Customer Testimonials

Electric Guitar Information

There are many factors which influence how a guitar plays. Although most guitar manufacturers recommend that their guitars be set to standard settings, this incorrectly implies that all musicians are the same. The key to achieving the perfect set up is understanding your musical style and the set up which best suits that.

String Gauge

The string guage is generally thought of as outer diameter of the string, universally measured in thousandths of an inch, for example .010 or .052. So in simple terms the string gauge can be viewed as the thickness of the string. The thicker the string at a given pitch the greater the tension will be.

String Guage

General Description

Suitable Styles

.008 - .038

Super Light

Not commonly used, very little resistance. Effortless bending & fast playing. You can easily manipulate the string to achieve eastern sounds like Indian Sitar, Japanese Koto

.009 - .042

Light

Preferred by players who want little resistance Suits progressive rock guitarists over the entire range with less intonation problems than 8-38

.009 - .046

Light Top Regular Bottom

As above, with a firmer bass register, and aids with your bass register chords and clarity.

Player
Eddie Van Halen, Carlos Santana, Steve Vai.

.010 - .046

Regular

Regular choice for most manufacturers and players

Regular set to suit most electric guitar styles, string lengths and players

.010 - .052

Regular Top Heavy Bottom

As above, also aids clarity in bass notes with lowered tunings Regular set with firmer bass end

.011 - .050

Medium w/ Light Bottom

Quite a heavy resistance but still manageable. The lightest of Jazz gauges even tight response. These gauges make the guitar feel and sound like a different instrument if your used to the lighter strings

.012 - .054
(wound G)

Jazz Light

Firm resistance, almost acoustic feel. It is a common medium jazz gauge

STRING CHOICE OF SELECTED PLAYERS

String Guage

Player

.008

Brian May(Queen),Yngwie Malmsteen, Billy Gibbons, Jimmy Page

.009

Eddie Van Halen, Carlos Santana, Steve Vai,

.010

Eric Johnson, Angus Young, Brian Setzer

.011

Jeff Beck, Vernon Reid(Living Colour), Robert Cray

.012

Malcolm Young, Phil Collen(Def Leppard), Kenny Wayne Shepard

.013

Stevie Ray Vaughn

Please note the previous is just a guide to string gauges and is not absolute. The most effective way for you to determine what gauge is most suitable for you is to experiment with different gauges. And use the one that you feel best suits your style of playing. In addition, altering the string gauge on your guitar will require the settings of your guitar to be changed.

In addition, string manufacturers offer products that have different feel and response.

Ground Wound - the surface of the string is ground to a flat surface. The sound is in between a roundwound and flat wound string.

Flat Wound Strings (Ribbon Wound) w ound with a ribbon (instead of round wire). Sounds very even and has a flat response, very mellow preferred by jazz players, short articulate notes.

Silk and Steel Wound (Thomastik Plectrum)  are made with a silk and thin steel core with a bronze winding and a polished G string. An acoustic set sounding between a nylon and steel string.

Elixir Teflon Coated  a standard round wound acoustic wound with Teflon wire to eliminate sweat and grime getting between the windings. They also have a mellower sound and last longer.

Tuning of open strings

(see tuning section for more info) - simply, guitars are generally tuned to concert pitch with the A note above middle C vibrating at 440 cycles per second as our standard.

Tuning

String Pitch 
(low to High)

Player

Concert Pitch A 440

E A D G B E

Standard Choice for most

Eb

Eb Ab Db Gb Bb Eb

Eddie Van Halen, Stevie Ray Vaghn, Hendrix

Dropped D

D A D G B E

Alice In Chains, Soundgarden, Nirvana

Whole tone down

D G C F A D

Hendrix

2 Whole tones below E

C F Bb Eb G C

Modern Metal

Open E

E B E G# B E

Various Blues Artists

Open G

D G D G B D

Keith Richards, Various Blues Artists

Open D

D A D F# A D

Various Blues Artists

DADGAD

D A D G A D

Tea Party, Ry Cooder, Led Zeppelin

Scale length

The length of the vibrating string from nut to saddle, or twice the distance from the nut to the 12 th fret. Assuming all else is equal (pitch and gauge of the strings) the longer the scale length the greater the tension will be in the strings.

Guitar

Scale Length(inches)

Scale Length(mm)

Fender Mustang, Jaguar

24

609.6

Gibson Les Paul, 335, LP Jr

24.625

625.47

PRS, Custom 24,22

25

635

Fender Stratocaster, Jazzmaster, Telecaster, Ibanez Jem,

25 ½

647.7

Tom Anderson Baritone

28 ½

723.9

Fret wire choices

Density
  • Soft,
  • Medium
  • Hard
Size & Profile
  • Small,
  • Medium
  • Jumbo
Material Choice
  • Nickel Silver Alloy (Nickel, Zinc and Copper)
  • Brass
  • Warwick Bell Brass alloy
  • Stainless Steel

Fret wire

Description

Width

Height

6000(Jumbo)

The biggest

3

1.5

6100(Jumbo)

Slightly narrower than 6000

2.8

1.4

6105(Jumbo)

Narrow and tall.

2.3

1.4

6150(Jumbo)

A jumbo wide normal height

2.6

1

6130(Jumbo)

Standard Gibson

2.7

0.9

6230Medium)

Standard Fender

2

1

6250(Medium)

Shorter in Height

2

0.9

Warwick(Medium) Bell Brass Alloy 2.4 0.9
Warwick(Jumbo) Bell Brass Alloy 2.9 0.9
Stainless Steel (Medium) Long Wearing, very hard, bright sounding 2.03 1.09
Stainless Steel (Jumbo) Long Wearing, very hard, bright sounding 2.8 1.45

As illustrated in the above table there are many choices of fretwire size available. There are many reasons for choosing different fretwire sizes like, playing style, maintaining vintage authenticity, different material hardness and improving performance. For example 6000 and 6100 are the biggest fret wires you can get. Due to the height of these wires there is minimal contact between the fingers and the fretboard wood . This enables you to have greater control over the string which facilitates easier techniques such as tapping, hammer ons, pull offs, sweeping, vibrato and bending. However, for players that are not accustomed to this it can feel foreign as there is minimal contact between the fingers and the fingerboard. It is common to find fretwire of this size on Super Strats or "80's" guitars such as Ibanez, Jackson and Charvels. Medium fretwire is the most commonly used. It provides a great balance for many different playing styles such as soloing techniques and chordal playing. This is reflected in the fact that many prominent manufacturers such as Fender, Maton, Martin and Ramirez use the fretwire size as their standard.

Fingerboard Radius

This is the curve or camber of a fingerboard surface.

There are two fretboard surface options, cylindrical and conical. A cylindrical fretboard maintains the same radius over the entire fretboard surface, where as a conical fingerboard's radius changes over the length of the fingerboard from a rounder surface to a flatter surface.

Guitar

Radius Inches

Vintage Fender

7 ¼

Modern Fender

9 ½

PRS

10

Gibson

12

Parker Fly

10 to 12 Compound

Ibanez

16

Warmoth, Yamaha Pacifica

10 to 16 Compound

Rounder radiuses (smaller diameter) have a very comfortable feel when playing chords as the "roundness" suits the natural tendencies for our hands to grip objects. But the drawbacks of the smaller radiuses occur with low action settings as strings when bent can "choke or fret out" causing the note to become inaudible. Flatter radiuses are not as ergonomic but don't have as many problems with notes choking or fretting out. One attractive solution to this problem is the compound radius. A compound radius is where the radius gradually increases over the length of the fretboard. Some common compound radiuses are 9 to12 inches, 10 to 16 inches or 14 to 20 inches for those who really like an extremely low action. This gives the rounder feel when playing chords especially in the open position and the first second and third position, as well the ability to bend strings with lower action settings without the note choking or fretting out.

Action (String Clearance)

The action is a general term used to describe how the strings are distributed across the fingerboard. The higher the strings are from the frets, the more force is required to fret the string. Conversely the lower the strings are from the frets the easier it is to fret the string. Different instruments and different playing styles will dictate different set-ups.

Action regulation is determined by how the string clearances are distributed at the nut, bridge, profile of bridge saddle and the amount of neck curvature.

Action

String Clearance at 1 st String 12 th fret

String Clearance at 6 th string 12 th fret

Neck Relief

Very Low

0.8

1.0

0.1

Low

1.2

1.5

0.2

Medium

1.6

2.0

0.3

Medium High

1.8

2.5

0.5

High

2.4

3.2

0.6

Neck Relief (deliberate neck curvature)

This is the amount of concave bow in the neck (dipping in the middle) that can help create a relatively buzz free action. The amount of neck relief is determined by adjusting the truss rod tension.

Intonation (String length compensation)

When we depress a string to play a note we are stretching the string. This stretching makes the pitch of the note sound sharper; therefore a correction is required to compensate for this discrepancy. Thus intonation is the state of the guitar so that it is harmoniously in tune with itself, this is usually done by setting the strings length at the point at which the string crosses the bridge saddle.

Flexibility of neck

Weak or rubbery vibrating surfaces produce an unstable sounding musical notes, therefore it is better to have a stiff vibrating surface. On the other extreme side the thinner vibrating components can be prone to movement and affected by temperature and humidity changes. Thin and flexible instruments produce notes that warble with unclear upper partials making it difficult to clearly distinguish and tune the strings to pitch. Quality instrument design balances stiffness to weight.

Bridge/tremolo setting

There are many electric guitar bridges available, with their own designs, features and functions. All bridges share similar concepts in that they anchor the string to the guitar body transferring the string vibration. Most allow for action and intonation adjustments. The bridge is the point where the settings will improve the ease of playability that suits your playing style. Correcting the angles and seating of the string to saddle contact will improve the performance and tone of the vibrating string, intonation and the life of the string. The geometric setup of the saddles will facilitate easier chordal playing.

Tremolos (or vibrato systems as they are correctly known) have their own quirks and require calibration to help maintain the performance and tuning.

We have all experienced the frustration of a non-returning tremolos or loose arms that vibrate. By isolating and muting unwanted resonances this will result in superior performance of the tremolo system. Sometimes it is advisable to upgrade certain components like springs and fulcrum studs made of hardened steel that are more durable and are able to wear longer so that they return to pitch.

Bridge/Tremolo

Guitar

Telecaster Bridge

Telecaster

One Piece wrap over

Early Les Pauls

Tune o Matic and Stop Tail, Nashville ,

Gibson Les Paul

Leon Quan Bad Ass

 

PRS Stop Tail

PRS

Bigsby

Gretsch

Vintage Style Fender(6 screw)

Older Fender Strats

Fender American Standard(2 stud)

Modern Fenders

Floyd Rose Style Kahler, Edge, Gotoh

Ibanez, Jackson, Some Newer Fenders

Mann Made

PRS

Wilkinson

Brian Moore

Fishman Power Bridge , L.R Baggs

Tom Anderson

Melita, roller bridge

Gretsch

360 adjustable

Rickenbacker

Jazzmaster, Jaguar adjustable & rocking

Jazzmaster, Jaguar

Trans Trem , S Trem

Steinberger

L SC-2

G & L

Electric Guitar Pickups

An electric guitar pickup is a coil of thin copper wire wound around magnetic pole pieces. The pickup is placed below the strings so that its magnetic field encompasses each sting. The vibrating string disturbs the magnetic field of the pickup creating alternating current running through the coil. This electric current can then be amplified.

There are two commonly used types of pickups on electric guitars:

  1. Single Coil - is a coil of thin copper wire wound around magnetic pole pieces. Single coils are generally bright, snappy and clear sounding. In addition single coils are also receptive to picking up the vibration of electric transformers, fluorescent lights, computer monitors and other electro magnetic radiation resulting in a "Hum" sounding a note at 60Hz in between Ab and A. Single coil pickups are commonly found on Stratocaster and Telecaster type guitars. It should be noted that P90's are single coil pickups.
  2. Humbucker - in essence are two single coils wired together electrically in series out of phase and magnetically one coil is North and the other south. This results in a cancellation of most of the electromagnetic noise. In addition to cancelling the hum (hence the term Humbucking), these pickups have a darker, smoother and thicker sound. They are commonly found on Gibson style guitars. There are many ways to wire a humbucking pickup offering musicians many choices of sounds from one humbucker.

Modern Innovations

Manufacturers have taken the original designs and made changes to suit the application of each musician.

"Noiseless" Single Coils

They are designed to maintain the authentic tone and response of the original single coil without the annoying 60 Hz electromagnetic hum. Many methods are employed, for example; stacking two coils together, aligning two coils side by side or two coils side by side one for the bass strings and the other coil for the treble. By utilizing various magnets and wire and altering their dimension and strengths pickup tone can be altered.

Humbuckers in single coils size

Strat style players wanted the sound of humbucker without having to modify their guitar. Pickup manufacturers came out with designs equalling in output and tone of many popular styles of humbucker.

Active Pickups

Active pickups use onboard electronic circuitry to achieve a signal without any of the electromagnetic background noise. They require the use of a volt battery onboard the guitar which is usually installed under the pickguard or in a specially installed battery compartment. Bartolini, EMG and Seymour Duncan offer active pickups.

Don't hesitate to get in contact with us if you have any questions regarding your instrument.



Videos of Happy Customers