A good setup is so critical to getting the most out of your ERG

nightlight

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Just putting my thoughts on paper, so to speak.

Was seriously thinking about selling my Swedish Strandberg 8 for a bit, you know how it is - GAS for something else, bills to pay, etc.

My main concern was that the lower strings just seemed to be not right. Sounded brutal, yes, but they lacked that kind of percussive and rhythmic quality that I think an instrument tuned as low as F# or E really needs to have that grind, clack and pop similar to a good bass guitar.

So while I was sitting there staring at Reverb, waiting for my axe to sell, I thought I'd re-set up the guitar. Changed the neck bow, brought the strings down lower, adjusted the pickup height, brought the action down at the bridge.

And what do you know, there it was: An instrument of total sonic devastation. The tone has improved immensely and what I was most impressed with was that with higher gain, it has suddenly gained a whole lot more definition and impact. Massive.

Needless to say, I was immensely pleased and the guitar is now off the market.
 

cardinal

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I run my action super low (I think the low F# may be 1.5 mm or less above the 24th fret, the neck has just a hint of relief). It's a bit clanky sure if you hit the strings too hard, but it really IME makes the string sound brighter and snappier, and it seems to react to picking much faster and with more nuance. I run my bass guitars the same way, with the action just slammed low. When then action is higher, the tone is warmer, fatter, and slower. That is great for some things, but the opposite of what I personally want.

So I don't think there's a "wrong" way to do it, but a set up is about more than just playability. It absolutely impacts the timbre of the guitar as well.
 

vick1000

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The pick up hieght was probably the contributing factor, as opposed to any of the other changes. But I know a good set up goes a long way toward the perceived quality of the overall experience.
 

KnightBrolaire

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I've had to do full setups on basically every guitar I own including my 8 strings. The 8 strings just required a bit more work with balancing string tensions and keeping the 8th string from buzzing.
A good setup definitely makes a huge difference in perceived quality/playability of the instrument. I can take an entry to midlevel guitar and do some minor fretwork and intonation/action adjustment and it'll be on par playability wise with guitars far more expensive.
 

cardinal

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The pick up hieght was probably the contributing factor, as opposed to any of the other changes. But I know a good set up goes a long way toward the perceived quality of the overall experience.

IMHO I can hear the tonal change acoustically/unplugged between a string with higher action and one with lower action. And that change translates through the amplified signal as well IME.
 

bzhang9

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IMHO I can hear the tonal change acoustically/unplugged between a string with higher action and one with lower action. And that change translates through the amplified signal as well IME.

or its because lowering the action is the same as raising your pickups which increases output...
 

cardinal

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or its because lowering the action is the same as raising your pickups which increases output...

But... as I say I can hear the difference (brighter, snappier) UNPLUGGED.

I think you'll find that a lot of bass players would agree with me that lower action gives a different timbre than when the the strings are high enough not to rattle against the frets. It's a distinct tone.
 

Politics of Ecstasy

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I ran my action too low....like literally to what they call a level “2”, below a 3, which is standard shred......and then the winter hit and the neck bowed a bit...now i got fret buzz i cant stop in the middle strings......

Any suggestions? Raising the trem didnt work and i dont want to put in shims, and it was just set up, like a month ago, it was perfect

Any ideas
 

stockwell

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I'm pretty sure it's a thing that death metal bassists set their action low and intentionally snap/pop the strings against the fret board. At least, I've heard that that's key to that "clanky" sound. Wonder how well we can apply that to guitar.
 

Go To Bed Jessica

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I ran my action too low....like literally to what they call a level “2”, below a 3, which is standard shred......and then the winter hit and the neck bowed a bit...now i got fret buzz i cant stop in the middle strings......

Any suggestions? Raising the trem didnt work and i dont want to put in shims, and it was just set up, like a month ago, it was perfect

Any ideas

You need to adjust the truss rod lol. That's what it's there for!
 

Splenetic

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I hear ya. I'm selling one of my guitars now, have an interested buyer...and f'n hell....Just did a string change, cleaning and setup adjustment. Now I'm low-key praying the buyer doesn't come through. I'm in-between jobs right now, so I need the money too, but shit does it play and sound good. FECK
 

jephjacques

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Yeah 8s are particularly finicky with that huge-ass low string. I've had the best results by using more higher action (3mm on the bass side, 2mm on the treble) and more neck relief. I don't need crazy-low action for what I play anyhow, and it makes everything sound better.
 

nightlight

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Lol
Always was afraid of needlin back there in the headstock

ok....Jessica.....here we go!

thx

Just make small adjustments. Never crank the truss rod. And if you feel like it isn't moving, don't try to force it, this can damage the truss rod. Sometimes when you think that the neck needs more relief and you run out of room, try the opposite. It's also critical to adjust the height of the bridge while doing this and checking things at tension. Just take it slow and you'll be fine.
 

jephjacques

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I used to be petrified of truss rod adjustments because of all the "BE CAREFUL OR YOU'LL KILL YOUR GUITAR" warnings but honestly as long as you don't force anything and use the right tool it's a piece of cake. 1/8th turn, press down on the 15th fret and check the action at the 7th, season to taste.
 

cardinal

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I'm pretty sure it's a thing that death metal bassists set their action low and intentionally snap/pop the strings against the fret board. At least, I've heard that that's key to that "clanky" sound. Wonder how well we can apply that to guitar.

I play bass a lot too and set my action this way and it really does give a brighter, more aggressive sound. After picking up the bass, I started to set up my guitars like this as well.

I do kinda prefer the sound of higher action on the plain strings, but especially with a low F#, I just slam the action to keep the wound strings brighter.
 

vortex_infinium

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So while I was sitting there staring at Reverb, waiting for my axe to sell, I thought I'd re-set up the guitar. Changed the neck bow, brought the strings down lower, adjusted the pickup height, brought the action down at the bridge.

Glad it worked out for you! I'd be hard pressed to sell my Sweden since the shop closed down but luckily for me mine came set up perfectly and I do my best to make sure it stays setup that way.

Open question to you and anyone else: You weren't satisfied with the tone (none of us will ever be :lol:). But were you previously satisfied with the play-ability of your guitar?

I always find myself in this tug of war with my guitars in that regard. Trying to find the sweet spot between what feels great to play in my hands vs having a sound I'm satisfied with.
 

ChugThisBoy

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Glad it worked out for you! I'd be hard pressed to sell my Sweden since the shop closed down but luckily for me mine came set up perfectly and I do my best to make sure it stays setup that way.

Open question to you and anyone else: You weren't satisfied with the tone (none of us will ever be :lol:). But were you previously satisfied with the play-ability of your guitar?

I always find myself in this tug of war with my guitars in that regard. Trying to find the sweet spot between what feels great to play in my hands vs having a sound I'm satisfied with.

Yeah, same here. I've bought a new Boden Classic 7 directly from Strandberg this year and according to the documentation, the check and setup was done in march the same year (I bought it in August if I recall correctly). The axe turned out to be..fine. Just fine, not excellent or anything crazy. The factory setup was pretty decent with low action and whatnot but the fret buzz was just terrible, like I know that a little of it is pretty normal thing to be, but it was just driving me crazy. After many attempts to do the setup by myself (including string changing, adjusting the rod, adjusting the bridge in many ways), I've decided to go to the local luthier. It turned out that the frets needed serious leveling (is that what you call it?). Anyway, the guitar is decent now. It sounds good, the buzz is still there, especially on the low 7, but not in a way where it interferes my playing.
I'm not typing all that to bash Strandberg but it wasn't a nice surprise for me to find out that I have to pay for additional setup in a guitar with a price tag like that, especially for Indo one. I was dreaming for a Strandy for many years before that and it was just a bummer. I probably will sell it in some time to fund Aristides or something similar.
 

nightlight

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Glad it worked out for you! I'd be hard pressed to sell my Sweden since the shop closed down but luckily for me mine came set up perfectly and I do my best to make sure it stays setup that way.

Open question to you and anyone else: You weren't satisfied with the tone (none of us will ever be :lol:). But were you previously satisfied with the play-ability of your guitar?

I always find myself in this tug of war with my guitars in that regard. Trying to find the sweet spot between what feels great to play in my hands vs having a sound I'm satisfied with.


The fit and finish of my Strandberg was excellent, even earlier. Beautiful fretwork, a great neck that's quite a bit faster than the RG2228 I had, amazing resonance for such a tiny body.

Thing is, I modify my tunings quite a bit, and have even tried extreme tunings like the low string at G# or even A, or sometimes downtuned the low string to D#.

Somewhere along the way, the action seems to have gotten a bit higher towards the higher frets, so what I did was to really work with the truss rod and bridge height to bring the action down across the board. After that I adjusted the pickups a bit and just made sure that there were no dead frets or fret buzz.

Took a fair amount of time, I spent a whole evening messing with it.

The results though were spectacular. It honestly sounds like someone dropping a bomb when I hit the low F# and chugging on the B string is super tight and chunky. It's also far more playable now, especially solos, awesome guitar.

Definitely No. 2 in my collection, #1 being a Mayones 6 string, and that too only because I still feel more comfortable on six strings than eight.
 

nightlight

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I did a small video demo of the Boden 8 today. Think it sounds pretty good. Used my Kemper for the tones, the profiles are on the rig exchange Deedle VH4 Rage TS9 and Indian Savage Rage.

 


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