Action for slide guitar

Problems with equipment? Problem fitting them into the above forums? Post 'em here.

Action for slide guitar

Postby ricbleu » Tue Apr 06, 2010 3:34 am

Hi guys - recently I've got into lap slide in a big way but I've never made much progress with bottleneck. But I've got a spare guitar, an ultra cheapo archtop jazz box which I've de-electrified (to use the p/up on my lap steel) and I've been trying to make some bottleneck progress. Can anyone give some advice on what is a good compromise action height which allows fingering to fret as well as sliding without too much fret clash? I'm using 12-56s on her at the moment, but she'd take 13s and my action at 12 is about 2.5mm E and 2mm e. How much higher would you recommend to keep it finger-playable but also slide friendly? I guess this is a bit of a "how long is a piece of string?" question but I'm asking anyway. :D Thanks, Rick
User avatar
ricbleu
Regular
 
Posts: 415
Joined: Tue Mar 30, 2010 12:28 am
Location: Dunedin, New Zealand

Re: Action for slide guitar

Postby ricochet » Tue Apr 06, 2010 3:57 am

1/8-5/32" at the 12th fret works very well.
User avatar
ricochet
Regular
 
Posts: 10256
Joined: Thu Jan 01, 1970 12:00 am
Location: Bristol, Tennessee, USA

Re: Action for slide guitar

Postby ricbleu » Tue Apr 06, 2010 9:10 am

Thanks, Rico. It's an easy adjustment with the standard archtop floating bridge with screw fittings. BTW I intend to ask at a local gunshop if they have any bits of shotgun barrel to try a slide like you were mentioning on the other thread. It's the lightness that appeals - I find that the brass or stainless ones that I make tend to make my pinky top heavy and harder to control. But I've made a couple of really nice tone bars from 7/8"stainless rod to which I've epoxied hand shaped hardwood finger grips. They are meaty beasts (6.75 oz) and give excellent sustain whereas a glass one I made (3/4 glass rod 2.25 oz) sounds sweet on the trebles but pretty empty on the bass. Do you know, Rico, that when I tell my wife this stuff, she's not at all interested? I can't imagine why. :lol:
User avatar
ricbleu
Regular
 
Posts: 415
Joined: Tue Mar 30, 2010 12:28 am
Location: Dunedin, New Zealand

Re: Action for slide guitar

Postby zhyla » Tue Apr 06, 2010 3:37 pm

Since it's easy to adjust archtops, I would just crank it up high and lower it until it starts taking better control to keep from bumping.

I haven't found archtops to be great for slide sound (too midrangy, no treble). But maybe if you re-electrify it it could be more interesting.
User avatar
zhyla
Site Admin
 
Posts: 947
Joined: Thu Mar 09, 2006 2:43 pm

Re: Action for slide guitar

Postby ricochet » Tue Apr 06, 2010 5:13 pm

My wife's not interested in the technical details either, but is an excellent judge of tone. Some other things similar to shotgun barrels you might want to look into are bits of bicycle handlebars, seat posts and steel frame tubing. Older high end bicycles made of Reynolds 531 tubing would be especially desirable if you're looking to cut light steel slides. The really expensive ones had "butted" tubing that has a constant outside diameter but thicker walls at the ends where the brazed joints are. There are also bikes with frames made of 6061 or 7025 aluminum and titanium alloys.

If you want a really heavy steel tubing slide, look at piston wrist (gudgeon) pins out of car, truck or tractor engines. That's an old school steel guitar tone bar, but can be worn on a finger as well. Length is proportional to the engine's bore.
User avatar
ricochet
Regular
 
Posts: 10256
Joined: Thu Jan 01, 1970 12:00 am
Location: Bristol, Tennessee, USA

Re: Action for slide guitar

Postby panhead74 » Thu Apr 08, 2010 5:29 am

ricochet wrote:My wife's not interested in the technical details either, but is an excellent judge of tone. Some other things similar to shotgun barrels you might want to look into are bits of bicycle handlebars, seat posts and steel frame tubing. Older high end bicycles made of Reynolds 531 tubing would be especially desirable if you're looking to cut light steel slides. The really expensive ones had "butted" tubing that has a constant outside diameter but thicker walls at the ends where the brazed joints are. There are also bikes with frames made of 6061 or 7025 aluminum and titanium alloys.

If you want a really heavy steel tubing slide, look at piston wrist (gudgeon) pins out of car, truck or tractor engines. That's an old school steel guitar tone bar, but can be worn on a finger as well. Length is proportional to the engine's bore.



Just make sure that those old bicycles are really trash before you take a hacksaw to one. There is a relatively large market for vintage high end 531 bikes, especially if those frame tubes have lugged joints where they're brazed...and a titanium bike frame is worth far more than the slides you could make from it.
User avatar
panhead74
Regular
 
Posts: 334
Joined: Thu Mar 24, 2005 11:47 am
Location: Tucson, Arizona, USA

Re: Action for slide guitar

Postby maxx england » Thu Apr 08, 2010 8:38 am

He's not joking. 20 years Somebody I knew cut up a collectable (valued about £500 at the time) to use the forks on a spectacularly unsuccessful sidecar outfit.
User avatar
maxx england
Contributor
Contributor
 
Posts: 3944
Joined: Thu Jan 01, 1970 12:00 am
Location: Birmingham UK

Re: Action for slide guitar

Postby panhead74 » Thu Apr 08, 2010 1:56 pm

I never thought of using a wrist pin...hmmm...they're pretty reasonable, even new:

http://www.mfgsupply.com/WisecoSnowWrist.html
User avatar
panhead74
Regular
 
Posts: 334
Joined: Thu Mar 24, 2005 11:47 am
Location: Tucson, Arizona, USA

Re: Action for slide guitar

Postby ricochet » Thu Apr 08, 2010 6:16 pm

Yeah, I'd only cut up a broken frame.
User avatar
ricochet
Regular
 
Posts: 10256
Joined: Thu Jan 01, 1970 12:00 am
Location: Bristol, Tennessee, USA

Re: Action for slide guitar

Postby tinsmith » Fri Apr 09, 2010 1:06 am

ricochet wrote:1/8-5/32" at the 12th fret works very well.

Isn't the 1/8" standard anyway?
User avatar
tinsmith
Regular
 
Posts: 556
Joined: Sat Sep 15, 2007 3:29 pm
Location: Southern Maine

Re: Action for slide guitar

Postby ricochet » Fri Apr 09, 2010 10:39 am

About that.
User avatar
ricochet
Regular
 
Posts: 10256
Joined: Thu Jan 01, 1970 12:00 am
Location: Bristol, Tennessee, USA


Return to Equipment Blues

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests

cron