'17 Standard plays great but should I lower my tailpiece?

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by SoCal Flood, Sep 26, 2017.

  1. SoCal Flood

    SoCal Flood Member

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    IMG_9673.JPG IMG_9674.JPG IMG_9675.JPG I've searched the interwebs and have read all about tailpiece height, the debate about whether it matters if the strings touch the rear of the bridge etc. I just want to hear from you guys about my specific setup. BTW I tend to fall amongst those that don't think it's a big deal if my strings touch the bridge. I'm really not trying to start that debate. But with that said I'm very open minded so have at it. Here's why I'm really raising this question...

    I've gone back and forth playing my '17 Standard and my fathers '09 DaPra R9. Don't blast me, but I actually prefer the tone of my Standard, however his strings seem to have a little more tension and fretting is a touch (excuse the pun) easier. His tailpiece is bottomed out and mine appears fairly high. He appears to have lower/wider frets and mine appear narrower/taller. From what I've read my fret Les might be easier to fret and/or easier for bends so I'm ruling refretting out. I had my Standard professionally set up and I bought the proper gear to confirm my setup. My neck is straight, my low E is 6/64 and my high E is 4/64. I know even though that's Gibsons recommended height it's a high action by many standards, but I really want no fret buzz when not plugged in. His R9 has an ideal setup as well.

    My bridge is screwed down almost all the way on the high E side. My low E just barely touches the back of the bridge right now. I fear if I lower the tailpiece, even if I lower the action a bit, that the break angle is gonna be huge between the bridge and tailpiece, strings touching the bridge in multiple spots. Sorry for the long post, just wanted to fully explain my thinking here.

    Here are some photos...
     
  2. Skyjerk

    Skyjerk Meatbomb

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    There no right or wrong answer. It looks fine to me, the question is what are you trying to accomplish?
     
  3. pshupe

    pshupe Senior Member

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    I think the break angle looks good in the first pic. If you want to put the tailpiece lower you could top wrap. I like the look of the tailpiece as low as possible.

    Cheers Peter.
     
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  4. SoCal Flood

    SoCal Flood Member

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    Sorry if that wasn't clear. I really like how the strings play on my dad's R9. They're D'addario 10-46 just like mine but they feel like there's more tension on them. I attributed this to possibly the lower tailpiece. The bridge on the R9 is about the same height as mine but since it's an ABR none of the strings touch the rear even though the tailpiece is bottomed out. I'd rather have added tension even if that makes string bending a bit harder. The added tension just plays really nicely for me.
     
  5. Biddlin

    Biddlin Senior Member

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    Raise the tailpiece a little and you'll be fine. They make them adjustable for a reason. BTW if you "top wrap" you have raised the strings about 1/8". Raising the TP 1/8" accomplishes the same thing. I do think you can damage a bridge with too steep a break angle.
     
  6. Dilver

    Dilver Senior Member

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    If you're after greater tension in your strings, raise your bridge a bit. The strings should clear the back of the bridge, but just by a hair. If you can slip a piece of paper between the string and back of the bridge, you're fine. Or, just try .11 gauge strings :laugh2:
     

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