Contemplating changing tuners and bridge

Discussion in 'Gibson SG' started by Astral Traveler, Oct 13, 2019.

  1. PixMix

    PixMix Well-Known Member

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    There's a Pigtail option also.

    [​IMG]
     
  2. Col Mustard

    Col Mustard Well-Known Member

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    So here's where you stand:

    1. The problems you observe with dead notes have nothing to do with your tuners or
    your bridge. All guitars have these, most players learn to play around them. For example:
    Fender bass has always had a dead spot at the seventh fret on the G string. Fender knows about
    it of course, but no one has been able to figure a way around it without changing the design, which
    nobody wants because the design works so well. So we play around it.
    Changing tuners and bridge will not change the resonance factor that causes the dead notes.

    2. Others have said this on your thread here, not just me.

    3. Locking tuners on an SG are usually a bad idea, because they can upset the balance of
    the instrument. Other instruments may be fine with them, but not SGs.
    Adding weight to the headstock also causes annoying neck dive.
    A neck diving SG is more annoying than you think.

    4. Once you've begun using the self locking method of stringing your guitar, you will speed up
    when changing strings, to the point where it's no problem at all, and then you'll wonder
    why it took you so long to adopt this easy way to get tuning stability.

    5. It seems like the consensus on this board is that there is no need to change the tuners
    and bridge of your brand new SG special. Doing so will devalue the instrument without
    altering the dead note factor. So many of us think it's a bad idea.
    Changing strings, lubing the nut slots, self locking method... these are what I recommend.

    6. It's your guitar. Most guys change tuners because it's easy, and because they CAN do it.
    All you need is a screw driver. The same with changing bridges... guys fool themselves that
    there is some arcane advantage to be had by installing whatever. But there usually isn't.
    If you want to change tuners and bridge just because you've got mod fever, we all understand
    that. But there is nothing to be gained by it, except the satisfaction of playing a guitar that
    you've modified. We all understand that too.

    The Gibson wrap-over bridge is a tone monster, and it always has been ever since the early
    fifties. That's why they still make them, and that's why they installed it on your new 2019
    Gibson. For one reason only: excellent tone. Owners of the 'vintage" version of this on their
    old Les Pauls will often swear by them as being the best Gibson bridge ever made, and will
    claim that everything since then has been down hill. This is hogwash of course, but that's
    how many players feel. It's all about the tone from these bridges. Replacing yours seems
    insane to me, for this reason. The new versions are likely to be much better than the old
    IMHO.

    WELCOME TO EE ESS EFFING GEE!
    *grins
     
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  3. donepearce

    donepearce Well-Known Member

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    Maybe a short explanation of the mechanism will help. The string vibrates close to the pickup, and you get an output to drive the amp. That's easy. When you hit a body resonance, a great deal of that vibrational energy gets transferred from the string into the wooden body. The amplitude of the string vibration drops way down, and various bits of body start vibrating in various modes instead. The result of all that energy leaving the string is that the output from the pickup drops away. A perfect guitar body would be rigid at all frequencies so the string can vibrate perfectly.
     
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  4. Norton

    Norton Well-Known Member

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    https://www.bestbassgear.com/ebass/gear/hardware/tuner/treating-your-basses-deadspot.html

    Apparently, headstock mass has been known to have a direct relationship with the dead note problem.

    The movement to swap Grover’s into a kluson headstock wasn’t a cosmetic one in the late 60’s early 70’s. The players (page, walsh, Clapton and many many many others) all make mention of a tonal shift and some of those guys do mention solving the “dead note” problem.

    I’ve made this swap once, same strings just the tuner swap. There’s an audible difference. Much like the clamp or added weight trick. Different. I didn’t say better. Just different.

    Personally, I like the kluson look and weight better. But if you’re having that dead note problem...the Grover swap might just do the trick.
     
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  5. donepearce

    donepearce Well-Known Member

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    Resonance is just a mass on a spring. More mass equals lower frequency. Weaker spring equals lower frequency - and vice versa obviously. If you can make things light and stiff, you can shift the resonance up beyond the highest note, and it ceases to be a problem. Trying to move the resonance down below the low E will involve either making it Les Paul type heavy, or very floppy. You pays yer money and ye takes yer choice.
     
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  6. Astral Traveler

    Astral Traveler Member

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    @Col Mustard No mod fever here, I don't like modding my guitars. If I didn't like them stock I wouldn't have bought them. I have in the past changed a set of pickups, which as it turned out was not worth the price nor the effort. I have also changed two sets of tuners, one set was worn out and the other were locking tuners with two missing thumb wheels that couldn't be replaced.

    The idea was that the added weight of locking tuners would help with the "dead" note (actually, I wouldn't call it dead, more tired), I still get around 4 seconds of sustain from it so it's not huge issue. I did of course test the theory by adding weight to the headstock by clipping my calipers on there and it completely removed the issue. However, the calipers weigh more than 8 times as much as the locking tuners would add so it may be for nothing.

    I did audition the guitar for about 40 minutes in the store before I bought it (I even brought my own amp) but didn't hear any tired notes then. It's possible that I missed it, it's also possible that they weren't there then. The truss rod was under no tension and there was a huge neck relief when I played it in the store, I didn't get around to setting it up until I had had it for two days.

    Thinking that the neck relief and truss rod could have sonething to do with it made me change to lighter strings, to let me back down on the truss rod a bit. I may be dillusional but I think it improved things slightly. The lighter strings introduced intonation issues on the A string though, it's almost half a semi tone sharp on the 12th fret while the other strings are perfect. This was the reason for thinking about changing the bridge.

    Before I do anything I will try slacking the truss rod agin to see what happens, I will also take the guitar to rehearsal on saturday to test it for real.

    If it's fixable, good. If not, bo big deal. It's still a great guitar and pretty much the only one I've played since I got it a month ago.
     
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  7. DrBGood

    DrBGood Well-Known Member

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    Maybe a stoopid question, but did you adjust intonation after going down in string gauge ?
     
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  8. Astral Traveler

    Astral Traveler Member

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    @DrBGood Not stupid at all. Yes, I did but not much. The A string is way off and the other ones are pretty much spot on and I can't set intonation individually per string.
     
  9. DrBGood

    DrBGood Well-Known Member

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    That is strange. The lighning wraparound usually give pretty good intonation all around. I use it with 9's and it's 98% spot on. When you adjust one side, the other moves too, so it has to be tweaked alternatively, sometimes quite a few times before it's right.
     
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  10. Col Mustard

    Col Mustard Well-Known Member

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    Good answers, and you sound like someone who knows what they want
    so I will try not to sound like I know everything. I certainly don't.

    Good answer from the Doc...
    But that's where the Pigtail option comes in. The Pigtail bridge illustrated above
    shows an intonatable wrapover bridge. You ought to be able to bring any set of
    strings into compliance with that. But they aren't cheap. And my suggestion is to
    see if you can get what you want from the stock part.

    Most other players who use that bridge are enthusiastic about it, and manage
    to intonate it properly and sound great. Hence my comments. I've never owned
    one, only listened to players I respect when they speak on the subject.

    If I owned your SG special, I'd be fascinated by this 'vintage" piece of equipment
    and would want to explore it thoroughly before I considered a change.

    And I've got one more suggestion: it's called the "phat phinger" and is a way
    of adding weight to the headstock without surgery. Some players swear by them,
    others not so much. I don't own one, having made my peace with dead notes on
    the neck and just play through them.
     
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  11. Daniel.S

    Daniel.S Well-Known Member

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    Try to get just the A intonated. Worth a shot as it’s free. ;)
     
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  12. Astral Traveler

    Astral Traveler Member

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    Yeah but I don't know how. If I get the A straight, then the E and D will be off.

    The obvious solutuon is to go back tobthe original string gauge.
     
  13. donepearce

    donepearce Well-Known Member

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    It's pretty unusual for a single string to be badly off on a standard lightning bolt bridge. Are you sure it isn't a bad string? I've known it to happen.
     
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  14. Astral Traveler

    Astral Traveler Member

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    Yeah, it could totally be a bad string. I'll have to check when I change next time.
     
  15. Astral Traveler

    Astral Traveler Member

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    I just looked at the string packs and the A string have the same gauge in both the lighter and the heavier set. There is absolutely no reason that string shouldn't intonate. Must be a bad string, or something else...
     
  16. Astral Traveler

    Astral Traveler Member

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    I put on 008-038 strings today. There may be a small improvement but I'm not sure. I don't think it's the strings themselves that caused the difference but the truss trod tension. I'm giving up trying to fix this now, I'll just play the thing.

    On the plus side, the intonation issue on the A string is gone, all 6 of them are now spot on so it must have been a bum string. Also, I really love how the thin 008-038's feel, this is the first time I play strings this light and I consider changing all around now.

    I brought the guitat to band practice this weekend and it performed great, sounded great and felt great. We jammed for three hours and I didn't have to retune even once!
     
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2019
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  17. DrBGood

    DrBGood Well-Known Member

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    [​IMG]
     
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  18. Biddlin

    Biddlin Well-Known Member

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    lbbridge.jpg DSCN1151.JPG
    .009-.042 NYXL strings intonate perfectly on my LP Melody Makers.
     
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  19. Astral Traveler

    Astral Traveler Member

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    The ones that gave me problems now were 009-046 Pyramid strings. I've usef a lot of those and never had problems before.
     
  20. DrBGood

    DrBGood Well-Known Member

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    You're better off with round strings, not pyramidal.
     
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