Improve the playability of my Jet?

Sanchito

Electromatic
May 11, 2022
93
Washington, DC
I'm currently "borrowing," as I prefer to think of it, three guitars from GC: an Epiphone LP, a G5230T, and a Schecter Solo ii Custom. (All in black, if you want a sense of my preferred aesthetics.)

While I wait for my TV Jones to arrive (I demoed some HS Filtertons at a store and loved them, so took the plunge), I'm trying to solve the mystery of the *radically* different action of the three -- which I mean in the general sense of feel, when I pluck or fret a string.

The schecter just feels amazing, springy, reactive, unmuffled, it feels "healthy," of all things, like a well stretched muscle. String height is reasonable, I think 1.25 and 1.5mm on the 6th and 1st strings, neck relief also right on the recommended money.

But the 5230 just feels sort of -- dampened. Stiff. I changed the strings, same thing. (regular slinkys). Gave it *more* neck relief then recommended, in case it was being muted by the frets?, But same thing. Action is also at a reasonable height so I haven't played much with that yet, but I'm confused because these are really the only variables I know, to change. What else could be going on? The schecter has a cool compensated nut, but this is while fretting -- the muffled feeling is particularly pronounced at the twelfth feet on the sixth string. Could it just be the strings themselves? A different brand, or gauge, or new but broken in or something? I thought they were identical but I can check again, it replace them to test

Fwiw I don't like the schecter sound very much, but it's a beautiful ... Object, if for some reason not my favorite guitar. And I wrestled with it at first but the Epi is terrific, if you can get over the bridge pickup just occasionally dying for no visible reason.

On an exciting side note, I discovered that NY Metro cards are exactly 0.010", in case you lost your feeler gauge!
 
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Chance Novak

Electromatic
Apr 20, 2022
21
CA
Just speaking for myself, I'd hate to go to GC and buy an expensive guitar that had been "borrowed", thinking I was buying a brand new guitar from the factory. I guess most other guys don't mind it ....(?).

That's why I order my guitars these days.
 

Emergence

Synchromatic
May 25, 2022
569
New York
I completely agree with @Chance Novak , but I’m going to answer you anyway. Find Freeman Keller at the Telecaster Discussion Page Re Issue and familiarize yourself with set up.

This is a quick and dirty method that works for me. Any guitar that fails goes back for a luthier to look at.

I’d remove the strings and check that the problem neck is flat with the truss rod loosened and that it is not twisted. String the guitar. Check that the nut is cut correctly. There should be no more than a playing card of space between any string and the first fret when the string is fretted at the third fret.

Set the action for frets 12 thru 22 so you don’t get any buzz picking a note. Set the truss rod for one business card clearance between the twelfth fret and the low E string. Do this visually. Capo at the first fret and press a string down at 21 or 22. Check visually that there’s no contact between any other string and the 12th fret. Increase relief if you get buzz when strumming. Raise the action if you get buzz soloing. Problems between frets 15 and 22 point to a ski jump in the neck. I’d reject that one for sure.
 

tolm

Gretschie
Jan 25, 2016
367
UK
Part of the feel difference could be scale length - I’d guess the Schecter is 24.75 whereas the Gretsch will be 24.6?

Now, that doesn’t sound like a big difference but after years of playing Gibson guitars with 24.75 scale necks, when I switched to my Duo Jet I found the feel with my usual preferred 46-10 strings “loose” and unfamiliar. So I went up to 48-11s and loved it: more umph, more snap … just, more!

Just a thought …
 

Sanchito

Electromatic
May 11, 2022
93
Washington, DC
I still step up my setup game, and see if that makes a difference. Thanks!

If it makes anybody feel better, every one I've purchased and returned has already been used, or remaindered, and with the work I put into them (like cleaning, or replacing the strings, or removing balls of solder bouncing around in the body, or in this case now doing a complete setup), they're often in noticably better shape than when I started.

But I'm also a little surprised at the response, since the 45 day return policy suggested to me a simple recognition of the fact that -- it takes a long time to thoroughly feel something out, and returns are an expected part of the process. Sure I'd be mad if it were scratched or something, but that's visible in the store.
 

kdm1218

Electromatic
Jun 17, 2021
86
TX
I mean if you ordered TV Jones pickups I assume/hope you are keeping the Jet??? Or at least not planning to swap pups in and then possibly back out and return to the store?

I’m also curious why you’d keep a guitar where a pickup is cutting out. Even if it just has a bad switch contact point, I don’t ever expect to buy a guitar from something like GC and have to start fixing components.
 

jvin248

Gretschie
May 16, 2017
202
Near Detroit
.

Scale length changes string tension feel,
Longer/shorter headstock changes tension feel,
More string between bridge saddles and anchor point or tremolo also change tension feel.

(The amount of extra string length at the headstock and beyond the saddles also causes differences in 'sustain'. That's string stretch and friction, more string to stretch at the overhangs with more friction cuts sustain. Look at a plinky mandolin vs headless guitar with a wrap tail.)

.
 

montereyjack66

Country Gent
Feb 29, 2012
3,248
LA-ish
I have a Schecter Vintage solo (their take on a Jet, but you didn't hear it from me). I bought it 2011, have used it quite a bit, and no complaints. The set up was perfect on day 1 and has stayed that way. I did have to replace a knob. My only concern is the string spacing, which is purposefully narrow cuz that's what Schecter does and does well. Because I'm more of an oaf than a shredder, I tend to prefer Jet necks that are on the wide side. I do own two Pro Jets. An early 2000s one of mostly mahogany, is weighty, but is very alive in terms of tone, sustain etc. My other Jet is like 2017 which is much lighter and is not as over performing as the first one. New strings and new pups made a very big difference. Beyond that, a preamp can illuminate much, or you just go straight to cussing. Other than that, listen to the above advice.
 

Sanchito

Electromatic
May 11, 2022
93
Washington, DC
@montereyjack66 any noticeable difference between the action on the schecter, and an actual jet? Even better, between the schecter, and something with a bigsby? I'm intrigued by the notion that might be the culprit.

If I decide it's my favorite body, I might put the TVJs in that, since I don't love the Pasadena pups, though I couldn't quite say why
 

GretschPraise

Gretschie
Jun 26, 2017
246
Tampa Bay
Quite a long a long time ago I came across the advice (here I think) of putting Gibson Bright Wires strings on my Projet, they have a lot more snap to them. I think I went I to medium gauge as well for the shorter scale.
 

DoctorBB

Electromatic
Apr 4, 2022
61
Beaumont TX
This Schecter was the best guitar I’ve ever owned as far as playability. Fast and low and the tones were good. Not to mention inlays and the build was amazing. Only sold it because a collector of this model offered ridiculous money. ABF734CB-E9BA-4BD9-A785-B32BBEDB9090.jpeg FEC50C93-120F-4C84-8216-23F6771CC19E.jpeg
 

montereyjack66

Country Gent
Feb 29, 2012
3,248
LA-ish
Both jets have B5s as does the Schecter. The action, other than the afore mentioned distance between the strings themselves, is very similar. Love 'em all.
 

Sanchito

Electromatic
May 11, 2022
93
Washington, DC
Took another shot at the setup, and it's my favorite player right now by a long shot. Regular old regular slinkies. Think it's because I adjusted the truss rod by feel, and used a relief slightly beyond the recommended numbers I was seeing, whereas before I was just sticking really close to the "correct" measurements. It looks like it's settled back to about "right" though so maybe it just needed time for the wood to adjust. Or, some completely different reason I can't fathom.

Thanks again!
 

dspellman

Gretschie
Jul 4, 2020
395
Los Angeles
I completely agree with @Chance Novak , but I’m going to answer you anyway. Find Freeman Keller at the Telecaster Discussion Page Re Issue and familiarize yourself with set up.

This is a quick and dirty method that works for me. Any guitar that fails goes back for a luthier to look at.

I’d remove the strings and check that the problem neck is flat with the truss rod loosened and that it is not twisted. String the guitar. Check that the nut is cut correctly. There should be no more than a playing card of space between any string and the first fret when the string is fretted at the third fret.

Set the action for frets 12 thru 22 so you don’t get any buzz picking a note. Set the truss rod for one business card clearance between the twelfth fret and the low E string. Do this visually. Capo at the first fret and press a string down at 21 or 22. Check visually that there’s no contact between any other string and the 12th fret. Increase relief if you get buzz when strumming. Raise the action if you get buzz soloing. Problems between frets 15 and 22 point to a ski jump in the neck. I’d reject that one for sure.
First, I have to note that this whole "business card/playing card" is meant as an emergency measure only, and definitely not as a means to set your action/relief normally. Business cards vary widely in thickness, and the rule of thumb specified a "NEW" playing card (they get fatter as they get used). Feeler gauges are cheap and highly recommended.

Because I like a guitar with very low action, I've begun to take guitars that are new to me (and that have suspect action issues) to my favorite tech. If it's otherwise in good shape, I have the frets superglued and then have him run it on the PLEK. I just figure that expense into the cost of the purchase.

Sometimes I get lucky, particularly in the used market, and the previous owner has such a good setup on the guitar that nothing is required. New guitars are the ones I've found most likely to have issues, particularly if they've been hanging on someone's wall on display.
 

Sanchito

Electromatic
May 11, 2022
93
Washington, DC
I'm sure feeler gauges are generally more versatile, but ny subway cards are plastic, won't bulge, and are officially spec'd at exactly 0.010" thick.

Though my main point was really that IGNORING these numbers, and adjusting more by feel, was what got me to a good place.

I am curious to try out a PLEK though
 


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