Luthiers in Wellington for setup/repairs?

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Re: Luthiers in Wellington for setup/repairs?

Post by alanp »

Picked up my resonator today from David Pitt (Wanganui.) Nice low action now, good for finger picking :) (no interest in slide at the moment.)
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Luthiers in Wellington for setup/repairs?

Post by Eruera »

alanp wrote:Picked up my resonator today from David Pitt (Wanganui.) Nice low action now, good for finger picking :) (no interest in slide at the moment.)
How much did that reso set you back, if you don't mind my asking? It's a slot-head tricone yeah?

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Re: Luthiers in Wellington for setup/repairs?

Post by Vince »

alanp wrote:Picked up my resonator today from David Pitt (Wanganui.) Nice low action now, good for finger picking :) (no interest in slide at the moment.)
I don't get the "high action for slide" thing. The slide goes on the strings, you don't press down. It's just a way of ruining a guitar.
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Re: Luthiers in Wellington for setup/repairs?

Post by niceguyollie »

Vince wrote:
alanp wrote:Picked up my resonator today from David Pitt (Wanganui.) Nice low action now, good for finger picking :) (no interest in slide at the moment.)
I don't get the "high action for slide" thing. The slide goes on the strings, you don't press down. It's just a way of ruining a guitar.
It's about having clean contact between the slide and strings, if the action is set too low you can be knocking the slide against the frets and board. Having it set higher allows you to dig in more too, play more aggressively with the slide.

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Re: Luthiers in Wellington for setup/repairs?

Post by Vince »

niceguyollie wrote: It's about having clean contact between the slide and strings, if the action is set too low you can be knocking the slide against the frets and board.
Yeah, nah. You shouldn't be touching the frets or the board (and it'd be very unusual to use the slide to push past the frets and on to the fingerboard anyway).
niceguyollie wrote: Having it set higher allows you to dig in more too, play more aggressively with the slide.
Not sure about that at all. See previous paragraph. Perhaps you'd get more sustain out of the guitar but I'm really not sure that a high action is in any way necessary for slide.
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Re: Luthiers in Wellington for setup/repairs?

Post by niceguyollie »

Vince wrote:
niceguyollie wrote: It's about having clean contact between the slide and strings, if the action is set too low you can be knocking the slide against the frets and board.
Yeah, nah. You shouldn't be touching the frets or the board (and it'd be very unusual to use the slide to push past the frets and on to the fingerboard anyway).
niceguyollie wrote: Having it set higher allows you to dig in more too, play more aggressively with the slide.
Not sure about that at all. See previous paragraph. Perhaps you'd get more sustain out of the guitar but I'm really not sure that a high action is in any way necessary for slide.
Exactly, you shouldn't be touching the frets or board, hence the need for the higher action. Some players have a clean, light touch when playing slide and they may not need much extra height, but a lot of people (particularly those that play harder and with more attack) prefer that extra clearance. I'm not talking crazy-high here, but enough so that the player gets a clear slide tone with no fret noise. Like most things with guitar set-up, it comes down to personal preference, but if you asked 10 techs/luthiers I'm pretty certain 9/10 would recommend going to a higher action for slide work.

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Re: Luthiers in Wellington for setup/repairs?

Post by Bg »

I have big strings and higher action on my tricone, but I play that with slide only. I do fret chords and hit bass notes as well but I'd be knackered after 1 song picking on it. I can use my heaviest brass slide and get big tone on it.

I also play slide on my regular acoustic, this is set to a medium action and has 12's on it. I can only use a lighter touch and a glass slide before I start knocking against it....

I don't think you need high action per se, as long as you use heavy strings, or vice versa. It just makes it easier. I struggled with slide for years until I got my tricone, which was well setup, and then it just made sense and I find it pretty easy to get great tone and proper intonation!
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Luthiers in Wellington for setup/repairs?

Post by Eruera »

I find that the action needs to be up a bit if your playing more than just adjacent strings due to the radius. The slide ain't gonna bend so in order to contact your outer strings cleanly you need to depress the inner ones a bit, if your action is super low then that can cause trouble. For me the main advantage is expression, the dynamic range on my reso with a nut lifter is miles beyond what it was with a normal setup.

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Re: Luthiers in Wellington for setup/repairs?

Post by Vince »

niceguyollie wrote:I'm not talking crazy-high here, but enough so that the player gets a clear slide tone with no fret noise.
Yes, but... if you're getting fret noise? Sorry, you must be doing it wrong? :? You shouldn't be pressing down that hard. It's like the difference between walking and stomping. Not really sure you get more "digging in" by pressing the slide down harder, though I'm willing to be proven wrong. Could you do a quick soundcloud or something? Not really crusading about this or anything or trying to prove any sort of point... but it just feels like an odd conversation. If you don't feel like the soundcloud thing, that's fine.
niceguyollie wrote: Like most things with guitar set-up, it comes down to personal preference, but if you asked 10 techs/luthiers I'm pretty certain 9/10 would recommend going to a higher action for slide work.
I'm sure they would but, if it's basically a technique thing, then it's kind of silly to push one guitar into being your "slide" guitar. Mainly because, if you need a bit of slide in the middle of a song, it's a drag having to put your regular guitar down, pick up your slide guitar, plug it in (maybe) play sixteen bars and change guitars all over again.
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Re: Luthiers in Wellington for setup/repairs?

Post by Scooter13 »

Vince wrote:
niceguyollie wrote:I'm not talking crazy-high here, but enough so that the player gets a clear slide tone with no fret noise.
Yes, but... if you're getting fret noise? Sorry, you must be doing it wrong? :? You shouldn't be pressing down that hard. It's like the difference between walking and stomping. Not really sure you get more "digging in" by pressing the slide down harder, though I'm willing to be proven wrong. Could you do a quick soundcloud or something? Not really crusading about this or anything or trying to prove any sort of point... but it just feels like an odd conversation. If you don't feel like the soundcloud thing, that's fine.
niceguyollie wrote: Like most things with guitar set-up, it comes down to personal preference, but if you asked 10 techs/luthiers I'm pretty certain 9/10 would recommend going to a higher action for slide work.
I'm sure they would but, if it's basically a technique thing, then it's kind of silly to push one guitar into being your "slide" guitar. Mainly because, if you need a bit of slide in the middle of a song, it's a drag having to put your regular guitar down, pick up your slide guitar, plug it in (maybe) play sixteen bars and change guitars all over again.
Depends on your radius too though. I wouldn't be able to get all strings flat against the slide without hitting the centre part of the frets on some of my guitars. My action is pretty low. And there's supposed to be a bit pressure against the strings to get them to sustain. Otherwise it's too zingy and almost only harmonics alone.

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Re: Luthiers in Wellington for setup/repairs?

Post by niceguyollie »

Vince wrote:
niceguyollie wrote:I'm not talking crazy-high here, but enough so that the player gets a clear slide tone with no fret noise.
Yes, but... if you're getting fret noise? Sorry, you must be doing it wrong? :? You shouldn't be pressing down that hard. It's like the difference between walking and stomping. Not really sure you get more "digging in" by pressing the slide down harder, though I'm willing to be proven wrong. Could you do a quick soundcloud or something? Not really crusading about this or anything or trying to prove any sort of point... but it just feels like an odd conversation. If you don't feel like the soundcloud thing, that's fine.
niceguyollie wrote: Like most things with guitar set-up, it comes down to personal preference, but if you asked 10 techs/luthiers I'm pretty certain 9/10 would recommend going to a higher action for slide work.
I'm sure they would but, if it's basically a technique thing, then it's kind of silly to push one guitar into being your "slide" guitar. Mainly because, if you need a bit of slide in the middle of a song, it's a drag having to put your regular guitar down, pick up your slide guitar, plug it in (maybe) play sixteen bars and change guitars all over again.
I barely play slide myself, it's not really my thing, my thoughts on it come more from setting up guitars for other people. If I can, I like to watch the person play a little so I can get a feel for their technique, then I make adjustments accordingly. Sure, you shouldn't be pushing down really, but some people do push a little more than others, some even hit the strings when they play. And yes, a higher action can help mask some flaws in technique too, but it's not really for me to tell someone their technique is bad, I just try and work with the way they play.

The other question I ask, that you refer to above, is whether the guitar will be used purely for slide work, or if it is to be used for a mixture of styles. Some people may just stick to one guitar for a set, so I would probably go more for a medium action, but others may like to have a dedicated guitar for slide in which case I could get away with more height. It's not height for heights sake, I keep it as low as I can to achieve clean playing.

Getting back to your original post when you said you don't really get the higher action for slide thing, well you may have technique so brilliant that you could play clean slide on an Ibanez Jem set up for shredding, but conventional wisdom (and my own experience) dictates that to achieve a good slide action in most cases you need to go with a bit more height than your standard playing action.

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Re: Luthiers in Wellington for setup/repairs?

Post by Vince »

niceguyollie wrote:And yes, a higher action can help mask some flaws in technique too, but it's not really for me to tell someone their technique is bad, I just try and work with the way they play.
Yep, I can relate. Like I said, the high/low action thing is not dogma for me, it's just something that I consider unnecessary.

niceguyollie wrote: Getting back to your original post when you said you don't really get the higher action for slide thing, well you may have technique so brilliant that you could play clean slide on an Ibanez Jem set up for shredding...
Well, nobody has brilliant technique at anything to start off with. You have to work at it. If someone works at getting a good slide sound on a Jem set up for shredding they will be able to do it. But as you said, if people want the high action, they want the high action.
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Re: Luthiers in Wellington for setup/repairs?

Post by Eruera »

I think it also depends on what kind of slide playing it is.

If it's fingerstyle playing with a bit of slide thrown in then sure go for a medium low as a compromise, but if you want to get into 'slide techniques' like slants and slide hammers than you're going to need superhuman fine motor control to pull it off on a fingerstyle-capable action. I'm sure there are people who can, but for those of us who are just dabbling in, rather than dedicating our lives to, slide playing it's simply not worth the time investment when you could just bring up the the action and get yo' stomp on.

I'm not a physicist but applying a bit of 100-level waves it would follow that in order to get a good strong fundamental tone you need a solid terminus to the string, so you don't want the string 'bouncing' on the slide. In order to ensure that you'd need to press the string down further than it's maximum deflection (from the vibration) at that point. Simply holding the slide against the string with zero deflection would result in the string slapping against the slide. You can test this, pluck the low E and while it's ringing lower a slide very slowly and gently against it. You'll find that the point of first contact is the string buzzing as it bounces on and off the slide, getting gradually less until (with enough deflection) you finally create a new fundamental. If you think about it, it's no different from fretting. Simply touching the string to the fret results in a buzz, you actually need to press down behind the fret with reasonable force to get a clear note.

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Re: Luthiers in Wellington for setup/repairs?

Post by Vince »

Eruera wrote: Simply holding the slide against the string with zero deflection would result in the string slapping against the slide...
That's why you use the slide on one finger (say the pinkie or ring) and muffle the strings behind the slide (ie on the nut side) with your other finger(s).
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Re: Luthiers in Wellington for setup/repairs?

Post by Eruera »

Vince wrote:
Eruera wrote: Simply holding the slide against the string with zero deflection would result in the string slapping against the slide...
That's why you use the slide on one finger (say the pinkie or ring) and muffle the strings behind the slide (ie on the nut side) with your other finger(s).
That's a different phenomenon. If you have poor slide contact as I was talking about, muting behind the slide mutes the whole string since the vibrating body isn't ending at the slide.

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