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Guitar Set-up Compromises


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After playing my latest Gibson purchase (1954 Gibson ES125) for 10 days, I have arrived at compromise set-up time. I would like to take it to my luthier for a general check-up and a set-up.


I love the huge chunky neck - it could almost be thicker than the Gibson J45 Legend I tried the other week?




It currently has a probably a 'jazz' playing setup with huge fat nickelish electric strings on the bass and quite skinny high strings that are overall a bit high off the fretboard for ragtime!



They sound fiendish for slide in D Open or G open. (The P90 pickup sounds wicked in a tube amp!). But I normally have thicker E and B Strings for slide....




Am I going to get a 'compromise' set-up where it could end up nasty to play in all styles, or do I keep it as it is, and buy another one for slinky guitar work?

(Ha! Wrong forum to ask that question, I guess. Everyone will say "BUY,BUY,BUY"!)

My first vision of this guitar was of my only guitar and me playing it in all tunings on the hop (plugged in to my tube amp)...




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You'll just have to swap out the third string for a wound, or buy a set that includes such a setup (Dean Markley Helix STAR), which will tone down the highs. 10-49's sound good on this model Gib.

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While this is probably not going to make any sense, my guitars are set up for medium action meaning low enough to play with my fingers but high enough to avoid a whole lot of rattling with a bottleneck. I have just learned to adapt to an action that can be a bit more strenuous than most folks are used to. I tend to also go with heavier guage strings on the high end - no less than say a 12 high E.


Again - one of the joys of the old Kays - those adjustable necks make setup a breeze.

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Too low a saddle CAN take away some volume, the lord giveth and taketh away...


Yep, I have two standard HummingBirds. I keep one with relatively low action and the other with medium action. The medium action set up projects better than the low set up. More volume so to speak.


In regard to slide guitar, I use an Epiphone SG with low action, I know high action is recommended, but the Epi sounds just fine, any missed notes or rattles are my fault, when I focus and use the slide properly it sounds killer. Matter of technique.


I really don't like having "one" guitar to do it all: slide, open tunings, standard tunings, half step flat tuning etc. I keep the SG for slide and alternate tunings and keep the rest standard tuning. Exception being certain songs where I need two guitars (recording) in say a half step flat in open "D" for a song like Shine" by Collective Soul. (Actually they used 3 les pauls playing together all a half step tuned downed in "D".)

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