New tele feels very stiff. Setup question

57joonya

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I had a 63 custom shop with the threaded steel saddles .
I was never crazy about those saddles,
So I got a set of Glendale brass compensated saddles . That was an immediate ,different slinkier feel for me .
 

Winky

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My Godin Montreal Premiere semi-hollow feels slinkier and somehow softer than my Telecaster. It has a fatter neck, heavier strings, and a higher action, so I might have expected the opposite. I put the difference down to highly polished SS frets on the Godin, Vs the nickel on the Tele. But it could be something as strange as the thicker neck simply making me expect a stiffer feel, so when it isn't as "bad" as I expect (subconsciously) I interpret that as a relative lack of "stiffness".
 

KokoTele

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The thickness of the neck can have everything to do with it. I doubt those 2 truss rods are different, in basic specifications and wood varies more than steel in my experience. I'd suggest the relief of these necks is a sort of tug-of-war and your older, thicker neck had an easier time contending with the tension from the rod. The newer neck isn't as likely to be capable of fighting the rod with the same vigor, and thus the rod "wins" the struggle and that's IMO a thumbnail explanation for why thicker necked guitars feel right when you might imagine it would be the other way around.

Having said that, there's just a natural degree of variation, one neck to the next on these and you just so happen to have gotten one of the stiffer feeling ones. The funny thing is, the next guy will insist on the added stiffness - an overly compliant feel is desired by some, while others don't want that at all.


1649817896677.png
 

Nick Fanis

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Your guitar needs a good setup.
From the questions you are asking I conclude that you don't have the necessary experience and skills to do it.
Take it to someone who knows how to do it right.
 

Fullcircle

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Your guitar needs a good setup.
From the questions you are asking I conclude that you don't have the necessary experience and skills to do it.
Take it to someone who knows how to do it right.
I know how to, and have the tools to check and adjust relief, saddles etc. I’ve never owned a guitar that had or needed to have nut work to the best of my knowledge. As I said, I just play ‘em. When they stop working properly I hand them over, which is rare.

I’m more asking if guitars somewhat “settle” (climate, play etc) and whether it’s more that or just getting used to the new thing in my hand. Probably more that, but a thorough paid setup may be necessary too.
 

schmee

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Other than adjusting the relief mentioned above. Set up your nut slot depth so the strings have very little clearance to fret 1 when capo'd at fret 3. Like .005" max.
 

Happy Enchilada

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If the nut is not cut right, I'd replace it with a GraphTech part ($12 every day on Amazon). That's generally the first thing I do for all my electrics, and it helps a lot of things run smoother. Strings last longer, more sustain, and no futzing with pencil lead in the nutslots.

Second, make sure your relief is OK as per previous posters. And get your intonation dialed in.

Third, what gage of strings are you using? I used to be a 10s guy for decades, and then I discovered 9.5s. The heavens parted, bends were effortless, and the guitar played so much easier. Worth trying.

Last, I have an old soft flannel cloth that I put a dab of Dr. Duck's Axe Wax on and wipe down the strings sparingly before and after long playing sessions. Your fingers will FLY over the fretboard and your strings will dig it.

1649865091550.png
Good luck!
 

Nick Fanis

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I’m more asking if guitars somewhat “settle”

No they don't.
There is absolutely no reason for any guitar that is set up right (fret leveling and crowning,relief,action and nut slots) not to play "like butter".
There are no guitars with inherent "stiffness" unless there are SERIOUSLY messed up construction wise (something impossible in the age of cad/cam)
 

Fullcircle

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If the nut is not cut right, I'd replace it with a GraphTech part ($12 every day on Amazon). That's generally the first thing I do for all my electrics, and it helps a lot of things run smoother. Strings last longer, more sustain, and no futzing with pencil lead in the nutslots.

Second, make sure your relief is OK as per previous posters. And get your intonation dialed in.

Third, what gage of strings are you using? I used to be a 10s guy for decades, and then I discovered 9.5s. The heavens parted, bends were effortless, and the guitar played so much easier. Worth trying.

Last, I have an old soft flannel cloth that I put a dab of Dr. Duck's Axe Wax on and wipe down the strings sparingly before and after long playing sessions. Your fingers will FLY over the fretboard and your strings will dig it.

View attachment 973203 Good luck!
9.5 gauge strings here too. Love ‘em.
 

Fullcircle

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No they don't.
There is absolutely no reason for any guitar that is set up right (fret leveling and crowning,relief,action and nut slots) not to play "like butter".
There are no guitars with inherent "stiffness" unless there are SERIOUSLY messed up construction wise (something impossible in the age of cad/cam)
So that’s what I’m wondering. If it’s inherently stiff feeling. My old cs 52 tell just feels like it’s fighting me less.

May be that the frets are lower from use over the years but everything else is the same. Will measure action and relief more closely later today and report back but close enough to be essentially “same” is my bet
 

Fullcircle

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Lower / worn frets will actually make the guitar stiffer :)
Well ok. If that's the case, then it is a setup issue with my new one, assuming everything else is the same. Both have (had) the exact sale 6105 frets. I wouldn't say the old one is completely worn, but there are definitely some divots and wear around first position.
 

Thebluesman

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So that’s what I’m wondering. If it’s inherently stiff feeling. My old cs 52 tell just feels like it’s fighting me less.

May be that the frets are lower from use over the years but everything else is the same. Will measure action and relief more closely later today and report back but close enough to be essentially “same” is my bet
The set up is the cause for discomfort [stiffness felt]!-it does not fit your 'musical preferences.
 

Thebluesman

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Well ok. If that's the case, then it is a setup issue with my new one, assuming everything else is the same. Both have (had) the exact sale 6105 frets. I wouldn't say the old one is completely worn, but there are definitely some divots and wear around first position.
the fret divots, grooves will only worsen with playing use.+ ignored for too long=re fret.[expensive repair]
 

Thebluesman

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lighter/heavier gauge strings only change the strings 'tension' now felt...the actual action/string height remains unchanged until /unless you lower/raise the saddle height.& lower[file to new depth] the string slots at the nut.
 

Thebluesman

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So that’s what I’m wondering. If it’s inherently stiff feeling. My old cs 52 tell just feels like it’s fighting me less.

May be that the frets are lower from use over the years but everything else is the same. Will measure action and relief more closely later today and report back but close enough to be essentially “same” is my bet
The relief is different!!!it will be felt....
 

Thebluesman

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Hello all.

Just got a new tele a few weeks ago and am still getting to know it. I don't buy guitars very often (or take them to luthiers for setups either for that matter) but I'm having trouble adjusting.

A -i got a nice Custom Shop '59 reissue to accompany my CS 52 for more of a skinny neck, twangy steel saddle sound for something different. Both have the same string gauge and frets...well they DID have the same frets, as my old one is getting a bit worn after 12 years. Problem is, the new one just feels stiff. That description's as subjective as it could possibly get, I know, but it just seems to feel and sound...rigid compared to the older one. Not necessarily talking about tension. String bending is about the same on either but just an overall feel. Kinda like a brand new pair of shoes feels compared to a similar pair you've been wearing for awhile.

b]-Does it just need to settle? The shop I bought it from does a good job of setting them up initially, but it's probably not as thorough of a setup as you'd get if you paid a luthier - probably just strings, relief, action and intonation is all. From my general setup perspective, nothing feels out of whack...relief seems minimal/normal, nut doesn't seem too high/low, etc...but I don't know for sure as I don't cycle through a lot of guitars.

c-Would I benefit from taking it to someone to give it a thorough work over? Again, little experience with this - especially on a brand-new guitar. Most of mine are either great right away or get better over time and a lot of minor tweaking on my own. If so, and this may be really dumb, but would it be beneficial to take my older one along and see if the luthier can feel what i feel and try to figure out what needs to be done to the new one to make it feel the same?

Big questions that are probably impossible to answer on a board like this, but I'm in the dark here. Appreciate the feedback.
a-the overall set up does not suit.
b-the set up required should be steered towards your own musical preferences.
c- find someone who can set up to suit you,.....your unique specific musical requirements.
 




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