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Les Paul Stop tail adjustmenbt How or why

#1 User is offline   Jeffytune 

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Posted 07 January 2018 - 12:05 PM

Good morning all,

Over the years, I have owned many different Gibson guitars with the tuneomatic stop tail bridge.
I have always set the stop tail down tight to the body, as I like to bend strings and I want the downforce and I always assumed this is how it was meant to be done.
I had about 25 years of no Gibsons, but now that I once again have one, I set it up like always and yet, I see some players that raise the stop tail up off the body.
I also thread my strings through the stop tail, not wrap around it.

So my question to the group here is, what advantage is there to not grounding the stop tail?

This post has been edited by Jeffytune: 07 January 2018 - 12:08 PM

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#2 User is offline   FZ Fan 

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Posted 07 January 2018 - 12:26 PM

View PostJeffytune, on 07 January 2018 - 12:05 PM, said:

Good morning all,

Over the years, I have owned many different Gibson guitars with the tuneomatic stop tail bridge.
I have always set the stop tail down tight to the body, as I like to bend strings and I want the downforce and I always assumed this is how it was meant to be done.
I had about 25 years of no Gibsons, but now that I once again have one, I set it up like always and yet, I see some players that raise the stop tail up off the body.
I also thread my strings through the stop tail, not wrap around it.

So my question to the group here is, what advantage is there to not grounding the stop tail?


Here it comes.
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#3 User is offline   sparquelito 

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Posted 07 January 2018 - 12:38 PM

I have my opinions, but to be honest, the writer who responded in this piece (link below) summed it up nicely.

Great advice, and I agree with everything he said.

:)

https://www.sweetwat...ilpiece-height/

This post has been edited by sparquelito: 07 January 2018 - 12:39 PM

Am I alone in this?

Am I alone?
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#4 User is offline   Jeffytune 

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Posted 07 January 2018 - 01:21 PM

Thanks for the link sparquelito, I am really not trying to start something here, I was just wondering.

Okay, so it is more how taught the strings will feel, and there could be a possibility of the bridge being pushed over.

I have never heard of that happening, But I am not a luthier so I guess I could ask a couple of luthier's if they have seen this happen.
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#5 User is offline   Rabs 

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Posted 07 January 2018 - 01:26 PM

I have seen collapsed bridges....

But I would also say that its better not to have the strings touching the back of the bridge.... So just raise it a bit until there is a tiny clearance between the strings and back of the bridge. That's what id say to anyone who asked me anyway.. As always opinions vary.
"Im the one thats going to have to die when its time for me to die. So let me live my life, the way I WANT TOO" Jimi Hendrix
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#6 User is offline   pippy 

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Posted 07 January 2018 - 01:51 PM

View PostJeffytune, on 07 January 2018 - 12:05 PM, said:

...what advantage is there to not grounding the stop tail?...

None that has ever been empirically proven to be true - otherwise there would never be the need to discuss this matter as the 'truth' would always be posted everytime this question raises its hoary old head..

So that will be a resounding 'None whatsoever'.

Pip.
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#7 User is online   Leonard McCoy 

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Posted 07 January 2018 - 02:16 PM

As to my knowledge, Gibson have never provided any guidelines as to the ideal height of the tailpiece or whether the string ends leading to the tailpiece should or shouldn't be touching the bridge. It'll also be difficult to convincingly prove whether there really be any sonical advantages if the strings not be touching the bridge. Some players swear it'll give them more sustain, while others mute the dead string ends entirely on either end, that is behind the bridge as well as the nut, with additional equipment so as to avoid any (unwanted) overtones.

The short Sweetwater bit posted above (link) discusses another aspect, namely string tension, and how a higher tailpiece reduces overall string tension, while lowering it adds to it, which can play for or against the player. A little experimentation as to what suits one best as player goes a long way. For instance, if you're a lot into overbending (one and a half steps and two steps) you might want to avoid to have the tailpiece set to the lowest position possible so as to not to make overbends excruciatingly difficult to execute due to the additional strength needed if string tension is noticably higher than if the tailpiece were set to normal heights.

Luthiers are less, or rather not at all, concerned with this problem by the way. My luthier even asked me whether Gibson had any recommendations as to this when setting up my Les Paul. Luthier Dan Erlewine's take, of Stew-Mac fame, for instance goes into the details from a technician's point-of-view in his article Tune-O-Matic setup: is the trouble with the bridge or the neck angle? (StewMac.com, 2009) without providing conclusive evidence for or against one way or another however.

This post has been edited by Leonard McCoy: 07 January 2018 - 02:22 PM

2009 Gibson Les Paul Standard Ebony (Left-handed)
2002 Gibson "Goldtone" GA-15RV
1990 Ovation Legend L717 (A-bracing)

Finely transcribed Cat Stevens Guitar Tabs (fan project)

"Believe me when I say that some of the most amazing music in history
was made on equipment that's not as good as what you own right now."óJol Dantzig, founder of Hamer Guitars
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#8 User is offline   rct 

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Posted 07 January 2018 - 02:24 PM

View PostLeonard McCoy, on 07 January 2018 - 02:16 PM, said:

The short Sweetwater bit posted above (link) discusses another aspect, namely string tension, and how a higher tailpiece reduces overall string tension, while lowering it adds to it, which can play for or against the player. A little experimentation as to what suits one best as player goes a long way. For instance, if you're a lot into overbending (one and a half steps and two steps) you might want to avoid to have the tailpiece set to the lowest position possible so as to not to make overbends excruciatingly difficult to execute due to the additional strength needed if string tension is noticably higher than if the tailpiece were set to normal heights.


The tension on a string is determined by the pitch the string is tuned to, not what happens past the two points, nut and saddle, that it stops.

Tune your guitar to pitch with the stop bar all the way down. Raise the stop bar. The pitch will have flattened, depending on how far you raise it. Guess what happens when you tune it back to pitch?

rct
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#9 User is offline   FZ Fan 

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Posted 07 January 2018 - 02:51 PM

View Postrct, on 07 January 2018 - 02:24 PM, said:

The tension on a string is determined by the pitch the string is tuned to, not what happens past the two points, nut and saddle, that it stops.

Tune your guitar to pitch with the stop bar all the way down. Raise the stop bar. The pitch will have flattened, depending on how far you raise it. Guess what happens when you tune it back to pitch?

rct


Its in tune?
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#10 User is online   Leonard McCoy 

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Posted 07 January 2018 - 03:58 PM

View Postrct, on 07 January 2018 - 02:24 PM, said:

The tension on a string is determined by the pitch the string is tuned to, not what happens past the two points, nut and saddle, that it stops.

Tune your guitar to pitch with the stop bar all the way down. Raise the stop bar. The pitch will have flattened, depending on how far you raise it. Guess what happens when you tune it back to pitch?

rct

To clarify that paragraph of mine, I was attempting to explore string tension, or rather string pressure exerted on the bridge in regards to the difficulty of string bending, especially overbending. Even though the pitch of the note is defined by the tension and bridge to nut length, bending and, lesser so, even fretting itself, which is basically a micro-bend, use up the entire string length including the parts beyond the nut and bridge, that is from tailpiece to headstock.

  • Now, if the string breaks at a sharp angle over either the nut or the bridge (low tailpiece), it becomes more difficult for the string to move over the saddles or nut (greater string friction on bridge) because the string exerts a lot more pressure on the bridge or nut due to the break angle of the string, which in turn makes bending seem more difficult because you're effectively using less string to absorb the bend. The result: stiffer bending, but less distance to bend note to desired pitch.

  • If there is a less sharp angle or none at all over the nut or bridge (high tailpiece), the string passes through most easily (less string friction on bridge), thereby allowing you to use the entire length of the string for the bend. The result: easier bending, but greater distance to bend note to desired pitch.

This post has been edited by Leonard McCoy: 07 January 2018 - 04:56 PM

2009 Gibson Les Paul Standard Ebony (Left-handed)
2002 Gibson "Goldtone" GA-15RV
1990 Ovation Legend L717 (A-bracing)

Finely transcribed Cat Stevens Guitar Tabs (fan project)

"Believe me when I say that some of the most amazing music in history
was made on equipment that's not as good as what you own right now."óJol Dantzig, founder of Hamer Guitars
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#11 User is offline   rct 

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Posted 07 January 2018 - 04:11 PM

View PostLeonard McCoy, on 07 January 2018 - 03:58 PM, said:

To clarify, I was talking string tension, or rather string pressure exerted on the bridge (often perceived as string tension by the player when bending), in regards to the difficulty of string bending. Even though the pitch of the note is defined by the tension and bridge to nut length, bending uses up the entire string length including the parts beyond the nut and bridge, that is from tailpiece to headstock.

  • Now, if the string breaks at a sharp angle over either the nut or the bridge (low tailpiece), it becomes more difficult for the string to move over the saddles or nut because the string exerts a lot more pressure on the bridge or nut due to the break angle of the string which in turn makes bending seem more difficult because you're effectively using less string to absorb the bend.

  • If there is no angle over the bridge or nut (high tailpiece), the string passes through most easily, thereby allowing you to use the entire length of the string for the bend.



The pitch of the note. It occurs between the nut and the saddle and no place else.

When you bend you are causing the string to shorten between two fixed points, the nut and the saddle. That shortening of the string at that tension causes the pitch to rise, it is the same as very quickly spinning the t00ner up there, you are raising the pitch by adjusting the tension between two fixed points.

The pitch of note One, a fretted note somewhere.

The pitch of note Two, the bent fretted note.

Both of those pitches require the same string tension no matter what happens past the nut or saddle. You can't have either note without the required tension on the string, it just doesn't happen.

Seriously. You can go back and forth with me all we want, what happens between the nut and saddle determines the pitch of the note.

A Floyd Rose locked nut and bridge is no harder to bend than any other guitar.

If bending strings is "hard", practice fixes that, not raising your tailpiece.

rct
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#12 User is offline   jdgm 

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Posted 07 January 2018 - 04:23 PM

View PostFZ Fan, on 07 January 2018 - 02:51 PM, said:

Its in tune?


[lol] [lol]
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#13 User is offline   Jeffytune 

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Posted 07 January 2018 - 06:15 PM

View PostLeonard McCoy, on 07 January 2018 - 02:16 PM, said:

As to my knowledge, Gibson have never provided any guidelines as to the ideal height of the tailpiece or whether the string ends leading to the tailpiece should or shouldn't be touching the bridge. It'll also be difficult to convincingly prove whether there really be any sonical advantages if the strings not be touching the bridge. Some players swear it'll give them more sustain, while others mute the dead string ends entirely on either end, that is behind the bridge as well as the nut, with additional equipment so as to avoid any (unwanted) overtones.

The short Sweetwater bit posted above (link) discusses another aspect, namely string tension, and how a higher tailpiece reduces overall string tension, while lowering it adds to it, which can play for or against the player. A little experimentation as to what suits one best as player goes a long way. For instance, if you're a lot into overbending (one and a half steps and two steps) you might want to avoid to have the tailpiece set to the lowest position possible so as to not to make overbends excruciatingly difficult to execute due to the additional strength needed if string tension is noticably higher than if the tailpiece were set to normal heights.

Luthiers are less, or rather not at all, concerned with this problem by the way. My luthier even asked me whether Gibson had any recommendations as to this when setting up my Les Paul. Luthier Dan Erlewine's take, of Stew-Mac fame, for instance goes into the details from a technician's point-of-view in his article Tune-O-Matic setup: is the trouble with the bridge or the neck angle? (StewMac.com, 2009) without providing conclusive evidence for or against one way or another however.


Thank you for the link, I think I understand it now.
I wonder if a small ball bearing dropped into the holes and then screwing the studs down would give less angle and the same tight down effect.
I might give it a try.
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#14 User is offline   Snorten 

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Posted 09 January 2018 - 07:48 AM

Haha, this topic is an evergreen :lol: BTW when I was playing my bandmates LTD EC 1000 the other day, I noticed they constructed it the way, the angle is much flatter than on a Les Paul. The stop is almost all the way down by default. I also observed this on other brands of "LP style" guitars, while Gibson Les Pauls are normally built in the way, that the stop piece is quite high and people use tricks like "top-wrapping" to get it down AND a flat angle at the same time (Nah I dare not to speculate if this has something to do with any kind of intentional sound improvements [razz] )

This post has been edited by Snorten: 09 January 2018 - 07:51 AM

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#15 User is offline   SocProf 

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Posted 10 January 2018 - 09:21 PM

An alternative to grounding the tailpiece would be to use locking studs. Tonepros, Faber, and Guitarfetish all make these.

http://www.tonepros....-locking-studs/

This post has been edited by SocProf: 10 January 2018 - 09:22 PM

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#16 User is offline   Farnsbarns 

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Posted 12 January 2018 - 05:53 AM

Why do those who want the rigidity of "all the way down" and the angle of "slightly above the body", not just use a couple of lock nuts on the shafts? That way the get the rigidity and desired break angle.

This post has been edited by Farnsbarns: 12 January 2018 - 05:54 AM

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#17 User is offline   Golden 

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Posted 14 January 2018 - 09:25 AM

Why doesnt Gibson just fix their visual mess which appears here weekly? I dont know of any electric guitar company which isnt confronted with the issue of balancing their quality and profitability. There is no doubt that improved appearance is percieved as better quality.

This post has been edited by Golden: 14 January 2018 - 09:54 AM

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#18 User is offline   Pinch 

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Posted 19 January 2018 - 12:38 PM

I noticed the low E touches down on the bridge on my Tribute, even with the TP up. I'm guessing it's because the Nashville bridge is wider than an ABR-1. I'm assuming I'll live.
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#19 User is offline   JAC 

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Posted 19 January 2018 - 04:32 PM

View PostRabs, on 07 January 2018 - 01:26 PM, said:

I have seen collapsed bridges....

But I would also say that its better not to have the strings touching the back of the bridge.... So just raise it a bit until there is a tiny clearance between the strings and back of the bridge. That's what id say to anyone who asked me anyway.. As always opinions vary.


That is sound advice. I read that keeping strings off bridge is the best way. I break this rule though. I like to low-ride my stop piece.
What da ya mean dude, You mean like dude ranch?........In other words, If music be the language of love, then play on!
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#20 User is offline   Rabs 

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Posted 19 January 2018 - 04:35 PM

View PostJAC, on 19 January 2018 - 04:32 PM, said:

That is sound advice. I read that keeping strings off bridge is the best way. I break this rule though. I like to low-ride my stop piece.

Well that's the thing about all of this. Theres no real right or wrong just what ever you like or want to do with YOUR guitar.. :) Factory specs, phhffftt do me a favour..

The thing about keeping the strings off the back of bridge for me is I just think it puts less pressure on it.. As has been said bridges can collapse so its just an extra way to help stop it.. And even that is not actual fact, its just what I think.

This post has been edited by Rabs: 19 January 2018 - 04:37 PM

"Im the one thats going to have to die when its time for me to die. So let me live my life, the way I WANT TOO" Jimi Hendrix
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