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Making A Tele Easier To Play

Discussion in 'Telecaster Discussion Forum' started by TFSpaniel, Aug 29, 2013.

  1. kennl

    kennl Tele-Afflicted

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    Parker and PRS feature bigger frets than a vintage Tele. This allows the player to get some fingertip under the string for bending. String gauge will not make much difference on a guitar with low action and "fretless wonder" frets.
     
  2. xtrajerry

    xtrajerry Doctor of Teleocity

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    All this dropping string gauge without addressing why the guitar is stiff.. I don't get it.. Plenty of info on setting up a guitar here and on YouTube. Don't get to hung up on Fenders numbers or string height and relief. Best setups I've had done were one by guys that didn't measure anything.. Just a hair of relief and lower the strings as far as you can without buzzing.. If thats not low enough look for frets that may be proud, then glue them down.. Still got a problem find the offending fret and give it a quick l&c or do the whole fretboard. Honestly I've never had to go past pushing down a proud fret but I like my action on the high side so Incan bang away..
     
  3. Marshall_Stack

    Marshall_Stack Friend of Leo's

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    Really? I have found the opposite - not that I am any kind of expert.
    Almost all new guitars I pick up at stores play sharp in the first 3 frets - worse on the lower strings - gradually improving with the unwound.
    I had always assumed that slots were not cut deeply enough as a fail safe against buzzing. The owner can get them fixed if they want - but the manufacturer doesn't have to worry about a bunch of returns.
     
  4. xtrajerry

    xtrajerry Doctor of Teleocity

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    Like I stated somewhere else on this thead, I don't take measurements.. If it feels good I go to next step.. If the nut is a concern I fret a note at the 3rd fret and look to see that the string just skims over the first fret wire.. If the string is laying on the fret the nut groove is to low if there is a gap it's to high.. Thinking about this I did have a guitar, Telebration La Cab where the string was high but that one the nut wasn't cut at all on the B & E strings.. It was if the quitting bell rang and the worker just walked away.. IMO that was a QC issue more than a basic setup issue.

    All guitars will play slightly sharp up top, the way I work around this is by tuning at the 5th fret. I never noticed this unti I bought a digital tuner, when I tune by ear it was always fine. Google tempered tuning for the theory.. Every guitarist should understand this, IMO doesn't get talked about enough. Jerry Donahue wrote a great article for Symour Duncan's website about this too, Google Jerry Donahue "Tempered tuning".
     
  5. burtwangcaster

    burtwangcaster Tele-Holic

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    I like this...:idea:
     
  6. Marshall_Stack

    Marshall_Stack Friend of Leo's

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    Wow. The stuff I don't know could fill several 4Tb hard drives.
     
  7. Marshall_Stack

    Marshall_Stack Friend of Leo's

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    Jerry - thanks - this has driven me crazy for 30 years - and there is a simple solution.

    Adjust the middle saddle's intonation screw so that the "D" string's 12th fret note reads slightly flat of the 12th fret harmonic on your tuner. Then, check out the "G" string's 12th fretted note. This note should be only MARGINALLY sharp of the harmonic. Are you with me? Now tune your guitar, with the open "G" string reading somewhere between A440 and A439 (so that the 12th FRETTED note is at A440). Tune the other strings as one would normally. Final adjustments can be made by ear when you compare first position E major and E minor chords. The E major's G# note (third string, 1st fret) should no longer seem sharp in the chord; and the open "G" string should still be perceptively in tune within the E minor chord.

    Here's the link: http://www.seymourduncan.com/support/choosing-installing/tech-tips/saddle_up_your/
     
  8. TeleTim911

    TeleTim911 Friend of Leo's

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    Two things I've found over the years for easier string bending are 1) bigger frets, 2) 12" or greater neck radius.

    Trying to bend strings on a 7.5" radius is to me is near impossible due to arthritis and other medical problems. I like the 12" radius personally.
     
  9. xFallenx

    xFallenx Friend of Leo's

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    I use .009 - .042 with a low action and I bend like crazy. I tried 10s for awhile it just seems 9s are where my heart and fingers paradise reside :)
     
  10. xtrajerry

    xtrajerry Doctor of Teleocity

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    Bigger frets and a flatter board work, i like the tactile feel of a vintage board with 6105 frets. Raising the action may be helpful for you too, for me that's been the obstacle that hampers bending. Having a couple guitars that are setup differently might be a way of working around your arthritis.
     
  11. xtrajerry

    xtrajerry Doctor of Teleocity

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    Yeah I had to take a few moments to wrap my head around how simple things are sometimes..
     
  12. TFSpaniel

    TFSpaniel TDPRI Member

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    When I asked the question I did not realize that a myriad of solutions would result.
    Think I will sell my guitars and brush up on my trumpet playing. LOL!
    Just kidding. Thanks for all of the responses. You guys are really cool. I am a bit confused with some of the responses but will begin by changing the strings to 9's(maybe Rev. Willy Fines) and see what develops.

    Again thanks for your(plural) timely ideas. :D
     
  13. Terry O'Malley

    Terry O'Malley Tele-Holic

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    I agree, having more guitars is a cure for most things..... Except GAS. There is no known cure for the GAS....;)
     
  14. old goat

    old goat Tele-Holic

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    What may be confusing you is that people are addressing two separate problems and not necessarily telling you which one they are talking about: 1) bending and 2) fretting. Setup is not going to make a difference in bending--string gauge will. Setup will make a big difference in fretting, as will gauge. Keep in mind that if you set up for low, easy to fret action you have to pick with a light touch--the harder you pick the greater distance the strings vibrate and the more likely they are to buzz. Obviously strength and calluses help both things but in the meantime ignore people who tell you to man up and play what works for you.
    Just understand that everything is compromise--you do give up something in tone--if what you want is a big tone--to make bending and fretting easier. What works for a jazz player is not going to work for blues for example.
     
  15. Phelonious Ponk

    Phelonious Ponk Tele-Afflicted

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    A) What kind of Tele?

    There are not a myriad of solutions, but there is a lot of bad advice in this thread. Get professional help. Find out who the best set-up guy is within a reasonable drive from home. Call him. Make an appointment to come by. Take him your guitar. You want to do lots of bending? You want really easy action? Have him level and dress the frets, set the relief, then set it up for 9s. Go pick it up when he's done. On your way home, swing by Home Depot and buy a set of feeler gauges. Now using this:http://www.fender.com/support/articles/telecaster-setup-guide/, tweak until it feels good and you can play as hard as you play without significant buzz ("significant" = bothers you).

    Still too stiff? Switch to 8s and tweak again. Too loose? Switch to 10s and tweak again.

    Why did I ask what kind of Tele? Because if you did all of the above and it still feels stiff, I'll bet the farm it's vintage frets.

    P
     
  16. Edwin

    Edwin Banned

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  17. xtrajerry

    xtrajerry Doctor of Teleocity

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    Gotta disagree with you comments regarding setups and bending, right off the bat if action is higher it will be physically easier to bend.. getting further up the neck if the guitar is not setup correctly fretting out becomes an issue.. Is there enough fall away? How about neck angle? Do the strings follow the radius of the board? It's fine to go to lighter guage if that's what you like but that doesn't address problems with the guitar that are making it stiff to play. I like my action high so I can bang away at the strings while I strum and so I can feel the strings as I fret them.. In my case light strings are actually harder to play because I can't feel them and I my fingers get stuck underneath them doing deep bends.. Light strings and low action is even worse.
     
  18. old goat

    old goat Tele-Holic

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    Now we've thrown in a third issue--fretting out--to confuse the OP. Things like frets needing leveling and neck relief too flat may cause buzzing with the action not low enough, but the OP isn't complaining about that. Neck angle will be an issue if the action is too high with the saddles all the way down, but the OP isn't complaining about that. One thing we haven't considered is the shape and thickness of the neck--I don't know how the OP's tele compares to the PRS's and Parkers he likes. Changing necks is expensive. You like high action and heavy strings. Nothing wrong with that but neither is going to help the OP's problem. A set of lighter strings costs a few bucks and 10 minutes of time. Silly not to try that first. I can tell you that I have no trouble bending the 10's on my electrics, but the 13's on my Martin are a bear-and it's not the setup that's the problem.
    It's important in advising people to listen carefully to what they are saying and what they want. It may not be the same thing we want.
     
  19. MrTwang

    MrTwang Friend of Leo's

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    Since the OP said it plays perfectly - exactly the way he likes it - if he tunes down a tone, can't we rule out fret leveling, truss rod tweaking, shimming, action adjusting and most of the other stuff people have been suggesting. All he's done is reduced string tension by tuning down so surely the answer is simply lighter strings (which reduces tension whilst staying at the same pitch)?

    Besides, it's simple to try, non destructive and pretty cheap (the cost of a couple of sets of strings).
     
  20. blue metalflake

    blue metalflake Doctor of Teleocity

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    +1. Keep it simple
     
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