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TapperMike

How's your guitar action (mine's not that great)

6 posts in this topic

Recently I was watching a few Matt Raines video's.  He reminded me of something I did quite often when buying guitars in the 80's.. The penny test.

 

Apologies for his crude remarks in the video below.  

 

Nonetheless.  My shredder guitars in the past used to have amazing action and I'd be very very very specific about the matter with my guitar tech. (Who does great work)  And yes it did make a huge difference in my playing having super fast yet playable necks.

 

 

 

 He himself owns a guitar company of which some models he designs and others he has a master luthier design for him.  Then he has a company in Thailand produce them for him.  Before he ships he'll go through and give the guitar a full setup.

 

Can your guitar pass the penny test?

 

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Where do you get pennys from in America?

 

I found the video hard to watch. His playing was annoying. I disagreed with much of what he said. When he stuck the coin in I thought it was supposed to fall free? I must have missed the point of it I suppose.

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On 5/7/2017 at 2:11 AM, Rudi said:

Where do you get pennys from in America?

 

I found the video hard to watch. His playing was annoying. I disagreed with much of what he said. When he stuck the coin in I thought it was supposed to fall free? I must have missed the point of it I suppose.

 

 

Everywhere, anywhere. I'm sure there are more than a few in my couch as well as scattered under my car seat.

330px-US_One_Cent_Obv.png

 

 

The coin is 0.75 inches (19.05 mm) in diameter and 0.0598 inches (1.52 mm) in thickness.

 

The best fast action setup on any guitar passed the dime test. 

330px-Dime_Obverse_13.png

It's .705 inches (17.91 mm) in diameter and .053 inches (1.35 mm) in thickness.

 

On most guitars it's near impossible to get it set up so that there is no fret buzz and yet the coin stays in.

If the coin slides through at the 12th fret than it's action is higher.

 

Trying to get that type of precision.  With only minimal bow and no buzz on a guitar fretboard is hard work..  The frets have to be level with one another while tension is applied to the neck to create the precise bow.  

 

This level of precision gives one impeccable intonation across all the frets.  Depending on the heat and humidity changes it will often send you back to a tech to keep it that way on standard electric guitars.  Usually one needs a lot of reinforcement on the neck. (like parker's carbon fiber exoskeleton or other means.  String gauge changes will require setup changes.

 

With regards to Matt Raines rough playing.  It's all about his mix of heavy metal and Coltrane bebop styles.  He likes to play fast and loose on the spot improvisations rather than set pieces he's worked out.  When one improvises using 'trane" patterns there will always be spotty performances. especially at high speeds and when you don't have a chord sheet to set the path.  While Coltrane is most commonly associated using a 1-2-3-5 pattern he actually had about 10 different patterns for any chord. http://www.jazzguitar.be/giant_steps_coltrane.html

 

When you are doubling or even tripling the speed and trying to play to all those different patterns and playing a pattern for each half measure and adding on to that the bebop scale and adding to that tritone substitutions super imposing half-whole scales/melodic minor and more it gets sloppy.  He's trying to hold an ideal for a chord progression in his head while working out each 4 note phrase for each chord while trying to play connect the dots.   Coltrane had some sloppy playing in his years improvising and many time trane would simply work out the entire score as a composition rather than trying to simply freeform an improvisation.  Matt Raines can't practice anything slow.  It's his nature.  He'd rather play fast and play fast to get things down than slow everything down and work it out at slower levels.  

 

While I didn't try Trane stuff at breakneck speed myself I used to study Coltrane methods back in school.  It was hell for me.   Trying to jump from one pattern for one chord to another in a single measure while not "connecting the dots" jumping to unrelated keys and on and on.  I finally threw in the towel and went back to Bird (Charlie Parker) methodology.  My lines were much cleaner / clearer and rhythmically sound.  Even if it wasn't as "hip" or "cutting edge"

 

 

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I apologise about being ungracious about Matt Rainnes, its not so much his playing, as him interupting himeself all the time when I'm trying to focus on what he's saying. I thought I had become more patient. hmmm maybe still not quite there!

 

I didnt know you called cents pennys. It just seems odd. A uk penny is 1.65mm and apparently not even bronze anymore, but plated steel. The language is weird too. with a bunch of coins called pennies, but a sum greater than one being called pence.

 

So I thought I couldnt do the test on my guitars... but I can! I've just been up to the old coin box (the family kept out of circulation coins since before I was born). I measured a bunch of coins with a micrometer and the closest I could get were two old sixpences. One from 1949 & other from 1950. These are the coins that Brian May used as plectrums. They are both very worn. The 1950 measures .055" at the edges and the 1949 comes in at .051"

So these are close to a US dime.

 

I tried them both on 5 working guitars. To my surprise all gripped ok at the 12th fret.

These are the Deuce, the 339, the 650, the Less+ and the Esprit. The Less+ even gripped at the 22nd fret as the strings are nearly parallel to the frets due to the adjustable nut.

 

I was surprised. I didnt think any of them would hold & I'm pretty happy about that. :)

 

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I hope this doesnt mean I've got to play fast now :unsure:

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Wow, you've got great setups.

 

Yes I know Matt Raines can be unbearable to listen to.  Arrogant ugly american.  He seems to have a lot of anger issues.

Another thing of note....  When ever I've bought in an actual brick and mortar store (as opposed to online) They would always do setups in store before placing the guitars up for sale.  Some guitars by design simply can't be set up to such an exacting standard.  And some stores (ones that I no longer visit) have had the audacity to tell me that low action is a hindrance and causes compression issues (yeah right) as well as response issues.

 

 

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