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aquataur

Setting up a guitar for hybrid slide

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aquataur    0

Greetings,

I have been playing steel guitars of all kinds, but now I am into sliding and all knowledge I acquired is up the Swanee :yes:

I did not find anything significant in the communities here, so if this all has been discussed in the jungle of threads here, pls point me there.

It understand that for slide playing with fretting (hybrid technique) you need pretty heavy strings. Are standard electric guitars fit for such heavy tensions? I have an idle LP look-a-like that offers itself as a candidate, but this has a fairly thin neck and with the .016 string Kirk uses I suspect I will send this to guitar heaven.

So I try a stock .012 set if I can find one or buy appropriate single strings.

Does anybody have experience with LP style slide guitars?

I have a Strat, but this remains what it is for the moment.

Kirk does not go into detail (on the video at least) of how to set up the action, how much to raise the bridge and (if at all) modify the nut. Kirk could you elaborate on this?

How about acoustic (steel strung) guitars? What gauges can one use on them and what is a good setup for the action?

I also stumbled over a web page where a guy says the curvature of the neck is important.

This guy also claims that heavier strings will not fit the nut slots and ride on top of them which seems very unprecise to me.

Thanks,

-helmut

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mset3    158

aquataur,

Do a site search for "Slide Guitar" and you will find a lot of good posts on the subject. This should help.

Mike

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aquataur    0

Mike,

sometimes finding something in a search is just a question of using the right search phrase :shifty: .

I found enough information that I am confident to try my LP with a 012 set.

Thanks,

-helmut

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aquataur    0

Hi eddiez152,

I am waiting on my strings to come. Ordered a stock .012 set to see how this works on the LP. The LP happens to be lying about so it is an ideal candidate for experiments.

If a guitar is set up for sliding exclusively, then one may raise the action a lot, but since it needs to be fretted too on has to strike a compromise. Fortunately, the heavier the strings the less excursion they make so fret buzz is increasingly unlikely at the cost of "normal" playability like bendings.

I have read that people say they have slided on something as low as a 0.008 set. Suppose you can if you need and if you harness the technique. I will gather some experience with the 0.012 set and then report them here.

I always thought that a 0.012 set will present an unholy tension on the guitar neck, but for a western guitar (steel stringed acoustic) this is only a medium set. Many jazz players use those fat strings with no damage to the guitar. That said, I do not dare using Kirk´s "piano strings" for the first two strings despite good tone. Kirk himself recommends "wearing goggles" when you put them on. :isaynothing:

have fun,

-helmut

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aquataur    0

Salute,

I promised to come back to my LP endeavours.

Well it´s done for the moment. I set up the action so that I have approx. 5mm freedom on the 12th fret. The LP has a slightly curved bridge, although the nut is straight. This is considered good by some sliders, although I personally don´t think it makes a difference with proper muting.

I use .012 strings (Pyramid standard jazz - what was available) - excellent tone (anything beyond that is in the fingers :shifty: ).

Using such gauge strings is too much for the preshaped nut grooves so you have to work on them a bit with files. I obtained a cheap set a while ago that do that job perfectly. I left the action at the nut slightly higher than I would set it with a guitar that was solely fretted.

With such stiff strings and a somewhat raised bridge there is very little fret buzz except for the very lowest frets occationally. But this is what makes the attraction of slide playing.

Any higher action at the nut would make fretting pretty hard.

Now tone.

The LP had been sitting in a corner for literally decades because I hated its tone. I had retrofitted it with DiMarzio humbuckers which in a mahogany guitar were far too dull. I preferred a single coil equipped guitar any day over the LP.

However, one of the humbuckers was splittable and I moved it towards the bridge. This now roars at least in the SC/parallel modes and is not too bad in humbucking mode for slide.

The PAF unfortunately was totally unusable in the neck position. I considered buying a P90 that fits into a humbucker slot like BGpups pure-90, Seymour Duncan´s StagMag (two genuine single coils) or even the P-rails (blade + p90). Unfortunately if you want all the options I would have to buy a triple shot frame too, which would amount to a fairly hefty price tag.

The idea is momentarily suspended.

Since I have the impression that only a SC will work well in the neck position and even a P90 retrofit might be too less lively I finally did what is considered impossible. At least I have never read about it - putting a SC in a humbucker slot. Did you know that they have exactly the same bore? The string spacing seems a bit wider on strats, but since the SC I used has a slab magnet in the bottom it does not matter if the polepieces are aligned correctly. End result: a fat SC tone. How much more genuine does it get?

It is not a strat now but the position is eminently usable.

I put a small (2.2nF) cap on the tone control in the bridge selection, which, if dialled in, makes a parallel resonance which seems to increase brilliance rather than a treble cut action.

For the neck pickup, I put a high pass filter in (2.2nF in series over a 100k resistor) for a bass cut action. This works a treat.

All in all is the guitar now very usable and a total screamer for raunchy slide. Total cost: one set of new strings and a few hours of attention.

BTW the .012 set leaves the LP´s neck as cool as a cucumber...

have fun,

-helmut

All in all

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aquataur    0

Helmut,

Any sound track shots yet ?

Not yet. After getting the axe in shape I rather work on my playing before I wish anybody to be witness :whistling .

A word on the type of guitar used for slide again...

I have read elsewhere that somebody thought that using a Les Paul for slide somehow does not feel right.

I understand now. Some LPs sound really dark, which is probably down to the combination of woods and pickups. In my experience a dull signal will swamp all slide tone. You need a fairly sparkling signal to support the playing technique. I also had the SC initially reversed so that in the "both on" position it was out of phase, which produces a mid-scoop. This sounded interesting, but was detrimental to slide tone.

I propose that you also need a fairly good midrange with subdued bass range to be heard. The tighter the signal the better. This is why single coils seem to work better than humbuckers, although not all humbuckers are dull.

This explains why many people use Strats and Teles and the like for sliding.

A stock LP also has a shorter scale, which for me as a sworn-in Strat user, does not present a problem yet.

Having all that said against humbuckers, Lynyrd Skynyrd´s slide player, Gary Rossington, uses a LP with humbuckers.

But take it as my word: no dull sound for slide.

-helmut

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tinsmith    2

I use 10's on my electrics...one Epi LP & strat & 11's on a cheapo reso....The electrics have regular action...take's practice, that's all

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Kirk Lorange    128

Hi aquataur, sorry I missed this.

I never really do anything but put heavier strings on my guitars -- acoustic and electric -- to set up action. Nor do I ever get any sound but 'my sound' no matter what amp I play through ... pretty much, anyway. I do like my Strat for the electric playing. I have Les Paul and you're right, it just lend itself to slide.

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aquataur    0

Folks,

I promised to give an update on my findings. LO!

The LP remained dull. I harvested the web and there are listings of hundreds of pickup winders. All I found was highly subjective and I wound up totally confused - till I stumbled over Bill Lawrence pickups (note: the original Bill Lawrence, Wilde Pickups).

That immediately rang a bell inside me and I ordered L90´s with relatively low Henries. Success!

The guitar rings like a bell, you would not believe there are humbuckers. You would suspect single coils.

Technical ravings aside, the guitar is now eminently usable and plays great for slide and even non slide if you don´t mind heavy strings.

I have left the nut pretty much intact except catering for bigger string sizes (I widened the grooves slightly, but did not lower them) and I have the action at the 12th fret some 4-5mm. This is well playable finger style and great for sliding due to the heavy strings.

See if I can get a demo together.

have fun,

-helmut

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