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Tone Tip From Gibson

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(@gnease)
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Joined: 20 years ago
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I agree, but far more is going on than the string just getting louder. the timbre will change.

Ah, but in an instantly noticeable way to most people? That's what I've been arguing against. To me, it's like the fretboard wood argument ... probably makes a difference, but can you really tell in a blind test? Personally I think changing pick gauge or material makes a more audible difference.

And LOL about the "hose" speaker co ... :lol:

yes, noticeable and def accessible to those who know how to use it to their advantage. not everyone will bother. this is not a subtle fretboard material argument - others can toss that one around. this is neither exotic nor arcane, and a good thing for new players to remember, so when they develop the control they will find far more sounds directly on the guitar if it is set up for higher action.

the fact the you bring up picks as a more significant independent factor makes me think you aren't getting the holistic nature of what's going on. it all works together, and any one dimension can be limiting. raise your strings and you will be able to get even more tonal variation from pick changes.

aleholder: pickup proximity to strings results def determines quite a bit about electric tone, but it's a different mechanism. def pays to experiment with pup height to determine what you like. changes in pup height not only affect output level, but sustain (magnets pull and damp string motion), freq response, clarity, harmonics and moding (nodes are created on strings due to magnetic pull).

-=tension & release=-


   
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(@gabba-gabba-hey)
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Joined: 15 years ago
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the fact the you bring up picks as a more significant independent factor makes me think you aren't getting the holistic nature of what's going on.

No, just "relatively speaking."

Question: are the 'holistic' effects of higher action measurable? Meaning, can I set up my guitar for lower action, record in Audacity, then set up the guitar for higher action, record the same thing in Audacity, and compare the results? Of course I'd have to control for pickup height and maybe a few other things ... but would these results give a reasonable visual demonstration of the change in timbre? Seems to me that if the difference is real, it should be plainly visible.


   
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(@gnease)
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Joined: 20 years ago
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we've been over this. setting up higher will allow you to play harder and reach into timbral regions unavailable in a low setup. if play the guitar exactly the same as on a low setup -- assuming you are not beating the hell out of it to begin with, it'll probably sound about the same (I think that's your insistent point which I've never disputed, but consider irrelevant). but at higher set-up, the guitar will be capable of more and varied sounds -- some better and some worse, but the player will need to do harder playing to get them. with a lower setup, harder playing would go directly to fret-slapping nastiness. not much to be had.

what kind of music and player are you? this might all be irrelevant because you won't use it. for example, most of this is useless to high gain shredders, as their tones are determined more by the electronic processing. if you are a clean to moderate overdrive/saturation player, all this is very significant.

-=tension & release=-


   
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(@gabba-gabba-hey)
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Well, I think it's relevant in that "higher action = better tone" is often the mantra on guitar and bass forums, with no further qualification. And because I hear this "common wisdom" all the time from one of my guitarists, who has a Martin with the action so high I can stick my pinky between the strings and 12th fret without touching them. Playability aside, it's one of the worst sounding guitars I've ever heard - incredibly brash on top, thuddy on the bottom. But he insists all Martins are like that (no, they're not all like this one!) and that extreme high action is the key to the great Martin sound. It's just what he has been told; higher action = better tone. I have suggested that lowering action would improve both playability and resultant tone, in this case, but he won't budge.

Anyway, I'm not in the action-as-low-as-possible camp. I play in a church band whose sound ranges from light jazz to overdriven rock to occasional slap-funk-gospel. When I play electric guitar, it's more of a U2/Edge sound, though more often I'm on bass. My own action, whether on my basses or guitars, is right where I want it to play as dynamically as I need to without audible buzz or lack of sustain. If it weren't, I'd adjust it higher! :lol: But as it is, I do not believe there would be any benefit to raising the action further, for me.

For others who have low action and want to experiment, it's probably worth a shot to see what affect it has. It's free and completely reversible ...


   
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(@gnease)
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his Martin, his choice.

-=tension & release=-


   
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(@trguitar)
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Joined: 17 years ago
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You think about it, a higher action opens up more angles of pick attack as well. (Somebody might have already said that, I'm getting old and my memory is going :lol: ) Too downward of an attack (or plucking) on low action will get you a rattle for sure. I agree fully yet still refuse to change my action. :evil: Mine could be even lower though, even I have a point that is too low. Come to think of it, I believe mine are set to Fender and Gibson specs ... as I said, I'm anal. :roll: Are those specs considered low? I mean, to me they are low.

"Work hard, rock hard, eat hard, sleep hard,
grow big, wear glasses if you need 'em."
-- The Webb Wilder Credo --


   
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(@rparker)
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I think there is something to all of that string height talk. I've recently made two adjustments to my set-ups. One was to raise the string height just a tiny bit, and the other was going to 11's from 10's on three of the electrics. I am pleased so far and it's been a month or so. I bought a Gretsch that was set up a little higher than low action and loved the way it played, so I repeated it. Tone-wise? I believe so. On the three guitars I left with 10's, I think it got a little crisper. Maybe a bad word for it. And yes, I also followed behind and made sure the pickups were the same height in relation to the strings too. How much of it was just height and how much was subtle changes in playing dynamics, I'll never know.

And when I mean raised a little bit, I mean a little bit. Perhaps not even a 64ths.

cnev, I've always struggled finding the ideal thickness for picks. I know we play different things, but I've been either .58, .71 and .96. I do have some 1.14 and 1.5 picks. I almost never pick up the .58 anymore. Mostly the .71 or .96 since I made the changes.

Roy
"I wonder if a composer ever intentionally composed a piece that was physically impossible to play and stuck it away to be found years later after his death, knowing it would forever drive perfectionist musicians crazy." - George Carlin


   
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 cnev
(@cnev)
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Roy I don't know what is the best this is what my instructor told me. I'm going to go back to the 1mm since I used that exclusively for a couple years before.

For strummin he just lightens his grip on the pick and he uses a 2mm pick and he can strum very lightly like that. It's all technique

"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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 EMT
(@emt)
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i had a question, i just can't think exactly how to put it.

plus this is one of those days where typing isn't relly working for me.

red meat doesn't kill you, fuzzy green meat does.


   
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