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lower action = loss of tone?
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ericmb



Joined: 17 Nov 2011
Posts: 8

PostPosted: Sun Nov 20, 2011 11:44 am    Post subject: lower action = loss of tone? Reply with quote

hi,

I ve got a GG modern antique that I sent for a professional setup to get lowe action. As per usual once you change the strings the guitar came with the guitar "changes". there no way to get around that I reckon.

So when I got it back with much lower action I noticed that the tone of the neck pickup is very different. Whereas it used to have a nice, warm and full bodied tone now its gone a lot more "trebly". the tone has pretty much turned into a single coil kind of tone, much like the bridge pickup.

I have theorized around this and decreased the tone a bit, tried different amps, change cables, avoided the effect loop of the amp etc. still I find the tone is not like it used to be. I ve made sure its not the pull/push knob or the other little know that overrides the wiring of the pickups.

I have to confess the action is still possibly a bit too low and some string buzz still occurs, but not a lot.

The question is: could this be caused by string buzz or is it worth sending the guitar to reseller for a look? that ll deprive me for a bit..
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HaggertysMusic



Joined: 11 Feb 2010
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 20, 2011 5:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

To directly answer the question, yes, changing the action can change the tone, but there could be some other explanations too as to what's going on. As I'm sure you know, different string brands and gauges will produce a different sound. Different brands can take longer to break in. So I guess the first place to start is with the strings. Have you allowed sufficient time for them to break in? Do you have experience with this particular brand and gauge, so you know how they are supposed to act?

The next thing I would look at is the pickup height. Since the action was lowered, the strings are now closer to the pickups, and they should have been adjusted accordingly. Maybe the tech prefers higher pickups and thought you would too. It's easy to adjust pickups but I recommend that you pickup a 6" steel rule that will measure in 32'nds and 64'ths of an inch. That way you always have a reference point to return to, and can make your adjustments in quantifiable way. You measure your pickup height be fretting the E strings at the last fret and measuring the clearance between the top of the pole piece and bottom of the string. You'll measure both the bass and treble side of the pickup.

My Suhr came with the pickups set at 1/8"... maybe 3/32" on the treble side... can't remember for sure. I ended up raising my pickups to 3/32" bass side and 2/32" treble side and this considerably brightened up the tone, especially on the attack, which is what I wanted.

You would probably due well with the pickups set lower. There's no rules here, just what works for you, and I would encourage you to experiment. Moving a pickup as little as 1/32" will make a difference in the sound.

After doing all of that If there is still an issue, I would take another look at the action. Higher action will allow the guitar to breathe a bit more and maybe mellow out a bit.
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brainstatic



Joined: 22 Nov 2005
Posts: 199
Location: pittsburgh, pa

PostPosted: Sun Nov 20, 2011 5:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If your action is set too low for your playing style, fret buzz will definitely cloud and/or kill your tone. Roundness will give way to shrillness.

That said, lowering your pickup height will result in lower output, less bass, and more treble sparkle / jangle. Conversely, raising a pickup will yield higher output, more bass & mids, and less trebles.

For a humbucker to take on single coil tone, you'd need to lower the pickup SIGNIFICANTLY or you may have a wiring issue.

Do you know what your tech adjusted? Truss rod? Bridge / saddle height? Pickup height? Everyone has their own set of preferences for setting up a guitar - you tech may disagree with Suhr's philosophy and made some significant changes.
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ericmb



Joined: 17 Nov 2011
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 21, 2011 12:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

cheers guys, I m going to look at getting the action higher and see what it does. I ll leave the pickups initially but will try that as well.

eric
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mgavin



Joined: 20 Sep 2010
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 21, 2011 12:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

hey man do you have fret buzz w/ your lower action? i'm playing 10s and have fairly high action and still have a little bit of fret buzz.... i think i'm going to go for 9s here soon and high action to get the best of both worlds....

i think elixirs run a size big too, maybe that's my problem...
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tylerisdumb



Joined: 30 Oct 2008
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 21, 2011 1:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I would put as much attention into the pickup height as the action. If you sent the guitar out to be worked on by a tech outside the Suhr organization, they may have fiddled with the height-to their preference- which we all know can alter the tone greatly. I have encountered many "techs" who equate higher pickups with more output/tone.

Good luck,
tyler
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ericmb



Joined: 17 Nov 2011
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 21, 2011 10:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

mgavin: there is some minor fret buzz yeah, there used to be none of course.

tyler: yes the techie is outside Surh org. to my knowledge. Im not in a position where I can ship my guitar anywhere to have it setup. thanks for the tip with the pickups, I ll ask him if he moved them. I doubt that he did. This guy is a guitar builder and so I reckon he knows his stuff. If however Suhr guitars are slightly different than other that might have thrown him off.

For now I ll ask him if he moved the pickups and if he didnt I ll pursue the higher action route.

cheers,
Eric
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Suhr



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PostPosted: Mon Nov 21, 2011 1:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dont assume anything
You can always send it back for a setup Wink
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tylerisdumb



Joined: 30 Oct 2008
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 21, 2011 4:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

"Dont assume anything" aint that truth!!

You can check the height pretty easily. There is a sticky in the tech section that states the measurements and how to check it.

All you need is a measuring device that shows 64ths and the information found here:
http://www.online-discussion.com/Suhr/viewtopic.php?t=1185

You can do it!
tyler
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ericmb



Joined: 17 Nov 2011
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 22, 2011 2:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I heard back and the techie didnt move the pickups, as I thought. So once I have the time I ll increase action and see what that does. and I might
play around with pickup distance as well.

someone at work said putting pickups closer to strings will make the sound
more trebly, is that so? I thought it would get rounder..
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Moltisanti



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PostPosted: Sat Nov 26, 2011 1:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mmm schniffle biffle...
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ericmb



Joined: 17 Nov 2011
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 26, 2011 1:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for caring Rik Smile see you on monday.

Eric
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Suhr



Joined: 25 Jan 2005
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 26, 2011 5:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

ericmb wrote:
I heard back and the techie didnt move the pickups, as I thought. So once I have the time I ll increase action and see what that does. and I might
play around with pickup distance as well.

someone at work said putting pickups closer to strings will make the sound
more trebly, is that so? I thought it would get rounder..

It will give it more of an edge
Don't raise the single coils though
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ericmb



Joined: 17 Nov 2011
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 10, 2012 11:07 am    Post subject: UPDATE Reply with quote

In the end I increased action and its back to normal now.

Sorry for late update on the "fix", I ve been busy playing.

eric
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SparkyG



Joined: 17 Apr 2009
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 11, 2012 2:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm struggling with my SGG set up as well. My modern and my S3 have fantastically low buzz free actions and great tone. With my New SGG I can't get it even close, i've made all the relevant adjustments and it's way different. I noticed the nut is cut a lot higher on the GG and the height from the first fret to the string is higher (by design?). Flattning off the neck, it buzzes madly lower down, put in some releif and It grinds out at the upper frets, 17 plus. Played with different string heights on saddles etc. Havent touched the bridge height ( i wouldnt do that myself, but surely it only has the effect of raising or lowering all the strings so i can do that with the saddles). Never struggled to set up a guitar like this before. tuning stability is spot on of course and I got the Tremol-no working perfectly .

Next step is to get it back to the dealer to take a look (4 hour round trip though). Gotta get a day off.
I love it's versatility but need it setting up like my others


Last edited by SparkyG on Sun Mar 11, 2012 4:06 pm; edited 1 time in total
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