Choking and stuff? Help!

Diocletian

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I got a really cheap BC Rich Warlock in a trade recently. I really like it, funnily enough, it feels great and sounds good too since I changed the pickups.

But it has a couple of issues I can't solve so wanted to ask you experts, since I don't want to have to PAY to fix it since it would cost more to sort than it's worth! :shock:

The main problem is the fact if I bend a not on any of the top 3 strings after about the 17th fret, it just chokes right off. It's particularly bad on the high E string. The notes ring OK until you try to bend them.
I have raised the action to a silly level, just to see if it would help, and it doesn't.
I replaced the bridge (a combined bridge/tailpiece type) with a decent Wilkinson one, but it's still happening.
The other problem, probably related, is the fact the top 3 strings (again the high E being worst) sound like a sitar when played acoustically! It's OK when plugged in, so I don't mind, I just wonder if it's relevant to the bending/choking issue?

I have shimmed the neck to 3 different angles and it makes no difference. I just can't figure it out. Is it happening at the bridge?


BTW, telling me to "get a decent guitar" or whatever isn't the help I'm after. I already have a Gibson, three nice Jacksons, great old Korean Epiphone and Hamers etc ;) The BC Rich is just a fun beater (it looks amazing lol)!
 

gator payne

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I am not fumilure with the Warlock's fretboard specs so I don't know the radius but it is possible that the bridge dose not match the radisu of fretboard and as you bend the higher frets may be dampening the strings is it worse the more bend? (e.g. does a half step bend fall off the same as a full step bend?)
 

Diocletian

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I am not fumilure with the Warlock's fretboard specs so I don't know the radius but it is possible that the bridge dose not match the radisu of fretboard and as you bend the higher frets may be dampening the strings is it worse the more bend? (e.g. does a half step bend fall off the same as a full step bend?)
Yeah, I wondered about that myself, good question. The bend gets worse the more you push it. Wouldn't raising the bridge at that side help the problem though? Cos it doesnt. :(
I assumed the Wilkinson bridge would be ideal - but there's no way to check the radius factors unless you buy it and install it. I only replaced the bridge because I wanted a black one, and the Wilky seems to be the only low priced one I can find.

So...is there a way to "shim" the bridge slots to compensate for the flatter fretboard?



@Goodcleanfun - the guitar is worth about £60, having the frets levelled by a pro would cost about the same. It's just not worth it. If they need levelled, I'll learn how to do it myself.
 

Thumpalumpacus

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With such a flat fretboard, your problem is likely the uneven frets GCF mentioned in post #2.
 

Diocletian

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Okay, thanks for the replies! I have one of Dan Erlewine's books, I need to look at doing a fret level then.

What about the fact the guitar sounds like a sitar on the top 3 strings? Fretted or open notes it's the same.
 

Ole'Lefty

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Is there a "hump" at the last 4-6 frets-the tongue over the body?:hmm: If raising the bridge does not improve anything, you can bet that your strings are singing on the highest frets-that is , the interference is coming between the fretted strings and the saddles. Kind of what Gator is suggesting.

Hey- ain't he a VIP yet???
 

Diocletian

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I don't think there's a tongue. Last night I tried taking the top 3 strings out of the slots in the bridge/tailpiece and just sitting them on the bridge itself then tightening them to pitch.
It helped a LOT. I can now bend without choking out.
However, they (top 3) still sound sitar-like acoustically. It's weird.
 

gator payne

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I'm thinking there are two issues going on. Out of level frets and miss matched fretboard/brige(saddle) radius. It easy to measure a fretboard radius wit a $5 contour comb and a little Jr High school math.
 

Nicky

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When I read thread title, I was going to call 9-1-1. :shock:

I had similar issues on an old Tele. Took it to a shop and got a refret and expert setup. Now it rocks.

Hope you get it solved.:thumb:
 

Diocletian

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Thanks guys. If I decide to hang onto it (and I more than likely will since the resale value on these things is tiny) I might take it to a pro. It's too big a job for me - I don't mind messing about with beaters but I wouldnt want to ruin it.
 

Reverend D

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That sitar like sound could very well be a nut issue too.. if they're cut to flat with no break angle on the leading edge of the nut (fretboard side) you'll get that sitar sound as well. I think you have two issues at least.

Regards,

Don
 

Diocletian

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Thanks Don, the nut looks like a real POS, it has really deep slots cut in it, I imagine you're right.
I put a set of Grovers on it last night too, the stock BC Rich branded tuners were the worst I've ever come across on any low end guitar!
 

Diocletian

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There's one other point I'd like to ask about, never thought anything of it until I just read an unrelated point on another forum:

The bridge/tailpiece has to be adjusted really high because of the steep angle the neck sits at, which is fair enough, doesn't really make any difference other than needing to have the bridge pickup screwed really high. However, the bridge/tailpiece sits FORWARD toward the neck at an angle. I assumed it was supposed to be like that, but it looks pretty odd, as if the two mounting posts have been put in at an angle rather than straight in.
 

gator payne

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Ideally the pup posts should be pretty near perpendicular to the stings. They don’t have to be perfect but close.

So far we have been answering question based on the first bit of info you gave us. Now you have just hit us with info we did not have when we made our comments. All the components of the neck fretboard bridge and body relationship have effect on action. With this last little bit of info I have to say there is just too much going on with this guitar that is all inter-related.

Depending on which Warlock variant you have; you either have a wrap-around bridge (no tail piece) and a bolt on neck, through neck with a Floyd rose bridge, a bolt-on neck with Kalhler hybrid bridge or a bolt-on neck with a T-O-M bridge. I assume it is the later. This should not have an extreme neck angle. So I do not understand why everything is as high as you say unless the neck pocket has been altered.

In any case if the neck angle is as steep as you say and the pups are adjusted really height then something is amiss structurally with this guitar and you need to see a luthier. Any further comments on what is going on would be just speculation and not very useful to you.
 

Reverend D

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If its a bolt on, you can shim the back of the neck (a shim placed under the neck on the two screws back closest to the headstock if that makes sense) that would tilt the neck forward slightly allowing you to lower the bridge. Its done often in the Fender community since they have very little to no angle on the neck.

I've done it on cheap guitars to get them somewhat playable, its not a pretty solution but is a solution. It doesn't take much, a shim like the thickness of a thick business card might help a bit. On REALLY cheap guitars I've shimmed almost the thickness of a plastic credit card, yeah you lose some sustain in the joint, its a cheap guitar, you want sustain buy a Paul.. hehe (sorry I swear that doesn't mean, hey buy a better guitar, its just the reality of the situation). :D

Just a thought, trust me I've had enough crappy guitars that I've had to do all sorts of crap to just to get them playable. I have a old Kent bass that I may as well put a long peg off the back strap button and play it stand up the strings are so high haha. Good luck pal, hope you get it sorted, I'd put a new nut on it, get the strings semi parallel to the fretboard and go from there. Its not impossible, but I know in my case it would have to be a DIY situation cause taking a guitar worth a hundred bucks and putting double into it probably isn't the most economically sound solution. :D

On the other hand some guitars just feel good, I have a RG270 Ibanez made in Korea and its neck profile is better than almost any fender I have ever touched, go figure... :rolleyes:

Regards,

Don
 

Diocletian

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Ideally the pup posts should be pretty near perpendicular to the stings. They don’t have to be perfect but close.

So far we have been answering question based on the first bit of info you gave us. Now you have just hit us with info we did not have when we made our comments. All the components of the neck fretboard bridge and body relationship have effect on action. With this last little bit of info I have to say there is just too much going on with this guitar that is all inter-related.

Depending on which Warlock variant you have; you either have a wrap-around bridge (no tail piece) and a bolt on neck, through neck with a Floyd rose bridge, a bolt-on neck with Kalhler hybrid bridge or a bolt-on neck with a T-O-M bridge. I assume it is the later. This should not have an extreme neck angle. So I do not understand why everything is as high as you say unless the neck pocket has been altered.

In any case if the neck angle is as steep as you say and the pups are adjusted really height then something is amiss structurally with this guitar and you need to see a luthier. Any further comments on what is going on would be just speculation and not very useful to you.
Yeah sorry, I understand what you're saying but I didn't realise that latest bit of info might be relevant. :(
It's actually a bolt on with a wrap around bridge (I thought I already mentioned it had the combined bridge/tailpiece thing).
I take your point, there's so much going on with this thing that its impossible for you guys to help without really seeing it yourselves, but you've been a help nonetheless so thanks all!
 


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