Lowering my action

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Lowering my action

Postby Highbinder » Mon Jun 06, 2011 4:32 pm

Since my reso has become my only guitar I've been looking for a better all around setup. Currently the action is real high and is a pain for playing without the slide.

I can't find anywhere locally to pick up a biscuit bridge and none of the guitar shops say they can order it in either, would it be sensible to modify my existing bridge or would it be better to get a blank? It can't be too hard to deepen the grooves?

For something a bit different Ive changed out to light strings and I like the increased brightness, the tone seems a lot less muffled when playing full chords, again especially in standard. I guess I'll have to check the truss road, but I wanted to know also, how do I correct intonation? ATM it's playing sharp further up the neck
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Re: Lowering my action

Postby allanlummox » Mon Jun 06, 2011 4:45 pm

I've cut biscuits using a Dremel tool with success - just go slow!

I highly recommend these:

http://www.forbiddenguitars.com/carbonFiberBiscuitBridge.html

for getting the most out of the lower end resophonic guitars. Haven't tried one on a National - my Delphi and my El Trovador don't sound like they need any help. But they really perk up my Regal!
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Re: Lowering my action

Postby Highbinder » Mon Jun 06, 2011 8:27 pm

Wow very cool! I was just going to pick up one of those precision hacksaws to deepen the grooves. I don't know how it would cope against cf tho!

On the topic of enriching the tone, rather than starting a new topic, I've seen talk of 'hot rod' cones. What kind of results can you get by changing the cone?
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Re: Lowering my action

Postby s1120 » Tue Jun 07, 2011 9:55 am

allanlummox wrote:I've cut biscuits using a Dremel tool with success - just go slow!

I highly recommend these:

http://www.forbiddenguitars.com/carbonFiberBiscuitBridge.html

for getting the most out of the lower end resophonic guitars. Haven't tried one on a National - my Delphi and my El Trovador don't sound like they need any help. But they really perk up my Regal!



Interesting... Never thought of that, but it makes sence that it should work. And I can see how it would realy wake up a lower end one that might be built to a wide tollerance spec.
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Re: Lowering my action

Postby bigdaddyguitar » Tue Jun 07, 2011 12:48 pm

Stew-Mac has biscut bridges .
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Re: Lowering my action

Postby Freeman » Tue Jun 07, 2011 4:24 pm

I run one of Paul's CF biscuits in my Duolian, they are pretty spendy. Unfortunately I put it in at the same time that I changed to a NRP hot rod cone so I can't say for sure how much effect it had on overall tone - I would guess most of the improvement was the cone, not the biscuit. You can buy standard maple biscuits from StewMac, ResoOutfitters, NRP.

You can also lower the slots in your existing biscuit - I use gauged nut files. You want the slot to be approximately the same size as the string and rounded at the bottom. Make the break point nice and rounded, most people think the slot should be slightly vee'd towards the nut. Go slowly with the cover plate off, checking the action frequently. Obviously you want the relief set to your liking first, just like setting up any acoustic.

Your comment about improving intonation is interesting - it is very hard to do on a reso because the saddle is at exactly 2 times the distance to 12 (ie the scale length). Normally you want to move it farther based on the diameter of the string core (which is why the low E is shifted more on an acoustic) but you can't with a reso. About the best you can do is make the break point as far back on the biscuit, cheat the cone as much as you can in the well. Lowering the action will help too, you won't be stretching it quite as much.
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Re: Lowering my action

Postby Freeman » Tue Jun 07, 2011 4:31 pm

Highbinder wrote:On the topic of enriching the tone, rather than starting a new topic, I've seen talk of 'hot rod' cones. What kind of results can you get by changing the cone?


I would say that depends a lot on the quality of the cone that you presently have. Switching from the stock Dobro spun cone to an NRP hot rod seemed to both brighten it slightly and mellow the bass. It is still a brash nasty sounding guitar - a cone isn't going to change that. If you have an inexpensive stamped or heavy spun cone it will probably improve it a lot. Paul Beard has a little clip in his dvd about setting up spiders where he takes the stock PacRim cone and taps it - gives kind of a dull thud. He taps one of his own spun cones and it rings like a bell. When you think that you can buy an imported resonator for about twice the price of a NRP cone you've got to conclude that maybe the stock cone is a little lacking.

btw - if you do by an NRP cone it will come with a new maple biscuit. You will have to cut the slots yourself - basically like making a nut. You will be able to control the spacing, curvature of the saddle and action.
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Re: Lowering my action

Postby Highbinder » Thu Jun 09, 2011 11:18 am

Thanks for the replies so far chaos

Well it's not an expensive resonator, but it's the most I've spent on a guitar to date (I've had a mij strat, a couple of epiphones, and an Alvarez 12 string). Because it's the only guitar I have with me it's become more obvious where it's lacking. It can get very muggy sounding, much more apparent in standard tuning.

I've been trying to transition from playing with my fingers to a thumb pick but I find it awkward for some rhythms, especially those with muted strikes. So used to using my thumb (and also pinchingflails together like a pick) the thumb pick feels too long. It is awesome for finger picking bass lines! Yet to try finger picks. I like the lighter gauge strings on it (I was previously using 14 gauge), my slide touch had developed and I'd rather have the playability than the tone. Heavy strings just tire me out (barre chords and bending)

An nrp cone sounds like a good way to go. Changing out the nut should help too. I love tinkering with things!

I'll be sure to check out that video too
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Re: Lowering my action

Postby gaucho » Thu Jun 09, 2011 11:33 am

I find that thick, black-framed glasses and a pocket protector always lowers my action. Ha! If you like to tinker, go for the cone, but don't expect miracles. I put Hot-Rods in my Republic Tricone and it made a nice change, but nothing magic. If your guitar has a Continental cone, the difference will probably be negligible. The Conti's are pretty decent, especially the single cones. If the guitar was less that 5 or 600 $, it probably has a cheap, stamped cone and the Hot Rod + proper set up will make a big difference. Without a prpoer set-up, it's hit or miss (mostly miss).
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