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Loudness of Thin E string


(@stallyon)
Active Member
Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 5
Topic starter  

I've only been practising the guitar for about 3 weeks now and noticed one thing....I've been trying to play the intro riff to sweet child of mine only i find that both on my acoustic and electric (with 10 amp) the thin E string isnt very loud when hitting the notes. One of the notes is instructing me to play the E string on the 15th fret and when i do I can hardly hear it at a normal volume...I really have to crank the volume up to get any sort of audible tone which unfortunately cranks up the other 5 strings to a deafening level.

is this normal or could it be that i have tuned the strings far too high?


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 cnev
(@cnev)
Famed Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 4478
 

Make sure you are holding the string against the fret tightly, it shouldn't be a problem.

"It's all about stickin it to the man!"
It's a long way to the top if you want to rock n roll!


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(@stallyon)
Active Member
Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 5
Topic starter  

Make sure you are holding the string against the fret tightly, it shouldn't be a problem.

but thats the thing - the note is clear. its not distorted like its not held tight enough...but it just aint loud at all


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(@shredhed)
Eminent Member
Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 30
 

Is it the same on the lower frets?
It could be that your pickup is too low. Look closely at the pickups. Is the height of the strings in comparison to the pickup significantly lower on the high e than the other strings?


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(@stallyon)
Active Member
Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 5
Topic starter  

this is my first electric guitar and i've only had it a few weeks now....when you say pickups i presume you mean the 6 small round steel pins protruding from the guitar, 1 underneath each string? there are 2 sets of these 1 before the sound hole and 1 after. all 6 are the same height and i cant fathom how to change the height for each one. I've tried tightening and untightening the screws to these which does raise and lower the whole block according to which way they are turned but doing this doesnt alter the volume of any of the strings. any help is appreciated. thanks


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(@wes-inman)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 5599
 

stallyon

Yes, those are your pickups. There are two adjustments normally, one screw on each side of the pickup which lowers or raises the whole pickup. But there are also the round "posts" on top of the pickup, these can also be raised usually with a small screwdriver.

But most likely the real problem is that the action of this particular string is too low. That is an adjustment made at the saddles on the bridge.

This is a Stratocaster style bridge and saddles. You can see the strings pass through the saddles. Each saddle has two very small Allen screws, this is how you adjust the height or "action" of the string. With a small Allen wrench turn the two Allen screws clockwise to slightly raise your high E string.

The problem is most players lower their strings very low to make playing easier. It does make playing easier, but you lose some things too. Often you lose volume and sustain.

Before you try this, pay attention to the original position of the Allen screws before you make an adjustment. Count the number of turns you make with the Allen wrench. Go in small increments, maybe 1/2 turn (180 degrees) at a time. Play the guitar and see how you like it. If you do not like it you can always return the saddles to their original height. So count the turns. :D

You may have a different type bridge like Gibson guitars.

With a bridge/saddles like this you cannot adjust the height of an individual string, but you can very slightly raise the high E string side by turning the large thumbscrews. Slightly loosen all strings before making an adjustment. And as with the individual saddles, count the turns you make so you can return to the original position if necessary.

I think if you raise the high E very slightly you will notice a nice increase in volume and sustain.

If you know something better than Rock and Roll, I'd like to hear it - Jerry Lee Lewis


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(@stallyon)
Active Member
Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 5
Topic starter  

i found the very small holes and got out the allen key that came with the guitar (wondered what it was for ) ...raised it up, lowered it but didnt sound that much different...i'm going to take it into a music shop in town and ask them to sort it while i watch....learn by study :D

these are pics of the saddle and pickups...i took them on my camera phone so hope they are clear enough....


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(@wes-inman)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 5599
 

Your bridge pickup looks raised on the high E string side, so you should be getting plenty of volume from the high E string. The neck pickup looks kinda low, so you are probably getting a weaker signal there. So if you play in the neck pickup position primarily, I could see where the high E string would sound weak. Should sound good when using the bridge pickup though.

The goal is to balance the volume between the bass and treble strings. Play a note on the bass E and then play a note on the high E string at the same fret. The volume should be equal. The bass strings naturally produce more volume, so normally you have to lower the pickups on the bass side, raise them up on the treble side. Your guitar does not appear to have adjustable posts, I can't see a slot for a screwdriver in those pics.

You want to raise the pickup high, but not too high. If the pickup is too high the string can actually touch and mute the string. But also, even if not touching, if you get the pickup too close to the strings the magnetic field can pull on the strings which can cause the strings to stop vibrating prematurely. So they might sound loud, but you will lose lots of sustain.

You can take it to a shop, but it's kind of a waste of good money. They will do the same adjustment you can do by playing notes of the bass E and high E strings and balancing the volume.

It is good to know how to tweak your own guitar.

If you know something better than Rock and Roll, I'd like to hear it - Jerry Lee Lewis


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