Gurus question-action height, feel, and different gauge strings

Discussion in 'Electromatic Gretsch Forum' started by Alathea, Mar 12, 2019.

  1. Alathea

    Alathea Electromatic

    33
    Dec 2, 2018
    NE
    I have my pro jet, strung with 10s, tun o matic, stock, and my 6118, with a rocking bridge and strung with 11s.

    Can anyone tell me why the action feels stiffer for barring on the pro jet vs the 6118? Im talking barre-ing within the first 4 frets or so of the nut, for example. There is no buzzing or anything and my action is pretty low on my Jet, and factory on the 6118. Its not really hampering my playing too much, just a difference in feel that I noticed right away. I thought that heavier gauge strings would feel stiffer to play or barre than 10s (though perhaps the difference between 10s and 11s is negligible), but the nicer gretsch just feels easier to play.

    Thoughts? I do my own setups, though probably not well- still practicing. I have a Fender steel guitar ruler, but its only marked in CM and IN (down to 64ths for the first 1/4 inch), and no feeler gauges or fret ruler to work with.
     
  2. Merc

    Merc Country Gent

    May 6, 2017
    Florida
    I’ve just recently started doing my own setups. This is how I do mine after reading up on it. Others may have better ways.

    First I check the neck for straightness by tuning, I then capo the first fret and hold down the 6th string at the last fret. Check the distance of 8th fret to 6th string. I usually keep the height of the 6th string about the thickness of the 1st string which is .10 or .11 but only by eyeballing now as I don’t have feeler gauges. I adjust the truss rod accordingly at small increments, tune, and check again.

    Once the neck is good, I adjust my action (bridge height) at this point to my liking after removing the capo.

    Last but not least, check intonation one string at a time. Tune, fret at the 12th and check with tuner while doing so. If it’s not in tune while fretting, adjust the bridge saddle accordingly. Repeating this whole process again until string intonated between open and 12th, then moving on to the next string.
     
    new6659 likes this.
  3. wabash slim

    wabash slim Friend of Fred

    Age:
    69
    Feb 10, 2010
    lafayette in
    Different scale lengths?
     
  4. Dave-B

    Dave-B Synchromatic

    952
    May 23, 2016
    Scotland
    Perhaps the nut slots on your Pro Jet are too high.

    Easy to check. Press down each string at the 3rd fret, and there should only be the tiniest gap between the 1st fret and the string - no more than the thickness of a business card.
     
    hcsterg and Merc like this.
  5. Ricochet

    Ricochet Gretschified

    Nov 13, 2009
    Monkey Island
    String gauge, scale, string height, neck relief, neck profile is all gonna make a difference in the feel. But the one that always makes a big difference for me is nut height.
     
  6. audept

    audept Senior Gretsch-Talker

    Age:
    71
    Dec 1, 2010
    Sydney, Australia
    Yes.
     
    hcsterg and Ricochet like this.
  7. Alathea

    Alathea Electromatic

    33
    Dec 2, 2018
    NE
    Thanks Dave- I checked that and its literally about a hair. I almost raised it back up a bit, but there is no buzzing, so I left it alone. Ive also added a mini humidifer into the room for the last few days, so it could just still be breathing. It took 2 days to get the ambient hum % in my room from low 30s to about 40 running 10 hour cycles.
     
  8. Alathea

    Alathea Electromatic

    33
    Dec 2, 2018
    NE
    They are the same scale length, aren't they? 24.5 ish on both from what ive read.
     
  9. Alathea

    Alathea Electromatic

    33
    Dec 2, 2018
    NE
    Thanks for the run down, Merc. The only part I have trouble with is judging the straightness or not of the neck. It seems like every forum has a 'way' to do it. I have an old Dan Erlewein book on general guitar maintenance in a box somewhere after we moved. Ill have to dig it out!

     
    Merc likes this.
  10. wabash slim

    wabash slim Friend of Fred

    Age:
    69
    Feb 10, 2010
    lafayette in
    I don't know the lengths. Measure them to be sure. It's supposed to make a difference. I play so many different sizes I don't really notice.
     
  11. hcsterg

    hcsterg Country Gent

    Feb 13, 2012
    France
    Hi Alathea,

    I do an measure all my setups by myself. I found worth to have some adequate tooling to do this...

    I'll complement what other members have written :
    - the radius of the fretboard vs. the radius of the nut and the bridge.
    - the fret height, shape and polishing.
    These additional parameters have their influence on the playing comfort, at least to my taste.

    If you want my values (I have a Jet and a Tennessee Rose), let me know.

    A+!
     
  12. loudnlousy

    loudnlousy Friend of Fred

    Age:
    53
    Oct 18, 2015
    Hildesheim, Germany
    Those nano-meters make all the difference. I recently struggled with a nearly perfectly set-up Strat.
    It seems that I will have to go a long way to get it to my liking and it is the nano-meters....
     
  13. tartanphantom

    tartanphantom Country Gent

    Age:
    55
    Jul 30, 2008
    Murfreesboro, TN
    I'll agree here, and pose another question--

    Does your Pro Jet have a Bigsby with a tension bar? If so, this can cause a perceived difference in tension due to the increased down-pressure behind the bridge. And while scale length does have something to do with perceived playing stiffness due to the differences in the fret layout, true overall tension is also affected by the length of string behind the bridge and behind the nut. The added string length from the bridge to tailpiece on the 6118 will give it a slightly looser feel overall, whereas if you have a B50 tension bar Bigsby or a stop tailpiece, it will have a tighter feel for the same scale length.

    Keep in mind that while the bridge and nut are endpoints to the scale, they are not the endpoints to the string on most guitars. Overall string length from tuning peg to tailpiece does affect the feel--- However, the closer you get to the midpoint of the strings, the less this effect is felt. The fact that you feel it most in the first 4-5 fret positions probably has more to do with the nut, as others have said.

    Lots of good points made in this thread-- lots of variable to consider.
     
    Shroudy and new6659 like this.
  14. Alathea

    Alathea Electromatic

    33
    Dec 2, 2018
    NE
    It does have the tension bar. Can stringing over the bar vs under (caveats understood about strings jumping out of the saddles possibly and whatnot understood) change the feel?
     
  15. tartanphantom

    tartanphantom Country Gent

    Age:
    55
    Jul 30, 2008
    Murfreesboro, TN
    Yes, it can make a difference. It will also make the Bigsby a bit more sensitive... which is a good thing if you don’t wail on it like a Floyd Rose divebomber.
     
  16. Alathea

    Alathea Electromatic

    33
    Dec 2, 2018
    NE
    Nope, I have a superstrat type Ibanez for that. I just want warble/shimmer type vibrato, and right now (pre-spring change) its a little stiff.
     
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