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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
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From: Aurele Vitali
To: Rick Andrews
Ricks Answer to - Tailpiece Height
I was so impressed by your reply last week (pickup height) that I thought of asking you
something else. I hope you don't mind. It regards to the height of the "tailpiece" on my
Les Paul (Custom).
I've read two different approaches: (1) The top of the tailpiece should just clears
the bridge or, (2) the tailpiece should placed snug against the body. Apparently, the
height affects overall sustain..
From: Rick Andrews
To: Aurele Vitali
Subject: Re: Tailpiece Height
Your very welcome Aurele, my pleasure any time. Many years ago when I played Les Pauls
I am thinking I dropped my tailpiece down to snug at the body but the main thing is the
strings must be at a lower level than the bridge saddles so they will angle over and
press tightly against the saddle slot so the string is pinched of well. I tightened mine
down so there would be no rattles or buzzing anywhere.
Question about changing my bass strings
Ricks Answer to - a question about changing my bass strings
About changing the strings...What, if anything, different should I do when
putting the top 4 of a 5-string set on a 4-string bass? I need the B-string and I
dont use my G-string much.
From: Rick Andrews
If you are using the standard 5 string bass tuning of G D A E B it will work fine since you do not use
the G much in your case. If you put the 4 strings D A E B on a four string bass just beware of the slots
in the nut will be a bit smaller so you may need to widen the nut slots to accomodate the bigger strings.
The larger D string will be replacing the smaller G string, the larger A string will be replacing
the smaller D string, the larger E string will be replacing the smaller A string, and the larger B string
will be replacing the smaller E string.
So each notch will be a tiny bit larger. Just be careful to do this
properly and to fit the guage strings you are going to use.
Same thing at the bridge. It's just a matter of matching the notch to the string so it will fit snug enough
not to rattle or buzz but still pinch off the string. Your bridge saddles may have to raise slightly higher
and the intonations will have to be reset for each string. The tension on the neck may change somewhat
depending on the guage of string you will be using.
Watch the neck closely and see if it tends to curve in any direction after the other changes have been made.
If the neck tension does change then you may have to reset the truss rod slightly to accomodate the difference.
Once all this has been done and is set up properly then it will work fine.
However, there may be a more simple
option you may want to try first.
On the four string bass you can use the G D A E and tune each string down to the D A E B tuning and see what
happens. If the four string bass had a slightly heavier guage string then it would amount to about
the same thing by down tuning. You can first try that and see how it plays and feels to you own taste.
If that suits then you would save a lot of adjustment and work. The nut slots and bride saddles would
stay the same. That would be my first choice.
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