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355Pulse

355 Staying In Tune

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Ditto the nut slot fitting!I don't think the Plek does a good job making curves on nuts or crowing frets. The nut always binds and need widening, polishing, and lube. Plek appears to be good at leveling frets but crowning is poorly executed. I had to crown all my newer Plek'd Les Pauls and ES's. The Plek'd frets feel sharp and not crowned or rounded....OK, OK, I'm an old wuzz and used to the old Gibson handmade stuff.

I wonder if that is backwards. The frets, that is.

 

I have noticed, BEFORE the Plek came along, that the fretwork on many Gibbys was often flat and un-crowned. Still for the most part played and intonated well. Seems like effort was made to level the frets at the factory (which not all manufacturers do), but not all crowned and polished like a full-on fret dress.

 

Can't really say for sure the Plek ones, except to say when it first came out and the guitars "pleked" had the sticker, those guitars I recall taking notice of the fret-work seemed fine, normal, and not any different than a "normal" one.

 

But I can say one thing- it seems, from my limited experience with plek guitars, and everything I read from owners of pleked guitars, the Plek machine seems to be incapable of cutting a nut that doesn't bind.

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...

 

But I can say one thing- it seems, from my limited experience with plek guitars, and everything I read from owners of pleked guitars, the Plek machine seems to be incapable of cutting a nut that doesn't bind.

Depends on setting I think. The replacement nuts on some of my guitars, mounted and Plek-cut at Thomann, are great.

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The very challenge of Floyd Rose systems is the setup, in particular string action. This is a trial and error game of cushioning bridge, tuning string down completely, removing all the springs, holding bridge, adjusting posts, reinstall springs, releasing bridge, tuning up, removing cushion, fine-tuning and checking action. Balancing and setting intonations is comparatively fast and easy. Anyway, when staying with string brand and gauges and tuning as well, it's done once and for all. New springs will call for retensioning and thus re-balancing, but this is done fast and easy. Tightening the two screws until tuning pitches are correct will do.

 

Changing strings one by one on FR guitars is not that troublesome. A string cutter is required, of course. I admit there's a certain thrill is clamping wound strings for the first time. The core wire must be held securely by pinching the wrapping, and same time all of the threads shall survive this procedure. However, I did far more than hundred string changes on FR guitars since 1987 and never caused any damage.

 

When it's done, it's simply FUN! [biggrin]

I don't have any floyd guitars, but I am quite familiar with them. I used to work at GC when every 3rd guitar was a trem of some sort.

 

Floyds are AMAZING in that they truly are, stable and DON'T go out of tune. It seems to defy science. But the science works.

 

String changes, as you say, aren't bad, but you STILL have to learn it. And when they are "set up" right, they stay that way.

 

Also, minor changes, once you get used to it...pretty easy. Practice makes it way easy.

 

Set up, from scratch, that's time consuming. And REALLY hard if you don't have practice at it or don't want to take the time to go through the steps.

 

But what about initial set up on a Strat?

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But what about initial set up on a Strat?

When about vintage and fulcrum vibratos called "tremolos" by Fender, it is basically the same as with FRs when a balanced bridge shall be obtained. Most players I know don't use it and like it "back stopped" by the guitar top. To my experience this is easily done with a vintage bridge but somehow compromised with a fulcrum.

 

However, even a nicely balanced fulcrum bridge allows for slight shimmering pitch bendings only if tuning pitches are a concern - and mostly they are, at least in live situations. When recording, retuning and punching may do the trick.

 

Interestingly I meet very few hardtail Strats over the years. I think they don't make any "Standard" since many years, and thus the Robert Cray and Jim Root models are the only two left. To my guess production is already discontinued and some remainders are left on sale at the moment.

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When about vintage and fulcrum vibratos called "tremolos" by Fender, it is basically the same as with FRs when a balanced bridge shall be obtained. Most players I know don't use it and like it "back stopped" by the guitar top. To my experience this is easily done with a vintage bridge but somehow compromised with a fulcrum.

 

However, even a nicely balanced fulcrum bridge allows for slight shimmering pitch bendings only if tuning pitches are a concern - and mostly they are, at least in live situations. When recording, retuning and punching may do the trick.

 

Interestingly I meet very few hardtail Strats over the years. I think they don't make any "Standard" since many years, and thus the Robert Cray and Jim Root models are the only two left. To my guess production is already discontinued and some remainders are left on sale at the moment.

I was mostly referring to "vintage" style with the truss rod at the neck heel.

 

I guess where the relation comes, it's stuff that requires guessing....when you have to literally take stuff apart, adjust, and put it back together to some degree. The better your "guess", the quicker the set-up goes. Often, it's left at "good enough", rather than perfect.

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I was mostly referring to "vintage" style with the truss rod at the neck heel.

 

I guess where the relation comes, it's stuff that requires guessing....when you have to literally take stuff apart, adjust, and put it back together to some degree. The better your "guess", the quicker the set-up goes. Often, it's left at "good enough", rather than perfect.

My MIJ Fender '65 Mustang Bass has this design. The Ibanez Blazer of mine came that way, too, but there's a routing below the neck heel. A suitable shortened hex-wrench was included.

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I wonder if that is backwards. The frets, that is.

 

I have noticed, BEFORE the Plek came along, that the fretwork on many Gibbys was often flat and un-crowned. Still for the most part played and intonated well. Seems like effort was made to level the frets at the factory (which not all manufacturers do), but not all crowned and polished like a full-on fret dress.

 

Can't really say for sure the Plek ones, except to say when it first came out and the guitars "pleked" had the sticker, those guitars I recall taking notice of the fret-work seemed fine, normal, and not any different than a "normal" one.

 

But I can say one thing- it seems, from my limited experience with plek guitars, and everything I read from owners of pleked guitars, the Plek machine seems to be incapable of cutting a nut that doesn't bind.

 

The Plek'd frets do have a bus type crown...but still the edge is not as rounded for me. I think for Gibson, the Plek's drum grinder has minor crowning; this leaves a flatter fret top. The benefit is longer fret life; but the "cons" is that you can feel the sharper fret edges.

 

I've also noticed that the sides of the frets are badly and deeply scratched from the factory. Guessing...it's from scratches when using a file to dress down the side neck binding. I saw how this was done in a factory tour.

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Regards this particular 355, the frets are perfect (for me anyway) and probably the best fret board I've ever played and that's been a few over the years. The nut has been the only issue with this guitar as it was simply binding on the G and B strings. I'm told by many a faithful Gibson owner and tech that "you need to play it in and it'll settle down". Now whilst I appreciate this opinion, I've never had to do that before on any other guitar I've owned including high end Fender and Gretsch and even bargain basement type Epiphone Dot's, all Bigsby equipped.

 

Maybe my expectations were set too high when I finally got the guitar of my dreams after 30 years but I was disappointed and frustrated by the nut cut with the PLEK system. To my mind Gibson are shooting themselves in the foot a little bit by not doing something about it, especially for the prices they charge and the heritage associated with Gibson. On the other hand I still bought it and better a nut slot too tight than too loose (you can do something about it) and now it's been sorted, this guitar is in a different league to anything I've ever played or heard before - simple as that. Yin and yang I guess.

 

For me it has to be a Bigsby when using tremolo, that's just my style and what does it for me plus I love the added sustain you get with a Bigsby even if you don't use it!

 

FR etc and other spring tremolos certainly have their place and I'm not knocking those systems or saying one is better than another, it's just not for me.

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