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Dropping a string size - How to do it
gusman2x
#1 Posted : 7/27/2009 7:19:26 AM

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HI guys, I'm now the proud owner of a RG550MXX DY. It has come with an incredibly low action (which is cool) and 10s on it. I'm getting some fret buzz with anything played on the first fret. I'd also like to switch to 9s. I do play 10s on a les paul, but for the longer scale, the 10s are a bit much for my wimpy fingers to bend.

The question is - Is it as simple as changing the strings (once I've worked out how to do that with a floyd style) or will I need to do truss and or intonation work. I would like to keep the action as low as possible as it's making me feel like a god at the moment.

Thanks guys, and sorry if it's a noob question. (tried to use the seach function but I get an error)

Cheers

Angus

Steelrobbin
#2 Posted : 7/27/2009 7:47:32 AM
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You will need to adjust the trussrod and intonation.
On the ''Guitar Set-up'' section on this site is a good guide on how to maintain and set-up your trem.
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guitarest99
#4 Posted : 7/27/2009 11:02:56 AM
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If you are in fact a new be, since that has a floating trem I would highly suggest paying a pro to do it because of the floating bridge.
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Hikey Mikey
#7 Posted : 7/27/2009 12:36:59 PM
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Jocko, good to see you back! I thought you were leaving the forum and it's good to see you're posting again.
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gusman2x
#5 Posted : 7/27/2009 2:38:21 PM

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guitarest99 wrote:
If you are in fact a new be, since that has a floating trem I would highly suggest paying a pro to do it because of the floating bridge.


Well, it's my first floating trem, but I've been playing and re stringing guitars for about 10+ years. I've never set one up though, other than lowering the saddles on a strat. It can't really be that hard is it? I think I'll be OK adjusting the height/tension of the bridge, the only thing I'm not sure about is the truss rod adjustment.

I figured I'd give it a go and if I c@ck it up, I can then take it to a professional. Might not come to that if I'm lucky.

With truss rod adjustment, is it possible to bugger anything up permanently or will a pro be able to put it right if need be?

Thanks guys
MaxOfMetal
#6 Posted : 7/27/2009 2:47:22 PM
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gusman2x wrote:
guitarest99 wrote:
If you are in fact a new be, since that has a floating trem I would highly suggest paying a pro to do it because of the floating bridge.


Well, it's my first floating trem, but I've been playing and re stringing guitars for about 10+ years. I've never set one up though, other than lowering the saddles on a strat. It can't really be that hard is it? I think I'll be OK adjusting the height/tension of the bridge, the only thing I'm not sure about is the truss rod adjustment.

I figured I'd give it a go and if I c@ck it up, I can then take it to a professional. Might not come to that if I'm lucky.

With truss rod adjustment, is it possible to bugger anything up permanently or will a pro be able to put it right if need be?

Thanks guys


Floating trems in theory are not very hard to set-up, though for someone new to them there is a very steep learning curve. I recommend reading ALL of this trem guide.

As far as truss-rods go, you have the potential to do serious damage if you're not careful and don't tighten/loosen it properly. I recommend you doing a search online for "truss rod adjustment". There are plenty of very helpful guides out there.
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gusman2x
#8 Posted : 7/27/2009 3:30:22 PM

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Cool thanks guys. I'll maybe get the first set up done in a shop and ask the tech if I can watch while he does it. I just watched a couple of videos on youtube, one where the guy shows a truss rod adjustment on a PRS. Doesn't look too difficult but for sure I don't want to mash my baby.

I understand that dropping the guage will change the string tension and move the bridge, but will it also move the neck, or do you just adjust the truss to achieve the same action (bear in mind, the action is a fraction too low at present anyway). Then a bit of intonation which i think I'm OK with.

Thanks for your jelp guys and sorry about all the questions Eh
hikaruzero
#9 Posted : 7/27/2009 3:58:11 PM
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Quote:
Floating trems in theory are not very hard to set-up, though for someone new to them there is a very steep learning curve. I recommend reading ALL of this trem guide.


+1; Megatron's Floating Trem guide is an excellent resource.

Quote:
I'll maybe get the first set up done in a shop and ask the tech if I can watch while he does it.


+2; nothing is better than having a live person explain it to you.

Quote:
I've never set one up though, other than lowering the saddles on a strat. It can't really be that hard is it? I think I'll be OK adjusting the height/tension of the bridge, the only thing I'm not sure about is the truss rod adjustment.


It's a little bit more involved. The basic concepts are the same but the way you adjust things is different at times (for example, to adjust intonation you have to unlock the saddle, move it, then rescrew it down; on a normal hardtail, you simply have a screw, and you don't need to unlock the saddle position). It's also a little more involved because of the nature of the floating trem; when you change one string's tuning, all the other strings change as well, which means you have to retune between each change of intonation in order to set it correctly.

Quote:
With truss rod adjustment, is it possible to bugger anything up permanently or will a pro be able to put it right if need be?


Only if you're an idiot. :) But seriously, unless you're making huge changes (like more than half a turn) you shouldn't have anything to worry about. Just make small changes at a time (not more than a quarter turn at any one time) and give the wood a few hours to adjust to the change before adjusting it further if you need to. Truss rod changes are *not* instant, so it's best to make an adjustment, then come back in a couple hours and check the bow of the neck again.

You can check the bow by looking down the neck at the bridge (like this: http://www.toddgreen.com/b_fretless_neck.gif) and if you look down the very side of the neck you should be able to see which direction the bow goes).

Quote:
I understand that dropping the guage will change the string tension and move the bridge, but will it also move the neck, or do you just adjust the truss to achieve the same action (bear in mind, the action is a fraction too low at present anyway). Then a bit of intonation which i think I'm OK with.


When it's set up under the lighter gauge, the bridge will be in the same position as before, but there will be less string tension. Accordingly, the spring tension in the back of the guitar will have to be lowered in order for the bridge to sit at the normal place.

Since the strings have less tension, the pull on the neck will also be less, which will result in the neck naturally straightening out a little bit and can cause fret buzz. To compensate, you adjust the truss rod, which when done correctly will leave your neck at about the same angle it was previously (very slight upbow; about as close as flat as you can get but erring on the side of upbow rather than backbow).

More details about this is in Megatron's Trem Guide so read it!

Good luck!
gusman2x
#10 Posted : 7/30/2009 12:39:48 PM

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Just got it back today. Real nice set up, still only about 1.2mm on the bottom E, so well low, and the 9's are just so much fun.

In the end he had to shim all the frets as there were a couple high ones and then do the set up.

Feels so good Dance
Guest
#11 Posted : 7/31/2009 12:13:52 PM
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Sweet! Post up some pics!
Riffraff
#3 Posted : 8/6/2009 1:23:58 PM
Riffraff


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Steelrobbin wrote:
You will need to adjust the trussrod and intonation.
On the ''Guitar Set-up'' section on this site is a good guide on how to maintain and set-up your trem.


Thanks for that link. I dropped from the stock .009 to a .010 set a while ago on my RG520 and have been having trouble with my guitar pulling out of tune while playing lead. A quick pull on the trem bar would usually return it but it was becoming annoying. After checking out your link I saw that my trem was a little off. I dialed it in per the instructions on the website and it stays perfectly in tune now. Dance
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