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Small setup adjustments = big results

Discussion in 'Telecaster Discussion Forum' started by Ignatius, Jul 17, 2009.

  1. Ignatius

    Ignatius Tele-Afflicted

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    It never ceases to amaze me, and I was reminded of it tonight - what might seem to be a small setup adjustment can make a huge difference.

    I have a Tele that I had raised the action on some time ago. I was playing it earlier this evening and I noticed that even though there were no strings buzzing, it just kind of went 'thud'. No spank/liveliness/zing. I looked closer and decided the action was probably too high. I looked further and realized there was too much relief in the neck. A quarter turn of the truss rod later and a very minor tweak on the saddles, and it's an entirely different guitar. Total transformation. It was twanging more like a Tele should, it felt and played more "right", and it just sounded better overall.

    I know this seems like an obvious point to make and maybe even a waste of a post, but it's just a reminder that it's the small stuff that can make a big difference.
     
  2. Nash

    Nash Tele-Holic

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    Yeah. My tele was nearly perfectly intonated, or so I thought. I was having trouble playing some harmonics so a few days ago I got the tuner out and set the intonation, less than 1/2 turn per saddle later and I get wonderful harmonics all over the fret board. I've never played a guitar as vibrant as my tele is right now. It really is amazing how such little things can so drastically change a guitar. Just goes to show that you can't judge a guitar until it has been properly setup.
     
  3. surfoverb

    surfoverb Doctor of Teleocity

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    pickup height is very sensitive as well
     
  4. BoogerRooger

    BoogerRooger Poster Extraordinaire

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    I assume pup height on individual guitars depends on many factors.

    Are there any general indicators of right and wrong pup height?

    What are things to look (listen) out for?
     
  5. sax4blues

    sax4blues Friend of Leo's

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    Thanks to TDPRI I now take ownership of my guitar set up and I'm no longer scarred to make adjustments, even the mysterious truss rod. And I'm with you, turn an average instrument into a great instrument with a little patience and tweaking.
     
  6. brokenjoe

    brokenjoe Friend of Leo's

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    I think because a tele is such a durable instrument, sometimes we forget about the little things, and just how sensitive they really are.
     
  7. Armo

    Armo Tele-Holic

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    Always wondered why my Tele was more comfortable than my Strat. Thought it was the neck profile. However after 2 days playing with the saddles, a little higher here a little lower there etc., it now plays like a dream. Saddly I still don't.
     
  8. surfoverb

    surfoverb Doctor of Teleocity

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    nope...whatever sounds good. Supposedly you don't want too close or you'll get wolf tones or stratitis but I keep mine pretty close around 1.5mm for the neck PUP with no problems.
     
  9. BoogerRooger

    BoogerRooger Poster Extraordinaire

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    Don't know what wolf tones are...But it sounds cool!

    I've adjusted my pups so that the volume is the same when I switch from neck to bridge or back. I've noticed the bridge pup gets more distorted than the neck. The same thing happens on my 2 Squier Teles, one with P90s and the CV. is this usual? If I want more break up from the neck do I have to raise it so it sounds louder?
     
  10. superbadj

    superbadj Poster Extraordinaire

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    raising any pickup will, to a point, increase output just a bit. But it also affects clarity. And if you raise it too high and then strum right over the pickup, you may cause distortion within the pickup itself. And, you may cause the strings to hit polepieces and that sorta thing. So it's a game. up, down, again until it's right.
     
  11. surfco

    surfco Tele-Afflicted

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    Pup height is important too.
     
  12. boris bubbanov

    boris bubbanov Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

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    And some guitars seem to have a much wider "groove spot" as well. Some guitars can be adjusted all over the place and still sound about as good. The next guitar sounds good in one tiny, hard to maintain spot but if you find that spot, you are a happy man indeed.

    This makes it so hard to find the right guitar while just shopping, because they don't want you setting up guitars in there. But I've been known to "fix" em just a bit before buying, if I'm almost certain I will buy it anyway.

    ++

    This is a great thread, but I hope it doesn't start everyone chasing their truss rods. I don't touch it unless I have to, as once you do, you best put the guitar down and go back to it the next day. Let the adjustment take hold. Wood needs time to respond.
     
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