - D 13
    2 - B 17
    3 - G 24W
    4 - D 30
    5 - G 42
    6 - D 36

    Notice I still have a thin to thick difference between strings of the same note...
    A 24W G and a 42 G
    A 30 D and a 36 D


    Whew...hope this inspired someone to get into playing slide guitar
    FG
    :D
     
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2020
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  14. FenderGyrl

    FenderGyrl Friend of Leo's

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    Oh...
    Staggered Pole Pieces on the PUPS

    3/32nds spacing under the 3rd and 4th strings for all 3 PUPs
     
  15. idjster

    idjster VERY grateful member Silver Supporter

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    Nice thread! I tried the Lowell George thick socket too. Still didn't sound like Lowell George! :lol: Good work FenderGyrl!
     
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  16. richiek65

    richiek65 Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    Excellent report!
     
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  17. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    This is cool, I suddenly wanted to try slide again a few weeks ago and went looking for slides or materials to make some.
    I want a pinkie slide because due to chopping the tip off as a kid it's not usable for fretting but could hold a slide.
    Not so much to be a trad slide player but to add some to regular playing.
    Lots to think about though in terms of the material related to string gauge and touch.

    BTW I saw a coricidin bottle on ebay for like 70 bucks!
     
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  18. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    He's the slide I think of following.
    I love Duane style and have tried it but I doubt I'm learning that style.
     
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  19. FenderGyrl

    FenderGyrl Friend of Leo's

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    Lastly
    When I deem a guitar FenderGyrl approved...
    Its worthy of my coveted 8 Ball Decal.

    Kind of my trademark.
    Now its time to get behind the 8 Ball and play this bad boy.

    As of yet...Its Un-named :twisted:
    Any suggestions?
     
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2020
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  20. Jlwctn

    Jlwctn Tele-Meister

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    Pocket
     
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