Nuggets for Newbies

Discussion in 'Studio & Stage' started by rugerpc, Feb 25, 2016.

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  1. rugerpc

    rugerpc A♥ hoards guitars ♥A
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    We have a wide range of knowledge and experience on the forum, from people just starting their musical journey to grizzed veterans. We have recording musicians, gigging musicians and talented basement commandos. There is knowledge here. Knowledge that can be of use to players who have less experience or may just be starting out.

    This thread is a 'pay it forward' for knowledge. And because it should be useful for the absolute beginner, no useful information, however simple, will be turned away.

    I will, however remove non-contributory and negative posts. If you have a different approach to something that has already been posted, just tell us how you do it and leave the evaluation of usefulness of different approaches to the reader.

    Remember, really basic is OK. We're going on the notion that this could be a useful reference for newbies.
     
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  2. rugerpc

    rugerpc A♥ hoards guitars ♥A
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    I'll start.

    Tuning can be a challenge for the new player. Even more so with a trem on the guitar. With that in mind, here's my first fhought on tuning: tune UP to pitch slowly. If you go past, tune slightly lower and start again going UP.

    The reason is that even well cut and lubricated nut slots can bind the string during tuning, holding more tension on the tuning peg side of the nut than on the playing side when loosening strings. If you tune DOWN to pitch, at some point during playing, the string is going to slip and equalize that tension and your string will go flat. For some reason, it doesn't seem to happen that way when tuning UP.
     
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  3. veinbuster

    veinbuster Freeze zone

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    Following rugerpc on tuning.
    Especially when tuning with a trem, tune again after you've done all the strings. The change in tension by the time you get to the last string may bring the first string out of tune.
     
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  4. AP515

    AP515 Mostly Normal

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    Tuning tips got me to thinking about string changes. When changing strings, stretch them with your finger a couple times to get them to stay in tune more quickly. Put your finger under each string and pull up about as much as you would bending the string when playing (or a little more). Tug a little and then let it relax. Then retune again. The strings will stay in tune better after the stretching.
     
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  5. xjbebop

    xjbebop Yippy ki yay!

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    Great thread idea!

    I'd highly recommend to beginners (and every player...) to make a little effort to learn the mechanics of your particular instrument.
    Learn how to change strings properly, and some basic set up processes. It's not magic or rocket science. If your guitar plays well, you will play it more.
    If your guitar is on someone else's workbench waiting for these basic maintenance jobs, you can't play it...
    It's very rewarding to know how to do it yourself, and helps you bond with your instrument even more...
     
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  6. CoreyT

    CoreyT PRS Addiction

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    Guitar Tech Screwdriver Set

    I cannot stress how much this set has saved me from doing minor work on my guitars.
    Sure, I had other screw drivers and tools in my automotive toolbox setup, but this little thing is handy, you can put it in your case, gigbag, or where you store your guitars at home.
    I keep mine in my guitar case cabinet I had built a few years back.

    I have used this for changing out the truss rod covers, changing tuner buttons, and the end pins over to the Schaller Strap Lock end pins.

    It is very handy, and useful not just for newbs, but anyone wanting to do some of the work on their guitars.
    I gave one to my youngest son when I got him his first PRS a few years ago.

    http://www.stewmac.com/Luthier_Tools/Types_of_Tools/Screwdrivers/Guitar_Tech_Screwdriver_Set.html

    [​IMG]

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    [​IMG]
     
  7. rugerpc

    rugerpc A♥ hoards guitars ♥A
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    OK, let's look at some of the things a basic 'set up' might include.

    Easier things first:
    • tuning your guitar (some tips above ^^^)
    • changing the strings

    A little more involved:
    • adjusting the 'action' by:
    • • adjusting the bridge height
    • • adjusting the truss rod
    • adjusting the pickup height

    Harder yet:
    • refiling the nut for a different string gauge or replacing the nut entirely
    • adjusting the intonation

    Anyone want to chime in on one or more of these?
     
    #7 rugerpc, Feb 25, 2016
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2016
  8. LSchefman

    LSchefman Hears Tones

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    There are some great books on the topic of guitar maintenance, one of them by noted luthier Dan Erlewine. Most players love it.

    I've followed his tips very faithfully, however, I still can't get my setups to feel as good as a good pro setup person, and I've tried for almost 50 years.

    So my tip is --

    Sometimes there are folks who have a ton of experience with setups, and some of them are very talented at it, just as you might be more talented on your instrument than other folks.

    A great setup person is worth the time and expense involved if, like me, you're not happy with your own setups.
     
  9. xjbebop

    xjbebop Yippy ki yay!

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    Bebop tip #2 = use your ears when tuning...

    It's common practice to tune up using an electronic tuner these days. Pedal or clip on usually. These are fantastic tools, but it's very helpful to check the final tuning with your ears.
    Yes, it's true... I still have a 440 tuning fork around here somewhere... :D

    It's important to tune the instrument 'to itself'. Many factors of an instrument can effect this.
    Using the harmonic method and/or fretting at the 5th (4th for the 'B' string) will often correct the final pitch. (I'm sure google / youtube has plenty of instructional info on these subjects...)
    Most common electronic tuners will read "in tune" while still leaving a little wiggle room one way or the other. Not much, but enough to be heard if you listen.
    It's great ear training, and when those chords and intervals are truly 'in tune', they sound so much sweeter...

    "We tune because we care..." :cool:
     
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  10. ElrytNamrogo

    ElrytNamrogo My name be scrambled

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    Something I always think is worth mentioning is to use the volume and tone knobs on your guitar to run through the various tones your guitar can offer.

    There are many, many expressive tonal shapes available to you without ever having to reach for the amp or pedal.
     
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  11. AP515

    AP515 Mostly Normal

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    How about the painful fingers. People say you build up callouses, and you do. Until then if can hurt to play for more than a minute. My advice is to play through the pain for a few minutes. Not long enough to make you want to scream, but longer than you think you want to. That will speed up the callous building process. Once you have them built up you won't have to go through the pain again. Even if you don't get to play for a month and you loose your callouses. It doesn't hurt as much getting them back again.
     
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  12. HarrySound

    HarrySound New Member

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    Get yourself a String action gauge and familiarise yourself with your guitar measurements so if one day you think "somethings changed" you can get to the source of the problem.
    Don't adjust anything until you've gradually gone through the potentially long process of learning what every adjustment on the guitar is there to adjust.
    [​IMG]

    MY personal on a new custom 24 measurements are....

    12th fret string height to bottom of string
    Bass .050 (1.50)
    Treble .040 - .030 (1.25)

    1st fret string height to bottom of string
    Bass .010 (.5)
    Treble .005 almost half of bass (.25)

    Bridge height from body
    Bass 3.5 - 4mm
    Back Bass - 4mm
    Back Treble - 3.5mm
    Treble 3mm

    Pickups height to bottom of the string
    Bass Bass 9mm
    Bass treble 8mm
    Treble Bass 7mm
    Treble treble 6mm
     
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  13. Dusty Chalk

    Dusty Chalk alberngruppenführer

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    Best piece of advice I ever received was that it was better to play a little bit every day than a lot on the weekends -- don't try to make up for not practicing during the week by practicing for two hours on Saturday.

    If you miss Monday and Tuesday, don't give up and wait 'til Friday or Saturday, be more diligent about practicing on Wednesday. That kind of thing.
     
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  14. rugerpc

    rugerpc A♥ hoards guitars ♥A
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    I really, really like these nuggets!
     
  15. CoreyT

    CoreyT PRS Addiction

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  16. HarrySound

    HarrySound New Member

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    Corey your a genius. I knew what measurements I was looking for on my SE while following the guide on the PRS website but I really struggled on figuring out what the measurements on the gauge actually meant. I didn't know if I was looking at 32nds or 64ths etc. Didn't think to look on YouTube!
     
  17. CoreyT

    CoreyT PRS Addiction

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    Thanks Harry, I do not know about that :D

    I would like to take a hands on lesson someday on how to do a simple setup with truss rod, intonation, pickup height, etc.
    I have seen vids on YouTube, but nothing like actually having someone showing you in person how it is down.
    For now, I have my local PRS dealer to do my setups, and they do awesome work.
    Made that hard to play ZM of mine like a new guitar :D
     
  18. alantig

    alantig SSBMA

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    If you're going to Experience, they've done setup demos. I think there are YouTube videos of the demo as well. It was hands-on the first couple years - not sure about the last two or three.
     
  19. JustRob

    JustRob Just a member

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    Last June I sat in on a demo with Erik from the PS dept. Everyone had a guitar or bass and got to give it a try. I was always pretty confident about everything but truss rod adjustments. It was well worth the time.
     
  20. dsenoj

    dsenoj Old dude in a PRS T-shirt

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    I did the same thing at the 2013 Experience.
     

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