Gibson Guitar Board: High tailpiece and wrong neck angle? - Gibson Guitar Board

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High tailpiece and wrong neck angle?

#1 User is offline   sbpark 

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Posted 15 July 2017 - 01:06 PM

Recently pickup up a used, but mint 2012 SG Standard. Not a mark on the thing, film still on the pickguard, all stock and original. Couldn't bond wth the stock 480R/498T pickups despite giving them a chance, messing with pickup heights, amp settings, etc. Went with some SD Seth Lovers and a StewMac Golden Age harness (I'm sure the 500k pots also made a difference compared to the origina stock 300k pots). Either way the guitar sounds fantastic with the new pickups. Then I discovered that people like the tailpiece as low as possible, and a high tailpiece means an incorrectly set neck angle. I have my tailpiece set so the strings are just missing touching the back of the bridge, resulting in about a quarter of the studs threads being visible above the body.. I tried "tone wrapping" the strings around the tailpiece to see if that improved or changed the sound, and got the tailpiece down to the body and the strings still cleared the back of the bridge, but to my surprise the guitar lost some clarity and chime, and had sort of a mid-range bump that was not pleasing. Pickup height was identical, strings were brand new with the tone wrapped and regularly strung tailpiece. I put the guitar back to the way it was previously not tone wrapping the strings around the tailpiece and the guitar sounds great again. Lots of warmth and chime, full and round and woody in the middle and neck positions, spanky and articulate on the bridge, with great response to pick attack and dynamics.

The guitar is also set-up great. Action is surprisingly low at 4/64" on the low E and 3/64" on the high E with 0.008" of relief in the neck with no buzzing when the guitar is plugged in and the guitar feels great. (Usually I prefer slightly higher action like I have on my Telecaster, but on this guitar the lower action just feels "right".

This findings got me thinking...If you have a vintage style Tele and raise the saddles you can for sure hear an improvement in the guitars resonance and increased volume when the guitar is played unplugged. Banjo players go for higher action for increased volume and projection. So what do may Gibson players feel that a lower tailpiece is more desirable? And does a higher tailpiece in the example of my guitar really mean that the neck angle is off from factory spec? I'm not super upon Gibson electrics. My thing are Fender Tells and Gibson acoustics, so the world of Gibson electrics is new to me, and just looking to get schooled on the topic and learn something and expand my knowledge base. Here's a picture of the the SG, and thank's to anyone who replies!

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#2 User is offline   rct 

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Posted 15 July 2017 - 02:11 PM

Since 1972 or thereabouts, all of my Gibsons have had the tailpiece all the way down. I've never cared about strings touching the back of the bridge. I've never had a problem with the sound of my guitars, and to the best of my knowledge neither has anyone that has used them. Literally dozens and dozens of guitars in my whole life, and I've always marveled at the differences some folks claim about a 64th here or a 32 there. I do believe that with good focus and a decent room one could probably discern differences based on somewhat small changes to things. But at the volumes these things are used and the context, it isn't possible to attribute changes in "sound" or "tone" to where the tailpiece is in relation to the bridge.

Top wrapping is something every guitar player does at some point, me included in the mid-70s. No difference in sound or anything else, it's just a matter of taste.

Compared to the measurements I see in these forums, my guitars have gargantuan action. I never measure, never have. I set them to comfort, generally higher than most like, but not ridiculously Betts high, if you've ever been lucky enough to play one of his. Plugged in, higher strings get further from the pickups, giving the pickups a better view of the field of the string. It makes for longer hang time on bends. At least, that's the dinner table wisdom about it. I just find low strings are not a joy to bash at for four sets, low strings make it difficult to play and focus on having a good time with a guitar.

That's been my experience. Good luck with the guitar, and I hope this stuff doesn't have you pulling your hair out over time!

rct
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#3 User is offline   rct 

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Posted 15 July 2017 - 02:13 PM

And no, how high the tailpiece is is not an indicator of a bad neck angle. There's a buncha stuff goes into that, all of it to do with straight edges at the join fret.

rct
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#4 User is offline   sbpark 

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Posted 15 July 2017 - 03:18 PM

View Postrct, on 15 July 2017 - 02:11 PM, said:

Since 1972 or thereabouts, all of my Gibsons have had the tailpiece all the way down. I've never cared about strings touching the back of the bridge. I've never had a problem with the sound of my guitars, and to the best of my knowledge neither has anyone that has used them. Literally dozens and dozens of guitars in my whole life, and I've always marveled at the differences some folks claim about a 64th here or a 32 there. I do believe that with good focus and a decent room one could probably discern differences based on somewhat small changes to things. But at the volumes these things are used and the context, it isn't possible to attribute changes in "sound" or "tone" to where the tailpiece is in relation to the bridge.

Top wrapping is something every guitar player does at some point, me included in the mid-70s. No difference in sound or anything else, it's just a matter of taste.

Compared to the measurements I see in these forums, my guitars have gargantuan action. I never measure, never have. I set them to comfort, generally higher than most like, but not ridiculously Betts high, if you've ever been lucky enough to play one of his. Plugged in, higher strings get further from the pickups, giving the pickups a better view of the field of the string. It makes for longer hang time on bends. At least, that's the dinner table wisdom about it. I just find low strings are not a joy to bash at for four sets, low strings make it difficult to play and focus on having a good time with a guitar.

That's been my experience. Good luck with the guitar, and I hope this stuff doesn't have you pulling your hair out over time!

rct


Thanks for the thought out reply. Much appreciated. I'm not losing sleep over it at all. Just was curious. I tend to prefer higher action on my Telecasters because I do love to bend, do pedal steel licks, etc., and the guitars just feel better me that way. This SG though seems to feel it's best with low action and for now I'll just go with it and see what happens.
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#5 User is offline   Twang Gang 

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Posted 15 July 2017 - 05:46 PM

A high tailpiece does not mean the neck angle is set incorrectly so don't worry about that. Gibson has used primarily two bridges the ABR-1 and what is referred to as the Nashville bridge. The ABR-1 is the older style, and it is narrower than a Nashville. This allows you to take the tailpiece all the way down to the body, and the strings still do not touch the back of the bridge. Since the Nashville is a little wider you have to raise the tailpiece to keep the strings from touching the back of the bridge.

Whether or not strings touching the back of the bridge is important is certainly up for debate. As RCT says he's had the tailpiece down regardless for many years and it doesn't negatively impact his sound. I did the same thing for years and only moved some tailpieces up after I read Gibson's recommendation to do so when the guitar has a Nashville bridge.

No hard and fast rules other than set it as you like for the sound and action that you prefer.

Nice looking SG by the way and hope you enjoy it for a long time to come. [thumbup]
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#6 User is offline   Golden 

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Posted 16 July 2017 - 02:27 AM

"how high the tailpiece is is not an indicator of a bad neck angle."


Its specifically a difference in degree tolerance of the set neck joint. We will simply have to disagree. Other factors are in play -bridge, frets etc. Its a factor and the most important one. And we will have to disagree about the strings hitting the back of the bridge with the ST tightened all the way down too while hitting the bridge. But I respect your "opinion" which by the way is at odds with the majority? Does the 17 degree break angle matter? [confused]
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#7 User is offline   Golden 

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Posted 16 July 2017 - 02:46 AM

"A high tailpiece does not mean the neck angle is set incorrectly so don't worry about that."


It "could" indicate various issues but at the end of that check sequence is the "neck joint"

Does it make a difference is really the question since you can achieve, low action, good fret work/nut bridge and then with the 17 degree break angle the bridge will be high or not? Theres a "expected" difference in tolerance. Thats why its called "tolerance" within the specs of which the CS are closest aside from using a ABR. The ABR and Nashville make a difference also due to bridge width. The difference may be none, slight or for sure high. Does it make a difference then, perhaps but its hard to discern. The string on the saddles vibrates on both sides of the saddle just the same as it does when you play a harmonic node on any string. That is the reason you may or may not want to keep the strings off the back of the bridge. So to say there is no affect created by choice of stoptail height is incorrect. How much it is perceived is another matter. Same with the 17 degree break angle for string tension and on the nut/headstock.
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#8 User is offline   Golden 

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Posted 16 July 2017 - 03:40 AM

Or you are talking "relevance" to optimal specs set for good reason. But at some point the difference in relevance is relevant to perceived tone and this varies from player to player.

Heres the issue someone at some point arrived at optimal specs which was a perception probably agreed upon and resulting in a historic design the Les Paul. Look at this in another vein of thinking, does it make a difference if I slightly alter the body or make them all three piece backs no one piece mahogany. You can perceive a difference?

So to make a long story short Gibson came up this these specs and clearly the guitar was and is well received. So how much can you deviate from these specs where this becomes relevant when? At some point you no longer have what you started with?

And further there really are some facts to this optimal performance and the specs for sure.


I mean who you gonna listen to here? Gibson right, but I hear you all relevant points and questions.

Or you could say well, Epi does this and ESP does that and blah blah blah and they have a comparable product. And then for example Ibanez makes a comparable LP product and then Jay Turser TOO.

And I could tell you a story, guy comes into my shop and I buy a LP Jay Turser from him which played and sounded great. In fact a friend comes in who plays a Jay Turser has to have the guitar, it really played well and had a "perfect" string path and I played around with the electronics.

So at some point relevance is relevant, moral of that story. You can also isolate the string path Nut to Bridge locked. [flapper] Just saying
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#9 User is online   DiamondJig 

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Posted 16 July 2017 - 04:15 AM

To me the big difference in the height of the tail piece is in string tension I find it easier to bend with the tail piece higher than lower as if I went from 10's to 9's
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#10 User is offline   Golden 

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Posted 16 July 2017 - 05:06 AM

Quote

To me the big difference in the height of the tail piece is in string tension I find it easier to bend with the tail piece higher than lower as if I went from 10's to 9's



I hear you imo thats why Gibson arrived at 17 degrees. That said I believe we all agree people feel differently about this as with a Trem, compensated bridges on a LP etc.


You know at some point though we have to ask, what are the optimal specs and who should we believe and why? [biggrin]


This thread reminds me of the book "Zen and the art of motorcycle maintenance". We can call this one "Enlightened Logic and the Art of Guitar Maintenance". I agree I'll be damned if I know why some of these specs came about like 17 degrees and not 15 or 16 for optimal consensus to who? [biggrin] One might ask what does a 17 degree angle look like and how do you know your at 17 and not some other close approximation? So at some point while strictly at 17 is not required but at some point as you and I agree this becomes something other than the intended effect and in both our cases desired. But the tail wont make a difference with this if for example the tail is decked or 3/8th off the body.
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#11 User is offline   Golden 

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Posted 16 July 2017 - 05:32 AM

Quote

So at some point while strictly at 17 is not required but at some point as you and I agree this becomes something other than the intended effect and in both our cases desired. But the tail wont make a difference with this if for example the tail is decked or 3/8th off the body.


So in effect a steep break angle that hits the bridge will lock the string at the saddle point in hypothesis imo. A more drastic drop clearing the bridge creates more string tension , less angle less tension imo. For example look at trap tails

However the difference then becomes sustain? And then we arrive at the point of...does the decked tail equate to more sustain and does 1/8 or 3/8s make a difference or is there any? Its non sequitur if Traps or compensated bridges sound very good thats an affirmative.
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#12 User is offline   Golden 

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Posted 16 July 2017 - 06:11 AM

So anyway in sequence, if you go back in sequence the shallower the neck angle, the lower the bridge, the lower the stop can go.

I think the relationship is more important than exactly where the stoptail sits within reason. It seems logical that the more downward force combined with the bridge height will affect the sound transmitted to the body, and the higher the bridge and pressure less.
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#13 User is offline   rct 

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Posted 16 July 2017 - 08:44 PM

View PostGolden, on 16 July 2017 - 02:27 AM, said:

"how high the tailpiece is is not an indicator of a bad neck angle."

Its specifically a difference in degree tolerance of the set neck joint. We will simply have to disagree.


Lots of people have their stops up and they have no issues with neck angle. I have mine all the way down, always have, always will, and I have no issues with neck angle. Please pick one.

View PostGolden, on 16 July 2017 - 02:27 AM, said:

Other factors are in play -bridge, frets etc.


Yes, I know. You must have missed: "There's a buncha stuff goes into that, all of it to do with straight edges at the join fret."

View PostGolden, on 16 July 2017 - 02:27 AM, said:

Its a factor and the most important one.


The stop bar has no idea what the neck angle is, it is fully cokk blocked by the bridge. He might have an inkling, much like the saddle on an acoustic is first to know of the need for a re-set.

View PostGolden, on 16 July 2017 - 02:27 AM, said:

And we will have to disagree about the strings hitting the back of the bridge with the ST tightened all the way down too while hitting the bridge. But I respect your "opinion" which by the way is at odds with the majority?


My "opinion" comes from playing the guitar since 1971, dozens of Tunamatic/Stopbars. All of them always all the way down. Never lost a gig, failed an audition, wrecked a recording, or had anyone hand me back one of my guitars and say it wasn't right because the stop bar was all the way down. If your "opinion", or anyone elses for that matter differs, please up the experiences you have had that have given you that "opinion", tell me of the failed gigs and wrecked records and the embarrassment of others using your guitar.

View PostGolden, on 16 July 2017 - 02:27 AM, said:

Does the 17 degree break angle matter? [confused]


Matter to what? What the guitar is used for by most people? No, it doesn't. Nobody in front of me has a clue what a break angle is, but they know a decent band and a decent guitar player when they see one.

For academic study in the comfort of ones laboratory, I'm sure it is of paramount importance.

rct
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#14 User is offline   slimt 

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Posted 16 July 2017 - 09:15 PM

be careful the anchors dont pull out due to stress... Ive seen it happen.. there only pressed in..
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#15 User is offline   Golden 

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Posted 17 July 2017 - 06:36 AM

View Postrct, on 16 July 2017 - 08:44 PM, said:

Lots of people have their stops up and they have no issues with neck angle. I have mine all the way down, always have, always will, and I have no issues with neck angle. Please pick one.



Power in expertise and numbers??? Not sure what your saying?

Has nothing to do with your prior statement which was "wrong" and "factually" or in need of an expert elaboration not this type of nonsense this isnt about you or me dont flatter yourself. Its about a point you seem to be quite set on without elaboration?



Quote

Yes, I know. You must have missed: "There's a buncha stuff goes into that, all of it to do with straight edges at the join fret."


Doesnt change the above fact.



Quote

The stop bar has no idea what the neck angle is, it is fully cokk blocked by the bridge. He might have an inkling, much like the saddle on an acoustic is first to know of the need for a re-set.


The stop height is in relation, in sequence as stated-set neck angle-bridge-stop tail, perhaps you missed that part of my post which states it may be decked or not. Are you saying you prefer them not decked? [confused]


Quote

My "opinion" comes from playing the guitar since 1971, dozens of Tunamatic/Stopbars. All of them always all the way down. Never lost a gig, failed an audition, wrecked a recording, or had anyone hand me back one of my guitars and say it wasn't right because the stop bar was all the way down. If your "opinion", or anyone elses for that matter differs, please up the experiences you have had that have given you that "opinion", tell me of the failed gigs and wrecked records and the embarrassment of others using your guitar.



Your opinion is just that to me and let me understand this, NOW your claiming EXPERT on your claims? LOL Let your posts read for themselves.



Quote

Matter to what? What the guitar is used for by most people? No, it doesn't. Nobody in front of me has a clue what a break angle is, but they know a decent band and a decent guitar player when they see one.

For academic study in the comfort of ones laboratory, I'm sure it is of paramount importance.

rct



No, you dont speak for MOST PEOPLE you speak for you-expert, self proclaimed, you who are now suggesting you buy Gibson who suggests a 17 degree break angle and the strings not touching the bridge has no logic? Then you disagree with them about how to build a Les Paul and the logic you suggest doesnt exist with Gibson and buy it anyway? Its wrong above and also with this point. Hey Im sorry your wrong.


And YES I disagee with you about this, try not to get upset Im sorry? LOL


Quote

And no, how high the tailpiece is is not an indicator of a [bad] neck angle


Its factually an indicator of the set-neck angle.

The reasoning for the strings not touching the bridge is posted. The bridge height and stop tail height is in relation. The difference in height is also elaborated on and poses a few unanswered questions which I believe I mentioned and in relation to a strict 17 degree break angle?
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#16 User is offline   rct 

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Posted 17 July 2017 - 09:55 AM

View PostGolden, on 17 July 2017 - 06:36 AM, said:

Power in expertise and numbers??? Not sure what your saying?

Has nothing to do with your prior statement which was "wrong" and "factually" or in need of an expert elaboration not this type of nonsense this isnt about you or me dont flatter yourself. Its about a point you seem to be quite set on without elaboration?





Doesnt change the above fact.





The stop height is in relation, in sequence as stated-set neck angle-bridge-stop tail, perhaps you missed that part of my post which states it may be decked or not. Are you saying you prefer them not decked? [confused]





Your opinion is just that to me and let me understand this, NOW your claiming EXPERT on your claims? LOL Let your posts read for themselves.






No, you dont speak for MOST PEOPLE you speak for you-expert, self proclaimed, you who are now suggesting you buy Gibson who suggests a 17 degree break angle and the strings not touching the bridge has no logic? Then you disagree with them about how to build a Les Paul and the logic you suggest doesnt exist with Gibson and buy it anyway? Its wrong above and also with this point. Hey Im sorry your wrong.


And YES I disagee with you about this, try not to get upset Im sorry? LOL




Its factually an indicator of the set-neck angle.

The reasoning for the strings not touching the bridge is posted. The bridge height and stop tail height is in relation. The difference in height is also elaborated on and poses a few unanswered questions which I believe I mentioned and in relation to a strict 17 degree break angle?


Yer right, it isn't about you and me.

What is your experience with guitars that has helped you develop these firm points regarding how high the stop bar is as an indicator of neck angle and how bad it is for strings to touch the back of the bridge?

Not what you read in a book or saw in a video. Not what's on the internet. What is your experience?

See, when you ask me a question about odd Gibsons, Dimarzio Pickups, FatHead Sustain thingies, brass nuts, wireless, Joe Barden Pickups, all kindsa things, I tell you my long experience. If that offends your expertise, I apologize.

I'm not an expert, I use them and have used them a long time. When I tell a kid starting out "Don't worry about that it doesn't matter in the end", I am telling them that from my direct experience, not from something I read in a magazine, which often, as everyone knows, contradicts the real world experiences of many people.

So save the expert diagnosis, save the it isn't about you or me, save me the whole majority disagrees. Put it up here why you say this, just like I put up here why I say what I say.

rct
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#17 User is offline   Golden 

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Posted 17 July 2017 - 10:07 AM

I see you have no point still in comparing expertise, the point is as I said in fact neck angle is in relation to bridge and stop-tail height. Are you contending otherwise or elaborating on that point since imho your expertise goes out the window here without elaboration. However I would much prefer moving on to the illusive break angle logic. I dont see much forthcoming with the neck angle. Thanks
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#18 User is offline   rct 

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Posted 17 July 2017 - 10:22 AM

View PostGolden, on 17 July 2017 - 10:07 AM, said:

I see you have no point still in comparing expertise, the point is as I said in fact neck angle is in relation to bridge and stop-tail height. Are you contending otherwise or elaborating on that point since imho your expertise goes out the window here without elaboration. However I would much prefer moving on to the illusive break angle logic. I dont see much forthcoming with the neck angle. Thanks


So no, you don't have any.

And that's ok, just say it. Whatever it is that brings you to these powerful conclusions is ok with me. My use of them brings me to my conclusions.

rct
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#19 User is offline   Golden 

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Posted 17 July 2017 - 10:42 AM

View Postrct, on 17 July 2017 - 10:22 AM, said:

So no, you don't have any.

And that's ok, just say it. Whatever it is that brings you to these powerful conclusions is ok with me. My use of them brings me to my conclusions.

rct


You still have no point an clearly and all the experts agree the neck angle directly is in relation to bridge and stop tail height leaving only your expert elaboration aloof.

Again sorry about the experise confusion your having. Thats a fact above. Did you plan on carrying on with virtual silliness about expertise? Your boring me actually.
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#20 User is offline   pippy 

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Posted 17 July 2017 - 11:35 AM

View Postsbpark, on 15 July 2017 - 01:06 PM, said:

The guitar is also set-up great. Action is surprisingly low......with 0.008" of relief in the neck with no buzzing when the guitar is plugged in and the guitar feels great....on this guitar the lower action just feels "right"...

...So what do may Gibson players feel that a lower tailpiece is more desirable?...

...does a higher tailpiece in the example of my guitar really mean that the neck angle is off from factory spec?...

...I'm...just looking to get schooled on the topic and learn...

Nice looking SG!

As far as I can tell from what you have said you are going about things the right way in that you are trying out various options to find out what suits you rather than simply accepting that what works for others would be best for yourself as well. Some folks here really do know their stuff and they can prove top-wrapping makes no difference. Other folks here really do know their stuff and they can prove top-wrapping makes a difference. You choose!

FWIW, though, as you asked and taking a few points in order...

I have my electrics set up with no buzzing whether the guitar is plugged-in or not. IMX if it buzzes unplugged it will have a poorer tonal-quality and reduced sustain. If, OTOH, the guitar feels "right" to you as-is then go with it. I use .011's, though, so the increased tension might help to allieviate buzz to a certain extent.

Some say a t/p fully-decked will aid sustain. Less chance of a minimal amount of "play" 'twixt metal and wood and so on. All mine are decked and always have been. Never had any problems and until I joined this place I had no idea about 'strings touching back of bridge' stuff.

No.

The 17 degree headstock angle was, traditionally, what Gibson used. Don't know why. Doubt there was a 100% scientific basis, though. After the Norlin management took over, however, the angle was reduced because this allowed the use of thinner - and therefore cheaper - neck-blanks. Once the usurpers had been vanquished the 17 degree angle was reinstated.

Finally - and to state the bleeding obvious - opinions are like asshol fingers; we all have several...

Pip.
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