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Welcome to EvO:R Entertainment
Rick Andrews and other experts answers guitar repair questions
For almost one year, guitar luther Rick Andrews answered your guitar repair questions. After recieving over 500 questions we put together the most popular questions and answers. Today, we are involving other great guitar builders and will continue to expand this area in the future. This section will no longer be interactive but you should find most of your guitar building and repair questions have already been answered in this section.

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  •  Finding comfortable action on my Fender Precision Bass
    I've been having A LOT of trouble finding comfortable action on my Fender Precision Bass. Every time I get a set up by a guitar tech, I find that the action is either too high or too low. Is there a "basic" set up that techs do at the Fender factories? If so, how should I raise and lower each string? Right now I have it so that the E string is the highest, and each string gets gradually lower. Any help would be gratefully appreciated! Thanks man.

  • Ricks Answer
    Well Tom, you did it exactly right in my personal opinion. I set up my guitars that way and it is correct because the diameter of the strings gets gradually smaller from the E 6th down to the E 1st. Also, the larger strings have a much wider vibration or motion area than the smaller strings so they need the extra clearance above the fretboard so they won't vibrate against the wood.

    I believe everyone has a special personal feel for where they want each string to set and that is why the techs cannot nail it just right for everyone. Generally speaking they usually set it up the way they would do their guitar which is really a big mistake. Even when I build custome guitars I always ask for the specifics each player wants. I usually get it right like they want the first time but once in a while someone will want to split that hair four ways and read just a tiny bit. This is also something that will change slightly as the instrument ages and the wood completely cures in and settles.

    Even the best woods and workmanship still has to allow some space for a small amount od settle in change. Actually a guitar needs a break in period just like a new pair of shoes. Personally I like a low fast action for more progressive playing. A heavy metal guy that likes the hard heavy crunch rhythm needs heavier strings and a higher action. Those long bnig lanky bass strings can really get a wide fat motion and usually needs a higher action on the strings.

    I would suggest starting with the neck alignment being sure to get the straightest fretboard possible. Then dressing the frets as straight in alignment as possible. When these two are at the best that neck can yield then is the time to start setting the string height to where each string has the feel you want for you. You should have no fret or string buzzes then. Don't even worry abiout intonation at all until all the other stuff I mentioned is finished. Then at the last stage set your intonation on each individual string.

    Now you know at this point by doing these things in the proper order you will have your bass settings at the best it can give. You juist start from the foundation up with the neck and rod and so on. Example: if you set the intonation perfectly and then change the string height even a tiny bit, you just blew the intonation and would have to readjust it again.

    So the proper order or sequence is more important than most techs even think about. I learned this when I had to redo my own every time I had a tech do it. Experience is the best teacher. Don't be afraid to go for it. Dive right in and learn you can do it yourself. You will do it over several times but this will help your playing ability believe it or not. The more you learn about the geometry of the instrument, the better you will play it by that knowledge. Don't let any tech tell you it is set wrong if you know it pleases you. When it is where you like it, you will play better and with more confidence.
    Rick Andrews
    Andrews guitar

  • String height question on fretless bass.
    The B string on my acoustic is acting funny.
    Hey Rick, The B string on my acoustic is acting funny. When I tune it to a tuner, or harmonic tune it, the major E Chord sounds fine, but when I play a "D" chord, the B string seems to sound Flat, I can tune the string slightly up, but then the chords requiring the string to be open sound off.

    Is this an Intonation problem, or is something out of whack with my back bridge, which doesn't seem adjustable since it is an insert type. Any thoughts........???
    Desperate in South Carolina,

  • Ricks Answer
    Well Neal,
    I have seen so many acoustic guitars with the same problem. B strings are proned to be the most problem string on the guitar. I would first look at a few things: How old are the strings? Sometimes the B string when it gets some war and time it tends to be hard to split the difference between E and D chords. You get it right in one and the other is off, you get it right in the other and the first one is off.

    Most people just try to split the difference and live with it but I hate doing that. try a new string but also the new string has to get some stretching done before it stablizes too. If this does not prove to be the problem then nest see if the fret that sets the B string while playing the D chord is worn badly more so than the other frets. That can cause intonation problems to show up especialy on the B string. If that doesn't prove abnytghing then it has to be the overall intonation. To solve this problem you must adjust the intonation of the B string by shortening its total length when played open "B".

    There is a sneaky way to do this.
    Put a very tiny drop of supper glue in the slot at the nut and at the bridge then recut the slot after it is set hard. When you reslot for the string make the slot sloped outward from the guitar at the nut and at the bridge so when it pinches off the string its total length is a tiny bit shorter which will make it play more sharp. Whe youmake a string longer it plays more flat. Think of it as the B string is a tiny bit too long to fret properly.

    Also, if the glue makes the string just barely taller in the slot it makes you press the B string further downward before it frets thus making it tighter on the fret than before which also makes it fret a tiny bit more sharp. After doing this tune it to open E where the B string is right. Now when you play the D chord the B string will fret a bit more sharp than before and should correct the problem.

    I would be sure first though if the string is bad thru wear or too much metal fatique. Give this a whirl and I bet you will see an amazing difference. Let us know if it works. Actually you could put a tiny piece of paper in the slot at the bridge and at the nut just to test the theory. Just think geometry and m,ake the string overall length a little shorter. Sometimes the slots are nut cut properly to cradle the strings. The slots need to be very close to the side of the nut and bridge favoring the pinch points of the string. The width of the nut or the saddle at the bridge can make a huge difference in the length of the string where the vibration of the string happens.

    I believe the difference in the height of the B string will be where you see the best correction happen. Remember when you press down on the B string if it is set higher then you have toress it harder and further and that will make ir play sharper on the D chord but it will stay the same when you play the B open in the open E chord.

    Rick Andrews

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