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Gibson ES-330 Setup Tips


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Gentlemen (& any Ladies reading out there):


I've owned a Gibson ES-330L (2008, not a reissue) for about a year and a half. It has been a wonderful instrument for me. But, as I am continually on the quest for the sounds in my head, and as I cannot refer to saddle adjustments anymore to keep my guitar in tune the higher I move up the fretboard, I've taken the first steps to redo the setup on this beauty -- Antique Red, black dog-ear P90s, trapeze tailpiece, ABR-1 bridge...


Until now, I kept the factory setup because it played well enough (not unbelievably, though). But I've always had the feeling that when the time came to redo the setup I would opt for higher action because it would bring out the much warmer, janglier, reedier, more acoustic tones that a complete hollowbody guitar is made for. After restringing my instrument, I moved the action higher and my gut was right. Assuming I can make other adjustments, the tone on this 330 will be a massive improvement, to my ears.


I am aware that this kind of setup will increase the tension on the guitar's neck and that notes up and down the fretboard will most likely ring sharp.


So my question is this: How much relief do I want to give the neck before I get to the point where adjusting the saddles will take care of the rest? I've already made a quarter turn counterclockwise and am letting it sit for a day to set. If I find this isn't enough, how much further should I go without damaging the guitar?


Any suggestions, tips, advice are very much appreciated.

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Increasing the height of the bridge (height of strings off the fretboard) will not increase tension on the strings. Tension is determined soley by thickness of string, pitch of string, and the distance between saddle and nut (the two fulcrums defining the vibration portion of string). A higher action only means the same length of vibrating string is more distant from the frets. I think you are saying that you have no more adjustability via moving the saddle pieces to and fro to adjust for intonation??? I've often times removed and turned around saddle pieces in an ABR or Nashville bridge to squeeze out a little more adjustability range for better intonation. You might try that. Cheers, Cryoman


Cheers, Cryoman

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